I just watched this 2003 TED Talk video lecture by Wade Davis, the pioneering ethnobotanist and anthropologist who has lived with an amazing array of indigenous cultures around the world. Of course, Davis is best known for his studies of ritual use of psychedelics and also the zombification practices among Vodoun acolytes in Haiti. I've found Davis's work to be personally inspirational, provocative, and mind-expanding. This TED Talk, titled "Cultures At The Far Edge of the World" is no exception. In it, he tells an amazing story about an wonderfully resourceful Inuit elder. Davis retold the same story in a recent Discover magazine interview, but I highly recommend the TED video too because it features many his breathtaking photographs. From Discover:
Davis: The Inuit didn’t fear the cold; they took advantage of it. During the 1950s the Canadian government forced the Inuit into settlements. A family from Arctic Bay told me this fantastic story of their grandfather who refused to go. The family, fearful for his life, took away all of his tools and all of his implements, thinking that would force him into the settlement. But instead, he just slipped out of an igloo on a cold Arctic night, pulled down his caribou and sealskin trousers, and defecated into his hand. As the feces began to freeze, he shaped it into the form of an implement. And when the blade started to take shape, he put a spray of saliva along the leading edge to sharpen it. That’s when what they call the “shit knife” took form. He used it to butcher a dog. Skinned the dog with it. Improvised a sled with the dog’s rib cage, and then, using the skin, he harnessed up an adjacent living dog. He put the shit knife in his belt and disappeared into the night.
Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters’ new book, sounds like a demented must-have: It “serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would […]
Chamber’s second novel, A Closed and Common Orbit, in her Wayfarer series is so wonderful I cried several times. A Closed and Common Orbit picks up immediately after Chambers’ first story, Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet concludes but is barely an extension of that tale, beyond further expanding on Chambers’ wonderful universe. […]
Remember when the default state of your online presence was anonymity? That’s not so clear-cut anymore, and the worst part is you may not even know who is using your data or what they’re using it for. Small wonder that so many people are choosing to surf through virtual private networks. VPNs filter web access […]
Get ready for the stream of your dreams, binge-watchers. There’s a contest afoot, and at stake is a lifetime subscription to Netflix. All you have to do is sign up, and you’re entered to win this ultimate Netflix plan. When does it expire? Only when you do. And hey, just in case you need something […]
There’s overwhelming support for clean energy, and the planet is giving us more reasons to invest in renewable power sources with every passing year. Even in the most inhospitable areas, wind and solar can provide a good chunk of our power, if not all of it. So why aren’t we all taking advantage of it? […]