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Posts Tagged "anthropology"

Anthropology in Practice

The Missing Link that Wasn’t

Reconstruction of the Piltdown Skull. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

April Fools’ Day is not unique to Western cultures. People all over the world and all throughout history have celebrated the coming of Spring with festivals of deception and lightheartedness. In this spirit, all this week, we’ll explore themes of magic, fraud, and trickery. Today’s post is not quite so lighthearted, however, and looks at [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

What does it mean to be an introvert online?

Photo by AshtonPal, CC. Click on image for license and information.

Did you take public transportation today? And where did you sit? Did you take the seat on the end? What about your phone at work? Did it actually ring today? Did you let it go to voicemail? In fact, do you prefer responding to emails over talking on the phone? Or maybe you went out—and [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Share This: Chain Letters and Social Networks

Photo by Liz West. CC; Click on image for license and information.

Did you hear about the seventeen year old girl who was pushed into an open manhole by bullies in her school? Her name was Carmen and she had made up her mind to tell someone that she was being bullied, but she didn’t get a chance. During a fire drill the bullies kept crowding her [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Social Lessons from Our Favorite Horror Movies

Photo by Paree, CC.

I’m a fan of scary stories. With a few hours to spare, I’ll gladly spend them with Richard Matheson or Shirley Jackson. If I don’t have a few hours to spare, I’ll pass the time with whatever horror movie I can find playing in the background while I work. Yes, they can be campy. Yes, [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

On My Shelf: Blue Jeans–The Art of the Ordinary

bluejeans

Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary | Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward | University of California Press | 184 pages | $24.95 (Paperback) I’m willing to bet you own at least one pair of jeans. Denim clothing—which will be used interchangeably with jeans for this discussion—is popular with people just about everywhere, with the [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Decoding the Art of Flirtation

To mark Valentine’s Day, I’m posting an early piece that originally appeared on the old home of Anthropology in Practice. Hope your connections are everything you hope for today. A lingering look. A coy smile. Standing just a bit too close. An accidental brush. Flirtation is an art. It is also a deftly employed social [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Collecting Signs of Life

It’s true that pictures can be worth a thousand words. The images I’ve collected in the Signs of Life album represent a particular look at the things that constitute my life—as well of the lives of many others who exist in the same communities as I do. These pictures represent the heart of anthropology in [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Sheril Kirshenbaum on Why We Kiss

Sheril Kirshenbaum, science writer and author of The Science of Kissing, has an interesting discussion on why we kiss and how kisses work to stimulate chemistry between two people: A kiss puts two people in very close proximity. Our sense of smell allows us to pick up subconscious clues about the other person’s DNA or [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Crucifixion, Megafauna Extinction, and Coffins

Ed Note: Part of my online life includes editorial duties at ResearchBlogging.org, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the ResearchBlogging.org News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP. [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

The American Fascination With Zombies

Ed note: As Halloween rapidly approaches in the US, AiP will be exploring superstitions, beliefs, and the things that go bump in the night. This post originally appeared on AiP on May 17th, 2011, in response to Zombie Awareness Month—oh, it’s real all right. It’s been slightly modified for this posting. I think I must [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Popular special edition adapted for eBook format: Becoming Human: Our Past, Present and Future*

Becoming Human cover

We humans are a strange bunch. We have self-awareness and yet often act on impulses that remain hidden. We were forged in adversity but live in a world of plenty. Who are we? What is to become of us? To these age-old questions, science has in recent years brought powerful tools and reams of data. [...]

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Bering in Mind

The Lustful Human Animal: Cultural Differences in Sexual Harm and Consent

Most of us are convinced that we excel at being clearheaded, humane thinkers when it comes to sex. We appeal, and admirably so, to notions such as harm and consent. But since most of us aren’t anthropologists, we W.E.I.R.D. people (the anthropologist Joe Henrich’s apt acronym for “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic”) often assume [...]

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Bering in Mind

Of Cultures Destroyed by Western Sexual Exploitation and Violent Religious Prudery

H. Laval (1807-1880)

In working on my latest book Perv, some of the saddest material I came across involved the stormy cross-cultural conflicts erupting between Western ideals of sex and those discovered among other “exotic” societies. The field of cultural anthropology has its own dark history in this regard. For an embarrassingly long time, in fact, some unethical scholars [...]

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Brainwaves

Mrs. Dalloway in New York City: Documenting How People Talk to Themselves in Their Heads

On any given day, millions of conversations reverberate through New York City. Poke your head out a window overlooking a busy street and you will hear them: all those overlapping sentences, only half-intelligible, forming a dense acoustic mesh through which escapes an exclamation, a buoyant laugh, a child’s shrill cry now and then. Every spoken [...]

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Context and Variation

Stag Parties: Awareness and Elegant Solutions

Kiddo spills her milk. We lock eyes, and she dissolves in a puddle of sadness, crying about how it’s all her fault and she feels SO BAD. “Kiddo, honey, it’s really okay. Let’s get a towel and wipe it up together.” But she can’t stop crying. I comfort her for a while, being patient with [...]

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Context and Variation

AAAS Happenings: Ladyparts and Roller Derby Shenanigans

I’m attending the AAAS Meetings in Chicago this year in both my capacities as a scientist: as someone who does reproductive physiology research and as a science communicator. And it all happens tomorrow! Check out the press briefing today for the Building Babies session. Katie Hinde is the symposium organizer, and fellow session speakers are [...]

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Context and Variation

The Edge’s Annual Question: The Way We Produce and Advance Science

This year, I was invited to contribute to the Edge Foundation’s Annual Question. Other contributor include Helen Fisher, Irene Pepperberg, Alan Alda, Nina Jablonski, Jay Rosen, and, well 150 others: http://www.edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement The question was, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?” My contribution: The Way We Produce And Advance Science Last year, I spearheaded a [...]

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Context and Variation

Be My New Buddy: Illinois Anthropology is Hiring

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks to hire a biological anthropologist for a full-time (nine-month) tenure-track or tenured position at the level of Assistant or Associate Professor. Target start date is August 16, 2014. We are interested in candidates with established research programs in Life History Theory, Human Ecology, [...]

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Context and Variation

Beware Attack Troll: Share Your Most Notable

Trigger warning for graphic description of internet harassment. * * * We science writers all have our favorite troll comments. For me, they are the ones that claim I don’t know my topic, that tell me what I should have written, that criticize my tone rather than my content. The commenter that said my child [...]

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Context and Variation

Integrating Research and Education: LEE Students Write About Their Experience

We’ve been trying to revive the Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology (LEE) blog this year so that our lab puts out a bit more content. This month, graduate student Mary Rogers shares her experiences with our pilot project in a local girls science camp. Next month two of my undergrads will share additional posts on the [...]

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Context and Variation

Dead Crickets Cannot Sing at All: A Paleofantastical Review

“The first thing you have to do to study 4,000-year-old DNA is take off your clothes.” Marlene Zuk’s new book Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live begins in classic science-writer style. This provocative line pulls the reader into a world where Science Happens, but in a way that isn’t [...]

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Context and Variation

Why #standingwithDNLee’s Orientation towards SciAm Was So Important

I’ve seen a number of tweets and blog comments over the last few days wondering – some nicely, some not so nicely – why so many of us reacted more strongly to Scientific American’s response to Dr. Danielle Lee’s post, rather than to Biology-Online’s worker’s comment about her being an “urban whore.” Here’s the short [...]

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Context and Variation

Research Realities II: Another Door Open, Then Shut

(Click here for the introduction to the Research Realities series, and here for part I) Back when we were first scoping out locations for our integrated research and education project, my collaborator had mentioned that some colleagues she knew had good luck working with libraries, and that they were sometimes easier to work with than [...]

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Context and Variation

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Human Evolution

Hugh Hefner and some of his earlier feminine companions. Being a proper male, he has of course traded them in for younger ones.

Like most modern anthropologists, I have challenged the idea that human evolution is entirely motivated by men’s desires, interests, behaviors and strategies. But feelings of doubt have nagged at me for years – impostor syndrome, internalized sexism, and just a general feeling of inferiority and small-brainedness. Then, PLoS Computational Biology published a piece by Morton [...]

