Friday, March 28, 2014

Field School Summer 2014

Before Copenhagen this summer, the Summer 2014 Field School. We'll spend half the time at the beautiful Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Southeastern Oregon -- I can't wait!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some Modes of Travel in the Ancient World


Another diagram for the forthcoming Atlas of Human Prehistory. Not all are ancient, and the 'daily distances' have all kinds of provisos, but that's what the text is for. To add (at least); Mongolian nomadism, Australian aboriginal bamboo boat, South American reed raft...I want to emphasize movement and people in these diagrams. Items for the text (each diagram has a facing page of text and references) include 1. it's not a contest (travel on water is always faster), 2. you can double any figure for a hard-driving day, or cut it by 90% for a tough day (bad terrain, repairs, tired), 3. all ancient in origin but many still used daily today, 4. many (e.g. Irish curragh and a thousand others) are not represented here. Also, using beasts of burden might get you greater distances in the short run, as sailing craft, but domesticated animals need a lot of care, boats (to quote my mentor Kenneth M. Ames) are trouble, and in many cases in prehistory, the spread of humanity resulted from a complicated arrangement of ecological opportunities, technological innovations, sheer historical contingency, and social exaption (to use Clive Gamble's term).

> Still, I think, a useful diagram, so long as these are all pointed out...and they will be, in the accompanying text.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back to Pressure Testing!

After spring break, during which I'll be writing on the Atlas and doing a talk in LA, we'll be back to pressure testing, to quickly kill our C02 accumulation problem. Can't wait, many hours in the suit in store before this summer's test flight!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Upcoming Talk at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

After my talk 03 April in Los Angeles, on evolution in general, this one for the Rose City Astronomers will be a lot of fun!

"When populations of humans eventually make multigenerational, interstellar voyages to settle an exoplanet, they will not be chisel-chinned astronauts living by checklists; they will be families, communities, entire cultures. How can we give them the best chance to succeed? We can begin by researching how humanity has adapted to global environments in the last 50,000 years. Both biology and culture will evolve beyond Earth.

Genetic studies tell us that we must be numerous and diverse in such migrations, and cultural anthropology shows that while we cannot predict precisely how humanity will change, we can be sure that it will, in universal concerns including how we measure kinship, our rules of inheritance, gender and age categories, and how we structure our families. There is plenty to consider. We might as well begin now."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

African Miocene Fossil Hominoidea

Working on the murky Miocene fossil record from Africa for the Atlas of Human Prehistory.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Zorba's Dance

Pouring all of my life into the space project results in missing a lot of simple pleasures of life. Well, I will get to them later! I have a flight this summer for which I have to prepare, and it seems that there is no spare moment between work, writing and flight planning. Be careful what for what you wish!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Another Diagram for the Atlas of Human Prehistory

Another diagram for the Atlas of Human Prehistory, modern vegetation regimes and watersheds of Africa. Sort of a base map as a lot of human prehistory involves Africa, and I feel students should know about Africa's essential geography. I also, like many anthropologists, owe my entire discipline, and my specific educational foundations, to this continent.

Like all Atlas images I post here, this is a low-res draft, subject to revision (e.g. the equator needs to come up somewhat!).

If you are looking for my space-suit production activities, those are more commonly now at Twitter, though after this book is done, I will continue to discuss the space suit here, in longer text than I can at Twitter.

Back to LA

Back down to the 'Los Angeles Megalopolis' for another evolution talk, early in April; this covers material in The Fact of Evolution but also much new material.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Yet More for the Atlas of Human Prehistory

Low-resolution draft of another diagram for the Atlas. Piles yet to do, but it's coming along!