Mummies had clogged arteries

A recent study of mummies found a significant number of the elite mummies (which most were) had clogged arteries, calcification of vessels, and other symptoms of heart disease and obesity.

This has been found before, but this is the largest study so far.

The BBC article I read suggested it was caused by the supposed large amounts of fatty meats being eaten by the elite.

However, as I suspected he might, Rafe said “There’s currently a bit of discussion on GNXP (Gene Expression). Michael Eades, auther of Protein Power, has published in the past showing that the Egyptian elite were in fact obese quite regularly, and attributes it to a diet that was very high in grains combined with a sedentary lifestyle, not the high in meat diet proposed in the BBC article.”

Quoted from Science Daily: “UC Irvine clinical professor of cardiology Dr. Gregory Thomas, a co-principal investigator on the study, said, ‘The findings suggest that we may have to look beyond modern risk factors to fully understand the disease.'”



Assembling Bodies

From my other blog, Art of Science:

From Material World:

Details of some of the objects shown in Assembling Bodies. © MAA.

How do we know and experience our bodies? How does the way we understand the human body reflect and influence our relations with others?

Assembling Bodies: Art, Science & Imagination is a major interdisciplinary exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) University of Cambridge, open from March 2009 to November 2010. Curated by Anita Herle, Mark Elliott and Rebecca Empson, the exhibition explores some of the different ways that bodies are imagined, understood and transformed in the arts, social and biomedical sciences. They displays showcase Cambridge’s rich and diverse collections, complemented by loans from national museums and exciting contemporary artworks. It brings together a range of remarkable and distinctive objects, including the earliest stone tools used by human ancestors, classical sculptures, medieval manuscripts, anatomical drawings, scientific instruments, the model of the double helix, ancestral figures from the Pacific, South African body-maps and kinetic art.

The idea of assembly evokes two distinct but overlapping themes that underlie the exhibition. Jim Bond’s kinetic sculptures illuminate one notion of assembly – the process of putting something together, of creating something new from component parts. Positioned at the entrance to the gallery, Atomised (2005) (below) is triggered by the movement of visitors into the gallery. An openwork human figure is pulled apart and put together by external telescopic ‘arms’.

Read full post and see more pictures at Material World.

Atomised. Jim Bond. Animated Sculpture, 2005


How does photography change culture?

Photography is a love of mine, and how people use photography and how it effects them is also an interest. A couple of blogs are talking about the Smithsonian Institute’s new exhibit “Click! Photography Changes Everything.”

I grabbed the post from blog Material World. Check it out.

From the post:

“The Initiative is collecting and sharing images and narratives that shed light on how photography influences who people are, what people do and what people remember. Has a photograph been used to document property loss, inspire a hairstylist, sell a house, beat a traffic ticket or helped with the decision about where to go on vacation? Has a single photograph ever influenced what someone believes in or who someone loves?”

The exhibit is also inviting viewers to participate by choosing photographs that affected them and explain why. This is a cool social experiment in itself; what types of photographs do people deem noteworthy and why? How do these pieces of paper or collection of pixels shape how we see the world? Why is seeing an image so much more powerful for most people than verbal explanations of it?


Cultural preservation and empowerment programs/projects:

I was going through my old notes and found this. It’s not something I’m working on anymore, but is a really great collection of examples of groups working on cultural conservation/preservation, and resources to help with those sorts of projects.

I just copied and pasted, so it’s a little messy, but enjoy:

Cultural Survival:

Work done in American Samoa to preserve Samoan culture:

National Park Service Cultural Resource Training Initiative.

Article about influence of outside world on culture:

NGO for cultural preservation of indigenous peoples:

Tips on how to strengthen culture:

Founding regional tourism:

Native American-owned business plan for CP&E:

Virtual museum?:

Igbo mask culture, changes and preservations:

Projects at Evergreen College, Washington:

Interesting Books/Authors:

Indigenous Education and Empowerment: International Perspectives
Series: Contemporary Native American Communities #17

Sustainable Community Development: Studies in Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Revitalization (Hardcover), by Marie Hoff

Cultural Revitalization, Participatory Nonformal Education, and Village Development in Sri Lanka: The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.


Colletta, N.J.; And Others; Comparative Education Review, v26 n2 p271-86 Jun 1982

intergenerational relations, and human development (Joel Savishinsky,)

Paul Guggenheim is on the staff of the Chicago Field Museum focusing on conservation education with the population living in the buffer zone of a new national park in Peru.


Filing a complaint

I’m having the worst time getting things through bureaucratic tape and getting my complaints heard, so while these stories are a little dated, I figured I’d post these two about people making blatant statements about a particular culture with their complaints.

The first one is the story about how a 5th grader noticed something wrong on an exhibit at the Smithsonian. The sad thing is people working within the Smithsonian had noticed it too, but it took someone from outside the system to make them fix it. Hooray for bureaucracy!

This story is about two women who are divorcing the same man. They are working within their culture’s limitations to assert their rights. Since it technically has to be the man who initiates the divorce, they figured if they teamed up and asked for a divorce it’d be near impossible for him to turn them down. Strength in numbers!


culture halted and culture preserved

Comet over Canada killed Clovis? (ooh, alliteration):
Rafe has already debunked it.

I don’t know why I thought the Smithsonian would be immune to political pressure, especially when you’re just down the street from the White House…:

Six states in India ban sex-ed because it might be offensive to Indian culture. According to the article, India has the highest amount per capita of HIV.

THIS is what I would love to do as a living: help people preserve traditional culture like this woman is doing in her village
Pull quote: “Traditions were always meant to serve the present,” she says. “We may not be fully nomadic, as we were in the past, but we still travel to visit family, or pay respects, or attend initiation ceremonies. Hunting is still hunting, even if our men use rifles and Land Cruisers. Our culture doesn’t teach us to hide from new things, and in many ways modern life is easier and less violent than our old ways. But that doesn’t mean the altyerre is any less important or sacred to us.”
The native Australians and Maori seem to be the most successful at preserving and maintaining, just on what little I’ve read. It’d be fun to figure out what they’re doing right and if it could be applied to U.S. (even if it’s just nicer politicians).


Handling various tools

The Museum of Visual Materials opens in South Dakota:
Why this idea rocks: you can touch and play with stuff, and the building itself energy efficient (solar cells, uses roof runoff for irrigation, etc.)

An article discussing how “Women’s work” helped shape human social evolution (including farming, fishing):

Babies learn language WAY earlier than we first suspected: