March 9, 2012

Religious Affiliation of Immigrants
One in four of the world’s Jews has migrated from one country to another, compared with 5 percent of Christians and 4 percent of Muslims who have left their native lands. The findings are part of a comprehensive new study on religion and global migration, released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which tracked the journeys of the world’s 214 million migrants. (Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service)

What Makes Bonobo Society So Caring?
Last September, deep in the swamp forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nahoko Tokuyama of Kyoto University in Japan heard a scream. It came from a male bonobo whose hand was trapped in a snare. What happened next shows that bonobos (Pan paniscus) don’t forget their lost friends, and will travel long distances to find them. This caring behavior may be down to the species’ female leadership. (Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist)

The QWERTY Effect
A keyboard’s arrangement could have a small but significant impact on how we perceive the meaning of words we type. Specifically, the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G, and B). (Dave Mosher, Wired Science, Wired)

Honeybee Scouts and the Search for Novelty
Just like humans have astronauts and mountain climbers, honeybee societies have their own brave explorers: scouts, the bees that venture out to find new food sources. A new study examines scouts’ brains and finds that novelty-seeking in humans and bees seems to be based on some of the same genes. (ScienceNOW)

Stop Trying to Make Atheism “Bright”
Julian Baggini: Atheists should point out that life without God can be meaningful, moral, and happy. But that’s “can” not “is” or even “should usually be.” And that means it can just as easily be meaningless, nihilistic, and miserable. (

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt has delved into the tribal world of U.S. politics, where each group is obsessed with its rightness. But as the moral psychologist tells Alison George, self-righteousness turns out to be an essential part of being human. (New Scientist)

Category: Field Notes


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