space

04/08/2014

A few weeks ago I asked whether anyone wanted to send anything that they would like posted as a guest post. I received a few replies, and here's one from Maria Carrillo who can find here on Facebook

Connecting to Family and Religion While in College - Maria Carrillo

"With the coming of fall semester only a few weeks away comes the beginning of a new college. Living away from their parents, already living out of the home, or planning to commute, college students will be embarking on an adventure and developing what I call their own student identities. Part of their identity will be reflected in how they dress, activities they participate in, and perhaps most importantly what they choose as a major and field of study. Despite their age, sex, or even cultural background, all will be exposed to new ideas, ways of thinking, and topics that may put into perspective or question their current beliefs. Despite their course of study and years it may take to finish, a degree students will learn to become critical thinkers and analyze educational information presented to them. How does the process of critical analysis of information spill into their personal lives and analysis of their own personal beliefs?

Through a series of ethnographic interviews conducted as part of my thesis project, I found that family can be a key player that aids in the reinforcement of culture and spirituality during students college years and a silent force that brings students back to some of their core beliefs years after graduating. I also found that the skills of critical analysis that students develop in college, for analyzing research and information, are not always applied to their life. I believe this is an example of the process of compartmentalizing that permits students to develop new identities during and after college.  

While not the case across the board, students tend to put personal beliefs, specifically religious, spiritual beliefs on the “back burner” of their thoughts while in college. The view their family has of them is still important to them even while pursuing their own desires. It is important that as individuals they can develop an individual identity while still maintaining some connection to their family and culture. When asked about their current religious beliefs students would almost automatically refer to “how they were raised,” their family’s beliefs, and how despite their lack of time, they maintained these relationships. When engaged in discussions about their religious and spiritual beliefs students will often bring up ideas of family, time, and critical analysis. Perhaps even more interesting is the question of whether or not individuals revert back to beliefs or adapt changes post higher education. 

The college years are typically marked by the ability an individual has to explore their identity without large outside influence. They may lack a comfort with the idea of having to defend their beliefs. As they become increasingly exposed to new ideas in college, students realize that their beliefs are not the only ones out there. This realization could be part of what prompts students to hold back and listen to others. They realize they are no longer in their home community and now have to pass to form part of a larger community where everyone feels differently. I believe that can be said about the student experience at any age and exploring religious and spiritual beliefs is one part of that."

I'd like to say a big thank you to Maria for the wonderful information and all the work she put into this post, please feel free to leave comments below.

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11/07/2014

Now I know the question is really quite vague, but I really wanted to create a wide scope for any ideas or comments you wanted to make. I just want you to put forward anything, anything at all that you think makes us humans who we are today. 

For example, one might say that we are intelligent beings with a boundless curiosity and indomitable spirit as a species, and thus we are destined to reach for the stars. Whereas others will say that we are ruled by violence and primitive instincts, and we're headed for self destruction...

You could talk about your take on evolution, different cultures, human psychology, spirituality... Literally anything at all that you think is an important (or even the most important in your opinion) component of human nature.

As a reward, I will post the most interesting and in depth answer as a guest post, completely attributed to the winner. The winner will also be featured on the Harris Anthropology Blog, on the new 'Competition Winners' page with a link to the winning answer, so you can bask in the glory of your victory forever!

A picture depicting many (Asiatic I think) Races
Your comments can be about any aspect of humanity; biological, cultural, spiritual etc. But please put your comments here on the blog! You don't have to take part in the competition if you don't want to, you can just join in the fun and post something small. However, please keep it relevant to the question, and feel free to debate but try and keep it in good spirits, I would like it to stay friendly.


Competition Deadline: Thursday 31st July... Don't be late!

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[Image credit: G. Mülzel]

06/07/2014


Hello readers, here's an interesting video about the language and it's role in human nature. I've posted a video by RSA animate before, because I think they are incredibly informative and bring forward great ideas and insights, so I will definitely be posting more in the future (so if you like them, check back often!):



Please don't forget to follow this blog (which you can do via the sidebar) to keep up to date with anthropological and scientific news and research, and check out Harris Anthropology on FacebookTwitter and Google+ too, Thanks.

