I’m on Pathology elective. This means that I get to see interesting “gross” specimens and I spend a lot of time sitting at a multi-headed microscope looking at slides with attending physicians, residents, and fellow med students. It also means that I have a bit of a breather. I do have to give a presentation later this week (I’ve opted to talk briefly about pathology of the appendix because I am oh so fond of it!), but there is no exam at the end of the elective and the final grade is pass/fail. When I’m not in the hospital, I’m using this two week period to go to the gym, catch up on clinic visits, and refresh my social life. So far I’m doing well on all fronts!
If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m a bit of a nerd. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I’m a fan of things such as ‘The Rap Guide to Evolution’.
I was first introduced to Baba Brinkman’s work two years ago on the now (sadly) defunct Evolvify forum. Last year I saw that he was performing the Rap Guide to Evolution in NYC and couldn’t resist the train ride in to see the show. When I heard he was back with a new show this winter I made plans to catch his new production: Ingenious Nature:
Everyone’s looking for love, or sex, occasionally even both. Evolutionary psychology claims to explain why, and how this state of affairs came about. But can it help us find the right one? A young man decides to take the “science of mating” seriously in his quest for a happy ending. Will the theory work in practice? It turns out, ovulation studies can make for awkward first date conversation.
I should admit that my first foray into internet shenanigans (by which I mean getting somewhat involved in the paleosphere) came not because of diet, but because I wanted to talk about evolutionary psychology on the previously mentioned Evolvify forum. There I found bright minds that not only embraced an evolutionary appropriate approach to diet, but who also liked thinking about why humans act the way we do- especially when it comes to sex and behavior (no neck down Darwinists there). Curious for more? Read this as an example. (Or I highly recommend the book The Mating Mind.)
So anyway- Ingenious Nature!
After a delicious dinner at Takashi, a Yakiniku restaurant with a mind-expanding menu (Thanks Melissa McEwan for the recommendation!), my friend and I headed over to Soho Playhouse to catch the show. I’ve been a fan of Baba Brinkman since the first time I saw one of his videos (maybe it was his “[Darwin-] Very gradual change we can believe in” T-shirt), and this show certainly didn’t disappoint. It was interactive, witty, smart, and entertaining, and that was before he even started rapping.
It appears Baba is a generous man, as you can listen to all his tracks in one place online for free (though donations are of course appreciated). I highly recommend you go take a listen to his work. The tracks are fun, and the information is backed up by scientific principles and peer-reviewed research. Heck, he even has some of the heavy hitters in the field weighing in on his tracks (at the end of the show there was a message from Steven Pinker, though that track doesn’t appear to be available online*). Here’s a personal favorite: She’s Ovulating (and yes, lap dancers do make more money while ovulating and men find the scent of fertile women more alluring).
The show is a complete package, with an amusing story line interwoven with raps and sketches that bring scientific theories and data to life. If you have a sense of humor and are interest in the mating game (~99% of humans I suspect!), I expect you will enjoy this show. If you’re someone with a long-standing interest in evolutionary psychology, you’ll recognize that Brinkman is very knowledgeable on the subject. Even the most well-read evolutionary psychologist will get something out of this show- even if it’s just some laughs and a refreshing new way to look at the data.
Speaking of data… The show is interactive. At times you can use your phone to text responses that are compiled into graphs as the show goes on- it’s kind of fun, though I didn’t always have time to get my answer in before the next question came up. It would be interesting to know if he gets any reliable trends with some of his questions!
Brinkman is accompanied by Jamie (Mr. Simmonds) on the turntables. I’ll admit that I’m ignorant about DJing and remixing, but whatever they’re doing is working. The final package is fantastic. If you’re in the New York area and can get in to see his show, I highly recommend it. Actually, I’ve heard enough first-date horror stories in the last few days to think I should be giving away tickets as Christmas presents!
OK, if you haven’t already listened to “She’s Ovulating”, do it now!
It looks like you can get tickets half price here. Also- if you’re interested in the mating game, cruise around some of the older posts on Evolvify or check out this awesome old blog with conclusions drawn from online dating profiles. There are also LOTS of good books, papers, and blogs exploring evolutionary psychology, a fascinating field.
* UPDATE! You can hear the messages from the Peer-Reviewed panel here.