Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Culture and Language

Part 1:
                I found this experiment to be very difficult.  I enjoy talking to people and sharing my thoughts.  At first when reading the guidelines I was really excited that I could still use ASL until I saw that guideline.  It made it very difficult for me to get across what I was trying to say to the other person, not to mention very difficult not to speak at all.
                My partner in this communication session seemed very confused at first.  I didn’t fill her in on what I was going to do so that her reaction wouldn’t be biased.  She kept repeating herself at first, thinking that maybe I didn’t understand her, and then she started to use more hand gestures when she was talking to me.  I assume that this is in an attempt to essentially use the same language as me.
                I don’t really think that either one of us had an advantage in the discussion.  At first examination I felt that I did because at least I could understand what she was saying whereas she could not understand me.  Then I started thinking back to the conversation and realizing that really I did not have an advantage, after all I was the one that was struggling to communicate properly and make her understand me.  If we were different cultures trying to communicate for the first time then it would still be the same, neither of us would have an advantage.  The best we could do is use those hand gestures that hopefully we both can understand.  Within our own culture deaf people have trouble communicating with spoken language, and they have the same problems that I was having.  Most of them are also unable to speak and therefore they’re trying to communicate with us using nothing but symbols and pointing at what they want, while for the most part as long as we’re speaking normally they can read our lips so they know what we are saying.

Part 2:
                I barely lasted a minute using nothing but speech to communicate.  Not using hand gestures was easy, granted I had to sit on my hands, but that was the easiest thing to keep myself from doing.  Not moving my head was somewhat easy, I only caught myself doing it 2 or 3 times during the 15 minute conversation.  The hard part for me was not to change my tone of voice.  I hate it when people speak in monotones, even if it’s only for one sentence, and my voice is extremely animated.  I couldn’t figure out how to not use the tone or volume of my voice as a form of communication.
                The person that I was communicating with kept trying to get out of the conversation.  She didn’t want to talk to me because I showed no emotion what so ever.  Head movements, hands, and tone of voice all can portray what you mean.  Saying that you’re happy for someone or sorry for them doesn’t come across as being true when you say it as if you’re a robot.  Because of this she didn’t really want to keep the conversation rolling but rather kept trying to find ways out of it.
                As I just said, non-verbal communication in a spoken language is extremely important.  In my opinion it actually makes up at least half of our communication.  People read body language as a way to judge what the person really means by what they’re saying, or if they even mean it at all.  Tone of voice completely tells others what we’re feeling; it can communicate anger, fear, stress, joy, excitement, as well as any other emotion that we are feeling.  Without those we lose an enormous part of our language and our communication.
                There are indeed people who have trouble reading body language; they are around us every day.  There are also experts that can see that split second of emotion even if we’re trying to hide it.  The people that can’t understand non-verbal communication have a lot of trouble in social settings.  They often don’t get jokes, sarcasm; they don’t understand when they are pushing boundaries, or making people angry.  I honestly can’t think of a way for it to be a good thing to not be able to read body language.  In every profession and every situation it seems to be a good thing.  Even if you’re on a deserted island it’s still not bad to be able to understand body language.  It’s never going to hurt to be able to read non-verbal cues; it might not always help though.

Part 3:
                The experiment in part 1 definitely would have been easier if we were allowed to use written communication.  Especially at our age we use written language every day with texting each other.  I could have easily written down what I wanted to say, and then I still had non-verbal language to work with so that all together it could have been combined to communicate effectively.
                Written language has a great deal of advantages to a culture.  First off it means that you are able to communicate over farther distances.  You can write down our stories that have always been passed down through oral tradition.  You’re able to write down different medicines and treatments, symptoms of diseases and such.  Once a culture develops written language, they can truly begin to thrive and they have a better chance of survival.
                Written language has had an enormous impact on globalization.  It has given us an easy way to spread our ideology and our histories.  We’ve been able to learn so much about other cultures through their books of mythology, medicine, and history.  And once we know about other cultures we can start to interact with them better and then join them in business.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zulus and Andean Indians

 Lets approach the Zulus first

1. The Zulu people live in the Natal Province of South Africa a fairly harsh climate with an average  temperature of 16-33 C with only 464mm per year which falls below the world wide average, a whopping 320 sunny days a year.  the weather is generally sunny and hot with thunderstorms that often clear quickly and there is not too much variation in seasons. over all South Africa is cooler than other countries in similar latitudes due to its higher elevation. The weather can be inhospitable if one is in a drought and has little access to water, a good rule of thumb is you can survive three weeks with out food and three days without water. 
2. a physical adaptation they do have would be cause by the latitude in which they live, due the the high amounts of UV radiation their skin reacts accordingly so and produces eumelanin. This in turn makes their skin darker and help protect them from UV damage but also protects from folic acid damage which can cause neural defects in children and also effects fertility, both of which can decimate a population.    
3. The Zulu live in a very hostile environment and one which has seen much turmoil and people killing indiscriminately. In order to adapt to this they have formed a very tight nite clan which is basically an extended family that can help protect the members. Having this clan set up also allows the members to divide task to make them simpler on everyone.  
4. Race: I'm not entirely sure what you want from this, they are south Africans so i guess they remind me of Africans

