ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "culture"

Anthropology in Practice

Green Thumbery: Cultivating Culture

Photo by KDCosta, 2014.

One of my goals this year—with a solid year of gardening experience under my belt—has been to try to make my garden pretty as well as practical. I’ve partially succeeded. The Bachelors Buttons and Rose Campion I tried to intersperse among the vegetables became too weedy and too needy for my liking, so I pulled [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

What’s stopping us from eating insects?

Can insects feed a growing global population? | CC, click on image for license and information.

How many of you watch Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel? And how many of you have said, “I would never eat that!” Have you ever stopped to think about why you feel that way? What if you had no choice? What if you had been taught differently? As a part of the [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Confession: I’m Not Such a Reluctant e-Reader Adopter (Anymore)

Okay, love is too strong a strong word. I’ve never quite gotten over the smell of paper and the comforting heft of a much-loved tome, but I’m not quite the reluctant adopter I was a year ago. Still, it seems I’m not alone in making this shift: According to a report from the Pew research [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Have you ever been to a live poultry market?

Au. Note: This post is about live poultry markets, and includes descriptions and images that may be upsetting for some readers. Readers are advised to proceed at their own discretion. The smell greets you well before you step in the door to the tiny storefront selling chickens, turkeys, ducks, and supposedly, rabbits. It’s bearable, you [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Ashes, Yarmulkes and the Hijab: Communitas and Religious Symbols

Ed Note: As today is Ash Wednesday, it seemed an appropriate time to re-post this piece from the AiP archives. Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season for Western Christians—the 40 days (or 46 if you count weekends) leading up to Easter. Last year, I discussed the actions of a local homeless [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Parades—Public Festivals, Public Spectacles

"Ticker tape" fills the sky. Photo by KDCosta, 2009.

Ed. Note: So the New York Giants won the super bowl, and there will be a parade not too far from my office today. I’m have no intention of leaving the office—parade or no parade, I’m not a Giants fan and my football wounds are still a bit raw, and the crowds are a little [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

If You Want Me to RSVP, Then You Need to Actually Invite Me

Responde s'il vous plait. | Photo by Ewan, 2009. | Click image for CC license and information.

I returned the RSVP card for a wedding earlier this week, and it made my think of this piece from the archives where I struggled with RSVPs for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. Titled “RSVP—A Cultural Construct?,” it examined the obligations that invitations carry. The following has been edited from its original posting for clarity and [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

On My Shelf: Autophobia (A Review)

Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age | Brian Ladd | University of Chicago Press | 236 pages | $15.00 (Softcover) It’s an experience not at all unfamiliar to many of us: the flush of a first meeting, a growing attraction, a desire to spend every waking moment together, to visit new places and [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Getting Serious With Siri

Our robotic overlords must be delighted by the way iPhone users have taken to Siri. I met her on Friday. But apparently, she was talking to me before we were formally introduced: When S arrived at the rail station to pick me up, Siri had been reading my text messages aloud and sending me his [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Whose Name Is It Anyway?

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would [...]

Keep reading »
Beautiful Minds

Gorillas Agree: Human Frontal Cortex is Nothing Special

iStock_000001288427Small

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish — Douglas Adams In a humbling moment for our species, the following big news has just been published: When it comes to the frontal lobes, we’re not so special after all. For years, scientists have attempted to pinpoint the bits of our brain that might help explain our [...]

Keep reading »
Cross-Check

Why A.D. 2011 beats 100,000 B.C.: More choices, free will, freedom

Jacket cover for

Has civilization been a big mistake? My friend and former neighbor Kirkpatrick Sale thinks so. Sale is a smart, feisty critic of modernity, and especially technology and big government. His writings have inspired environmentalists such as Bill McKibben, whose book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (Times Books, 2010) cites Sale. Sale’s [...]

Keep reading »
Cross-Check

The truth we’ll doubt: Does the “decline effect” mean that all science is “truthy”?

As an old hippy I still get a kick out of anarchy, mayhem and challenges to authority. As a father, teacher, journalist and all-around pillar of the community, however, I’ve come to see the upside of the status quo more than I did in my carefree youth. So part of me thrills at WikiLeaks‘s assaults [...]

Keep reading »
Cross-Check

Scientific regress: When science goes backward

To celebrate the ends of years, decades and other milestones, science publications often churn out "Whither science?" predictions. Just last week, The New York Times Science Times section celebrated its, um, 32nd birthday with a special issue on "What’s next in science". What I found fascinating was the issue’s overall tone of caution rather than [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Where The Wild Things Are Growing (Part 1)

Noma is a portmanteau of the two Danish words “nordisk” (Nordic) and “mad” (food) and its food is just that--all the dishes served are created using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

With its popularity growing in urban areas, foraging for wild foods has started to look more Portlandia than primitive. The practice hasn’t always been viewed favorably; many prominent thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes viewed it as brutish, a sentiment later echoed in colonialist discourses. In more recent years, perception of foragers has been reconsidered and [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Learning from Tinka: Able-bodied chimps cop a back-scratching technique from a handicapped friend.

With one misstep and the snap of a trap, Tinka was broken. The 50-year-old chimpanzee’s hands were mangled and left severely deformed and almost useless. Most of the muscles of his left wrist were paralyzed, and he was left with a limited range of movement. His left hand just sat there in a hooked position, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Genetic Sequencing Traces Gypsies Back to Ancient Indian Origin

romani gypsy roma genetic india

The Romani people—once known as “gypsies” or Roma—have been objects of both curiosity and persecution for centuries. Today, some 11 million Romani, with a variety of cultures, languages and lifestyles, live in Europe—and beyond. But where did they come from? Earlier studies of their language and cursory analysis of genetic patterns pinpointed India as the [...]

Keep reading »
Oscillator

No, there aren’t “two cultures”

Einstein playing the violin

I haven’t read Jane Austen, Game Theorist and I’m definitely not going to after reading William Deresiewicz’s scathing review in the New Republic. Deresiewicz calls the book and its attempts at “consilience” between art and science “abominable” and “intellectually bankrupt.” Uniting “the two cultures” by trying to find the scientific foundations to humanistic thought, he [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

Who Needs Investment: Let’s Have an Infrastructure Film Festival

The television show “Revolution” is getting ready to start, with its plot based on the failure of the electrical grid. That’s nothing new, though — the most recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Spiderman movie, “The Amazing Spiderman,” came out this summer, each with significant events or  themes involving infrastructure systems. Half of the [...]

Keep reading »
The Primate Diaries

Cultural Transmission in Chimpanzees

Tradition square.jpg

Culture defines who we are but few can explain where it comes from or why we adopt one tradition over another. In the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof the family patriarch, Tevye, muses on this basic fact of human existence: Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything… how to eat, how to [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Holiday Sale

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >

X

Email this Article

X