A trained astrophysicist, Dr Duane Hamacher is a lecturer in the Nura Gili Indigenous Centre at the University of New South Wales. After studying planets orbiting other stars for two years, his interest in the crossroads of science and culture was too great and he decided to complete a PhD in Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. He researches in how navigating the boundaries between Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science can show how these ways of understanding the natural world are beneficial to both.
Economics and evolution are basically in the same business: Both are all about productivity selection, though one has been at it for billions of years longer than the other. Both involve “invisible hand” magic — intricate, unplanned, “self-or...
Folks who have been reading David Wengrow and David Graeber’s The Dawn of Everything are sure to appreciate the sentiment here which pulls in the ideas of biology and evolution to expand on their account and makes it a much more big history sort of thesis.
I’m reminded of Kate Raworth’s excellent Donut Economics as a potential remedy.
Raw capitalism mimics the logic of cancer within our body politic.
I recently finished reading* The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow; I enjoyed it very much indeed. I thought I’d write a two parts review for CT, and here’s the first – I will p…
I’ve only begun reading the text for a book club being run by historian Dan Allosso who is also doing an experiment in a communally shared wiki/notebook platform Obsidian, but I’m quite curious about the Neolithic pieces relating to the inhabitants at Stonehenge. In particular, I’ve recently finished Lynne Kelly’s research in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015) in which she touches on the primary orality of those peoples and the profound impact that settling into sedentary lifeways may have had on their culture. If she’s correct, then that settlement was dramatically “expensive” and more complex than we’ve been led to believe. This may have had confounding issues within their society as it grew and flourished. I would suspect that Graeber and Wengrow don’t touch on this portion of the complexity, but it may support their general thesis. I’ll try to report back as I get deeper into the topic.
Incidentally, if folks want to join this Obsidian book club on this text, it’s just starting and is comprised of a number of academics and researchers in a vein similar to CT. A quick web search should uncover the details to join.
It is far from the only source to exhibit this “oddity”. Biblical references from the time of King David exist as well as in Neolithic archaeology.
I’m increasingly confident of a hidden meaning here of which Western culture is unaware (it having been long forgotten) and which is likely that Indigenous peoples may have forgotten (read: had ripped and stolen from their identities during colonialization).
References to this lost knowledge in oral and written sources still remain as evidence of my theory: “communication” or “conversations” with rocks was literally a “bedrock” cultural knowledge underpinning many human cultures and ways of life for millennia.
I’ll define this “communication” more fully shortly as I continue to collect examples in the literature as well as examples in archaeological contexts.
I’d welcome other references from others should they come across them in any contexts.
Desiderius Erasmus, De duplici copia verborum ac rerum. Cologne, 1540.
Petrus Mosellanus, Tabulae de schematibus et tropis…. In Rhetroica Philippi Melanchthonis. In Erasmi Roterdami libellum De duplici copia. Paris, 1542.
Joachim Camerarius, Elementa rhetoricae. Basel, .
Henry Peacham, The garden of eloquence: conteyning the figures of grammar and rhetorick. London, 1577.
One of the first handbooks in English
Philip Melanchthon, De locis communibus ratio. Augsburg .
John Brinsley, Ludus literarius: or, The grammar schoole; shewing how to proceede from the first entrance into learning, to the highest perfection. London, 1612.
[Obadiah Walker], Of education: especially of young gentlemen. Oxford, 1673.
I may have broadened the discussion that some of the intended audience on tools for thought may be showing up for, but I can never resist introducing people to mnemnotechniques and research on orality, anthropology, or the history of commonplaces.
I provocatively (with only a modest amount of wickedness) put forward the idea that a rock is as good a tool for thought as Obsidian.md or Roam Research.
In 1965 Ted Nelson imagined a system of interactive, extendable text where words would be freed from the constraints of paper documents. This hypertext would make documents linkable.
