Daily Archives: November 28, 2007

The Bible as Ethnography ~ 02 ~ In The Beginning…


Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 (5 – 25) are distinctly different and contradictory origin stories. The biblical origin story represented in this text has long been known to resemble a set of Sumerian stories that mainly deal with a multitude of gods interacting (some of these gods are converted to humans in the biblical version). What is consistent about all of these stories is the relationship between status and labor, in the context of a labor-intensive agricultural system.

Genesis 1 is very systematic, resembling a post-hoc construction of events, and its main practical purpose may be to justify the sabbath. Genesis 2 gives some meaty ethnographic details, including specific geographical reference points (though reconstruction based on this is probably beyond the realm of possibility), reference to irrigation as a practice, and reference to sex. Both of these texts make reference to “seeds” and “fruit” as key features of plants, to an ocean and to whales, and to a variety of other animals. The second text makes specific reference to cattle.
Continue reading The Bible as Ethnography ~ 02 ~ In The Beginning…

Origin of Native America

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchThe origin and early history of Native American people has always been an issue of debate and contention. There has never been a moment when all, or even most, interested parties agreed on anything close to a single story. New research published in the Open-Access journal PLoS Genetics tends to support a very traditional (among archaeologists) view of a single relatively simple migration from Siberia across the New World, more or less from north to south. Continue reading Origin of Native America

Facial Processing and Human Cognition: New Findings

…rapid judgments of competence based solely on the facial appearance of candidates predicted the outcomes of gubernatorial elections, the most important elections in the United States next to the presidential elections. In all experiments, participants were presented with the faces of the winner and the runner-up and asked to decide who is more competent. …Predictions were as accurate after a 100-ms exposure to the faces …as exposure after 250 ms and unlimited time exposure …. Asking participants to deliberate and make a good judgment dramatically increased the response times and reduced the predictive accuracy of judgments … competence judgments collected before the elections in 2006 predicted 68.6% of the gubernatorial races and 72.4% of the Senate races … These effects were independent of the incumbency status of the candidates. The findings suggest that …

Well, who really cares what these scientists think. I don’t care. Do you care, Jesse????i-252036600dff5b27a4530b3bf455bc52-ventura_boa.jpg Continue reading Facial Processing and Human Cognition: New Findings

Gorilla Tool Use?

It may be nothing more than slinging shit, but when you run out of shit:

Wild gorillas have been seen using “weapons” for the first time, giving a new insight into how early man learned to use sticks and stones for fighting and hunting millions of years ago.Researchers observed gorillas in the Cross River area of Cameroon throwing sticks, clumps of earth and stones at human “invaders”.It is the first time that the largest of the great apes has been seen to use tools in an aggressive way.

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