More Savage, Less Sexy: Biological anthropologists at the Max Plank Institute have discovered that Bonobos may not be the make love, not war monkeys that sexologists and Animal Planet producers have led us to believe. The lack of hunting for sport amongst the bonobos led primatologists to believe that male aggression was ameliorated through (lots and lots of) sex. But, according to these new studies, bonobos are capable of gratuitous sex and violence (and female bonobos hunt too). Who knew? (See primatology.net and the The New York Times for summaries of the new studies.)
The Politics of Scientists: Sean over at Cosmic Variance wrote a beautiful condemnation of California’s Proposition 8 (the ballot initiative to ban gay marriage). His reasons why physicists should be in favor of marriage equality? Sean rails against those who would propose that a natural law exists that would make queer relationships immoral, and exhorts other scientists to fight against such perversions (pardon my sarcasm) of science. While many sociocultural anthropologists would disagree with his description of modern morality (basically, that modernity emerges in the disavowal of magic), it’s exciting to see ‘hard’ scientists take stances on social issues.
Birds-Eye View of Culture: LL Wynn published the transcript of a lengthy and fascinating interview she did in September with Brian Selmeski, a professor of anthropology at Air University (the university of the U.S. Air Force). Selmeski’s explanation of his own involvement in with the U.S. military is an interesting personal narrative and look at anthropological collaboration.
‘G’ Droppin, Nucluar, and Presidential Debatin’: There has been a series of fun posts on Language Log on Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama’s semi-conscious (or possibly affected) informal language and producing empathy with public audiences.
The Faces of a Multicultural Britain, Literally: The Guardian posted an interactive website featuring the stories of children born around the world but growing up in Britain. The stories are a little stereotypical, like the Brazilian boy who has to get used to the fact that British middle class families don’t have domestic servants. But there are worse ways to waste an afternoon than surfing the site (trust me, I know). Thanks to Cosmic Variance for linking to this.
Post Your Info! Lorenz at antropologi.info is putting together a new bulletin board for CFPs and job announcements. He’s looking for comments to improve the service, so let him know how you like it.