Read Wheel of the Year - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
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.
Bookmarked Linguistic Profiling by John BaughJohn Baugh (Black Linguistics: Language Society and Politics in Africa and the Americas (Routledge))
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. 
Bookmarked Independent Together: Building and Maintaining Values in a Distributed Web Infrastructure by Jack Jamieson (dissertation.jackjamieson.net)

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.

Liked a tweet by National Museum of Australia (Twitter)
Earlier this evening I bought a copy of Neale & Kelly’s new book Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges), so obviously I can’t wait for this exhibition to come to the US! Perhaps LACMA might pick it up?
Acquired Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges) by Margo Neale, Lynne Kelly (Thames & Hudson)

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.

Read A Skeptical Farmer’s Monster Message on Profitability by Chris BennettChris Bennett (AG Web)
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. 
Read - Want to Read: The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis (House of Anansi Press)
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.
Read - Want to Read: Work: A History of How we spend our Time by James Suzman (Bloomsbury Circus)
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?
Read - Reading: Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory, and the Transmission of Culture by Lynne Kelly (Cambridge University Press)
Chapter 5: Animal and plant knowledge in oral tradition
Finished chapter 5: Animal and plant knowledge in oral tradition
Some fascinating research here

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Read Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters (National Museum of Australia | nma.gov.au)

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters was an Aboriginal-led exhibition that took visitors on a journey along the epic Seven Sisters Dreaming tracks, through art, Indigenous voices and innovative multimedia and other immersive displays.

Previously on show at the National Museum of Australia, 15 September 2017 to 28 February 2018

I would liked to have seen this exhibition. Hopefully it will travel.

Dr. Lynne Kelly’s research on history, indigenous people, and memory, and a dovetail with Big History

David Christian, Fred Spier, Bill Gates, Big History Institute, and other Big History researchers and thinkers, if you’re not already aware of her, allow me to introduce you to researcher Dr. Lynne Kelly. Her work dramatically expands our understanding of pre-literate societies’ learning, memory, and particularly collective learning. Further, it makes for a strong and fascinating story that could not only be integrated into Big History; it provides links between modern and pre-modern humans and ties deeply into ideas of origin stories, mythology, and early religion; and it provides actual methods for improving student’s memories and particularly that for history.

I think her work has some profound impact on the arc of Big History, particularly with respect to Threshold 6, well into Threshold 7, and continuing into the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. In true big history fashion, her thesis also touches heavily on a broad array of topics including anthropology, archaeology, psychology, neuroscience, history, and education.

A broad, reasonable introduction to her work can be had in CalTech physicist Sean Carroll’s  recent podcast interview.

Another short introduction is her TEDx Melbourne talk:

A solid popular science encapsulation of her work can be found in her book The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments (Pegasus Books, 2017).

A more thorough academic treatment of her work can naturally be found in:

With some work, I think her research could become a better foundational basis for a stronger bridge from threshold 6 into threshold 7 with dramatic impact on how we view origin stories, mythology, religion. It also has some spectacular implications for improving pedagogy and memory within our educational systems and how we view and use collective memory and even innovation in the modern world.

Listened to The Indigenous memory code by Lynne Malcolm from ABC Radio National
Traditional Aboriginal Australian songlines hold the key to a powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world.

Have you ever wondered how ancient indigenous cultures maintain so much information about the thousands of species of plants and animals—without writing it down? Traditional Aboriginal Australian songlines are key to a powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world. It's intricately tied to the landscape and it can be applied in our everyday lives.

Duration: 28min 49sec
Broadcast: 

Another Lynne Kelly interview, but this one focuses more on the indigenous peoples of Australia and their memory techniques. Also some discussion of “dreaming” and songlines with Karen Adams here.

Originally bookmarked on December 07, 2019 at 01:13PM

Listened to How capuchin monkeys learn about food And what that might teach us by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Cover artwork of female capuchin and young infant. She is holding a rock to crack nuts.When chimpanzees were first seen stripping the leaves off slender branches and inserting them into termite nests to fish for the insects, people marvelled. Our nearest relatives, using tools to get nutritious food. Imagine, then, the surprise among primatologists when capuchin monkeys, not nearly as closely related to us, proved equally adept at tool use. Capuchins select stones that can be half as heavy as they are and carry them long distances to use as nutcrackers.

Elisabetta Visalberghi is a biologist based in Rome, who published the first scientific observations of tool use in capuchins. That is just a part of her far-reaching investigations into how capuchins, which are omnivorous, go about deciding which foods are worth eating and which are best avoided.

The results may surprise you.

Trailer: The Bearded Capuchin Monkeys of Fazenda Boa Vista from Cognitive Primatology_ISTC on Vimeo.

Notes

  1. Cover photo of Chuchu and her infant by Elisabetta Visalberghi.
  2. The video I mentioned in the show is The bearded capuchin monkeys of Fazenda Boa Vista, available from the CNR Primate Center in Rome. There are some other videos on Vimeo.
  3. The CNR Primate Center website.
  4. Cashews really are a problem from the people who have to process them. This article is very recent.
  5. Banner from a photo by Allan Hopkins
  6. How about making a donation to show your love for the show?
This is so fascinating from an anthropological and even socio-economic perspective.

🎧 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.