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.
In Artificial Condition, Martha Well’s soap opera loving rogue security AI remains cantankerous and awesome. Murderbot is an AI security robot with a busted autonomy regulator. So long as they can keep the regulator a secret, they can remain fully aware and independent. Mostly they want to watch soap operas. Soap operas and to be […]
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. […]
Whether you love cooking at home or you swore this was going to be the year you curbed your DoorDash addiction, you know you can’t get the job done well without the proper tools on hand. For all your recipe and meal prep needs, this 3-piece Sukasu Osami Chef’s Knife set will do you right […]
It may not rank up there with climate change or personal debt, but confess…isn’t it the worst when you’re trying to put a food container in the fridge, but can’t find the right lid to fit? Hey, not everything has to be a global crisis to be irritating to the core. But still…it’s even more […]
Assembling a truly autonomous smart home is getting closer and closer to reality every day. But for every new smart bulb, thermostat, home security system and appliance we set loose within our walls, there are still probably a half dozen “dumb” items we’d still love to replace. But whether they’re too costly or too big […]