Anthropology

Category archives for Anthropology

America is part Mexican

The Dogs Still Bark in Dutch I grew up in the old Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now known to you as the State of New York. There, I carried out extensive archaeological and historic research, and along the way, came across that phrase, “the dogs still bark in Dutch.” It is an idea that…

Should I eat my placenta?

Well, not my placenta exactly, but … well, someone’s? Did you now that the placenta that is born out of a female primate’s body is an organ of the infant also being born? It is the first body part you lose. I use the term “primate” here because, even though all the “placental mammals” as…

A brief update: This morning, Senate Republicans set aside the rules that say that both parties must be present, with at least one member, for a committee vote to advance a Presidential nominee for a cabinet appointment. In other words, as outlined below, our system is based not only on enforceable laws but also on…

It is a good idea to occassionally experience history. This helps us understand ourselves, and our possible futures, better. Much of this is done through reading excellent texts. For example, I’m currently reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin’s objective is to contextualize Lincoln by looking at…

This is a great cartoon by Randall Munroe that makes a very important point very effectively. Spread it around, love it, learn from it. Here is an excellent video walkthrough of the cartoon, discussing its value as a communication tool. But do ignore the details of the prehistory because the cartoonist has fallen into the…

Jihad Engineers

A disproportionate percentage of Islamist radical actors, including suicide bombers, come from an engineering background. Why? Right wing and Islamist extremism seem to share this and other traits, while left wing extremism is more commonly associated with individuals from the humanities and social sciences. This is what we learn from “Engineers of Jihad: The Curious…

Turns Out Dick Is Really Interesting.

Have you ever wondered how “Dick” became short for “Rick”? Probably not. But it turns out that the reason, if the following video is accurate, is interesting. I have two questions for the historical linguists in the room. First, is there a name for this rhymification effect? Is is common? Is it confined to certain…

Certain things that come across one’s desktop, on the internet, are hard to turn away from. Train wrecks, for example. For me, this list includes commentary about grammatical errors and proper language use. I find this sort of discussion interesting because I’m an anthropologist, and probably also because I’ve spend a lot of time 100%…

I met a student, I was on his examining committee, who had been a civil engineer for years (he was getting his undergraduate degree late in life). He was politically conservative and cynical about academia. He needed the degree in order to get a major promotion, hated the idea of going back to college, but…

The Great Human Race: How to survive

The Great Human Race is a new production of National Geographic, in three parts. I recently viewed the first episode, “Dawn” which comes with this description: All people can trace their roots to the savanna of East Africa, the home of one of the first members of the human species — Homo habilis. Archaeologist Bill…