Andean Indian time
 1. This includes the indigenous people of the Andes mountains in South America. a fairly harsh climate which can range from tropical to Sub arctic tundras. the temperature can vary from freeze cold to rainforest humidity and temperature, although less people live in the southern regions. Due the high humidity which makes sweat evaporation impossible, which is our main way to thermoregulate we can easily over heat and suffer heat stroke and become dehydrated, humidity can also make simple infections horrendous such as something GIs are pretty fond of, trenchfoot. The bitter cold also makes for a hard time, we need just as much water in the cold as we do in the hot but we often neglect that. Frost bite and hypothermia are also pretty common in weather like that where weather turns on a dime.
2. There are plenty of neat adaptions including changes in hair follicles but the one i find interesting is RBC in a total CBC. The higher elevation wreaks havoc on your body, altitude sickness besides beating the worst hang over in your life could potentially kill. in order to combat this these people have developed a higher red blood cell count compared to someone of a lower elevation. This isn't a totally unique adaption  it's share with virtually all mountain people but its fairly intriguing how fast it can change. if the people were to return to a lower elevation their RBC would drop. This higher RBC helps their body deal with the lack of oxygen and helps their bodies adapt, along with blood cells that dilate which is the hunters reflex and anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors with wet hands can develop.
3. The andean's   cultural adaptation would most likely be the fact they will farm to survive. instead of either trading or foraging they choose crops that are important to their lifestyles, potatoes are a huge one and also come from this area. they do well in the colder climates and a big food staple. in the colder climates in can be all they survive one. the warmer climates have it much easier when it comes to farming and they often do slash and burn farming methods. 
4. The race they would remind me of would be  Sherpas because of their hard lifestyle and adaptations the cold and high altitude. 

Summary-    Well i think outward appearance doesn't count for much there are not real bounties on the people they describe. Ill always tend to side with adaptation to describe a population simply because it makes more sense to me. a population is a select group of people and and they can look different. My family is Lakota, part of the Sioux nation, which I'm a little disappointed it wasn't a choice for the project. By the outward looks most people would most likely classify me as a tan white boy.  

1. ;
2. Human Genetics two semesters ago

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 Words Describing the Nacirema, Assignment 1 Part A and B

The Nacerima people are disillusioned in some of their beliefs, though that is not to say that their beliefs are wrong.  I simply say disillusioned due to their yearly mouth ritual where they go to the holy-mouth-man.  He’ll take out the decaying bits of tooth and fill them with magic substances, and if no decay is found then he puts holes in healthy teeth.  This is all in the hope to stop decay from occurring, and yet it still occurs, and the people still believe that he helps them and their mouths.  If it weren’t for the drilling holes in healthy teeth, then perhaps I would simply say slightly misguided.
They do not partake in daily rituals with other people but rather spend time in the shrine on their own with no one around them.  They also only perform bodily functions such as excretions in that room with no one around to witness in any way, not that our culture is any more open on this front.  They also don’t share their body with people, and they are even very confined when it comes to intercourse, having to schedule times to perform the act and limiting it to certain times of the month so as to avoid pregnancy.
Many of their sacred rites involve hurting the body in some way.  Even the holy men inflict pain and do so with sadist qualities.  Each and every day the people of this culture perform daily body rituals.  For the men this “includes scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument.”    The author goes on to describe the less frequent women’s rituals as far more barbaric as they “bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour.”
The Nacirema go through daily rituals, as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly rituals because it is a part of their religion.  They believe whole heartedly that the magical concoctions will be able to help them with whatever ails them and that the medicine men will be able to make them better.  They are very intent on passing on their beliefs to their young ones and they go out of their way to mak,e sure that they can give it the reverence it deserves.  For example, the poor people try their hardest to make their shrines imitate those of the rich, something made of stone that is sturdy and able to withstand anything, even if their house is little more than a tiny hut.
The Nacirema people can be seen as being extremely hopeful, especially when looking at their practice of going to the temple for healing.  As the children put it the temple is where people go to die.  While there you are naked, which to them with their private culture this is a very vulnerable state to be in, lying on a bed in pain from the ablutions.  The ablutions can range from the rites from the holy-mouth-men to insertion of magic wands or needles.  “The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.”  No matter what they stay hopeful that they may be cured by the medicine-man.

Part B
1.  Well as an American I feel pretty bad to be honest. I was looking at this culture so harshly and basically laughed off their what I was viewing as silly rituals. It's pretty sad to look at but at the same time i can see the connections now, how we treat our bathrooms and our hospitals. I know it is totally hindsight bias but it's pretty clear now. Even living with my girlfriend we never spend our "rituals" together usually i go do my stuff privately before she does then we shoot off to work.

2.  Well a lot of my words were picked after my own  cultural bias, mentioning that they were disillusioned about how they put such blind faith was pretty much looking at myself how I would never put a "magical substance" into my healthy teeth. I was raised in a very open household so the privacy is not something I am to familiar  with so it was pretty foreign to see how we ourselves act. i suppose the only thing I said that was not bias would be devout because well they are and take so much pride in their bathroom shines.

3.  I suppose the only word that could become unbiased would be masochistic could be changed to committed.

4. Well obviously bias is bad in regards to any form of study. It  can easily corrupt what ever findings you have. If we can get past the bias we can actually look at the culture for what is it not what it is compared to us and begin to understand who we really are and who they really are as a people and what similarities and differences our cultures have rather that whats their culture lacks that our stunning example of a culture has.  An anthropologist is a professional at what they do so possibly they could remove some of their bias towards the culture and just open their mind to their research.