Introducing, the Moonwalk Bird.
Extended PBS Nature story here.
Connecticut Local Politics created this revealing map of the Nutmeg State that represents each of its 169 towns by its population size rather than geographic area. Suddenly, it becomes crushingly clear why the 185,000 or so people in Litchfield county's 26 towns in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut are politically of little consequence in state politics.
When 500,000 people in Greater Hartford and Waterbury get their clean drinking water from us, though, there are reasons to pay attention.
Here is an image from our family files that requires some knowledgeable sleuthing to interpret. I can tell you it was taken in Point Pleasant, New Jersey and that the driver is almost certainly not my great-grandfather who died in 1932, as I believe the car is of more recent vintage. Aside from that, I have a few ideas of my own but even fewer hard facts.
What can you deduce from this photograph? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to click to enlarge.
Update (1/17/2007) More here!
Connecticut Public Radio WNPR aired this story yesterday during "Morning Edition." It concerned a letter from the the Executive Director of Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments to Gina McCarthy, the Commissioner of the CT Department of Environmental Protection, calling for her to intervene "to restore some semblance of credibility and fairness" to the process used by the State to select projects to fund under the Natural Resources Damages Fund, established back in 2000 to mitigate GE's contamination of the Housatonic River with PCBs. Thought to contain more than $9 million, none of these funds have been disbursed for projects to date.
The following is the text of Executive Director Dan McGuinness's letter, reproduced here as a public service with permission of the author. This may also be of interest to those of you who do not live in the Litchfield Hills or further downstream along the lower reaches of the Housatonic.
January 4, 2008
Dear Commissioner McCarthy:
My purpose in writing to you is to express my concerns regarding the "short list" of projects for the Housatonic River Natural Resources Restoration project.
I will state at the outset that my agency, the Northwestern Ct. Council of Governments, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy submitted a proposal that did not make the "short list". My comments, therefore, can be - and undoubtedly will be by some - considered as "sour grapes". Nonetheless, having both watched, and been involved in, this process for more than seven years, I feel compelled to express my concerns.
Comment Period The applications, referred to as "requests for supplemental information", were due June 20, 2007. The schedule, at that time, was for the short list to be announced in mid-September 2007. Instead, the "short list" was announced by the Ct. Trustee Sub-Council on December 17, 2007. At that time, the Sub-Council stated that they would accept written comments only up until January 4th. Their contention was that to extend the time for written comments would delay the process.
Over a seventeen day period that included Christmas Day and New Years Day, the organizations involved were expected to meet and prepare written comments. For the Council to be three months late in developing the "short list" and then provide only seventeen days for written comments is an insult to all those who submitted applications as well [as] those who would like to comment on the proposed projects.
It should also be noted that, because of the short time period, the Ct. Trustee Advisory Group, that was set up by Ct. DEP, did not meet and comment on the projects or the process.
Scoring System Over a period of more than for months, the Sub-Council, working with consultants, developed a set of evaluation criteria to be used in reviewing projects. The adopted evaluation criteria contain five categories that are further subdivided into twenty-one subcategories. Seventeen of the subcategories are assigned specific numerical scores.
Given the time and expense that went into developing this elaborate scoring system, one would expect to see a final score sheet for each project showing how many points the project received in each of the seventeen sub-categories. Instead, the Sub-Council released a narrative "project evaluation summary" for the five major categories for each project and a conclusion of whether or not to "short list" the project. The narratives, while admirably succinct, do not provide much guidance to an applicant as to their application's shortcomings. The applicant, therefore, is left in a quandary as to how they should respond in the short period available for public comment.
Responding to comments made at the Sub-Council meeting on December 18th, I have received a "summary table" showing Trustee Ken Finkelstein's rankings. His table simply shows the total score he assigned to each project. I have also received Rick Jacobson's detailed raw scores for each project. No scoring information has been received from the third Trustee, Veronica Varela from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As far as I can tell, the scoring information has not been posted on the Sub-Council's website.
