Exploring Extraterrestrial Oceans Here on Earth

March 12, 2015 / 0 comments

NASA has announced that observations from the Hubble telescope suggest there is a vast underground ocean on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, which is also the largest moon in our solar system: “Scientists estimate the ocean is 60 miles (100 kilometers) thick – 10 times deeper than Earth’s oceans – and is buried under a 95-mile (150-kilometer)…

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graphical Image of Low Earth Orbit orbital debris around the earth

Two Approaches to ‘Space Junk’: “Cultural Heritage of Space Exploration” & “Orbital Wake of the Anthropocene”

January 17, 2015 / 0 comments

NASA has an Orbital Debris Program Office dedicated to the question of space debris. The featured image for this post comes from this office, and is an image of debris in LEO. LEO “stands for low Earth orbit and is the region of space within 2,000 km of the Earth’s surface. It is the most…

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Anthropology in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

October 4, 2012 / 0 comments

Anthropologists who like Sci-Fi often list Stargate and Star Trek as among their favorite television series. In my view some of the finest Anthropology focused episodes can be found in the seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve previously looked online for a list of them, and hadn’t found one so I thought I…

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Irish Travellers at Dale Farm: Activism, Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Identity

September 22, 2011 / 0 comments

As the attempted eviction of Travellers from Dale Farm seemed more likely, claims surfaced in the media that the Travellers themselves had left and that only “activists” were remaining at Dale Farm. Reporting for the Guardian from inside Dale Farm, John Bingham wrote “The girls are angered at suggestions in the media that there are…

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Irish Travellers at Dale Farm: Land, Housing & Eviction

September 20, 2011 / 0 comments

This post represents the beginning of some research I’m doing on the Irish Traveller community at Dale Farm. The working title is “When Nomads Fight To Stay: Land Zoning, Globalized Activism and Forceable Eviction at Dale Farm” On July 4th, 2011, decades of legal battles came to a head with an eviction order for around…

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“The loneliness of the long-distance exoplanetary anthropologist…”

December 10, 2010 / 0 comments

There are two kinds of offworld anthropology: Near Distance and Long Distance. With typical Earth-centrism, the “distance” is measured in light years from the Blue Marble. Try explaining to a Gorgolian that he’s “Long Distance” when you’re on his doorstep. At least Gorgolians won’t spit in your face when you try to interview them about…

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What are “Indigenous Religions”?

November 19, 2010 / 0 comments

As I browse publisher’s web sites for forthcoming volumes on religion, anthropology, sociology and other topics relevant to my research, I’m struck by one of the categories frequently used: Indigenous Religions.  Listed with categories for books on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Comparative Religions, etc. this Indigenous genre stands out. The other genres are, for the most part,…

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Ethnometaphysics

November 16, 2010 / 0 comments

Oversoul, Alex Gray, 1997 In the Fall 2010 issue of Anthropology of Consciousness, Marc Blainey looks at the “discord in the West between viewing psychoactive substances as either ‘hallucinogens’ or ‘entheogens’,” and makes the case for renewed interest in ethnometaphysics. His article has me thinking more about anthropologists produced by a (mostly) entheophobic culture looking…

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Robot Acceptance

September 14, 2010 / 0 comments

A post in the NYT photo blog asks if Japanese acceptance of robotics has origins in Shinto belief. (via Elizabeth Housley)  Surprisingly they don’t mention Masahiro Mori. Will we see humanoid robots taking more active roles in hospitals, constructions sites and other work places outside Japan?  And will robots like the Paro therapy seal showing…

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Cyberactivism, iPhone 4 and The Courage to Be

August 25, 2010 / 0 comments

(Note: This post was originally published on an blog about Apple technology, based on a few requests I’m making it available here. -MOR) Apple has been hard at work the last few years building their reputation as a ‘socially responsible’ company.  Like other greenwashing corporations (Whole Foods for example), this reputation is 9/10ths marketing and…

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Fictional Religions

November 23, 2009 / 0 comments

Markus Davidsen at Aarhus University is writing a fascinating dissertation on “Fictional Religions: The Morphology and Reception of Invented Religions embedded in Works of Fiction.” He describes his project as: “about two types of religions, fictional religions and fiction based religions. By ‘fictional religions’ I understand religions, spiritualities and magic systems which are embedded in…

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Laughlin & Throop (on experience and reality)

October 10, 2009 / 0 comments

“The forms of knowledge that technologies mediate is integral to both a society’s cultural information pool, and to the extramental reality in which they live. Technology itself constitutes an alteration of that relationship — especially as it intervenes in the experiential aspects of that relationship . . . Technologies are in a sense ‘artifacts of…

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Teaching Speciesism: The McDonald’s Talking Fish schools Consumers on Complicit Complacency

August 30, 2009 / 0 comments

The McDonald’s “Talking Filet-O-Fish” commercial opens with a wide shot of a garage. A heavy, bearded man sits with a McDonald’s bag and drink on the table in front of him. He seems comfortable, content, and average as he holds a sandwich in his hand. When he takes a bite of the sandwich the shot…

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Slayage

August 21, 2009 / 0 comments

I came across “Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies” today. It’s difficult to look at any neo pagan online community without finding frequent references to Joss Whedon’s television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” One of the most often used quotes about wicca, for example, is this exchange between the characters Willow and Buffy…

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Crossing The River: The Journey of Death in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

August 21, 2009 / 0 comments

The religious traditions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were born on the banks of rivers. How did this alluvial geography contribute to their notions of death and the afterlife? In what ways did the rivers, cycle of the sun and other environmental phenomena help construct these ancient cultures view of the journey into the next…

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