Criticism. Essay. Fiction. Science. Weather.
1Eye design, plant solar cells and
the ape squad culture war. 2CloneBeef: coming to a burger near you
and the new (privatized) Space Race 3The story of sixty cell lines
and how they restricted science 4Why'd they have to make it a pyramid again?
and wastewater pays back 5Monkeys, Peanuts and the Science
of Unrequited Love. 6Throwing pieces of metal at a red planet
and "Its all about the Insulin, baby." 7Skate me to the moon with a rat-on-a-stick. 8Man and Machine lay down the boxing gloves,
joining forces to pursue good 9Bobbing for apples in a giant vat of grape flavoring. 10Do you believe in magic? 11Brain scans on the mind. 12Sex with cats, popping caps
and frying cars. 13The Quarterly Review drops Science;
√9 of the best so far. 14Flying on some sun rays. 15No, it's not the return of that new wave band. 16The rate of warming might be at issue,
but the fuel is definitely running out. 17Sleep your way to victory! 18I wonder how many big macs it takes... 19It's all drugs and giant waves this week 20Holy jumping jeans Batman!
That mouse is a knockout! 21They call Alabama the Crimson Tide...
or is it Maine? 22How much smaller than the head of a needle?
Well... a lot.
23Information nation ablation preservation. 24Do you want fries with that test tube burger? 25When weeds don't obey the rules. 26Two Quarters = One Half 27The things you can't see are much scarier. 28Jeepers peepers! 29It all makes so much sense...
except as good science. 30Another nugget of knowledge from the annals
of forgotten phenomena 31Very small birds and very large mountains. 32The hazelnut graham cracker one was nuts! 33Naming the new fruits. 34Gas is up but laptops are down. 3590ways brings the straight dope on a thanksgiving tall tale. 36I rolled em out on the street, but I've never once seen the old fella do the same. 37An alternative to tatooing UPC codes onto animals and an insatiable lust for rhino horn. 38"Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection..." 39Three, it's the magic number. 40Bivalves gone wild off that bubbly. 41If only there had been an experiment
to bring about the end of Edward Teller 42What's that, girl? Timmy's stuck in a well?
Wait, Timmy has Cancer?? 43Neuron fire beat electric spark. 44What do Penguins, Ostriches, and Earwigs have in common? 45Looking far, far away to find what's right here. 46Bringing some science for your valentine. 47What's so special about 2.5 pounds of gray stuff? 48I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow the house in. 49A million bases ain't no thang. 50Do the robots run this motha? Hell Yeah! 51A dormant giant looms in the Pacific Northwest... 52Cheap real estate to anyone who can
hold her breath for six hours a day. 53Like all the best megalomaniacs,
we can make Science all about us. 54Well, That's the long and short of it. 5599 Bottles of Beer on the pharmacy wall. 56Tortoises may move slow, but Orchids are definitely alive. 57Feeling hot! Lava so big the numbers don't stop. 58Attached at the hip. And a few other places as well. 59The swamp, or the savanna. You decide. 60Mom and Dad are fighting! 61The stress of death. 62N.I.M.B.Y. Well ... maybe ... 63I've got a headache this big! 64Attraction. 65Well, That's the long and short of it. 66Rafting through history. 67Before there was science there was unreason. 68Be careful with the weeds. Use them well. 69Climate change will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. 70Lucy, a public whipping, it could only be ... 71The highs and lows of being high. 72A sign of the times. 73What was that? 74= Poetry 75The Solar System Shuffle 76Biodynamics is not the latest diet plan. 77Pulsatilla vulgaris 78Climate change will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. A reprise. 79People cannot reason outside their own idiom. 80Soda pop or Ritalin? 81What's really up Kim's sleeve. 82Rolling the dice with molecular biology. 83Food so cheap it won't make you sick. 84In the ether with Einstein. 85Watch out for saturation.
