Anthro in the news 1/14/13

• The Paul Farmer effect in Haiti three years after the earthquake

Paul Farmer and Partners in Health are making a difference, according to an article in The Tampa Bay Times.

Paul Farmer in Haiti

Paul Farmer before the cornerstone ceremony in 2010 for the teaching hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti/Daniel Wallace, Tampa Bay Times, 2010

“Of the billions of dollars nations and aid agencies pledged for earthquake recovery, too much still sits in bank accounts or exists only as budgetary line items. Too many earthquake victims still live under tarps. Too few live in solid homes. Very little has been done to bring lasting benefit to the people of Haiti. It’s enough to make a travesty of former President Bill Clinton’s famous pledge to ‘build back better.’ It’s enough to make anyone cynical about the possibility that charity can help create a strong and independent country. That’s why you might want to click on pih.org, the website of Partners in Health, co-founded by Hernando High School grad — and 2008 Great Brooksvillian — Paul Farmer. Its main post-earthquake project, a new teaching hospital in Mirebalais, 38 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince, was completed in October.”

Farmer’s work in Haiti is also mentioned in GlobalPost and The Globe and Mail (Canada).

• Aid shortcomings to Haiti driven by national interests

An article in The Gazette (Montreal) offers a generally negative view of the effectiveness of aid to post-earthquake Haiti and points out that critics of aid to Haiti are quick to cite the apparent failures of aid as a rationale for curtailing further aid.

The article mentions the work of Mark Schuller, professor of anthropology at Northern Illinois University: “In his recently released book Killing with Kindness, author Mark Schuller … said Haiti’s earthquake highlights that there has to be a human rights-based approach to development, rather than one based on national interest.”

Schuller has written: “The earthquake is exposing the weaknesses in the system of international aid … Since the quake, the general public and the mainstream media are thinking and talking about NGOs in a more realistic, critical light.”


• Men like it hot

On a lighter note: AW blogger Sean Carey published a piece in The Independent about the first person to have finished eating The Widower, a chicken curry so strong that the chef who prepares it uses goggles and a face mask for protection.

Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi

Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi/Wikipedia

The winner is Dr. Rothwell, a 55 year-old radiologist. The £20 curry, prepared at the Bindi restaurant in Grantham, Lincolnshire, uses 20 ultra-hot Naga Infinity chilies. Naga Infinity chilies measure 6 million units on the Scoville Scale, which is 10,000 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. For many years the mild and creamy chicken tikka masala was the U.K.’s favorite dish, but it has been overtaken by the spicier chicken jalfrezi.

The increased preference for hotter dishes in the U.K. is especially marked among white males. Of the 300 people who have tried to conquer The Widower in the two years that it has been available, only 10 or so were female. The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Mail all reported that the wife of the winner, found him “hallucinating” on Grantham High Street halfway through the challenge. Rothwell says that, although he was sweating and experiencing an endorphin rush, he was merely considering whether it was in his best interests to return to the restaurant to complete his task. He did, but it took another 30 minutes to finish off the dish. Before eating the curry, Rothwell signed a disclaimer.

• Wonderful things: Downton Abbey and tourism in Egypt

Mask of Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun/Wikipedia

Egypt’s tourism industry, formerly a mainstay of the country’s economy, has been severely affected by the Arab Spring and following political unrest. The Daily Mail‘s travel section carried an article discussing the possible boost to the tourism industry from Downton Abbey, which is filmed at the estate of Lord Carnarvon.

Carnarvon’s famous question in 1922 to the archaeologist Howard Carter, at the tomb of 14th-century B.C.E. pharaoh Tutankhamun — “can you see anything?” — lives on in archaeology. The answer was … “Yes, wonderful things.”

• New BBC series

In a new television series for BBC 4, Lost Kingdoms of South America, archaeologist and Americas curator at the British Museum, Jago Cooper explores mountain citadels and sprawling stone ruins to learn about the peoples who lived in them long before the arrival of the Incas and Spanish conquistadors.

• Erotic gladiators of Rome

Italian archaeologists have found brightly colored fragments of frescoes depicting heroic and erotic scenes inside a corridor of the Colosseum in Rome, along with samples of ancient graffiti. An article in The Sydney Morning Herald mentions Rossella Rea, director of excavation project of the 2000-year-old amphitheatre. Read more.

Koutroulou Magoula figurine

Koutroulou Magoula figurine/University of Southampton

• Clay figurines in Greece

Archaeologists from the University of Southampton studying a Neolithic archaeological site in central Greece have unearthed over 300 clay figurines, one of the highest density for such finds in south-eastern Europe. The Southampton team, working in collaboration with the Greek Archaeological Service and the British School at Athens, is studying the site of Koutroulou Magoula which is, around 160 miles from Athens. Koutroulou Magoula was occupied during the Middle Neolithic period (5800 – 5300 B.C.E.) by a community of a few hundred people who made architecturally sophisticated houses from stone and mud-bricks. The figurines were found all over the site, with some located in wall foundations.

• Going upstairs to have a pee in Pompeii

The residents of the ancient city of Pompeii were not limited to street-level plumbing. Many in the city headed upstairs when nature called. Most second floors in the Roman city are gone, claimed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in C.E. 79. But vertical pipes leading to lost second stories indicate that there were once toilets up there, according to a new study by A. Kate Trusler, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Missouri.

“We have 23 toilets that are connected, that are second-story preserved, that are connected to these downpipes,” Trusler told LiveScience at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle, where she presented her research.

• Kudos

Deborah Boehm, assistant professor of cultural anthropology and women’s studies at the University of Nevada at Reno, was awarded the Ruth Benedict Global Citizenship Award by the Center for a Public Anthropology. Boehm was recognized for her research and her involvement in the Public Anthropology’s Community Action Project.

“Professor Boehm is to be commended for how she takes classroom knowledge and applies it to real-world challenges, thereby encouraging students to be responsible, global citizens,” said Rob Borofsky, director of the Center for a Public Anthropology. “In actively addressing important ethical concerns within anthropology, Boehm is providing students with the thinking and writing skills needed for active citizenship.”

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