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Posts Tagged ‘anthropology

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Bad Astronomy notes odd changing features in one of Titan’s seas.
  • blogTO U>examines the birth of late-night television in Toronto in the 1980s.
  • Centauri Dreams looks again at the finding suggesting much Earth water predates the solar system.
  • Cody Delistraty considers the unusual joys of being placeless.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the Ukrainian war and notes that China is actively courting other countries to take part in its space stations.
  • The Everyay Sociology Blog considers the import of street food and its authenticity.
  • Geocurrents is skeptical about maps purporting to show state failure.
  • Joe. My. God. describes a flight that was delayed by the refusal of Hasidic Jewish passengers to sit next to women.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the steady decline of Hong Kong’s GDP as a fraction of China’s, suggesting that the territory is becoming dispensable.</li?
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla shares some of the first pictures of Mars taken by India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.
  • pollotenchegg examines the changing shape of Ukraine’s demographic pyramid from 1897 to the present.
  • Torontoist mourns the life of murdered Eritrean-Canadian community activist Nahom Berhane.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reports on the disturbing rise in the United States of inter-party prejudice.
  • Canadian science-fiction writer Peter Watts describes his visit to St. Petersburg.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the papal nuncio in Kyiv has condemned Russian aggression, observes the unpopularity of Ukrainian refugees in Russia, and observes Crimean Tatar complaints about Russian rule.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog wonders about the future of one country, two systems as a governing principle in Chinese Hong Kong.

[BLOG] Some Monday linls

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  • blogTO notes the five longest TTC routes in Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes evidence that objects detected by Kepler are gravitationally bound to their parent stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales tracks the migrations of raccoons and their kind from North to South America, and notes that Pacific Island nations are hoping to find places they can evacuate their populations to.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the computer of the anti-gay papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic has been found to be filled with child porn, and observes apparent success in treating Ebola with HIV medications.
  • Language Log looks at gendered pronoun usage on Facebook.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes depression.
  • Marginal Revolution links to an article examining the lives of lightning survivors.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at Russian-Ukrainian energy wars and isn’t hopeful for Ukraine.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes war-related mortality patterns in Iraq.
  • Savage Minds notes that anthropologists at the University of Chicago have played a leading role in getting that university to disengage from its Confucius Institute.
  • Torontoist notes how 1971 thinkers thought Toronto could be made more pleasant.
  • Towleroad considers if Britney Spears is a proper gay icon.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the death of civic nationalism in Russia, notes the refugees in Ukraine displaced from the Donbas, suggests that there is sympathy in Tatarstan from Crimean Tatars, looks at Russian official support for the far right worldwide, and suggests that Eurasianism and Dugin are of falling importance.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Big Picture shares images of Syrian Kurdish refugees flooding into Turkey.
  • blogTO quite likes the new visitor centre at Fort York.
  • James Bow quite liked the Word on the Street festival in the Albertan city of Lethbridge.
  • Crooked Timber suggests that French economist Thomas Piketty, with his writings on inequality, has unusually drawing power.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper proposing new methods for studying the atmospheres of gas giant exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that scientists have just now developed a new, more efficient method of photosynthesis.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that, according to the US Census, a half-million people have entered same-sex marriages.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig considers a particular post-1918 orthography reform of the Russian language.
  • pollotenchegg considers the institutions Crimean Tatars trust, and not.
  • Savage Minds considers the complexities of ethnographic writing.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc considers overpolicing in Toronto.
  • Torontoist notes that a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio will be on display at the University of Toronto.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy is skeptical of the good sense in pretending Islam is not a religion.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the rivalry between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, observes claims of persecution by evangelical Christians of followers of traditional African religions in Brazil, notes that separatism is unpopular in Scotland’s border regions, considers the problems of a beetle theme park in the penumbra of Japan’s Fukushima, looks at a Palestinian-American model, and considers rap music in Iran.
  • The Atlantic notes how events have vindicated the American Congress’ Barbara Lee, the only person not to vote in favour of granting unlimited war-making powers to the American presiden after 9/11, looks at the existential problems of Yiddish outside of ultra-Orthodox communities, and examines Stephen King’s thinking on how to teach writing.
  • Bloomberg notes the water problems of Detroit, looks at proposals to give Scotland home rule and Euroskepticism among the English, considers claims that Scotland might need huge reserves to back up its currency, notes ways sanctions threaten oil deals with Russian companies, examines Poland’s natural gas issues and those of the rest of central and southeastern Europe, notes Ukraine’s exclusion of Russian companies from a 3G cellular auction, notes the reluctance of Scottish banks to support an independent Scotland, and observes how domestic protectionism in Argentina is boosting Uruguay’s beef exports to Europe.
  • The Bloomberg View argues that it should be possible to cleanly break up even established nation-states, is critical of what Colombia is doing to Venezuelan refugees, argues that the achievements of social insects like acts are irrelevant to more complex beings like us, and suggests Britain has no place to criticize China over Hong Kong.
  • CBC notes the strength of Inuit oral history following the discovery of one of the Franklin Expedition’s ships, notes that the type of cancer that killed Terry Fox is now highly curable, and notes NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s proposal of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
  • The Inter Press Service notes Uzbekistan’s fear of Russia motivating a look for eastern allies and suggests that an anti-discrimination law can worsen the plight of sexual minorities in Georgia.
  • MacLean’s notes that Mexican economic development is good for Canada, looks at Catalonian secessionism, and suggests that a new EI tax credit won’t help Canadian business boost employment.
  • Open Democracy looked at the likely outcome of Crimean elections under Russian rule.
  • The Toronto Star revisited the unsettled state of affairs in the Central African Republic.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares pictures of Queen Street in the 1980s.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly considers the idea of a digital detox.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting strange occultations of TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to one paper suggesting plants can grow in simulated (and fertilized) Martian and lunar soil, and speculates Russia will be trying to build a space station of its own or to cooperate with China.
  • Eastern Approaches examines the shaky ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Joan Rivers was an early HIV/AIDS activist of note.
  • Language Hat summarizes a paper suggesting that language death and economic success are correlated.
  • Marginal Revolution considers Scottish separatism, wondering about the sense of either a currency union or a separate currency, and noting the increased possibility of separatism according to betters.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog critiques Mark Adomanis’ critique of Masha Gessen’s article on Russian demographics.
  • Savage Minds notes that, alas, Joan Rivers never majored in anthropology.
  • Torontoist notes that NDP Joe Cressy, defeated in his run for the Canadian parliament, is now running for city council.
  • Towleroad notes the firing of a pregnant lesbian teacher by a Catholic school, and observes the hatred felt by some anti-gay people who would like books celebrating children pleased when their same-sex parents die (among other things).
  • Understanding Society examines the sociology of influence.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy disagrees with Henry Farrell that laissez-faire ideology contributed to the Irish Famine.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian hostility towards the Crimean Tatar Meijis, reports on things Ukrainians think Ukraine should do doing the ceasefire and things Russians think Ukrainians should do (federalize and accept the loss of the east), notes high rates of childlessness in Moscow, and suggests that the Russian victory in eastern Ukraine is exceptionally pyrrhic.
  • At the Financial Times‘s The World blog, the point is made that a Scottish vote for independence would have profound implications worldwide.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Anthropology.net reacts to the discovery of Neanderthal abstract carvings and what they say about the Neanderthal mind.
  • blogTO shares Toronto postcards from the 1980s and lists the five least used TTC subway stations.
  • Centauri Dreams reports that potentially habitable exoplanets Gliese 667Cc has been confirmed to exist.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin describes the continuing Steven Salaita affair, with another Crooked Timber post and one at Lawyers, Guns and Money providing more context.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper placing HD 10180g in its star’s habitable zone and links to another making the case for the potential habitability of exomoons.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird is very concerned for the fate of Ukraine.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair examines the pressing question of why Hello Kitty is not a cat.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at rape culture in England.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Bolivians of different classes rarely marry each other and is relatively optimistic about the country’s future.
  • Spacing Toronto has a lovely picture of a track on a ride at the CNE under construction.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Kazakhstan is ready to leave the Euriasian Union to protect its independence, argues that the Ukrainian war is sparing Tatarstan and North Caucasus attention, and examines the depopulation of Pskov oblast next to the Baltic States.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic State as described in an article: a willingness to risk death isn’t always a plus.