Twenty years later, Tim Berners Lee took inspiration from Nelson's vision, as well as other narratives like Vannevar Bush's Memex, to create the World Wide Web. Hypertext came to life.
I love the layout and the fantastic live UI examples on this page.
There are a few missing pieces for the primacy of some of these ideas. The broader concept of the commonplace book predated Nelson and Bush by centuries and surely informed much (if not all) of their thinking about these ideas. It’s assuredly the case that people already had the ideas either in their heads or written down and the links between them existed only in their minds or to some extent in indices as can be found in the literature—John Locke had a particularly popular index method that was widely circulated.
The other piece I find missing is a more historical and anthropological one which Western culture has wholly discounted until recently. There’s a pattern around the world of indigenous peoples in primarily oral cultures using mnemonic techniques going back at least 40,000 years. Many of these techniques were built into daily life in ways heretofore unimagined in modern Western Culture, but which are a more deeply layered version of transclusion imagined here. In some sense they transcluded almost all of their most important knowledge into their daily lives. The primary difference is that all the information was stored visually and associatively in the minds of people rather than on paper (through literacy) or via computers. The best work I’ve seen on the subject is Lynne Kelly’s Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture which has its own profound thesis and is underpinned by a great deal of archaeologic and anthropologic primary research. Given its density I recommend her short lecture Modern Memory, Ancient Methods which does a reasonable job of scratching the surface of these ideas.
Another fantastic historical precursor of these ideas can be found in ancient Jewish writings like the Mishnah which is often presented as an original, more ancient text surrounded by annotated interpretations which are surrounded by other re-interpretations on the same page. Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia have a good discussion of this in their book Annotation (MIT Press, 2019).
It would create a more layered and nuanced form of hypertext – something we’re exploring in the Digital Gardening movement. We could build accumulative, conversational exchanges with people on the level of the word, sentence, and paragraph, not the entire document. Authors could fix typos, write revisions, and push version updates that propogate across the web the same way we do with software. ❧
The Webmention spec allows for resending notifications and thus subsequent re-parsing and updating of content. This could be a signal sent to any links to the content that it had been updated and allow any translcuded pages to update if they wished.
Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:38PM
In this idealised utopia we obviously want to place value on sharing and curation as well as original creation, which means giving a small fraction of the payment to the re-publisher as well.We should note monetisation of all this content is optional. Some websites would allow their content to be transcluded for free, while others might charge hefty fees for a few sentences. If all goes well, we’d expect the majority of content on the web to be either free or priced at reasonable micro-amounts. ❧
This also dramatically misses the idea of how copyright and intellectual property work in many countries with regard to fair use doctrine. For short quotes and excerpts almost anyone anywhere can do this for free already. It’s definitely nice and proper to credit the original, but as a society we already have norms for how to do this.
Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:46PM
Transclusion would make this whole scenario quite different. Let’s imagine this again… ❧
Many in the IndieWeb have already prototyped this using some open web standards. It’s embodied in the idea of media fragments and fragmentions, a portmanteau of the words fragment and Webmention.
The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans, consisting of the year's chief solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them. While names for each festival vary among diverse pagan traditions, syncretic treatments often refer to the four solar events as "quarter days" and the four midpoint events as "cross-quarter days", particularly in Wicca. Differing sects of modern Paganism also vary regarding the precise timing of each celebration, based on distinctions such as lunar phase and geographic hemisphere.
The concept of "linguistic profiling" is introduced here as the auditory equivalent of visual “racial profiling.” We ultimately argue that linguistic profiling is more finely tuned to diversity among Americans than are dissatisfactory racial classifications that have been used in the courts and for controversial...
Thinking a bit this morning about the cognitive biases involved in dialect differences and how they impact racist ideas and help effect racist policies. John Baugh’s work on linguistic profiling seems like a good place to start.
This dissertation studies a community of web developers building the IndieWeb, a modular and decentralized social web infrastructure through which people can produce and share content and participate in online communities without being dependent on corporate platforms. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how developers’ values shape and are shaped by this infrastructure, including how concentrations of power and influence affect individuals’ capacity to participate in design-decisions related to values. Individuals’ design activities are situated in a sociotechnical system to address influence among individual software artifacts, peers in the community, mechanisms for interoperability, and broader internet infrastructures.
Multiple methods are combined to address design activities across individual, community, and infrastructural scales. I observed discussions and development activities in IndieWeb’s online chat and at in-person events, studied source-code and developer decision-making on GitHub, and conducted 15 in-depth interviews with IndieWeb contributors between April 2018 and June 2019. I engaged in critical making to reflect on and document the process of building software for this infrastructure. And I employed computational analyses including social network analysis and topic modelling to study the structure of developers’ online activities.
This dissertation identifies how values of import to IndieWeb’s community are employed in designing its material architectures as well as community policies. This includes an ongoing balance between supporting individuals’ agency over personal design decisions and a need to maintain commensurability for the sake of interoperability. In many cases, early decisions about this balance have contributed to barriers for certain types of participants. Yet, those who can cross those barriers experience a lack of stabilization in IndieWeb’s infrastructure as a means of achieving richer engagements with technology. By studying design activities as longitudinal and situated within broader infrastructures, this dissertation describes how changing situations and a variety of influences affect possibilities for articulating values through material engagement, offering insights about how to support positive and healthy relationships with technology.
Likeda tweet by National Museum of Australia(Twitter)
Songlines are an archive for powerful knowledges that ensured Australia's many Indigenous cultures flourished for over 60,000 years. Much more than a navigational path in the cartographic sense, these vast and robust stores of information are encoded through song, story, dance, art and ceremony, rather than simply recorded in writing.
Weaving deeply personal storytelling with extensive research on mnemonics, Songlines: The Power and Promise offers unique insights into Indigenous traditional knowledges, how they apply today and how they could help all peoples thrive into the future. This book invites readers to understand a remarkable way for storing knowledge in memory by adapting song, art, and most importantly, Country, into their lives.
About the series: The First Knowledges books are co-authored by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.
Forthcoming titles include: Design by Alison Page & Paul Memmott (2021); Country by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe (2021); Healing, Medicine & Plants (2022); Astronomy (2022); Innovation (2023).
I bookmarked this earlier in the year, but noticed this afternoon that it had been released yesterday. I bought a copy immediately so I can start reading it this evening after dinner. I’ve got high hopes for it with respect to memory and anthropology.
It’s only available for shipment from Australia at the moment, so I opted to purchase it from Amazon in digital form so I could start reading it right away.
Adam Chappell was a slave to pigweed. In 2009, several years prior to the roller coaster rise and fall of commodity prices, he was on the brink of bankruptcy and facing a go broke or go green proposition. Drowning in a whirlpool of input costs, Chappell cut bait from conventional agriculture and dove headfirst into a bootstrap version of innovative farming. Roughly 10 years later, his operation is transformed, and the 41-year-old grower doesn’t mince words: It was all about the money.
Interesting to read this after hearing the experimental anthropologist Scott Lacy talk about farming technologies in Africa earlier this morning in Anthropology and the Study of Humanity. The African farmers described sounded much more in touch with their needs and their land than the majority of American farmers apparently are. Based on this, it almost sounds like Big AG has been doing to the industry what ride sharing tech companies are trying to do elsewhere, they’re just doing it with different tactics.
Somehow AG Web seems like the sort of journal I ought to check in on occasionally.
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.
In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true Lost Civilization, the people of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the Earth really is alive, while in the far reaches of Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.
Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.
A revolutionary new history of humankind through the prism of work by leading anthropologist James Suzman
Work defines who we are. It determines our status, and dictates how, where, and with whom we spend most of our time. It mediates our self-worth and molds our values. But are we hard-wired to work as hard as we do? Did our Stone Age ancestors also live to work and work to live? And what might a world where work plays a far less important role look like?