Around the Web

Although I hate to change the topic…

Turn Your Canopeners into Plowshares: In an ongoing series about the global food crisis, National Geographic reports that the South African government is encouraging the rural and urban poor to return to subsistence agriculture. Not mentioned, of course, was just how to ‘return.’ National Geographic did not report on any government initiative to distribute seeds, topsoil, or farming knowledge. And correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t many traditional South African societies cattle-based?

Open-Access Objects: Reuters reported on the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology’s plan to digitize and make an accessible catalog of their entire collection.

Peer tested, journal approved: Tony Waters at shares with the reader some of the more colorful peer review comments he received on a recent article and discusses the benefits and drawbacks of the system.

The New York Times posted the obituary of Ruth Cardoso, urban anthropologist and former first lady of Brazil.

New Digital Divides: French blog Internetactu (English translation here) interviews Japanese sociologist Mito Akiyoshi on growing forms of inequality via moblie technology. Akioshi explodes the myth of the techno-overloaded Japanese citizen. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald wrote on the family remittances of migrant-worker that are fueling a mini technology boom occurring in Maya communities in Chiapas, Mexico. [Thanks to Neuroantropology for spotting the Akioshi interview).

“We’re Quite Comfortable with Our History:” Quote by a member of the Accohannock tribe in the U.S. midatlantic. The Accohannock are petitioning the state of Maryland for official recognition, but have been accused of fraud on their tribal website.

Archaeological Crime Scene: Earlier this year, the FBI barred archaeologists from the Bureau of Land Mangement from participating while the crime agency excavated the remains of a recently-discovered 100+ year-old corpse. According to the article in the Utah Daily News, the FBI are investigating the case for undisclosed reasons.

Web 2.0 Lecture on Web 2.0: Michael Wesch posted a video of a talk he gave last month in Mantioba. Like the review says, grab an iced coffee and enjoy.

21 thoughts on “Around the Web

  1. The point that the Accohannock piece should have made is that with older maps a familiarity with the “natural history” of the document is at the ground level of competence rather than at the level of best practices. In this case there happens to be a quality and easily accessible tertiary reference, William Cummings’ The Southeast in early maps (OCLC 37928591).

    Virtual Jamestown has made an electronic copy of Smith’s original 1608 map available online— have also 2.0ed it to good effect—

  2. As an original jackass who made light fun of your first roundup, I just wanted to say that I am increasingly dependent on these summaries since I’ve started a real job and have no time to explore the web.

    Daromir, I’ve been enjoying David Harvey’s Marx lectures. They are video files, but the video is redundant and they would make a great podcast with a simple conversion.

  3. I second Harvey’s Marx lectures, D. Good stuff, that. I think I want to assign it to my undergrads.

  4. Re: Going back to the land.

    Most black South Africans are Bantu. They are farmers who traditionally keep goats and cattle/oxen. The goats are eaten, the oxen are used to plow the major fields, and the cattle are the bank accounts, used to buy things including wives.
    The tribe with only cattle are the Masai…in Kenya.

    The men plow the main fields, usually maize, but also other grains. Since you plow with oxen, it is dangerous. Women usually till small plots using a hoe, The maize is planted with peanuts and ground nuts and pumpkins in between the maize. In many societies, the women are allowed to keep the money from their own fields, but nowadays, men work in the cities or mines and send back money and the women’s plots are used for food. When the men retire, they can retire to their fields. If you don’t use your field, it is allotted to another person, since the land is owned communally by the tribe. That’s why men work away but their wives stay home, so that they can keep their land.

    Nowadays, things are changing in law of course.

    Going back to “traditional” farming means back to poverty, since the traditional method is “Slash and burn” a field, farm it for about five years, and then move on and let the field go fallow.
    There is simply too many people and not enough land to make this practical.

    What Africa needs is to embrace high yield crops as was done in Asia…so that farmers can be more prosperous. The “green” movement has poisoned many governments against high yield hybrids and GM crops and pesticides and artificial fertilizer. That is another problem not addressed. With better farming, Africa could feed the world.

  5. Well….precolonial subsistence activities in SA were a bit more complex and historically/regionally varied than that picture (see e.g. William Beinart, The Political Economy of Pondoland); the point that SA’s societies were not primarily cattle-keepers is accurate enough as a summary. But the claim that “if you don’t use your field, it is allotted to another person, since the land is owned communally by the tribe” is an administrative fiction, which hasn’t been reflected in practice in much of SA since the 1960s at least, and even early 20th C ethnographers (e.g. Monica Hunter, PAW Cook) note that reallocation of disused land was infrequent and more a threat than a reality.