Results According to the eligibility criteria adopted by the Sub-Council, all projects had to enhance or restore the natural resources that were damaged by the release of the PCBs. More specifically, to be eligible for funding, a project had to either:
At several meetings, Sub-Council Trustees and DEP employees stated that they expected the funds to be distributed fairly evenly between projects that addressed each of the three natural resources that were damaged.
Instead, 58.5% of these funds are to go to recreational projects, 26.1% to riparian and floodplain projects, and 15.4% to aquatic projects. this is hardly the distribution of funds that applicants were lead to believe would occur.
Of the fifty-three projects that were submitted in the second phase, seven were submitted by Ct. DEP. Of these seven, five are included on the short list. These five projects account for $5,610,893 - or 44.5% of the total project funds on the short list.
The NWCCOG and The Nature Conservancy's Project (P-10) resembles a project proposed by Ct. DEP (P-37). Both projects call for the acquisition of easements along the Housatonic River. The NWCCOG/ The Nature Conservancy Project would be solely for conservation easements. The Ct. DEP project would be primarily for easements to provide recreational access to the River. The NWCCOG/ The Nature Conservancy project requested $2,000,000; the entire $2,000,000 was to go to the purchase of easements. The Ct. DEP project requested $2,812,580 of which $1,440,000 (51.2%) is to go for the purchase of easements and the remaining $1,372,580 is to Ct. DEP for salaries, benefits, supplies, materials and travel.
Needless to say, the Ct. DEP project was included in the "short list".
The Project Evaluation Summary for the NWCCOG / The Nature Conservancy project contained some rather curious statements. The Applicant Implement Capacity section states: "The organizations and the representatives from them appear to be qualified and have the necessary technical and administrative experience." But, the Conclusion Section gives as a reason for not including the NWCCOG / The Nature Conservancy project the claim that other unnamed applicants have "substantial experience in this work". I sincerely doubt that Ct. DEP has more "substantial experience" in obtaining easements than The Nature Conservancy.
When the agency hires consultants, staffs the Sub-Council and has a vote on the Sub-Council makes decisions that heavily favor that agency, it is not surprising that people question the fairness of the outcomes. The failure to provide adequate time for written public comments and the failure to release the complete results of the elaborate scoring system only raises more questions.
I am requesting that you intervene in this process in order to restore some semblance of credibility and fairness to the entire Housatonic River Natural Resources Restoration Project. Thank you.
Dan McGuinness, Executive Director
Kevin Levin of Civil War Memory has been honored with a 2007 Cliopatra Award as the Best Individual Blog of the History blogosphere. The judges nailed it with this one. Kevin is not only a thoughtful blogger and an incisive historian, he is by all accounts a wonderful teacher and I have often envied the students in his classes. Kevin blogs about a period of history that has been a particular interest of mine since the 4th grade, yet I often find fresh perspectives and unique analysis at his blog and make it a daily read. Bravo!
This 10th edition of The Military History Carnival is dedicated to the late, lamented George MacDonald Fraser, who died on January 3rd. His passing leaves a great hole in the hearts of fans of the "Bawdy Romp" genre of extremely well-written historical fiction. Fraser was a masterful storyteller and a first rate historian, as well as a veteran of service in India and Burma during WWII. His greatest literary creation was Sir Harry Flashman - himself the bully of "Tom Brown's School Days - who manages to wriggle through some of the worst military debacles of the Victorian era with the undeserved reputation as a bluff and hearty hero, rather than the shirking, womanizing bully he was underneath. As entertaining (and scandalous) as the Flashman novels are, they are also very well researched and present fascinating periods of 19th-century history in vivid and accessible detail. Marking Fraser's passing at History News Network's Cliopatra Blog, Manan Ahmed quotes the author on the value of historical fiction:
"(T)here is no truer guide to the past than good historical fiction. There is nothing phoney about it; while I tend to distrust approaches to education which suggest that it is an enjoyable game (when we know it is just hard slogging), the good costume novel is telling no more than the truth when it suggests that real history is fun and excitement and glamour and suspense; when it has all the ingredients of a great adventure story. But of course, that is what history is."
