Thursday, October 6, 2016

maps showing USA pronunciation boundaries

These 22 slides show mapped representations of various diagnostic words like "law-yer" versus "loyer" for an attorney-as-law, for example.

Friday, September 23, 2016

putting archaeology online - "virtual tudors"

The high value ship, The Mary Rose, has formed an online source for getting to know the  period and place from which it comes.


A skull, the team add, can offer a number of insights. "You can estimate the sex of an individual, you can estimate the ancestry of an individual and you can certainly diagnose the pathology of an individual: things like scurvy and a number of other conditions," said Nick Owen, a sport and exercise biomechanist also from Swansea University.

At the heart of the project is a technique known as photogrammetry. For each of the skulls, around 120 high resolution photographs were painstakingly taken from many different angles, with the in-focus sections digitally stitched together to produce the final, state-of-the-art, 3D models.

Friday, July 29, 2016

death & dying - video, Australia

This short video impression of the old cemetery for the town of Ballart, Australia, in service 1840 - 1920s, is densely packed with cultural meanings.
In particular the use of space and material culture particular to the people, place and time can be seen on display.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

language sources of swearing - Quebec's French

The Delightful Perversity of Québec's Catholic Swears - The Canadian province has expletives like no other.

[excerpt]     ...The sacres is the group of Catholic swears unique to Québec. There are many of them; the most popular are probably tabarnak (tabernacle), osti or hostie or estie (host, the bread used during communion), câlisse (chalice), ciboire (the container that holds the host), and sacrament (sacrament). These usually have some milder forms as well, slightly modified versions that lessen their blow. "For example, tabarnouche and tabarouette are non-vulgar versions of tabarnak, similar to 'shoot' and 'darn' in English," says Polesello.

Monday, February 22, 2016

marking languages still vigorous today
This year's day for Mother Languages.

On the other side of the human patrimony ledger is the erosion of spoken languages and environments/livelihoods they derive from; see these notes taken from K. David Harrison's book, When Languages Die, to get a taste of this subject.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

time culture - attitudes in cultural landscapes

excerpt from article about regulating and calculating time in ways different to broadcast news media and everyday consumer worlds, 

...within Arizona, which recognizes Mountain Standard Time year-round, the case gets more confusing for anyone traveling through the Hopi and Navajo nations. Both nations are in the same area–in fact, the Navajo nation completely surrounds Hopi territory, and both nations have enclaves within the other.

This arrangement might not have much of an impact time-wise, except that the Navajo nation uses daylight savings time, while the Hopi nation, along with the rest of Arizona, does not. Essentially, it'd be possible to drive through each outlying city and change time zones five times, all within two hours.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tribal Lands - map project for North America

This same idea would work well among all indigenous peoples displaced, disoriented, or distopic these past 500 years since global flows of people, ideas, money, material culture, diseases and species got started:

The 9 minute backstory of how the Tribal Nations Maps came to be, Carapella's project to chart the placenames and locations of the people living in North America before immigration started in the 15th century.

reckoning time - swap from Julian to Gregorian calendar

excerpt from full article,

...the longer a country waited to shift to the Gregorian calendar, the more days needed to be removed; in 1752, England and its colonies went to sleep on September 2 and rose on September 13, as per the Calendar Act of 1750. Russia didn't change calendars until February 14, 1918 and skipped a whole 13 days, meaning their October Revolution of 1917 actually happened, by today's dating system, in November.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

anthropology articles getting into news media

Upshot from project at the Center for Public Anthropology to track the mentions by anthropologists (cultural, biological, archaeological) in wider circulation or cited or interviewed in mainstream news media [emphasis added]:

A Pattern to Ponder:  Perusing the data, readers will note that archeologists and biological anthropologists tend to be cited in the media more than cultural anthropologists. One likely reason derives from the journals the discipline's subfields publish in. Cultural anthropologists tend to publish in a set of sub-field journals. Archeologists and biological anthropologists tend to publish in more interdisciplinary journals leading, in turn, to a wider distribution and more attention paid to their articles. There is no reason why cultural anthropologists could not publish in PlusOne, Science, or Nature. But many prefer publishing in the American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist or Cultural Anthropology thereby attracting limited attention from those beyond their sub-field. Current Anthropology, which crosses the discipline's sub-fields, tends to attract less attention than inter-disciplinary journals', but comparatively more attention than the American Anthropological Associations journals, focused on specific sub-fields.

 -source page,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

context - 6 photographers make 6 different portraits

Experiment: each photographer was given a different story about the person coming in for a portrait. Results varied widely when told the subject was fisherman, self-made millionaire, parolee, beach lifeguard, psychic, and so on.
six different backstories led 6 photographers to make differing portraits
six different backstories led 6 photographers to make differing portraits
Perhaps the same contextual framing and predisposition affects documentary projects, archival work, ethnographic field studies, or transposing a biographical sketch from one language to another for readers of a different culture or era. In other words, if the lens can stand for a perceptual grasp of a subject, then the same assumptions that these photographers baked into their choice of composition and lighting and shutter release also may reveal how one goes about engaging with the world in general: we prejudge people and settings, we view the world as half-empty instead of half-full, for example; or at the time of middle age we feel that so many opportunities remain, rather than feeling that so few days are left before extinction.
And while this portrait experiment misled the photographers who were doing their very best creative work to interpret the man, based on the sparse backstory provided, the end result of this decoy experiment powerfully demonstrates to journalists, archaeologists and other scientists (predisposed with the working theories or hypotheses they bake into their research design and deployment of available methods), philosophers and novelists, as well as social observers of all stripes that assumptions and prior knowledge frame one's boundaries and the placement of one's subject within that context.
By extension the frame we paint for our selves (presentation of self; self-image; concept of self) is colored by the assumptions we adopt, discover, aspire to, or have been given by others we know and have been labeled by society more generally.
see the experiment, or jump to the time mark showing the resulting portraits
Blurb: A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what's in front of it. To prove this we invited six photographers to a portrait session with a twist. ‘Decoy’ is one of six experiments from The Lab, designed to shift creative thinking behind the lens.  [November 2015]