April 4, 2013

Our Reaction to Basketball Player Kevin Ware’s Injury
Teammates crumpled to the floor. Players on the nearby bench physically recoiled. Louisville Coach Rick Pitino says he nearly vomited at the sight of his player’s bone jutting through the skin of his lower leg. Broadcasters stopped showing the break after a few replays. Their reaction may be rooted in evolution, genetics, and upbringing. Probably all three. (Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times)

Has Evidence of Dark Matter Been Detected?
Samuel Ting, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Nobel laureate particle physicist, said Wednesday that his 1.6-billion-dollar cosmic ray experiment on the International Space Station had found evidence of “new physical phenomena” that could represent dark matter, the mysterious stuff that serves as the gravitational foundation for galaxies and whose identification would rewrite some of the laws of physics. (Dennis Overbye, The New York Times)

Conspiracy Theory Beliefs
How many Americans still believe in global conspiracy theories, UFO landings, and the notion that President Barack Obama is the Antichrist? More than you might think. A new poll conducted by liberal-leaning automated polling firm Public Policy Polling reveals that a significant number of Americans continue to believe in Bigfoot, a global totalitarian, conspiracy and the idea that the government is using the television to secretly control citizens’ minds, among other things. (Meredith Bennett-Smith, The Huffington Post)

Q&A
Deborah Tannen

John Gumperz of the University of California, Berkeley, who died Friday at the age of 91, was a pioneer at the intersection of anthropology and linguistics, studying the importance of context and expectations when crossing cultural boundaries. Robert Siegel speaks with Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University, who studied with Gumperz. (All Things Considered, NPR)

BOOKS
Does Spelling Matter?

A good command of spelling is generally regarded as evidence of a tidy mind. Meanwhile, people who are poor at spelling are treated as if they are stupid, whatever the evidence to the contrary, and are also suspected of not knowing they can’t spell. Simon Horobin notices that iffy spelling is “often viewed as a reflection of a person’s … morality.” (Henry Hitchings, The Guardian)

Category: Field Notes

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