    Jay’s point about inputs and training is well-taken — the SA Dept of Ag remains focused on large-scale farming and costly technological fixes like Boinkie proposes, while rural distribution and marketing facilities in the so-called communal areas are scarce. Current redistribution policies favor highly capitalized commercial farmers, not smallholders. Despite a push in the early 1990s (spearheaded by the Liptons’ work) for support for smallholder farming, ag. policy and practice and increasingly land reform policy have remained oriented towards large-scale, mechanized commercial farms.

  6. “Although I hate to change the topic…”
    But you haven’t. How can you change what you make manifest?
    Michael Wesch’s lecture is like a lecture by a plumbing enthusiast without a discussion of shit. What is the philosophy [the esthetic] of information other than an esthetic of complex mechanism? Why are systems “like, cool”? “The printing press is awesome!” No, it’s just a technology. Networks are systems. Why not a study of the nature of enthusiasm in the 21st century?

    And LFB thinks the Marx seminar is [cool] I have to assume because of an academic interest in Marx rather than an interest in what Marx had to say about the world. An interest in the latter might bring us back here:
    PZ Myers is an idiot. Most of you would agree. How has it gotten to this point?

    Out of respect for Kerim I’m done here. But as far as discussions of culture are concerned I’d love a discussion of Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang.
    The arts are a mode and a methodology. Outside of that, any sense of ironic self-awareness seems beyond comprehension.
    What made you people what you are? That’s the question.

    I’m gone.

  7. Oh, Seth, you have been so inspiring. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Sed odio. Morbi nec velit sit amet odio fringilla pharetra. Suspendisse potenti. Cras at ante ut lacus auctor congue. Fusce enim metus, commodo at, auctor blandit, porttitor ac, diam. Nulla urna quam, convallis eu, accumsan id, consectetuer non, libero. Suspendisse laoreet dui a odio dapibus pretium. Suspendisse non augue ut nunc viverra vestibulum. Morbi convallis, elit quis egestas lacinia, odio ligula ultrices quam, ac ultrices arcu dui ut turpis. In ut lorem. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nunc id turpis. Nulla rhoncus. Donec accumsan, ante ac interdum posuere, velit magna cursus leo, eget tincidunt lorem nulla ut lectus. Aenean ante lorem, scelerisque quis, aliquam vel, interdum in, nulla. In neque lorem, auctor ac, aliquam vitae, laoreet eu, ante. Sed ac mauris. Nulla venenatis dolor in sapien. Phasellus vel libero.

  8. Wow, that’s really fun, fun stuff. Here’s how the online Latin translator rendered that: “Lorem itself pain he is amet consectetuer to come up to elit. But to hate. Sickness and not skirmish he is amet to hate fringilla a quiver. To suspend might. Tomorrow but before when a hollow person responsible to congeal. Fusce in fact fear , to make fit but , person responsible blandishments porttitor and diam. Nulla urna how , to grow strong good , to add to a heap this consectetuer not , to set free. To suspend laoreet dui a to hate seneschal price. To suspend not augue when now viverra vestibulum. Sickness to grow strong elit anyone to extreme poverty lacinia , to hate ligula avenging how , and avenging bow dui when unseemly. Upon when lorem. When fellowship natoque penatibus and magnis rich parturient Mons nascetur facetious mouse. Now this unseemly. Nulla rhoncus. Up to the time when to add to a heap , before and sometimes to lay , skirmish magna a race lion eget tincidunt lorem nulla when bed. Eneus before lorem , crime anyone , some or , sometimes upon nulla. Upon worthless lorem , person responsible and , some life laoreet good , before. But and mauris. Nulla venenatis pain upon wise. Phasellus or to set free.”

  9. I don’t think there is a global food crisis, I think there is a population bomb, that is, an overpopulation crisis. Funny, overpopulation was a cornerstone of Liberal ideology, until the Political Correct police noticed that Western countries HAVE population control, its the non-white countries who are “out of control”, and that would be politically incorrect, or racist to say so, or apparently to even think it, so lets call it a global food crises, and hey, why not send all them good nitric fertilizers and GM seeds, free for the first 5 years.