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Cross-Check

Science “faction”: Is theoretical physics becoming “softer” than anthropology?

black hole illustration

Two recent science stories, one in anthropology and the other in physics, have me wondering which field is "hard" and which "soft." The first story involves the decision of the American Anthropological Association to delete the word "science" from its mission statement. That step provoked squawks from anthropologists who’ve struggled to counter the image of [...]

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Cross-Check

Margaret Mead’s war theory kicks butt of neo-Darwinian and Malthusian models

Why war? Darwinian explanations, such as the popular "demonic males" theory of Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham, are clearly insufficient. They can’t explain why war emerged relatively recently in human prehistory—less than 15,000 years ago, according to the archaeological record—or why since then it has erupted only in certain times and places. Many scholars solve this [...]

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Cross-Check

Margaret Mead’s bashers owe her an apology

cover of The Trashing of Margaret Mead

Thirty-two years after her death, the anthropologist Margaret Mead remains a favorite whipping girl for ideologues of all stripes. Did you know that she cooked up the global-warming "hoax"? Some over-the-top global warming deniers say it all started in 1975 when Mead organized a conference to address overpopulation. Most attacks on Mead focus on her [...]

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Dog Spies

How Well Do You Know Your Dog?: Part 1

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Your knowledge of your dog is unparalleled: You, not I, know whether she sleeps in the same spot all night or instead has a migratory sleep pattern. You know her affinity for trash, or lack thereof. And telling me her breed, age or name won’t give me access to those intimate details. They are for [...]

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Guest Blog

I don’t have a 28-day menstrual cycle, and neither should you

Most of us are familiar with a 28-day menstrual cycle, which, divided in half, comprises the follicular phase – that’s when the dominant follicle, or egg, is growing and preparing for ovulation – and the luteal phase – when the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, is preparing for possible conception and implantation. If implantation [...]

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Observations

Why Pygmies Are Short: New Evidence Surprises

Why pygmies are short

Pygmy populations, scientists have speculated, may owe their abbreviated stature to natural selection pressures that allowed them to better adapt to dense tropical forests where heat is oppressive and food is scarce. “An outstanding question for many, many years among anthropologists and human geneticists has been what is the genetic basis of the short stature [...]

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Observations

Forensic Anthropology Gives Voice to Unidentified Remains

RALEIGH, N.C.—Bone-hunters and anthropologists typically guard their fossils as priceless specimens. I’ve learned to ask: “Is that real or a cast?” when shown a specimen. Often it’s a replica. So, I was as thrilled as a 12-year-old today when I saw two real, contemporary human skeletons and several human skulls during a tour here of [...]

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PsiVid

Male anthropologist, paleontologist, or anthropologist needed to co-host TV show!

Before everyone gets their feathers ruffled that this casting call is looking for a male, just know he is to be a co-host to a female. Now that that is clear….. SEEKING CO-HOST FOR MAJOR CABLE NETWORK Major Cable Network dedicated to Nature, Science and Exploration, is currently casting a Co-Host for new project examining [...]

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Symbiartic

Atmosphere and Action: Interview with illustrator Tyler Jacobson

Yuri-Gagarin-Tyler-Jacobson

When I opened the November 2011 issue of Scientific American and leafed through it, I was immediately drawn to one of the highlights of the issue: illustrations for the cover story about The First Americans. They were done by illustrator Tyler Jacobson, with art direction by Michael Mrak and Jen Christiansen. Here in the interview below, [...]

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Symbiartic

Sequencing art: Lynn Fellman’s paleogenomic slideshow

© Lynn Fellman

Communicating science through art is sometimes still in its nascent stages, I think.  While traditional + digital scientific illustration using representational techniques will always be central to reaching out with new research, less traditional aesthetic approaches can be just as illuminating and effective at communicating science.  And we’re starting to see some of that develop [...]

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Talking back

Einstein’s Brain: New Insights into the Roots of Genius

Ever since his death in 1955, scientists have asked what features of Einstein’s brain contributed to his extraordinary insights into physical laws. Research on the anatomy of Einsteins’ genius was stymied because many of the post-mortem images and slides of tissue from the subsequently dissected organ were unavailable to researchers. The story is complex and [...]

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