Your weekly dose of internet links, blogs and news, with an anthropological twist.
Japan FTW / Japan WTF: Sometimes I come across an amusing link that’s really random and instead of publishing them right away I hang onto them until enough to be considered a theme. This week I’m squeezing off a list of interesting items from Japan.
- The NYT ran a fine obituary of Kazuo Ohno, 1906-2010, the legendary Butoh dancer and performer.
- Remember Push-pops? They were like the least expensive frozen treat at the 7-11. Take the same idea and replace the ice cream with sushi and you have sushi poppers!
- Japanese convenience stores abound in crazy flavors of Kit-Kat bars like soy sauce and ginger-ale, marketed as the chosen snack of students cramming for exams. Mmmmm! Bet they go great with a Cucumber Pepsi.
- How to raise awareness of rice agriculture? I’ve got it, lingerie! The grow-your-own-rice bra.
- A lovely coffee table book about the aesthetics of decorated manhoru (manhole covers).
Oil spill disaster: It seems some conscious consumers are opting to boycott BP, I know my neighborhood store seems less busy than usual. However, may I note that the other oil companies are not exactly paragons of social justice by comparison? Perhaps the most radical action one can make in this instance is to drive less. Much less. I haven’t picked up anything about the Deepwater Horizon from the anthropology blogs yet. I’ll share any such links as I come across them.
- BP’s greatest crime may be that it made a mess on American shores for Shell has been screwing the Nigerian delta for decades with spills greater in volume than the Deepwater Horizon. The corporation has already paid $15.5 million to settle claims that they arranged to have African activists murdered.
- NPR ran a story about a documentary on Chevron, which has been dumping untreated pollutants directly into the rivers of Ecuador. That the filmmakers are now being sued by Texaco (Chevron’s parent company) to surrender all unedited footage raises important questions about methodological choices.
- CNN reports a pervasive sense of dread among the inhabitants of coastal Louisiana. Those that don’t fish for a living are likely to work for the oil companies. With the ruined fisheries and moratoriums on off-shore drilling their livelihoods are being snuffed out.
- With the loss of the Gulf of Mexico fisheries there will be significant impact on the culinary culture of Louisiana. Restaurants that depend on fresh local seafood are scrambling to update their menus while staying true to their traditional foodways.
- Investing in BP could be a smart money move right now. “The world will forget,” sound like famous last words to me. Apparently Scott Adams of Dilbert fame agrees.
War and the social sciences: The blog Zero Anthropology has been running so many posts on the Human Terrain System lately (six this past week), I’ll just direct you to their site rather than link to each posting.
- The BBC blogs about HTS and earlier collaborations between anthropology and the U.S. military in Vietnam and WWII. The story should be familiar to everyone who read Anthropology as Cultural Critique and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword in their undergrad theory class, but the post adds great imagery and video links.
- PBS, Frontline, has a troubling story of one platoon of infantry that since returning from the Iraq War is struggling with a range of psychiatric disorders and criminal behaviors including homicide, suicide, drunk driving, and domestic violence.
- A post on the “Culture Smart Card” and the Army’s Arabic language video games that simulate a variety of social encounters with Iraqis (both of which I heard about years ago, but never have I seen them until now).
- A deeply troubling interview regarding alleged medical experiments run on detainees at CIA black sites, alongside monitoring their health as they were being tortured. IRB committee is going to frown on that one.
Downloading Culture: The Cranky Linguist turned up a web page from an online degree mill that links to “100 Incredible Anthropology Lectures.” I have enjoyed listening to some philosophy and psychology lectures on iTunes U, and I’ve watched some of David Harvey’s lectures of Marx’s Capital too. Has anyone put their lectures online who cares to offer some reflection about it?
Fishy business and other food posts: For three semesters I taught a popular Food and Culture course, and even though that course is on hiatus (until I’m paid to teach it again) I’m constantly on the lookout for food related internet links.
- Fish is brain food, but did it literally help hominins grow large brains?
- Oyster shells confirm that Jamestown settlers endured a terrible drought.
- An ancient Chinese rice recipe… for mortar.
- Competitive grandmas accumulate cultural capital through strategic gift giving of prized food items.
- Pumpkin carving at Halloween is also a fine example of living traditions.
- A school bus full of local produce that drives into the city to sell it’s wares. It’s like a farmer’s market crossed with a Bookmobile.
- Filmmakers collaborate with Aboriginal communities and display their work at an upcoming conference. I hope some of this makes its way to YouTube because it sounds really interesting.
- A contender for the oldest rock art in Australia, and possibly the world, depicts a giant extinct bird. The Upper Paleolithic is my favorite lecture to give in Human Origins! Can’t wait to use this one.
Timewaster: Enjoy this video of a woman playing the guitar with some seriously creative handwork on the neck. Not exactly “like never before” as the YouTube headline bills it, but maybe kind of like a lap steel? It’s like her skin is so strong she doesn’t need a slide. I don’t know, how would you describe it? Yep, I could totally do this too, if I wasn’t so busy blogging. Heh.
Seen something around the web that you’d like to share with the Savage Minds community? Hit me up at email@example.com