Manic Monday: Harlow’s Pit of Despair, the Rape Rack and Iron Maidens

We will start off this Monday, and the first Manic Monday article, with Harlow’s Pit of Despair. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Who doesn’t love a good love story? A journey of a scientist to understand love, and what it’s all about. One such love-bug scientist is Harry Harlow.

I like to think that out of every bad situation, something good is derived from it. For example, some have argued that though the Holocuast was horrible, out of the unethical experiments the Germans did on the Jews came profound experiments on human genetics. Now I’m not here to argue the ethics of saying that, (though your thoughts would be great in the comments section). However, I am here to discuss the experimentation and the ethics behind Dr. Harry Harlow’s work on rhesus monkeys.

I will begin by saying that there is good that came out of Harlow’s experiments on the monkeys:…

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My new book: Norbit the Neuron Neuroscience for Kids!

I haven't posted in a few months, but I've been working on other projects! In college, I began writing a children's neuroscience book. It's been 5 years now that I've been working on this project. Now, it's been illustrated! Or, rather, in the process of being illustrated. The illustrator is my boyfriend's youngest sister, and … Continue reading My new book: Norbit the Neuron Neuroscience for Kids!

Developmental Plasticity and the “Hard-Wired” Problem

Patrick F. Clarkin, Ph.D.

“Development is the missing link between genotype and phenotype, a place too often occupied by metaphors in the past … But a strong emphasis on the genome means that environmental influence is systematically ignored. If you begin with DNA and view development as “hard-wired,” you overlook the flexible phenotype and the causes of its variation that are the mainsprings of adaptive evolution.” (Mary Jane West-Eberhard, 2003: 89-90)

“Genes, unlike gods, are conditional. They are exquisitely good at simple if-then logic: if in a certain environment, then develop in a certain way… So here is the first moral of the tale: Don’t be frightened of genes. They are not gods; they are cogs. (Matt Ridley, 2003: 250)

Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.

In his book The Triple Helix, Richard Lewontin told the story of the molecular biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney…

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How to be a freelance science writer*

The Raptor Lab

*according to other people

What do you do when you don’t know how to do something? Scour the internet for advice, obviously.

Over the last year, I’ve been on the hunt for good guides to freelance journalism. Now, as my freelancing career finally dawns, I figure I should exhibit some of my best findings in one place. Here they are.

Many of these links are aimed towards science writers, but most of the information still applies to any kind of journalist.

Got any sweet additions? Shoot them at me @realavivahrLast updated 11/4.

* Classic post from Ed Yong, with different science writers chiming in to share the story of how they got started.
* Advice for beginners from superstar Carl Zimmer.
* Scientific American’s Incubator wrote a monster post on how to break into the business.
* The Open Notebook has also got a guide…

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Oxytocin: The Most Toxic Compound to the Female Brain

Temple of Mut

Dear Readers:  I have a good friend whose daughter has reached an age when thoughts of young men with round, strong arms fill the head.  So, based on his concerns, I wanted to update one of my favorite posts involving biochemistry.

Additionally, my good friend Captain Capitalism recently noted: Too Close to the Truth?

Feminism has been around far longer than game. I’ll tell you what, game works best on feminists, girls so assured of themselves and filled with fake confidence based on their education and careers that they never see it coming. Most feminists honestly believe that game doesn’t exist or would never work on someone like them.

Captain Capitalism and I don’t disagree much — and here we are in complete agreement. He takes a sociological approach to the matter. I, on the other, am going the pure science route. Here is the compound responsible for the above-stated…

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