It does not matter if the historical novel is pure, unashamed fiction, with plot and characters owing nothing to historic fact, so long as it is properly researched and reflects, as faithfully as the writer knows how, the period and its spirit."
A quick on-line search shows there are many historian bloggers who mourn the passing of Fraser and Flashman, whose story unfolds over 12 novels but with additional campaigns hinted at but never brought to print. We are left to imagine the rest, and why not? Fraser himself fleshed out the back story and even wrote a novel about Flashman's reprobate father as another of the rotten apples in the barrel from which he came. Who is to say there weren't other Flashman ancestors of dubious character skulking about the fringes of military events for centuries before him? Perhaps the contributors to this carnival may shed some light on the matter.
Jason at Executed Today brings us the tale of the execution of Clearchus of Sparta in 401 B.C.E . "Lured under the color of friendship", Clearchus was treacherously seized and summarily beheaded, stranding a Greek mercenary army in Persia before they fought their way out and stamped the template the Macedonians would use to roll the phalanx through Persia. [While there is no record of any Flashman ancestor among the Greek Hoplites, the actions of the Persians in this affair are very much in keeping with his craven character.]
Gary Smailes revisits and reviews John Gillingham's article William the Bastard at War which he attests has stood the test of time in the twenty years since it was written. According to Smailes, Gillingham argues that at the Battle of Hastings, Harold went against conventional tactics that avoided major engagements between armies and "forced William's hand engineering the situation to one which a risky pitch battle was unavoidable." [One would imagine that Flashman's purported Saxon ancestor, who earned the name Lígetræsc or "Lightning" for the way he "flashed" from the battle, would have be appalled at Harold's aggressive gamble at Hastings. Since he turns up in the Domesday Book and Harold does not, this may have been the wiser strategy.]
Gabrielle Campbell, a writer of Historical Fiction and Sword&Sorcery, blogs at The Lost Fort about Herzog Otto von Northeim, who King Heinrich declared outlaw and who fought a skirmish in September, 1070, with a troop of Thuringians lead by a count Routger or Rugger. Campbell also includes some gorgeous shots of the ruins of Castle Hanstein.
Still in the spirit of historical fiction, Lafayette C. Curtis (writing as l Clausewitz at LiveJournal) presents writers of fiction with a detailed analysis of tactical tricks based around the presence of rivers, placing river-crossing operations in a military context. Among the many historical examples he provides is an analysis of William Wallace's destruction of the English forces crossing Stirling Bridge in 1297. [He makes no mention, however, of an English knight reportedly called Harold Fusée de Détresse, who rode from Stirling in a panic waving a blazing torch or "distress flare" and didn't stop until he reached the Channel.]
Boston 1775's J.L. Bell has been reading the journal of Continental Artillery Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin, who noted on December 19th, 1775 that he "went in the afternoon to Dotchester point to see the mashine to blow up Shiping." Bell discusses the possibility that this was a prototype of an early submarine or another invention, but in any case it appears not to have worked. [There is no need to invent a Flashman ancestor for this period, as someone else has already done so.]
If you peel away the celebratory layers you will see that [the American Civil War] has a great deal in common with the way we view civil wars elsewhere. It is the celebration of the war which troubles me because it seems to me that our gut reaction to foreign civil wars is a much more appropriate stance. Where is the confusion, uncertainty, violence, and sadness in our Civil War? I see the Civil War as a humbling event that serves as a reminder of the fragility of governments and the depths of violence that we all too often reach. I agree with the late historian William Gienapp that the “outbreak of war in April 1861 represented the complete breakdown of the American political system. As such the Civil War constituted the greatest failure of American democracy.” I wish more people would approach the study of the Civil War from this perspective.
Fraser, no stranger to war himself, knew that it was not all "fun and excitement and glamour and suspense", and Kevin reminds us not to grow too fond of it in the mists of memory. Though in fairness to Fraser, P. J. O'Rourke (a kindred literary spirit) puts it this way in Holidays in Hell;
"It will always be more fun to carry a gun around in the hills and sleep with ideology-addled college girls than spend life behind a water buffalo or rotting in a slum."
At J. David Peruzzi's Hoofbeats and Cold Steel, we learn that:
"History hardly remembers young Pvt. Norvell Churchill of the 1st Michigan Cavalry, one of Brig. Gen. George A. Custer’s orderlies. However, the actions of Churchill at the Hunterstown battlefield just outside Gettysburg early in the evening of July 2, 1863, literally changed history. There may have been no “Custer defeat” at the Little Big Horn thirteen years later… indeed, there may have been no George Custer at all after that warm July 2."
[Readers of Flashman and the Redskins know that Sir Harry Flashman survived a scalping and the slaughter at Greasy Grass where Custer's other men fell.]
Flashman's luck seems never to run out, but for many of the high ranking officers and other officials who survived the American Civil war, peace turned out to be more deadly. David Woodbury at the blog of Battlefields and Bibliophiles presents his unofficial survey of high commanders who were victims of murder, drowning, or other unhappy accidents after the war's end.
Fraser wrote several screenplays as well as historical novels - you can thank him for "Octopussy" - and his Hollywood History of the World is a loving tribute to the great costume flick. Great New Books That Are a Must Read recommends Phil Stewart's Battlefilm: U.S. Army Signal Corps Motion Pictures of the Great War. George Simmer of Great War Fiction takes issue with the widely-repeated claim that it took a decade after the Armistace for "well pondered" works on the Great War to be written.
"This seems to be wrong on almost all counts. There was indeed a 'spate of books' about the war in 1929-30, but the idea that writers had been sitting patiently waiting for a 'decent interval' seems unlikely...More importantly, though, the late twenties was a time when the War returned to people's minds. The treaty of Versailles had clearly not worked; Germany was re-arming; Europe was becoming unstable. The 'war to end all wars' had delivered on remarkably few of its promises, and hindsight made it seem futile. There was a ready response to books that proclaimed this futility (like remarque's) or presented the war's absurdity (like Graves's). I'm sometimes tempted to say that the books of 1929-30 tell us more about the mood of 1929-30 than they do about 1914-18. That would be stretching it a bit, but not by much."
Mackenzie J. Gregory at Ahoy - Mac's Web Log asks whether the Russian Arctic convoys of WWII were worth all the loss of life and ships "and could the equipment, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the vast quantity needed by Soviet forces, have been better used elsewhere by the Allies?"
David Lesjak's Toons at War shares the story behind this Disney-created insignia for the OSS, the Operational Groups of the Strategic Services which was the precurser to the C.I.A. Donald Duck creating some behind-the-lines mayhem is certainly a memorable image.
Paul Brewer of The War Reading Room recalls "an incident in my publishing career from twenty years ago...a flop called 'Battlefield'" which dealt with Operation Barbarossa in a taught, six page article, and draws parallels to an episode on the same campaign from a broadcast on UKTV History of The World at War.
Penny Richards at Disability Studies, Temple U. examines Leg Splints and Mid-century Modern Design created by Charles and Ray Eames, who during WWII were "part of a team of designers hired by the US government. (This wasn't unusual; my great-aunt Mimi was a shoe designer during the war; the government needed designs that could be mass-produced within the limits of wartime supplies, thus... canvas shoes.)"
"In the end America will follow its own unique path. All Republics end, and so do all Empires. There is, in human history, a series of cycles of renewal, decay and renewal. Each one ends in a crisis period, and each crisis must be overcome. It is never inevitable that you’ll fail – but it’s never guaranteed you’ll succeed either."
