🎧 Episode 49: Skeleton War (MEN, Part 3) | Scene on Radio

Listened to Episode 49: Skeleton War (MEN, Part 3) by John Biewen and Celeste Headlee from Scene on Radio

A few hundred years ago, the great thinkers of the Enlightenment began to declare that “all men are created equal.” Some of them said that notion should include women, too. Why did those feminists—most of them men, by the way—lose the fight? How did the patriarchy survive the Enlightenment?

Co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee look into these questions, with historians Londa Schiebinger of Stanford and Toby Ditz of Johns Hopkins, and sociologist Lisa Wade of Occidental College.

Music by Alex Weston, and by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine. Music and production help from Joe Augustine at Narrative Music.

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🎧 Episode 47: Dick Move (MEN, Part 1) | Scene on Radio

Listened to Episode 47: Dick Move (MEN, Part 1) by John Biewen and Celeste Headlee from Scene on Radio

Launching Scene on Radio Season 3 series—MEN—co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee look at the problems of male supremacy. And we visit Deep Time to explore the latest scholarship on how, when, and why men invented patriarchy.

Featuring Meg Conkey of UC-Berkeley, Mel Konner of Emory University, and Lisa Wade of Occidental College.

Music by Alex Weston, and by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine. Music and production help from Joe Augustine at Narrative Music.

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🎧 “Bread from the Dead” | Our Daily Bread | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Bread from the Dead | Our Daily Bread 13 by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

It’s a good thing the Egyptians believed strongly in an afterlife and wanted to make sure their dead had an ample supply of bread. The bread and the tomb inscriptions tell us something about how grain was grown and bread baked. To really understand the process, however, you need to be a practical-minded archaeologist like Delwen Samuel, who first set out to replicate Egyptian bread.

Photo of a model from the tomb of Meketre, Metropolitan Musdeum of Art, Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920.

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🎧 The value of rituals in a digital world | ABC Radio National

Listened to The value of rituals in a digital world from ABC Radio National

Are rituals still needed in a world mediated through digital devices?

We tend to think of rituals as solemn ceremonies, usually associated with religion. But rituals exist in our everyday life, as a way of helping us to make sense of the world. They can be communal or solitary. But how are they changing as we become increasing digital? Can rituals still have power and relevance in a world mediated through digital devices?

Guests
Michael Norton – Professor, Harvard Business School
Vanessa Ochs – Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Member of the Jewish Studies Program, University of Virginia
Viktor Lysell Smalanning – Ritual designer
Alexandra Samuel – digital columnist for JSTOR Daily and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal
Nicolas Nova – Associate Professor, Geneva School of Art and Design

Transcript

A fascinating topic in general, but there are some interesting tidbits that the IndieWeb movement could pick up as transitional rituals within its workflow. Similarly, while some of the jargon helps to identify group membership, we still need to do a better job of simplifying it to make it easier to have a broader membership. The episode actually brings up the idea of UI and designers taking ritual into account in our daily lives.

What types of rituals can we create to help mark the leaving behind of the old social world and becoming a fully fledged member of the indie web by registering one’s own domain and having one’s own website? Perhaps a ritual to celebrate not only this but the addition of standards like Webmention, Micropub, and Microsub? In some small sense, this is what we’re celebrating in the use of displaying buttons (or badges) on our sites.

This is definitely worth listening to again and brainstorming ideas for extending the concept. Perhaps at an upcoming IWC??

hat tip: Aaron Davis

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👓 Murdered man’s body found after fig tree grew from seed in his stomach | The Mirror

Read Murdered man's body found after fig tree grew from seed in his stomach by Sibel Abdiu (The Mirror)
Ahmet Hergune was killed during the conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in 1974
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👓 A Blended Family: Her Mother Was Neanderthal, Her Father Something Else Entirely | New York Times

Read A Blended Family: Her Mother Was Neanderthal, Her Father Something Else Entirely (nytimes.com)
Genetic analysis of bones discovered in a Siberian cave hints that the prehistoric world may have been filled with “hybrid” humans.
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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Paul Holes was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website.

On today’s episode:

• Paul Holes, an investigator in California who helped to crack the case.

Background reading:

• A spate of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for decades. Then, last week, law enforcement officials arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer.

• Investigators submitted DNA collected at a crime scene to the genealogy website GEDmatch, through which they were able to track down distant relatives of the suspect. The method has raised concerns about privacy and ethics.

A stunning story with some ingenious detective work. I worry what the potential privacy problems are off in the future, though one of the ideas here is that it actually helps protect the privacy of some individuals who are wrongly and maliciously accused and thus saves a lot of time and money.