[LINK] “The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets”

In the September 2014 issue of Smithsonian, Douglas Preston writes about the most recent researches into Kennewick Man. This ancient skeleton found in the American Pacific Northwest was sequestered from research for two decades over jurisdiction issues. The limited studies to date hints at distant origins in Asia and the Pacific, among the Ainu and the Polynesians.

A vast amount of data was collected in the 16 days Owsley and colleagues spent with the bones. Twenty-two scientists scrutinized the almost 300 bones and fragments. Led by Kari Bruwelheide, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian, they first reassembled the fragile skeleton so they could see it as a whole. They built a shallow box, added a layer of fine sand, and covered that with black velvet; then Bruwelheide laid out the skeleton, bone by bone, shaping the sand underneath to cradle each piece. Now the researchers could address such questions as Kennewick Man’s age, height, weight, body build, general health and fitness, and injuries. They could also tell whether he was deliberately buried, and if so, the position of his body in the grave.

Next the skeleton was taken apart, and certain key bones studied intensively. The limb bones and ribs were CT-scanned at the University of Washington Medical Center. These scans used far more radiation than would be safe for living tissue, and as a result they produced detailed, three-dimensional images that allowed the bones to be digitally sliced up any which way. With additional CT scans, the team members built resin models of the skull and other important bones. They made a replica from a scan of the spearpoint in the hip.

As work progressed, a portrait of Kennewick Man emerged. He does not belong to any living human population. Who, then, are his closest living relatives? Judging from the shape of his skull and bones, his closest living relatives appear to be the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands, a remote archipelago 420 miles southeast of New Zealand, as well as the mysterious Ainu people of Japan.

[. . .]

Not that Kennewick Man himself was Polynesian. This is not Kon-Tiki in reverse; humans had not reached the Pacific Islands in his time period. Rather, he was descended from the same group of people who would later spread out over the Pacific and give rise to modern-day Polynesians. These people were maritime hunter-gatherers of the north Pacific coast; among them were the ancient Jōmon, the original inhabitants of the Japanese Islands. The present-day Ainu people of Japan are thought to be descendants of the Jōmon. Nineteenth-century photographs of the Ainu show individuals with light skin, heavy beards and sometimes light-colored eyes.

Jōmon culture first arose in Japan at least 12,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 16,000 years ago, when the landmasses were still connected to the mainland. These seafarers built boats out of sewn planks of wood. Outstanding mariners and deep-water fishermen, they were among the first people to make fired pottery.

The discovery of Kennewick Man adds a major piece of evidence to an alternative view of the peopling of North America. It, along with other evidence, suggests that the Jōmon or related peoples were the original settlers of the New World. If correct, the conclusion upends the traditional view that the first Americans came through central Asia and walked across the Bering Land Bridge and down through an ice-free corridor into North America.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm

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