Keep Your Mouth Shut


Silence by Alberto Ortiz

When I was about 13 years old, I accompanied a friend to one of her friends’ house. I did not know that girl because my friend and I attended different schools, so her social circles where different.

The television was on in the house and the girl’s aunt was watching television.

A bad publicity for an equally bad sounding country music album came on. I was about to say “what terrible music, and that lady is wearing a denim shirt with jeans! How awful!”.

Right before I spoke, my friend’s friend said “look that’s my aunt! It’s her new album!”.

That day I learned of the importance of shutting up. Especially when all I have to say is mean.

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Why I Am Dumping My Cell Phone

Can You Hear Me Now? by Jean-François Chénie

In three weeks my cell phone contract comes to an end. I will not be renewing it.

When I signed up for a contract three years ago, it was mainly to be able to talk to my husband. He was living in Mexico and having a smart phone allowed me to use Viber or Skype anywhere, anytime.

I purchased an iPhone for 49$. It wasn’t the latest model. I couldn’t have cared less. My contract included 200 minutes a month, 1 Go of data, a voicemail and a few other features. I never used more than half those minutes and data. I rarely listen to my messages and simply call people back. Furthermore, I generally text instead of calling. My phone is most useful to listen to music, take photos and check emails.

And recently, my phone and I have been developing a love/hate relationship.

Continue Reading!

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You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Drenched in Water

A Glass of Water Falls on my Laptop

A Glass of Water Falls on my Laptop

Last Wednesday I spilled water on my new laptop computer.

It was a bizarre accident.

I never keep my beverages too close to it. I never let anyone pass near it with liquids in their hands. I barely allow anyone to set eyes on it while they are drinking. I have heard too many stories of students finishing a paper and dropping their coffee mug on their computer to take my chances. And when shopping for a computer, the first thing I look for is an all-risks warrantee.

But last Thursday, I left an half-empty class next to my laptop and started moving things around me. I hit the glass, most of the water fell to the floor, and just enough of it touched the keyboard of my computer to make it seem like it had been drenched as I hastily turned it off and put it upside down. The drops that fell out the computer reminded me of waterfalls.

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Some Videos That Make Me Happy

1. I love science-fiction, cute robots and musicals. I’ve seen Hello Dolly countless times. So you won’t be surprised by the intro video! Pixar movies never fail to deliver (except maybe for Cars…)
2. Even if most of the time their stories seem a bit ridiculous, Bollywood movies look amazing and have the best soundtracks. If the images annoy you, look at something else and put up the volume!
3. Star Trek, Jean-Luc Picard and a song. This video has it all.
4. And finally, and certainly not least, are the Studio Ghibli movies. Simply amazing! I can’t pick a favorite.

Watch the videos here!

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Making a Masterpiece With Rags

The creativity people demonstrate by using technology to communicate, share and put their spin on trending trolls, songs, videos and such, is amazing. What’s even more impressive to me is how people use technology to take what they like and make it their own and, sometimes, much better than the original.

The following video is an example of this. I hate some of the song used in this popular music mash, but the result is amazing!

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The Blogosphere: building communities

School of FIsh by Alexandru Stoian

So many fish in the (blogging) sea

A post by greyfluff made me think of this last week. Go check out her brand new blog!

When I started blogging over at The Geek Anthropologist in September 2012, I surveyed the Internet for other anthropology blogs and blogs about geek culture. I wanted to:

  • Make sure the name I wanted for my blog was not taken;
  • Know what was already in the blogosphere about the anthropology of geekdom;
  • Find out how much anthropologists were active online;
  • Connect with other geek anthropologists.

As it turns out, there are several great anthropology blogs, such as Savage Minds, Pop Anth and the AAA blog. I found a few relevant blogs related to geek culture and anthropology, but some of these were no man’s lands that had been abandoned for years.

I also realised that there are a lot of fish in the sea, maybe even too many. That is blogs about other topics. And so many blogs were actual dead carcasses, having been abandoned by their owner for years, sometimes after just one post was published. Others blogs simply shared news and information that can be found anywhere else.

Continue Reading!

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How scientific training ruined non-scientific publications (for me)

Books by az

I find it hard nowadays to enjoy non-fiction publications that are written by authors who are not scientists.

More precisely, I get a little furious every time an author talks about a study, a survey or any type of data without providing a reference.

In scientific publications, authors generally, if not always, provide a reference to the source of the data they mention in the very sentence in which they make a mention of it. Should the reader wish to learn more about the data, how it was obtained and what conclusions it led to, it is easy to do so. The reference, which often follows the (author year : page #) format, guides the reader in the bibliography. In this golden mine of information, one can also discover more relevant literature on the topic, and select further reading material to feed his or hers insatiable thirst for knowledge.

After years of training in anthropology, I may not consider myself half the academic I want to become, but good old scientific standards have gained a special place in my heart. They are rather attractive to anyone with slight OCD tendencies.

Sadly, however, non-fiction writers too often neglect not only to provide clear references to the research they mention, but also to include a bibliography in their book itself. So when they write, for instance, that ”according to a survey, 20% of people sleep well at night”, I cannot help but ask myself these questions:

  • Who conducted the survey in question?
  • How many people took part in the survey?
  • Where and when did the survey take place?
  • Was the research methodology sound?
  • To what extent can the results be considered valid?
  • Does that research even exist, if the author can’t bother to give me the title of a paper?

What am I supposed to do? Have blind faith in people’s honesty?

I don’t think so.

Still, the non-fiction book I am reading right now is pretty great.

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French, Spanish, English and a Soupçon of Japanese

Language Scramble by Eric Andresen

Language Scramble by Eric Andresen

Yesterday I opened a notebook at a random page and found a chart my husband had written years ago.

The chart is titled ”Who Spoke English?” and has our initials place on top of two columns. Our intention must have been to keep track of our progress through the week, but it seems that we couldn’t keep up with our resolution to use the chart for more than two days.

It wasn’t a first, either.

When we met in Japan in February 2008, my husband and I had to speak English to understand each other. He had studied French a little but didn’t speak it at all. I had studied Spanish for three years in High School and had spent a month and a half in Nicaragua. And yet I could not manage learning Japanese, speaking French with my friends from France and Quebec, talking in English with most international students all while trying to remember Spanish. Not to mention that all my friends who spoke Spanish did so in different accents. Needless to say my brain was overwhelmed. Whenever I tried to speak Japanese, Spanish words would come to my mind.

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Because Some People Read That Sort of Thing

Miss Anny Ahlers Blogging, after de László, by Mike Licht

Miss Anny Ahlers Blogging, after de László, by Mike Licht

After about two years of blogging over at The Geek Anthropologist (TGA), I have decided to create a blog where I can write in a more personal voice and about everything else than geek culture and anthropology.

I had thought about creating such a blog a while back but felt that it would be too much to manage, considering how much time and effort I had to put in my studies, TGA and other projects. But then I realized that when writing about my personnal life, inspiration is never hard to find and, most importantly, I don’t have to do hours of research as I do when I write about anthropology or geek culture.

So I will use this blog to write about my personal life, what goes on in the world, things I am interested in, and any other random topic.

Because I feel like it.

And because some people read that sort of thing.

I hope you will enjoy reading this blog and I encourage you to share your thoughts!

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