Links and News of the Week – June 1-7, 2013

This is a new and, hopefully, regular kind of post. Shamelessly imitating Jason Collins’ excellent “Week of links” posts over at Evolving Economics.

I’ll list some news items and interesting reads I have encountered for the first time during the week. I will probably have tweeted most of these during the week.

  • Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes. Helena Lee at the BBC News Magazine looks at the boxes of clothing and other baby-rearing supplies provided to expectant Finnish parents, and the positive effects this 75 year-old institution has had on Finnish parenting and childhood. Much, much better than Australia’s “baby bonus” handout.
  • Are you racist? You might want to change your avatar. My good friend and collaborator, Michael Kasumovic, writes at The Conversation about how a short time ‘inhabiting’ a dark-skinned avatar can erode implicit assumptions about race.  Michael tweets as both @MKasumovic and @TheEvolvedGamer.
  • Vitamins: Stop Taking the Pills. Paul Offit at the Guardian takes a thorough look at vitamins and other dietary supplements, and suggests that most are not improving health or wellbeing and some, particularly vitamin megadoses, can cause substantial harm. I especially appreciate the considered take on the fad for antioxidants, and the nutrient industry’s narrative of a battle between good and evil.
  • The Pew Research Center in the USA published a valuable report on the rise of “breadwinner moms”: mothers who are wither the sole parent or the higher-earning parent in American households with children. Numbers have risen from around 11 percent in 1960 to 40 percent in 2013. This is exactly the kind of issue that polarises discussion and sends news outlets and websites buzzing. Jason Collins and I chimed in at the invitation of Robert Kadar, managing editor at Evolution: This View of Life magazine. We also use the occasion to mention the Cooperation & Conflict in the Family conference, next February.

 

Rob Brooks

I am an evolutionary biologist who thinks about sex for a living. Things I have thought and written about include the evolution of mate choice, the costs of being attractive, the reason animals age and the links between sex, diet, obesity and death. Follow @Brooks_Rob on Twitter.

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