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I love that feeling you get when you don’t remember that you’re reading. When you’re so captured by a book that you forget you’re reading the words. All you see is the descriptions and conversations that being to play out like a movie in your head. You don’t even think about it. Then before you know it, you’ve read 100 pages without realizing it. That’s probably the best feeling in the world. 






Another dose of Dr. Gabor Maté from Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.











Community is the human norm, not profit.

In Western Australia, minerals are being dug up from Aboriginal land and shipped to China for a profit of a billion dollars a week. In this, the richest, “booming” state, the prisons bulge with stricken Aboriginal people, including juveniles whose mothers stand at the prison gates, pleading for their release. The incarceration of black Australians here is eight times that of black South Africans during the last decade of apartheid.
John Pilger, ‘Mandela is gone, but apartheid is alive and well in Australia’  (via pyrexia)

(Source: indizombie)

New Zealand Students Can Buy Beers With Rats | VICE Canada

For centuries New Zealand flightless birds and slow-moving reptiles lived without fear of native predators. This golden era ended when the British showed up on rat-infested ships.

Since then, rats have become the key player in the destruction of native forestry and the extinction of nine native species of birds. Clearly the rats need to go, but how do you motivate New Zealanders into becoming active rat hunters?

Beer Trap is a program that lets time-rich and beer-poor university students to swap dead rats for free brews. Genius, right? We spoke to Jonathan Musther, one of the masterminds of the campaign, about the intricacies of fixing the environment with young Kiwis and alcohol.

Rare Hawaiian Birds Possibly Rebounding from Immunity to Deadly Diseases


Hey, just a reminder to residents and people who want to live here.

Don’t bring pet birds and reptiles here. Seriously. If they get loose they start killing and ruining our fragile ecosystem. We already have lost so much to colonization and pollution, we really don’t need to lose the rest of our endemic species as well.


10 Recently Extinct Animals

1. Commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Virtually wiped out in the wild due to constant hunting (they were thought to be a threat to sheep and other small farm animals) and the encroachment of humans on their already limited habitat the Thylacine was finally recognized as being in danger of becoming extinct in 1936, too little, too late as that same year the last Thylacine, named Benjamin, died on 7 September as the result of neglect — locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters and exposed to freezing temperatures at night in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. 60 years on there are still claims of sightings but all are yet to be confirmed.

2. The Quagga was a southern subspecies of the Plains Zebra. It differed from other zebras mainly in having stripes on the head, neck, and front portion of its body only, and having brownish, rather than white, on its upper parts. The last free Quaggas may have been caught in 1870. The last captive Quagga, a mare, died on 12 August 1883 in Amsterdam Zoo, where she had lived since 9 May 1867. It was not realized that this Quagga mare was the very last of her kind. Because of the confusion caused by the indiscriminate use of the term “Quagga” for any zebra, the true Quagga was hunted to extinction without this being realized until many years later. The Quagga became extinct because it was ruthlessly hunted down for meat and leather by South African farmers, also they were seen by the settlers as competitors, like other wild grass eating animals, for their livestock, mainly sheep and goats.

3. The story of the Passenger Pigeon is one of the most tragic extinction stories in modern times. As recently as around 200 years ago they weren’t anywhere near extinction. In fact, they were actually the most common bird in North America, and some reports counted single flocks numbering in the billions. Pigeon meat was commercialized and recognized as cheap food, especially for slaves and the poor, which led to a hunting campaign on a massive scale. Furthermore, due to the large size of their flocks, the birds were seen as a threat to farmers. The last Passenger Pigeon, named Martha, died alone at the Cincinnati Zoo at about 1:00 pm on September 1, 1914.

4. The first record of the Golden Toad was by herpetologist Jay Savage in 1966. The toad, recognized by its brilliant golden orange color, was native to the tropical cloud forests which surround Monteverde, Costa Rica. None have been seen since 1989. It last bred in normal numbers in 1987, and its breeding sites were well known. In 1987, due to erratic weather, the pools dried up before the larva had matured. Out of potential 30,000 toads, only 29 had survived. In 1988, only eight males and two females could be located. In 1989, a single male was found, this was the last record of the species. Extensive searches since this time have failed to produce any more records of the golden toad.

5. The Caribbean Monk Seal was the only known seal which was native to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the only species of seal to go extinct directly due to human causes. The Caribbean monk seal was the first New World mammal to be discovered by Columbus and his company on the coast of Santo Domingo in 1494. It appears in the account of Columbus’ second voyage to America. Columbus promptly ordered his crew to kill eight of the animals, which he called “sea-wolves”, for food, paving the way for exploitation of the species by European immigrants who came in his wake. Since then, the once abundant seals have been hunted for their oil and slaughtered by fishermen, who regarded the animals as competitors. It was officially declared extinct just last year, on June 6th, 2008, although the last recorded account of the species was made at Serranilla Bank between Honduras and Jamaica in 1952. Like other true seals, the Caribbean Monk Seal was sluggish on land. This, along with its lack of fear for man, unaggressive and curious behavior, as well as human hunting, and early habitat exclusion by humans throughout their range may have dramatically speed up their decline and likely contributed to its demise.

6. The Pyrenean Ibex has one of the more interesting stories among extinct animals, since it was the first species to ever be brought back into existence via cloning, only to go extinct again just seven minutes after being born due to lung failure. The Pyrenean Ibex was native to the Pyrenees, a mountain range in Andorra, France and Spain. The Pyrenean ibex was still abundant in the fourteenth century (Day 1981). The Pyrenean ibex’s population declined due to a “slow but continuous persecution” and disappeared from the French Pyrenees and the eastern Cantabrian mountain range by the mid-nineteenth century. Its situation has been critical since the beginning of the 20th century, when it was estimated that the Pyrenean population in Spain numbered only about 100 individuals. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the population never rose above 40 individuals. In 1981, the population was reported to be 30. At the end of the 1980′s the population size was estimated at 6-14 individuals. The last naturally born Pyrenean Ibex, named Celia, died on January 6th, 2000, after being found dead under a fallen tree at the age of 13. That animal’s only companion had died just a year earlier due to old age.

7. Although theBubal Hartebeest once roamed throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, the deep-rooted mythology (once domesticated by the ancient Egyptians as a food source and for sacrificial purposes) which surrounded the animal was not enough to save it from European hunters who began hunting them for recreation and meat. People who resided in Morocco shot these animals for fun, and for hunting, which wiped large herds of them out. Many Hartebeests were captured and were kept alive (e.g. in the London Zoo from 1883 to 1907), but they eventually died out. The last Bubal Hartebeest was probably a female which died in the Paris Zoo in 1923.

8. Javan Tigers were a subspecies of tigers which were limited to the Indonesian island of Java. In the early 19th century Javan tigers were so common, that in some areas they were considered nothing more than pests. As the human population increased, large parts of the island were cultivated, leading to a severe reduction of their natural habitat. Wherever man moved in, the Javan tigers were ruthlessly hunted down or poisoned. Natives carried much of the hunting out, a surprising thing since they considered the tiger a reincarnation of their dead relatives. The last specimen to have been seen was sighted in 1972, although there is evidence from track counts that the animal had lingered into the 1980’s. The last track counts to yield evidence of the tigers was held in 1979, when just three tigers were identified. The leading cause of their extinction was agricultural encroachment and habitat loss, which continues to be a serious concern in Java.

9. The Tecopa Pupfish was native in the Mojave Desert, in Inyo County, California, United States of America. This fish subspecies was originally found only in the outflows of North and South Tecopa Hot Springs. It was first described by Robert Rush Miller in 1948. Its decline began in the early 1940s when the northern and the southern spring which were about 10 yards apart were made into canals and bathhouses were build. The popularity of Tecopa Hot Springs in the 1950s and 1960s led to the building of hotels and trailer parks in that area. By 1981 the Tecopa Pupfish was officially delisted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and it became the first animal which was officially declared extinct according to the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

10. The Baiji River Dolphin population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. As China developed economically, pressure on the river dolphin grew significantly. Industrial and residential waste flowed into the Yangtze. The riverbed was dredged and reinforced with concrete in many locations. Ship traffic multiplied, boats grew in size, and fishermen employed wider and more lethal nets. Noise pollution caused the nearly blind animal to collide with propellers. In the 1970s and 1980s, an estimated half of Baiji deaths were attributed to entanglement in fishing gear. Only a few hundred were left by 1970. Then the number dropped down to 400 by the 1980s and then to 13 in 1997 when a full-fledged search was conducted. The dolphin was declared functionally extinct after an expedition late in 2006 failed to record a single individual after an extensive search of the animal’s entire range

Its hard being an anthropology major in an over-simplified world

  • Person:

    Spanish people aren't even white

  • Me:

    Spaniards typically don't look like Mexican-America-

  • Person:

    He's not African, he's Jamaican.

  • Me:

    Yes, but consider where his ancestors must have came fr-

  • Person:

    Mexicans aren't Native American! Idiot!

  • Me:

    But many Mexicans have Aztec ancestry, and-

  • Person:

    I have blond hair and blue eyes, I'm part of the master Aryan race!

  • Me:

    Nazi race scientists were horribly misinformed, Aryan actually refers to peoples of Northwest India like the Romani and-

  • Person:

    Italians aren't really Caucasian either.

  • Me:

    -small nosebleed-


In the mountains around Lugu Lake, near the border between China’s Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, live about 56,000 people who enjoy a family system that has perplexed and fascinated travelers and scholars for centuries. The Mosuo revere Lugu Lake as the Mother Goddess, while the mountain towering over it, Ganmo, is respected as the Goddess of Love. Their language is not written, being rendered in Dongba, the sole pictographic language still used in the world today. They have no words for murder, war, or rape. The Mosuo’s relaxed and respectful tranquility is accompanied by a nearly absolute sexual freedom and autonomy for both men and women.

In 1265, Marco Polo passed through the Mosuo region and later recalled their unashamed sexuality, writing, “They do not consider it objectionable for a foreigner, or any other man, to have his way with their wives, daughters, sisters, or any other women in their home. They consider it a great benefit, in fact, saying that their gods and idols will be disposed in their favor and offer them material goods in great abundance. This is why they are so generous with their women toward foreigners.” “Many times,” wrote Polo, with a wink and a nudge, “a foreigner has wallowed in bed for three or four days with a poor sap’s wife.”

Macho Italian that he was, Polo completely misread the situation. He misinterpreted the women’s sexual availability as a commodity controlled by the men, when in fact, the most striking feature of the Mosuo system is the fiercely defended sexual autonomy of all adults, women as well as men.

The Mosuo refer to their arrangement as sese, meaning “walking.” True to form, most anthropologists miss the point by referring to the Mosuo system as “walking marriage,” and including the Mosuo on their all-encompassing lists of cultures that practice “marriage.” The Mosuo themselves disagree with this depiction of their system. “By any stretch of the imagination, sese are not marriages,” says Yang Erche Namu, a Mosuo woman who published a memoir about her childhood along the shores of Mother Lake. “All sese are of the visiting kind, and none involves the exchange of vows, property, the care of children, or expectations of fidelity.” The Mosuo language has no word for husband or wife, preferring the word azhu, meaning “friend.”

The Mosuo are a matrilineal, agricultural people, passing property and family name from mother to daughter(s), so the household revolves around the women. When a girl reaches maturity at about thirteen or fourteen, she receives her own bedroom that opens both to the inner courtyard of the house and to the street through a private door. A Mosuo girl has complete autonomy as to who steps through this private door into her babahuago (flower room). The only strict rule is that her guest must be gone by sunrise. She can have a different lover the following night—or later that same night—if she chooses. There is no expectation of commitment, and any child she conceives is raised in her mother’s house, with the help of the girl’s brothers and the rest of the community.

Recalling her childhood, Yang Erche Namu echoes Malidoma Patrice Somé’s description of his African childhood, explaining, “We children could roam at our own will and visit from house to house and village to village without our mothers’ ever fearing for our safety. Every adult was responsible for every child, and every child in turn was respectful of every adult.

Among the Mosuo, a man’s sisters’ children are considered his paternal responsibility—not those who may (or may not) be the fruit of his own nocturnal visits to various flower rooms. Here we see another society in which male parental investment is unrelated to biological paternity. In the Mosuo language, the word Awu translates to both father and uncle. “In place of one father, Mosuo children have many uncles who take care of them. In a way,” writes Yang Erche Namu, “we also have many mothers, because we call our aunts by the name azhe Ami, which means ‘little mother.’

In a twist that should send many mainstream theorists into a tailspin, sexual relations are kept strictly separate from Mosuo family relations. At night, Mosuo men are expected to sleep with their lovers. If not, they sleep in one of the outer buildings, never in the main house with their sisters. Custom prohibits any talk of love or romantic relationships in the family home. Complete discretion is expected from everyone. While both men and women are free to do as they will, they’re expected to respect one another’s privacy. There’s no kissing and telling at Lugu Lake.

The mechanics of the açia relationships, as they are referred to by Mosuo, are characterized by a sacred regard for each individual’s autonomy—whether man or woman. Cai Hua, a Chinese anthropologist and author of A Society without Fathers or Husbands, explains, “Not only do men and women have the freedom to foster as many açia relationships as they want and to end them as they please, but each person can have simultaneous relationships with several açia, whether it be during one night or over a longer period.” These relationships are discontinuous, lasting only as long as the two people are in each other’s presence. “Each visitor’s departure from the woman’s home is taken to be the end of their açia relationship,” according to Cai Hua. “There is no concept of açia that applies to the future. The açia relationship … only exists instantaneously and retrospectively,” although a couple may repeat their visits as often as they wish.

