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Bringing Darwin’s theory to everyday life

David Sloan Wilson sees evolution as a useful lens through which to consider topics as diverse as urban planning and neuroscience. That’s why he established the interdisciplinary Evolutionary Studies program at Binghamton.
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In the News

October 2005

Linda Spear, distinguished professor of psychology, was quoted in the October 2 issue of the Hamilton Spectator, ON, Canada, in an article related to the adolescent brain. Spear noted that the brain of a young adolescent prunes away interconnections between nerve cells, which can mean that up to 2.6 billion connections are lost in a day. It’s part of an intensive streamlining taking place in the adolescent brain and indicative of the changes young people are going through during this period. “The brain becomes leaner and meaner essentially,” said Spear.

David Sloan Wilson, professor of biological sciences, was mentioned in the October 3 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser, in an article about his research on the benefits of gossip in the social world. According to Wilson, while gossip can be seen as self-serving, it also serves an important ‘policing function’ in a group. Take away gossip in a group and you take away part of its core. “You give a group a lobotomy, in some ways, when you take away the gossip.” The article also ran in The Seattle Times. A related article was published on China-Window.com

David Sloan Wilson was quoted in the October 12 issue of the Guardian, London, UK, in an excerpt from the book, The Story of God by Robert Winston. Winston highlights Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral, in which Wilson argues that religiosity is a “useful” genetic trait because it make social groups more unified.

Binghamton University was mentioned in the October 4 issue of University Business for providing relief to students affected by Hurricane Katrina. The article recognized the efforts by universities and colleges to assist students in the continuity of their education. Binghamton University was listed as an institution that opened its doors to temporarily enroll displaced students. The University’s efforts were also mentioned in the October 6 issue of AFT On Campus magazine.

Ali Mazrui, Albert Schweitzer professor of the humanities and director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, was mentioned in the October 4 issue of the Addis Tribune in an article related to the number of civilians in the United States of America and Israel who have been detained and otherwise abused without trial, while under suspicion of having connections with terrorism. Mazrui is quoted as saying, “The great majority of those in detention are not publicly announced as being in detention.”

MTV visited the Binghamton University campus on October 6 to film an mtv-U top 10 video countdown show called the “Dean’s List.” The show, which bases its countdown on votes received at mtvU.com, is shot on location each week at a different campus. mtv-U is broadcast on over 800 campuses nationwide.

Tim Lowenstein, professor of geological sciences, and Cindy Satterfield, a doctoral student in geology, were mentioned in an article in American Scientist related to their study to confirm that the brine and salt crystals found at a site near Carlsbad, New Mexico, were indeed the world’s oldest life forms. In 2000, scientists found 250 milllion-year-old bacteria, which many geologists argued could have been trapped at a much later date. Lowenstein and Satterfield’s subsequent tests confirmed the bacteria truly form a quarter-billion-year time capsule. The results of Lowenstein and Satterfield’s research appeared in the April, 2005 issue of the journal Geology.

Kenneth McLeod, professor of bioengineering, was quoted in the October 7 issue of NewsTarget.com, in an article related to improving bone density and strength. McLeod noted that taking calcium and walking does not make new bone. He was quoted as saying, “There has to be a signal to make bone, and it turns out that if you don’t have adequate fluid flow across your bone, you’re not going to have adequate cell metabolism to trigger cell formation.”

An article by Immanuel Wallerstein, director of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, was featured in the October issue of Al-Ahram. The article discusses the issues Washington must consider concerning when and how it can withdraw its troops from Iraq. Wallerstein notes that not only is the war on the ground lost in Iraq, but there is increasingly weaker support from the U.S. public.

Research conducted by Mark Lenzenweger, professor of psychology, focusing on personality disorders was highlighted in an October issue of OnlineNews.com, a website managed by World News Network. Lenzenweger’s study contradicts long-held beliefs that disabling psychiatric conditions cannot improve. Despite the fact that people with personality disorders tend to improve over time, treatment is still important, said Lenzenweger. “The ‘wait and see’ attitude probably wouldn’t be good for most people,” he said.

G. Philip Rightmire, distinguished professor of anthropology, was quoted in the October 18 issue of The Seoul Times in an article about the discovery of a new human species, Homo florosiensis. Skeletons excavated from an island east of Bali indicate a race of little people whose adults stood just three-and-a-half feet high. A number of objects were also found including tools, which are evidence of their cognitive abilities. “I wouldn’t have supposed that such small-brained people descended directly from Homo erectus would be capable of producing these artifacts, but the evidence is pretty compelling,” he said.

Nancy Stamp, dean of the Graduate School, was quoted in a Gannett News Service article on the importance of writing skills. Stamp discussed the introduction of the University’s online writing tutorial for graduate students that covers such subjects as how to write a business letter and a professional e-mail. The article ran in the South Jersey Courier Post.

Sue Crowley, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, was quoted in the October 30 issue of the St Petersburg Times, Fla., in an extensive article focusing on the recollections of a victim of child abuse. As an adult, the victim became a drug abuser and a thief. Crowley noted that she was not surprised. “There is a high correlation between child sexual abuse and a number of acting-out behaviors later in life, including drug and alcohol abuse, including scrapes with the law and difficulties with authority.”

Eric Dietrich, professor of philosophy, was quoted in the October 31 issue of the Christian Science Monitor in an article related to how Halloween is getting a makeover at many schools initiated by religious parents who object to the holiday. Dietrich sees danger – even cowardice – in schools’ willingness to back down over Halloween. “Halloween is a flare-up of huge social problems we’re facing. If you show me a United States with no holiday where you can be creatively weird, I will show you a United States with no hope,” he said. The article was also posted on the ABC News.com website on November 2. The article was also posted on the ABC News website.

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Last Updated: 12/19/11