Flashman accumulated a chestfull of largely undeserved decorations in his military career, including a V.C., a Medal of Honor, and the San Serafino Order of Purity and Truth (Fourth Class). The UK National Inventory of War Memorials blog tells us of a recent service held to commemorate animal war heroes.
"An unusual memorial service took place yesterday at the PDSA animal cemetery in Ilford, Essex, which is the burial place of twelve recipients of the Dickin Medal (the animal’s Victoria Cross). Among them are Simon, ship’s cat on HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, whom we’ve written about before...The service was attended by living Dickin Medal winners, such as Sadie, a black labrador explosives search dog who worked in Afghanistan. The cemetery itself has recently been refurbished with the help of a lottery fund grant."
And now we must beat the retreat as this 10th edition of the Military History Carnival comes to a close. My thanks to all who contributed or those whose work was of such quality that I presumed to select it for inclusion even without nomination. Be sure to submit your best posts of January for the 11th Military History Carnival at Battlefield Biker at tj AT battlefieldbiker DOT com or by using the handy carnival submission form. And whether you belong to the Sandwich Islands Chapter of the Royal Flashman Society, or just hate to see an old soldier fade away, let us stand in the mess and toast Fraser and Flashy, for they both belong now to the ages.
We get a lot of winter birds at our suet feeder here in the Litchfield Hills. But nothing like this pair, and neither will you, unless titmice start hybridizing with chickadees. It may be good advertizing, but it is not good science, for there is no bird in North America with these precise markings and coloration. Those of you who live in Arizona will note a resemblance to the bridled titmouse (at right), but the eyebrow stripe extends further on the suet package illustration and the brown and buff plumage are all wrong.
Still, if it "attracts a wider variety of birds" as advertized, maybe I can look forward to adding a new bird to my life list along with its first North American record just by using this product. Perhaps if I stick an elephant carcass out there, too, I will catch a Roc!
Yesterday was a sad day for fans of the "bawdy romp" genre of extremely well written historical fiction. British author George MacDonald Fraser has died at the age of 82. Fraser served in the British army in India and Burma during WWII, and his service memoir Quartered Safe Out Here stands in the first rank of soldier's writing. But it is his imagined memoir of Sir Harry Flashman, Brigadier-General V.C. K.C.B., K.C.I.E. - Victorian cad and villain of Tom Brown's School Days - that endeared him to so many readers and made his reputation.
Flashman manages to wriggle through some of the worst military debacles of the era with the undeserved reputation as a bluff and hearty hero rather than the shirking, womanizing bully he was underneath. Flashman has few redeeming qualities besides a firm seat in the saddle and a facility with languages (traits he shares with the historical Captain Sir Richard Burton, who among other things was responsible for translating the Kama Sutra and making the Hajj to Mecca disguised as a Muslim). Those who knew his true character managed to come to nasty ends or were blackmailed into silence before they could expose Flashman as a poltroon and a coward of the first order.
The Flashman novels are presented as his actual memoirs, lightly edited and annotated by Fraser. The old General Flashman has this to say about his literary undertaking:
"These stories will be completely truthful; I am breaking the habit of eighty years. Why shouldn't I?
When a man is as old as I am, and knows himself for what he is, he doesn't care much. I'm not ashamed, you see; never was -. So I can look at the picture above my desk, of the young officer; tall and handsome as I was in those days, and say that it is the portrait of a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat. since many of the stories are discreditable to me, you can rest assured they are true....."
All this delightful skulduggery takes place against the backdrop of exhaustively researched history, complete with footnotes that integrate Flashman's account with actual primary sources. In the course of 12 books (and with hints of other accounts in the Flashman papers that never made it into print), Harry Flashman survives The 1st Afghan War; the Charge of the Light Brigade; The Indian Mutiny; Isandwlana, Little Big Horn; and a dozen other massacres in which he tangles with fascinating historical personages, beds exotic beauties, and quite often inadvertently alters the course of history.