    Yea, ok, but even the UN has come around to say that there are too many people, the PC thought police have terrorized the new liberal left, (the right wants MORE babies, I believe, to sell more crap, diapers, etc to)

    Anyway, why don’t we call it for what it is, a people crisis, and start dealing with reality. Anyone want to risk his name and job by doing this?

    George Orwell, wow, good call.

  10. Equalize the global distribution of bellywobble through the liposuction pipeline! Open-source double-blind peer-reviewed merit-based citizenship redistribution! I’ll agree to viva your revolution survivalating the fittest, if you’ll agree to drop a dilly dollop of brain grease into retrofitting the vivalscape. Mens sana in corpore sano! David Harvey Rules, OK! Somebody get a hose on that armchair, its threatening to burn the whole library down!

  11. I was going to delete the above comment as spam, but I realized just in time that it’s fucking awesome. So I’ve just promoted Prudence to Head Blogger at SM.

  12. uh..totally….um…waste and ethanol have nothing to do with it. though i wish people would stop calling it the food crisis and start calling it the food price crisis.

  13. oh, also, neither do subsidies. nor the fact that many african countries have been forced out of food production by imf (and ‘market’) enforced dumping of low quality, highly subsidized, first world food waste, introduced at low prices and now that local production is dead, selling at 2-3x the price of first quality goods in the 1st world.

    it’s just about poor brown people having too many kids.
    (and clearly not about the fact that funding for birth control and family planning have been cut and oddly censured by this american administration…no…and not that much of the birth control in developing countries is of low quality, and seems to often lead to reproductive health problems…not ever that…nor is it’s price prohibitive even for american women, when they haven’t got insurance that covers it….i know my university’s insurance doesn’t…) sorry, about poor people wanting to have sex and have lots of kids. and we know that poverty is probably genetic anyway. or maybe it’s ambition.

    the global food crisis–and growing possibility of riots and famine caused not by lack of food, but by the lack of means to buy it—will is about none of the above.

    the crisis is not political or economic.

    thanks darwinist for calling it what it is:

    brown people just wanna have sex and have too many children.

    [oh my dear god.]

  14. Lol! Nope, couldn’t be that. Not even a little. Having as many kids as we want is a sacred right, end of story. So I’ll stick to Europe – for kicks watch again Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life,” the part with the Protestants who never have sex although they could anytime they wanted. Captures something hideous and provocative about the disciplining of culture and the body that enables the generation of surplus and the focusing of power. It’s useful to see this as part of the backstory of how whities got into the position to generate political and economic crises to their advantage. Or we could just go look at China, always astute students of power.

    The developed world’s increasing lack of that discipline will be its undoing, and perhaps our all’s. Questions include whether that’s the only way to get leverage, whether Africans will discover it and bury us, or if they’ll find a third way. As long as they’re waiting for us to bail them out sometime the pressure’s off on those questions, phew. In the meantime, it’s always dicey to ask one set of people to pay for the consequences of other people’s bad decisions, and of course that’s intricately reciprocal at this point.

    Sorry for the big wavy pronouns. They work as long as the conversation is about moral generalities.

    Prudence is a genius, including the name.

  15. I don’t think Africa will be “burying” anyone (economicly) anytime soon. No infrastructure, and not alot of ‘prudence’, as it is so delicately put.)
    China is in there now taking advantage of its abundant resources. Africa is mentally still in the stone age. Take away Western technology, (they produce little if any of it on their own) and it would revert to its more natural state.

    South Africa and Zimbabwea are 2 social disasters that give us an exellent glimps of how Africans can take down an economy, Zimbobby actually killing or exiling its (White) farmers, and …..starving itself over racism. Not the ……..most prudent use of resources. South Afrca is right behind it with the ethnic cleansing…gosh, media silence is sure deafening on that…

    Even Oprah Windfree has a segregated school project, $40 million for 300 students, ALL female. We’ll get back on that one.

    China has a history of civilization that mirrors the west, low and behold, with our technology they are competing with us, at our expense, with no complaints from the com-pliant population.

    The right ignores global warming, the left ignores its cornerstone issue of over-population. The Earth will not ignore either.

    Yes, we have a global food crisis, and a global warming crisis, and a few others. How is this better than 20 years ago? Its not, its worse.

    Even the UN came out and said there are too many people. Maybe Obama can tell them to start acting responsible, take that Bill Cosby line to ‘the people’.

    Yea baby…!

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