Monday, June 29, 2009

Top 10 Psychology blogs for the Curious Minds

I feel honored to have been asked by blogs.com to compile a list of top 10 psychology blogs for the curious minds. Any list , such as this, is necessarily subjective and being limited in nature, cannot do justice to all the other psychology blogs that I equally love and follow on a regular basis or other interesting blogs, which I am perhaps not aware of. 

The top 10 blogs are presented in an alphabetical order and reflect those that I find most interesting, insightful or fun to read.  Hopefully the mouse trap community would concur and benefit from following these blogs as well. Do check out the list and by the way of comments to this post,  add some other blogs that you think are equally interesting and catering to the curious amongst us.

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BlogCampPune2: A thank you note!

I attended the BlogCampPune2 last Saturday and it was a fun event - bringing diverse people , all driven by the passion of blogging, in the same room and providing them an opportunity to get to know each other well.

Special thanks go to the unorganizers, Tarun, Bhavya et al. for unorganizing it and to all others who showed up at the event and participated. It was my first blogcmap/tweetup/ unconference/ any offline activity and I met many of my online friends in real life, for the first time.

I was already looking forward to meeting Navin Kabra, Amit Paranjape,Meeta Kabra, Dhananjaye Nene, Sneha Gore, Vishal Gangawane, Tarun Chandel and many others and was gratified when that happened; but the icing on the cake was to find other unexpected contacts like Mahendra Om  also present there, or making new and interesting contacts like Annkur of Only Gizmos.

Some of the sessions were really interesting- Annkur with his 'Mistakes were made (but not by me) (but by me)' presentation ; or Navin with his 'What blogs can learn from newspapers' presentation provided some good food for thought and something to take home with you and apply to your blogging later.The informal talk by Meeta and how her dependence on third-party marketing backfired provided new insights. Thakkars' impromptu session stressed the importance of humor and fun and how presentation matters.  The only regret form the blogcamp was the fact that due to some last minute rescheduling, I and Dhananjaye had to take sessions at the same time and we ended up missing each others presentations.  I had already gone through Dhanajaye's presentation , which he had loaded prior to the event on his site, and was really looking forward to his talk.

To those of you who missed the event, search for #blogcamppune on twiiter or go to this FriendFeed page to get a sense of real-time excitement and reprting.  I am sure , the post-blogcamp blog posts and tweets and press covergae would be aggregated at some place and I'll link to it soon here.My own persentation can be found here

Thanks again to all who were there!


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best of Tweets: 24-06-09

OligodendrocyteImage via Wikipedia
Not much activity last week, yet:
  1. Aripiprazole, Dopamine, and Well-Being - Science or Selling Point? http://ff.im/-44CUt
  2. The origins of Language http://ff.im/-44HnN
  3. Beauty: symmetry versus averageness http://ff.im/-44QNO
  4. Nerve Cells and Glial Cells: Redefining the Foundation of Intelligence http://ff.im/-4h2Wc
  5. On Anonyminity http://ff.im/-4hsav
  6. The Dearth of Artificial Intelligence http://ff.im/-4hGAD
  7. pls RT/Buy: Just published my novel on Lulu http://bit.ly/ZN9uWtw   
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Sculptor and the Sandman: A novel as much about psychosis as about the human condition

Last night I somehow got inspired, brushed my manuscript that was written about 6 yrs earlier, and in a span of just 4-5 hrs was able to create a sell able paperback book out of it, all thanks to new publishing tools like the lulu.com. Of course, the manuscript, had been read/ re-read, revised and edited by me, all these years, so I'm sure the quality of the product would be great.

Some of you may be aware that I write prose and poetry and have a poetry focussed blog called The Fools Quest. Perhaps, the right place to promote my novel, The Sculptor and the Sandman, would be that blog, instead of the mouse trap; but then again, that novel is as much a piece of fiction, as it is a psychological treatise- my view of what psychosis is, how it manifests and what some of the triggers may be. The tale is grounded in my undersantding of the psychotic condition and I am sure that my readers with exclusive interest in the psychologcial aspects would still find reading that novel worthwhile. Of course, I know that many of your are multi-dimensional, and value arts, as much as science, and reading the novel would be an artistic pleasure in itself- even when not being bogged down by the psychological aspects and the truth or falsity of my depiction of the psychotic condition - the novel can be enjoyed in its own right . Reading it may also help you connect with me on a different level- exposing aspects of myself that were never apparent while reading the mouse trap.

As always I would love feedback, reviews etc and would sincerely request that you give the novel a try. The paperback edition is priced at $10.80 and a downloadable version is priced at $2.50; I am sure it would prove value for money and you will end up buying further copies for your friends and recommending it to others. It is at present just available at lulu.com , but soon will be available at all other major stores like amazon.com.

You can read an excerpt from the novel at the lulu.com site and here is the blurb from the back cover:
The sculptor and the sandman is a fable set in the India of the twenty first century. A tale of passion, obsession, madness and rebellion, the story revolves around how the protagonists move in and out of madness, competing as well as caring for each other, and how their life becomes inextricably twined with that of the narrator, a coconut water vendor.
A tale in which episodes of frank psychosis seem more understandable and reasonable than the unbearable normality of everyday life, the tale is a grim reminder of how misunderstandings and malice work together to weave the different strands of our life together and how silver linings are present in the darkest of clouds hovering over the horizon.
Seen from another perspective, the tale documents different approaches to find meaning and value in this modern world, a world devoid of absolutes. One approach may seem more absurd and futile than the other, but perhaps it is not so much about the 'right' value system or frame of meaning, as it is about the need for 'a' value system or a frame of meaning- to each his own cross.

Please, Please, Please do read the novel (for that you'l need to buy it!), share it with others( if you indeed like it) , recommend/review it on your blogs and do send me comments, either using this page, the lulu reviews page etc or by directly sending your comments to me at sandygautam@yahoo.com, even if the comments are not positive or encouraging. Any feedback is much better than no feedback. Depending on the feedback, I have the sequel to the sculptor and sandman already in draft stage but I need some reassurance as to whether the efforts are worthwhile and whether  there is a need and appreciation for this type of writing.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Best of Tweets: 17-06-09

Haiku to a Summer LeafImage by Springsun via Flickr
Here goes: 
  1. fear elicits herding & social proof/desire the need for distinctiveness/oh! the tyranny of persuasion heuristics http://bit.ly/ZTQis #scaiku
  2. good acts were constrained/ bad acts were free/ the paradox of initial moral intuition http://bit.ly/13ky8o #scaiku #haiku #morality
  3. Edge: HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky http://ff.im/-3ZKxC
  4. A Better Mood Broadens Your Field Of Vision http://ff.im/-3QAq4
  5. The Top 10 Existential Movies of All Time http://ff.im/-3Jyj7
  6. lifeless and mechanical /or conscious and impotent/ a zombie or a madman? http://bit.ly/187qqT #haiku #scaiku #consciousness
  7. hyper-systematizing, greater attention to details and savantism RT @anibalmastobiza: Talent in autism: http://bit.ly/xjIb7
  8. @mocost re: svante paabo, the article is decent; may be look for emergent linguistic behavior in mice housed together? http://bit.ly/19CEi3      
  9. must read:Lehrer on 'big picture' science journalism and the 'narrow picture' but more demanding actual scientific work http://bit.ly/fDD1z
  10. Joshua Knobe's new paper on how moral and causal reasoning are shaped by imperatives of counterfactual thinking http://bit.ly/1vE9y  
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