Traditional paddy rice farmers had to share labor and coordinate irrigation in a way that most wheat farmers did not. We observed people in everyday life to test whether these agricultural legacies gave rice-farming southern China a more interdependent culture and wheat-farming northern China a more independent culture. In Study 1, we counted 8964 people sitting in cafes in six cities and found that people in northern China were more likely to be sitting alone. In Study 2, we moved chairs together in Starbucks across the country so that they were partially blocking the aisle ( n = 678). People in northern China were more likely to move the chair out of the way, which is consistent with findings that people in individualistic cultures are more likely to try to control the environment. People in southern China were more likely to adjust the self to the environment by squeezing through the chairs. Even in China’s most modern cities, rice-wheat differences live on in everyday life.
Research has shown that wealthier, urbanised regions tend to harbour more individualistic personalities, while poorer, agrarian areas have more collectivist, community-minded ones. But why? A study from the University of Chicago published this week suggests such differences could be down to a region’s predominant crops—an insight gleaned, improbably, from observing nearly 9,000 customers in Chinese cafes. People in China’s south farm rice, which requires a whole village’s co-operation on irrigation; in the north, they grow wheat, far less demanding of collective effort. The researchers’ first observation was that latte-lovers in wheat-growing regions were far more likely to be alone. Then the team surreptitiously blocked thoroughfares with chairs. Among northerners, 16% shifted the chairs (individualism is marked by actively modifying one’s environment), while only 6% from the rice-cultivating south did so (collectivists tend to work with what they’ve got). It’s an intriguing sociological suggestion, perhaps to be filed under “you are what you eat”.
Randomly ran across this over the weekend and seems like the kind of cultural/food-related study that Jeremy Cherfas would enjoy.
References this study: Moving chairs in Starbucks.1
Tonight was the beginning of a new group of indiewebbers meeting up on the East side of the Los Angeles Area, in what we hope to be an ongoing in-person effort, particularly as we get nearer to IndieWeb Camp Los Angeles in November.
We met at Starbucks, 575 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA.
Quiet Writing Hour
The quiet writing hour started off pretty well with three people which quickly grew to 6 at the official start of the meeting including what may be the youngest participants ever (at 6months and 5 1/2 years old).
— ChrisAldrich (@ChrisAldrich) July 28, 2016
Introductions and Quick Demonstrations
- Chris Aldrich
- Angelo Gladding
- Bryan Cole, a retired photographer
- Jervey Tervalon, a writer, and his 6 month old daughter
- Evie (5 years old, private site)
Following introductions, I did a quick demo of the simple workflow I’ve been slowly perfecting for liking/retweeting posts from Twitter via mobile so that they post on my own site while simultaneously POSSEing to Twitter. Angelo showed a bit of his code and set-up for his custom-built site based on a Python framework and inspired by Aaron Schwartz’s early efforts. (He also has an interesting script for scraping other’s sites searching for microformats data with a mf2 parser that I’d personally like to see more of and hope he’ll open source it. It found a few issues with some redundant/malformed rel=”me” links in the header of my own site that I’ll need to sort out shortly).
Bryan showed some recent work he’s done on his photography blog, which he’s slowly but surely been managing to cobble together from a self-hosted version of WordPress with help from friends and the local WordPress Meetup. (Big kudos to him for his sheer tenacity in building his site up!) Jervey described some of what he’d like to build as it relates to a WordPress based site he’s putting together for a literary journal, while his daughter slept peacefully until someone mentioned a silo named Facebook. 5 year old Evie showed off some coding work she’d done during the quiet writing hour on the Scratch Platform on iOS that she hopes to post to her own blog shortly, so she can share with her grandparents.
At the break, we managed to squeeze everyone in for a group selfie.
Peer-to-Peer Building and Help
Since many in the group were building with WordPress, we did a demo build on Evie’s (private) site by installing the IndieWeb Plugin and activating and configuring a few of the basic sub-plugins. We then built a small social links menu to demonstrate the ease of adding rel-me to an Instagram link as an example. We also showed a quick example of IndieAuth, followed by a quick build for doing PESOS from Instagram with proper microformats2 markup. Bryan had a few questions about his site from the first half of the meeting, so we wrapped up by working our way through a portion of those so he can proceed with some additional work before our next meeting.
Summary & Next Meeting
In all, not a bad showing for what I expected to be a group of 5 less people than what we ultimately got! I can’t wait until the next meetup on either 8/10 or 8/24 (at the very worst) pending some scheduling. I hope to do every two weeks, but we’ll definitely commit to do at least once a month going forward.Syndicated copies to: