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AnthroCurrents – June 26, 2015

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media

  • Anthropologist Helen Fisher discusses the success of Tinder on StarTalk (Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show). I agree with her that Tinder is only a new interface for what many humans already do when they are looking for a mate, but we cannot say with any authority that “you court the way you did a million years ago.”
  • I an article regarding the recent earthquake in Sabah, Malaysia, The Star Online discusses the apparent link between natural disasters and supernatural thinking. The article actually reveals a “supernatural disaster:” compare the quote given by anthropologist Dr. Paul Porodong with the comments given by political scientist Dr. Andrew Aeria. The difference in our two disciplines is striking.
  • A Washington Post opinion piece uses evidence from anthropological research to support its argument that the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause should cover same-sex marriage. Because anthropologists have found an astonishing amount of variation in the institution of marriage worldwide (and found that “marriage” is an idea that changes over time), the authors believe that our Supreme Court Justices should not get hung up over the idea that they are redefining the word.
  • Anthropologist Brackette Williams’ research on the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners and their families is discussed in an article on KUER’s site.
  • Mimi Ito holds the brown paper bag parents may need to breathe into when seeing the New Yorker cover depicting a Minecraft playdate. “Screens” are the new enemy to many parents, but Ito says, “Minecraft is about constructing and problem solving.”

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