Particularly libidinous Mosuo women and men unashamedly report having had hundreds of relationships. Shame, from their perspective, would be the proper response to promises of or demands for fidelity. A vow of fidelity would be considered inappropriate—an attempt at negotiation or exchange. Openly expressed jealousy, for the Mosuo, is considered aggressive in its implied intrusion upon the sacred autonomy of another person, and is thus met with ridicule and shame.

Sadly, hostility toward this free expression of female sexual autonomy is not limited to narrow-minded anthropologists and thirteenth-century Italian explorers. Although the Mosuo have no history of trying to export their system or convincing anyone else of the superiority of their approach to love and sex,  they have long suffered outside pressure to abandon their traditional beliefs, which outsiders seem to find threatening.

Once the Chinese established full control of the area in 1956, government officials began making annual visits to lecture the people on the dangers of sexual freedom and convince them to switch to “normal” marriage. In a bit of dubious publicity reminiscent of Reefer Madness, Chinese government officials showed up one year with a portable generator and a film showing “actors dressed as Mosuo … who were in the last stages of syphilis, who had gone mad and lost most of their faces.” The audience response was not what the Chinese officials expected: their makeshift cinema was burned to the ground. But the officials didn’t give up. Yang Erche Namu recalls “meetings night after night where they harangued and criticized and interrogated…. [The Chinese officials] ambushed men on their way to their lovers’ houses, they dragged couples out of their beds and exposed people naked to their own relatives’ eyes.”

When even these heavy-handed tactics failed to convince the Mosuo to abandon their system, government officials insisted on bringing (if not demonstrating) “decency” to the Mosuo. They cut off essential deliveries of seed grain and children’s clothing. Finally, literally starved into submission, many Mosuo agreed to participate in government-sponsored marriage ceremonies, where each was given “a cup of tea, a cigarette, pieces of candy, and a paper certificate.”

But the arm-twisting had little lasting effect. Travel writer Cynthia Barnes visited Lugu Lake in 2006 and found the Mosuo system still intact, though under pressure from Chinese tourists who, like Marco Polo 750 years earlier, mistake the sexual autonomy of Mosuo women for licentiousness. “Although their lack of coyness draws the world’s attention to the Mosuo,” Barnes writes, “sex is not the center of their universe.” She continues:

I think of my parents’ bitter divorce, of childhood friends uprooted and destroyed because Mommy or Daddy decided to sleep with someone else. Lugu Lake, I think, is not so much a kingdom of women as a kingdom of family—albeit one blessedly free of politicians and preachers extolling “family values.” There’s no such thing as a “broken home,” no sociologists wringing their hands over “single mothers,” no economic devastation or shame and stigma when parents part. Sassy and confident, [a Mosuo girl will] grow up cherished in a circle of male and female relatives…. When she joins the dances and invites a boy into her flower room, it will be for love, or lust, or whatever people call it when they are operating on hormones and heavy breathing. She will not need that boy—or any other—to have a home, to make a “family.” She already knows that she will always have both.

The Mosuo approach to love and sex may well finally be destroyed by the hordes of Han Chinese tourists who threaten to turn Lugu Lake into a theme-park version of Mosuo culture. But the Mosuo’s persistence in the face of decades—if not centuries—of extreme pressure to conform to what many scientists still insist is human nature stands as a proud, undeniable counter-example to the standard narrative.

From Christopher Ryan’s & Cacilda Jethà’s Sex at Dawn. To know that such a truly love-oriented, feminist society is so strongly threatened by outside influences really breaks my heart. I want to find out more about the Mosuo people.  

If you blame Native American communities for their poverty, remember that the entire continent was stolen from them.
If you blame Black American communities for their relative poverty, remember that Black Americans were stolen from a continent, trafficked, and enslaved for nearly 300 years.
Tell me again about how your family ‘started from nothing’ when they immigrated. Didn’t they start from whiteness? Seems like a pretty good start.
The American Dream required dual genocides, but tell me again about fairness and equal opportunity. Tell me about democracy, modeled after the Iroquois Confederacy. Tell me your proud heritage, and I will show you the violence that made it so.
(via nativnuance)

(Source: until-i-can-be-quiet)

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