Fraser wrote numerous other books, including The Hollywood History of the World which I highly recommend, and the screenplays for the Three and Four Musketeers movies in the 1970s and the James Bond film Octopussy. Flashman, though, was his greatest character and most engaging body of work. I first read these novels in Africa and have been a huge fan ever since. They are delightfully non-PC - Flashman is an unreconstructed bigot and snob and uses the vernacular of his age and station - and the release of the next chapter of the Flashman papers was a much anticipated event from 1969 to 2005when the latest installment came out. Fans around the world are left to fill in the blanks in Flashman's story, most notably his service on both sides in the American Civil War and with Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. Now both he and his creator belong to the ages.
The integrity of a beloved Russian icon has been upheld by government censors. It is not permitted in the Rodina for advertisers to deny the existence of Santa Claus, or Father Frost as he is known from Arkangel to Vladivostok.
"The Federal anti-Monopoly Service said the ad had broken rules for advertisers not to discredit parents and teachers.
It said declaring that Father Frost did not exist undermined children's trust by implying parents were not telling the truth.
The ad 'induces negative relations between children and parents', Andrei Kashevarov, the service's deputy director, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta."
It's about time someone stood up to the Santa deniers. And if anyone starts insinuating that the Easter bunny didn't make all those Fabergé eggs, they'd better watch out (and better not cry).
Right away I have probably alienated the serious archaeologists and anthropologists among you by kicking off this 31st edition of the venerable Four Stone Hearth with everyone's favorite whip cracking tomb looter in all his wide screen glory. That's what you get when you let the amateurs take the carnival out for a spin. I know it's not all about the treasure - otherwise you would be taking your hard-earned PhD's right over to Odyssey Marine Exploration and dodging the Spanish Costa Guard - but still, doesn't your heart race a little faster when you read in the Malta Independent that the site of the fabled Land of Yam may have been discovered deep in the Libyan Desert? Or that Old Masters of Old School Graffiti have turned up "in a 10-story limestone building just as developers were converting it into luxury condominiums?" It's all good, friends, even if we laypersons generally don't have the first clue how to sort out the serious scholarship from the spurious showmanship. Luckily, this blog carnival and its well-informed contributors stand ready to make sense of it all, bringing you the very best in archaeology and anthropology blogging (broadly defined) of the last fortnight.
Here at Walking the Berkshires, we have myriad interests besides strolling briskly about the rounded hills of home, and these include much of an historical, even hysterical nature. With that in mind, a few months ago we launched Cabinet of Curiosities, the carnival that celebrates the weird and wondrous stuff one tends to accumulate and the stories behind it. It occurs to me that you, dear readers, with your interest in the human past, might have a few things not left in situ that you'd care to blog about and share in a forthcoming edition.
Four Stone Hearth is helpfully arranged around the cardinal points of archaeology, socio-cultural anthropology, bio-physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. I must say it was tempting to organize #31 along those lines, much like the biblical Adam calling all the living creatures of God's creation whatever popped into his head, saying; "Be thou socio-cultural anthropology" and that was its name. Still, I'm a lumper, not a splitter, and besides we were in grave danger of being a three-stone hearth (still a sturdy tripod, but not a fully quadratic edition) until I looked again at An Interview with Ann Weaver at John Hawks Weblog and realized that here was at least one example of linguistic anthropology (broadly defined). John is inspired by The Voyage of the Beetle, a book both he and his bright, 7-year-old daughter enjoyed, to contact its anthropologist author Ann Weaver. The result is an engaging interview, including Ms. Weaver's encouraging advice for students to
"stick with anthropology. It won't make you rich, and it is in fact hard to find a full-time job in the field, especially when higher education is relying more and more on adjuncts, but it's the most interesting subject in the world, and it opens a thousand doorways into new insights."
I love her already, and as the father of another bright, 7-year-old daughter, I'm going to go right out and buy this book.