05/07/2014


Here you go Readers, this is random funny post #3...


I thought this one was funny, because even though it's poking fun at scientists (in a lighthearted way), there does seem to be a truth about the integrity and dedication shown by many scientists in regards to their work. I know, I know, that seems like a cheesy thing to say about a comic like this, so ignore me and have a laugh:



http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1480#comic
Please don't forget to follow this blog (which you can do via the sidebar) to keep up to date with anthropological and scientific news and research, and check out Harris Anthropology on FacebookTwitter and Google+ too, Thanks.

[Image credit: Zach Weiner (you can find more funny comics by Zach Weiner Here)]

04/07/2014

This is an interesting piece of information that I actually saw thanks to Robin Öberg on Facebook. It describes the different aspects in which the modern myth of the Slenderman have evolved into something more than just an urban legend or scary story. 

The 'Slenderman'
Almost every generation has created its own monsters and myths, from folk tales to the fear of TV inspired foes such as 'Jaws', but this generation's  monster was spawned from the internet. To the internet users that know the Slenderman well, it is a 'suburban ghoul' that dwells in the darkest places we can think of; old abandoned buildings, rusty old playgrounds and silent dark woods.


The Slenderman has its own history, methodology and, as of late, controversy due to an attack in Wisconsin during which two girls stabbed another in order to appease Slenderman’s dark needs. On May 31, two 12-year-old girls in Waukesha, Wisconsin stabbed a third girl nearly to death, believing that the Slenderman was threatening their families and reading their minds, and that he would appear if they killed for him. It was a terrible incident that highlighted the underlying psychological effects of the internet and its influences on its users. 



Unlike most urban legends, the Slenderman's origins are quite clear, he was born on June 8, 2009, on a forum site frequented by Photoshop pranksters. He belongs to a man in Florida named Eric Knudsen who is surprised that the Slenderman has not been discarded like so many other internet phases. Slenderman first appeared on the SomethingAwful forums under a thread titled “Create Paranormal Images.” It appeared as a tall, out of focus figure standing next to a tree accompanied by the text: 



“One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.”

– 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.


Other posters also added their own back-story content that went back as far as 16th-century Germany and even to 5000 BC, and some added their own photos. One particularly clever image is a modified woodcut. In the original, a skeleton takes a child from its parents, perhaps into death. In the modified version, the skeleton has long arms and legs and its misshapen skull is hidden by the eaves of the house.




In the following months, Slenderman gained specific definition, courtesy of a poster on Yahoo Answers in 2011, two years after the original posts: 



The Slender Man is a supernatural creature that is described as appearing as a normal human being but he is described as being 8 feet tall and he has vectors or extra appendages that are described to be as sharp as swords. The creature is known to stalk humans and cause many disappearances. He is described as a shadow creature that has missing a face. The creature fits into many mythologies in legends from nations such as germany and celts which brings up the possibility that he could be real. A man named victor Surge found this legend and made his own version of it which he called slender man. The slender man is not exactly evil according to mythology but victor Surge’s version shows him as an evil creature that stalks humans to kill. In mythology he was actually trying to save you from a painful death by taking you to the under world early.



Interestingly, Slenderman was born of the previous generation’s boogeymen. From a long interview with Slenderman’s creator, Knudsen AKA Victor Surge.



I was mostly influenced by H.P Lovecraft, Stephan King (specifically his short stories), the surreal imaginings of William S. Burroughs, and couple games of the survival horror genre; Silent Hill and Resident Evil. I feel the most direct influences were Zack Parsons’s “That Insidious Beast”, the Steven King short story “The Mist”, the SA tale regarding “The Rake”, reports of so-called shadow people, Mothman, and the Mad Gasser of Mattoon. I used these to formulate asomething whose motivations can barely be comprehended and causes general unease and terror in a general population.



The key word there is terror; as it is widely disputed as to what the Slenderman does when he 'gets you'. Based on this, there was a popular video game created, where the player simply walks through a fenced off forest area in the dark, searching for eight pieces of paper with various warnings about the Slenderman on them. However, as you find more and more pages, and you catch glimpses of the Slenderman, when he 'gets you' he doesn't kill you, you simply disappear in a cloud of electric snow.