The subtleties will be when we’re using this type of DNA evidence more frequently for lower level crimes while at the same time the technology gets increasingly cheaper to carry out.

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🎧 Early agriculture in eastern North America | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Early agriculture in eastern North America from Eat This Podcast
The Fertile Crescent, the Yangtze basin, Meso America, South America: those are the places that spring to mind as birthplaces of agriculture. Evidence is accumulating, however, to strengthen eastern North America’s case for inclusion. Among the sources of evidence, coprolites, or fossil faeces. Fossil human faeces. And among the people gathering the evidence Kris Gremillion, Professor of Anthropology at Ohio State University. She was kind enough to talk to me on the phone, and I made a silly mistake when I recorded it, so please bear with me on the less than stellar quality. I hope the content will see you through. And I’ll try not to let it happen again.

You’ve got to love an episode of a food podcast that starts out with the line:

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

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🔖 Human Evolution: Our Brains and Behavior by Robin Dunbar (Oxford University Press)

🔖 Human Evolution: Our Brains and Behavior by Robin Dunbar (Oxford University Press) marked as want to read.
Official release date: November 1, 2016
09/14/16: downloaded a review copy via NetGalley

human-evolution-our-brains-and-behavior-by-robin-dunbar-11-01-16

Description
The story of human evolution has fascinated us like no other: we seem to have an insatiable curiosity about who we are and where we have come from. Yet studying the “stones and bones” skirts around what is perhaps the realest, and most relatable, story of human evolution – the social and cognitive changes that gave rise to modern humans.

In Human Evolution: Our Brains and Behavior, Robin Dunbar appeals to the human aspects of every reader, as subjects of mating, friendship, and community are discussed from an evolutionary psychology perspective. With a table of contents ranging from prehistoric times to modern days, Human Evolution focuses on an aspect of evolution that has typically been overshadowed by the archaeological record: the biological, neurological, and genetic changes that occurred with each “transition” in the evolutionary narrative. Dunbar’s interdisciplinary approach – inspired by his background as both an anthropologist and accomplished psychologist – brings the reader into all aspects of the evolutionary process, which he describes as the “jigsaw puzzle” of evolution that he and the reader will help solve. In doing so, the book carefully maps out each stage of the evolutionary process, from anatomical changes such as bipedalism and increase in brain size, to cognitive and behavioral changes, such as the ability to cook, laugh, and use language to form communities through religion and story-telling. Most importantly and interestingly, Dunbar hypothesizes the order in which these evolutionary changes occurred-conclusions that are reached with the “time budget model” theory that Dunbar himself coined. As definitive as the “stones and bones” are for the hard dates of archaeological evidence, this book explores far more complex psychological questions that require a degree of intellectual speculation: What does it really mean to be human (as opposed to being an ape), and how did we come to be that way?

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Information Theory and Paleoanthropology

A few weeks ago I had communicated a bit with paleoanthropologist John Hawks.  I wanted to take a moment to highlight the fact that he maintains an excellent blog primarily concerning his areas of research which include anthropology, genetics and evolution.  Even more specifically, he is one of the few people in these areas with at least a passing interest in the topic of information theory as it relates to his work. I recommend everyone take a look at his information theory specific posts.

silhouette of John Hawks from his blog

I’ve previously written a brief review of John Hawks’ (in collaboration with Anthony Martin) “Major Transitions in Evolution” course from The Learning Company as part of their Great Courses series of lectures. Given my interest in the MOOC revolution in higher education, I’ll also mention that Dr. Hawks has recently begun a free Coursera class entitled “Human Evolution: Past and Future“. I’m sure his current course focuses more on the area of human evolution compared with the prior course which only dedicated a short segment on this time period.  Given Hawks’ excellent prior teaching work, I’m sure this will be of general interest to readers interested in information theory as it relates to evolution, biology, and big history.

I’d love to hear from others in the area of anthropology who are interested in information theoretical applications.

 

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Brief Notes on “Consider the Fork”

Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson was one of my favorite Christmas presents this year. It covered my loves of history, gadgets, food, technology, entomology, popular culture and even evolution and anthropology. The major broad themes were very interesting and enlightening while being very well researched.

There were a few short sections on individual technologies which did feel a bit throw in almost as afterthoughts or which were related to the bigger topics, but just didn’t stand up on their own. Fortunately these didn’t detract from the overall work, though I did feel a bit more on these could have been written.

This is one of the most interesting books on food which I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

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