Anthropology's not all fun and games, though. Well, maybe it is, even in the contentious culture wars where faith and reason vie for hearts and minds and checkbooks, says Tim Jones of Remote Central as he alerts us to a planned Creationist Theme Park coming soon to the northwest of England. Unless, that is, Arthur should arise from Avalon in Britain's hour of need and smite "Jonah's Log Flume" and the "Wall of
Death Jericho Roller-coaster" like so many Philistines. That would certainly put a damper on such "re-creational" designs, but otherwise if Euro-Disney is too crowded you might care to drop in for a mess of potage at the "Pillar of Salt" food court. But don't expect any chips with your loaves and fishes.
Brian Switek of Laelaps turns the mirror on the "sapiens" bit in the scientific nomenclature of our species and explores "What We Think About Who We Are (Redux)." Dizzying in scope, he tackles everything from Genesis to violent tendencies in human males and other living apes, and at the bottom of it all is the desire to show that
"science does not crumble when taxa are reassigned or a new fossil shows up where it was not expected; it only furthers our understanding. If a hypothesis is shown to be false, then that is one more thing that we now understand to be wrong, therefore improving our knowledge and understanding. Some will continue to consider this a source of weakness, but as we are not gods the constant desire to improve our understanding of nature is the best that we can hope for."
Writing at Anthropology.net, Aaron Filler, MD and PhD, discusses new research that suggests that an exaggerated lumbar curvature in human females may represent a beneficial evolutionary adaptation for bipedal pregnancy. Dr. Filler also discusses the evidence, however blasphemous, of a human ancestor for the apes. Terry Toohill offers a post In Defense of Human Evolution, guest blogging at at Remote Central. Just what it means, evolutionarily speaking, to be human is central to both posts, which reminds me, good generalist that I am, of a philosophy class in college where we pondered that old chestnut; "When is a Chair Not A Chair?" Paint it red? Still a chair. Break off a leg? Um, yeah, I guess. Chop it up into kindling? Hmm, definite lack of chairness.
By now the archaeologists among you may have drifted off, so without further ado let us marvel at an an Early Aztec Pyramid found in Tlatelolco, Central Mexico City brought to you once again by Tim Jones (Remote Central thus hits the carnival Trifecta). Not enough? How about two posts at Archaeoporn which critique scholarly articles on the Talpiot Tomb and its proposed identification with the family of Jesus? And even though this was covered in the previous 4SH, of all the Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2007, my favorite is Polynesian Chickens in Chile. What, you thought maybe they got there unassisted by crossing the South Pacific Land Bridge? Maybe they went the long way around, behind the map, to meet up with Columbus and hitch a ride on the Pinta?
Infanticide has been both condoned and stigmatized in human societies. Executed Today tells the story of Penelope Kenny and Sarah Simpson, who were the first people, man or woman, executed in Colonial New Hampshire. In 1739, they were hanged for “feloniously concealing the death of a[n] … infant bastard child.” This post is part of a themed set on the spectacle of public hanging in America.
Indigenous Issues Today examines "the current impacts climate change is having on indigenous people." Having attended the annual American Anthropological Association meeting in Washington D.C. and a panel titled “Witnessing, Communicating, Acting: Substantiating Anthropology’s Role in Confronting Global Climate Change”, the author observes that
"Rather then working on subjects that involved indigenous peoples (often as research subjects), anthropology and social science in general is now working with indigenous peoples in collaborative and on mutually beneficial projects."
And...cut. That's a wrap for this celluloid edition of Four Stone Hearth. My apologies if I did not treat these weighty subjects with the proper academic reverence. Too much holiday cheer, you see, and it's back to work in the morning. 4SH #32 will be at Testimony of the Spade on January 16th. You may send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And yeah, you film mavens, I'm not sure that Kevin Costner's "The Mariner" is all that indigenous, but I was going with the whole Global Climate Change, Water World thing. And Christian Bale in the crown of thorns goes with the Christ family tomb piece, not the bit about the Polynesian poultry. But you knew that.