And watch out for 2048. 86The wonderful thing about science is ... ? 87Silent or not, the truth is the truth. 88Playstation 3 or Science Olympiad? Now middle-school kids don't have to choose. 89From watch making to watch repair to Mars. 90We remember when this week seemed but a distant fantasy. 91The end of the quarter is here! 92What would they have done with Photoshop™? 93Modern minds can handle three questions. 94NAND the gardener said, "Let there be quantum tunneling." 95Get off The Pyramid. The traffic is terrible. 96Creeping to a shoreline near you -- neurodiversity. 97Baking soda vs. Baking powder - Scientific Subsitutions 98No jokes about Ice Cube allowed... 99What would your ancestors eat? 100A few rules of thumb for green ones. 101The proof is in the video. 102To those a definition for what life is. 103No, not the Stan Lee creation. 104What would they have done with Photoshop™? 105DNA is nothing but double-sided tape, essentially 106All the colors of the stage. 107Human and a monkey sittin' in a tree,
Get Off the Porch
Anthropology is the study of humanity. The hallmark of cultural anthropology as a social science is the ethnography. The ethnography is qualitative description of a culture, usually a specific aspect of a culture, based on fieldwork. Fieldwork consists of going into a culture and simply observing. This may include, but is not limited to conversations, interviews and participation in daily life in the subject culture.
The fact that anthropologists focus on qualitative information is what sets the field apart significantly from other social sciences such as sociology and psychology, both which try to focus on quantitative information (such as surveys, statistics and experiments).
One of my own professors in college, who was well respected and had done considerable research among the Trobriand Islanders, steadfastly stated that Cultural Anthropology is the study of small scale cultures by individuals in large scale industrial cultures. He was often mocked by the students for having such a narrow description. Historically, whether explicitly stated or not, this has been the case, though it is no longer. The common thread between cultural anthropologists of the past to current ones is simply the practiced of compiling information into an ethnography.
It is because the ethnography is so unique and fundamental to anthropology that it is possible to examine the general trends of anthropology by looking at the trends in ethnography.
Before anthropology was regarded as much of science, it was seen largely as a pastime for wealthy men of colonizing cultures. The first anthropologists are often referred to as "armchair anthropologists", as their study never really prompted them to leave their living rooms. They had a habit of reading other colonist memoirs of a culture and would then extrapolate, often to simply validate being a colonist.
However it did not take too long before westerners became more serious about the study of cultures. In the 19th, as social sciences such as sociology and psychology developed into legitimate fields of research, anthropologists began to leave their parlors and directly study different cultures.
Some of the earliest anthropologists who looked at the subject cultures with respect, and not with just a voyeuristic intent, were E.E. Evans Pritchard and Franz Boas. Boas, in the late 1800s, started to live among the Native Americans of the Pacific coast. He often said that he found no information that made him believe that the lifestyles of the civilized were the least bit superior to that of the "primitive".
Though a British colonist at the time, E.E. Evans Pritchard had stated that anthropologist needed to, "get off the porch". He was one of the first to go and live in the same housing, eat the same food, etc as the people he was researching. His first work was among the Azande of the upper Nile. It was there he wrote that, "people cannot reason outside their own idiom". Such a belief is considered a given now for anthropologists, as well as most people in general, but was quite a new notion back then. These individuals took on the task of describing a culture thoroughly and without biases. The goal of the early ethnography was to be a scientific and meticulous collection of facts.
Starting in the 1950s and continuing until today the trend of ethnographies shifted toward the confessional and reflexive. Anthropologist of this era began to realize they themselves were not above cultural conditioning and as such, even with out trying, they would be giving a biased view of the subject culture because the information would invariably be filtered through their own cultural perspective. If anthropologists previous to this had sought to deliver information without biased, anthropologist in this era started to try to give the reader enough information about them to ensure the reader would have the opportunity to dissect where the cultural biases were. They can make for some interesting reads because they are similar to informational novels. Unfortunately, for every well done one their seems to be a piece that feels more like navel-gazing-self-indulgence -- where we hear more about the author than the culture.
Not only has the tone of ethnography changed throughout the years, but the subject culture has changed as well. Though not stated explicitly, historically anthropologists have been Westerners from industrialist societies studying either indigenous Westerners or Non-Westerners. This is the case less and less often though. A significant trend is now for anthropologist to study their own culture. One reason for this is the rise of individuals from developing nations getting higher degrees in anthropology and choosing to study the cultures who have traditionally been studied. The second reason is the lack of funding and grants that graduate students are able to receive. There are more people vying for grants and fewer people giving them out, and with rising college costs, fewer people can afford to fund their own ethnographic aspirations half way around the world. Phillippe Bourgois who wrote In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, was a graduate student who found his subject culture in East Harlem. The reason he chose it? He lived there due to the financial constraints of being a student and having a young family.
Cultural anthropology has changed in certain respects over the last 150 years. There was a graduate student I knew in college who was writing his thesis on how the sexual norms of Americans have changed due to the influence on the internet I'm fairly sure even 50 years ago an individual taking on such a subject would have been laughed at, or ridiculed, as this individual often was by the previously mentioned professor.