razzleccentric: (DarwinDance)
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With GREAT thanks to [livejournal.com profile] brock_fn_samson for sharing this. I'm all choked up. ANTHRO FOLK RULES!!!
razzleccentric: (Warm Hands)
Today, we're driving up to Bloomington to check a few things out.

I hadn't pulled up the IU food anthropology PhD description yet, mostly out of fear that doing so would make me sink even deeper into my depressive mire. But this morning I took a look anyway. I want to feel academic hope again, even if it makes me cry. (And it does.)

Indiana University PhD Track in the Anthropology of Food

Food represents an integral part of human livelihoods, biology, identity, and culture. The practical dimensions and ramifications of food production, consumption and sharing, and the symbolic and ideological meanings attached to food, have relevance across all of anthropology’s subdisciplines – sociocultural anthropology, bioanthropology, archaeology and linguistics. As a theme it integrates aspects of all the four traditional subfields of anthropology.

Program description & course list )

So, yeah, I want this. Anthropology undergrad? Relevant. All the damn dietetics crap I've gone through? Relevant. Grad level nutrition courses I'm taking now? Relevant. The idea that my education hasn't been an utter waste after all is so foreign, so exciting, that it sounds like a trap...

Seriously, the course list is what pushed me over the freaking abyss. I would cut me own throat (well, preferably someone else's) for PALEONUTRITION COURSES.

I will have this program, it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be...
razzleccentric: (Scream)
From [livejournal.com profile] peradouro:

Famous fossil Lucy starts US tour - (they snuck it out in the middle of the night)

Because it's a good idea to box up irreplacable, 3.2 million year old A. afarensis remains and ship them all over the freakin' United States. Aaaaaaaaaa! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The situation is so complex. The Smithsonian has refused to participate in this tour. But evangelicals in other African countries want to censor fossil displays there and African museums certainly need better funding. So for the world to see and care about these treasures, must they be removed from their countries of origin?

How great is the potential for Creationist terrorism on such a priceless display in the United States...?
razzleccentric: (iEat)
There's not much I can say about this latest wave of "fat friends make you fat" mania, other than to point out that the researchers who concocted this "study" fairly tortured their data into submission. Methodology HURTS, baby.

For starters, they didn't actually follow people over the course of years - that takes forethought and money and we don't bother with that anymore. They took handwritten tracking sheets from Framingham Heart Study interviews conducted between 1971 and 2003 (only seven interviews per person over the course of that 32-yr stretch) on which the interviewees were asked to list *one* person they might be in contact with in a few years.

From this list the authors created "38,611 different people connections" (people connections, I like that) and plugged that mess of data into a virtual network imaging program to create pretty 3-dimentional designs based on algorithms. Note: different algorithm = different result. Then in order to wring any kind of statical connections from it all, "These authors created models and ran countless simulations, with so many assumptions and complex selections and elimination of variables, that no one could hope to unravel it."

Even then, they couldn't get good odds - so instead of reporting results were null they used the time-honored technical trick of comparing them to each other. The final analysis? Obesity was associated less with genetics, geographical proximity, being married, etc. than with... wait for it... SAME SEX MALE FRIENDS.

Since I'm sure 99% of the press this report is getting is aimed at women, why is nobody (except the the few, the proud, and the scientifically literate) pointing out that same sex female and opposite sex friendships had no bearing whatsoever on social BMI, no matter how much data cosmetology went on...?

Well, I guess I did have something to say about it after all. Anthropologists should, particularly medical anthropologists. This framing of fat as contagion, as impurity, as danger, is a cultural issue that we need to address - preferably sometime before the advent of fat internment camps.
razzleccentric: (Penn: Shut The Fuck Up)
The American Anthropological Association reports that the National Science Foundation's authorization bill for FY2008 is imminently scheduled to come up for debate on the House floor. Two proposed amendments – introduced by Reps. John Campbell (R-CA) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ) – would prohibit further funding of nine currently funded NSF grants in the Social, Behavioral and Economics Science Division, based on their quote "silly titles" unquote. Not surprisingly, five of the nine grants targeted fall under the research realms of anthropology or archaeology (the others appear to be behavioral psych and primatology).


Offered by Mr. Garrett of New Jersey
At the end of section 3, add the following new subsection;
(h) LIMITATION.-None of the funds authorized under this section may be used for research related to

(1) The reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi Immigrants, Sedentees, and White London Neighbors

(2) The diet and social stratification in ancient Puerto Rico

Offered by Mr. Campbell of California
At the end of section 3, add the following new subsection;
(h) LIMITATION.-None of the funds authorized under this section may be used for research related to

(1) archives of Andean Knotted-String Records

(2) the accuracy in the cross-cultural understanding of others’ emotions;

(3) bison hunting on the late prehistoric Great Plains;

(4) team versus individual play;

(5) sexual politics of waste in Dakar, Senegal;

(6) social relationships and reproductive strategies of Phayre’s Leaf Monkeys; and

(7) cognitive model of superstitious belief. [!!!!!!!!!]



Whatever anyone may or may not think of knotted-string records, since when is it the job of a couple asshat politicians to decide what is worthy of scientific research and what is not? I think the National SCIENCE Foundation should keep making that call. SCIENCE. That's their JOB.

What I'd really like to do is take a hardcopy of these republicans' cognitive model of superstitious belief and stick it up their asses. Sideways.


razzleccentric: (Default)

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