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Stories by Jason G. Goldman

The Thoughtful Animal, Now With More MIND

Changes are afoot around here! Six new blogs were launched today, which when combined with the previously-existing Sci Am psychology and neuroscience bloggers, form the new Scientific American MIND Blog Network.What does it mean for this blog?...

March 13, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

The Wilder Side of Sex

My latest piece for BBC Future is now up, and it focuses on how the things we may think of as odd, gross, or strange when it comes to human sexual practices are perhaps entirely normal for other species...

February 25, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

The LA County Science Fair Needs Help

Empirical research on the effects of science fair participation seems scant, but the research that does exist suggests that participation is generally a positive experience for students, that participation increases scientific literacy, and, importantly, that participation results in an increased understanding the process of science...

February 15, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Shouting for Sex: I'm Speaking on "Your Primal Instincts" at @MindshareLA Next Week

Mindshare LA Presents: "Your Primal Instincts" ...on the West Side!I'll be speaking at a special sciencey Valentine's Day version of Mindshare this month in Santa Monica along with Christopher Ryan (of Sex at Dawn fame) and science journalist Sharon Brock.We'll all be covering the science of love from our own perspectives, and my talk will be about how animals shout at each other for sex, how some types of shouts are more effective than other types of shouts, and what (if anything) it might tell us about how we humans go about finding that special someone...

February 11, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Animals That Make Believe

In his book Cosmos , Carl Sagan wrote, "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."In the photo above, Koko the gorilla plays with a doll, apparently pretending to nurse it...

February 7, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Putting Science on Screen (A Tale Told In Tweets)

What responsibilities do filmmakers have in terms of scientific accuracy? Usually, I argue that filmmakers are storytellers first, and while scientific accuracy (or plausibility) can often support a narrative, the first responsibility of the filmmaker is to weave a captivating tale...

February 5, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Seven Things You Didn't Know About Ravens, Superbowl Edition

The triumph of corvids over numbers yesterday in the Super Bowl meant two things to me: first, that ornithology continues to trounce math in any contest that matters, and second, that I would have to follow up this weekend's groundhog post with a post about the amazingness of one of the most clever of winged critters.Here, then, are six seven things you didn't know about ravens...

February 4, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Eight Things You Didn't Know About Groundhogs

Happy Groundhog Day! Today is the day each year in which we look towards a giant rodent to find out how much more winter we'll have to endure. This year, we probably know the answer: winter hasn't been very wintery, even for Los Angeles...

February 1, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Adventures in Pedantry: Fringe's Captain Windmark Can't Be A Toe-Tapper

Last week saw the third-to-last episode of Fox's sci-fi family drama Fringe . Despite the somewhat wonky fifth season, for me Fringe has represented the best sci-fi offering on network television since Joss Whedon's Dollhouse was cancelled.For the uninitiated, here's a bit of background (lots more here) required for today's pedantic adventure...

January 17, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

Is Playtime All Fun and Games?

Why do animals like to play? Scientists have often used the word play simply to describe any behavior that does not have any apparent adaptive function.

January 9, 2013 — Jason G. Goldman

The Best Animal Stories of 2012

By Jason G. Goldman and Matt SoniakHumans have a complicated relationship with our non-human cousins. Some animals we invite into our homes, and treat as members of our families...

December 28, 2012 — Jason G. Goldman

Is Orangutan Culture Made of Ideas?

The chimpanzee's clever use of sticks to fish for termites is fairly well known. In 1964, Jane Goodall announced her groundbreaking discovery to the world, writing in the journal Nature , "During three years in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanganyika, East Africa, I saw chimpanzees use natural objects as tools on many occasions...

December 20, 2012 — Jason G. Goldman

What Is Operant Conditioning? (and How Does It Explain Driving Dogs?)

While second nature to many of us, driving a car is actually a fairly complex process. At its most stripped down version, first you sit in the driver's seat, then you start the engine, then you shift into gear, and then you must simultaneously steer while keeping your foot on the gas pedal...

December 13, 2012 — Jason G. Goldman
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