As you can see, one of the most iconic internet images began as an image on a photoshop forum, and has become something of a legend. Many are the people who have glimpsed his form through the trees after exposure to the frightening idea on the internet, and thus he will be a symbol of fear for many years to come...



(I'd like to thank the author of the original article Here.)



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[Image credit: Lu1uLemon, Unknown]

29/06/2014


Hey all, just to let you know that Harris Anthropology is now listed on the Anthropology Report 2014! 


There are lots of amazing anthropology blogs on the list, and I'm quite proud that it's been added. You can find the website here:



So, if you're interested in becoming part of this blog, then please, follow it using the follow widget in the sidebar, you won't be disappointed. You can also find me on:




Thanks for listening guys and gals, it's thanks to your support that this blog has come so far :)

25/06/2014

Okay, I know that this isn't the most important discovery that modern archaeologists have made, but it deserves to be heard nonetheless. After all, lots of us wear trousers (or pants) today, so it stands to reason that we should be interested in when they were (possibly) first worn, am I right?

Anyway, back to the story. State media in China has stated that two pairs of trousers were found, in the far-western Xinjiang region, that date back as far as 3,300 years, and may possibly be the oldest trousers in existence. The state-run China Daily cited scientists as saying that the trousers (found by Archaeologists in May) are made from animal fur and were found on the bodies of two mummified male Shamans, probably in their 40s
Photograph: M Wagner/German Archaeological Institute
An international is working together to repair and preserve the pairs of trousers, which are currently the oldest with any resemblance to modern trousers. "They were almost the same shape as today's trousers," the report quoted Lu Enguo, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology in Xinjiang. Even older apparel resembling trousers have previously been discovered in the region, but they were made according to a more simple design and lacked a piece of fabric covering the crotch, Lu added.

Archaeologists believe that trousers were invented by Nomads in the area for the purpose of horse riding. The nomads "at first wore a kind of trousers that only had the legs," said Xu Dongliang, deputy head of the institute, adding that "crotches were sewed on to the legs, and gradually other styles, such as bloomers, appeared". The report also stated that previously, the oldest pair of trousers that included a crotch were just 2,800 years old.

So there you have it. Archaeologists may have found the origin of our fabric leg friends, or at least their oldest surviving ancestors (If I had discovered those mummies, the story would have been "3,300 year old Mummies found wearing skinny jeans").

(I'd like to acknowledge The Guardian as the source of this information, which can be found Here.)

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21/06/2014


Here you go Anthropologists, this is random funny post #3...

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1528#comic
Don't forget to follow this blog (which you can do via the sidebar) to keep up to date with anthropological and scientific news and research, and check out Harris Anthropology on Facebook too.

[Image credit: Zach Weiner (you can find more funny comics by Zach Weiner Here)]

20/06/2014


It may sound like science fiction, but an engineering student at Lund University, Sweden, has created a system that scans the unique pattern of veins in an individual's palm, allowing them to safely pay for goods without cash/cards.

Credit: Image courtesy of Lund University

Fredrik Leifland got the idea for this system when he grew impatient in line at a supermarket. He knew there must be a quicker, easier way than using credit cards or cash, so he got together with a group of classmates to come up with a solution. They soon discovered biometric solutions, and while vein scanning technology already existed, there was no system for actually using it as a form of payment.

"We had to connect all the players ourselves, which was quite complex: the vein scanning terminals, the banks, the stores and the customers. The next step was finding ways of packaging it into a solution that was user friendly," says Fredrik.

Luckily, their idea worked! There are currently around 15 stores and restaurants (mainly around the Lund University Campus) that have the terminals installed with 1,600 active users.

Security is a major advantage of the technique, according to Fredrik: "Every individual's vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system. You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through,"

With ongoing plans to expand the business, and companies around the world implementing the technology, these vein scanners could be the future of monetary transactions.

Watch the video here:


(I would like to thank Science Daily for the info which can be found Here.)

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