IN SPITE OF GREAT ADVANCES IN FORMAL METHOD IN SOCIAL SCIENCE, MUCH OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF PERSISTING AND GENERAL RELATIONSHIPS DEPENDS UPON A GRASP THAT IS TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF SOME FORMAL METHOD. IN ADVANCING SOCIAL SCIENCE, WE INVENT AND PRACTICE TECHNIQUE AND CULTIVATE A HUMANISTIC ART. (Robert Redfield)

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ADIVASI (Tribes of India) Ethnographic Films by SATHYA MOHAN PV

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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Known Universe

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Tsunamis

10 Things You Didn't Know About Tsunamis - Naked Science - National Geographic Channel. Ever since the tragedy on December 2004 when huge waves pummeled the coastline of the Indian Ocean, people have been left with three questions: how, why, and what can we do to prevent it from happening again. The first is simple enough. However, the other two require more thought and initiative. The reasons may never be fully understood, but as human beings we have the ability to minimize or possibly even prevent the loss of human life should this merciless disaster ever strike again. Naked Science investigate what exactly the governments of the world are doing to get warnings out to people within hours, days, possibly weeks before one happens again. Scientists worldwide are for the first time working together to develop an understanding of the circumstances that take place to create tsunamis and consider what it takes to prevent the loss of human life and property.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Secret Life of the Brain

by nosynasser
September 18, 2011

The Secret Life of the Brain, a David Grubin Production, reveals the fascinating processes involved in brain development across a lifetime.

The five-part series, informs viewers of exciting information in the brain sciences, introduces the foremost researchers in the field, and utilizes dynamic visual imagery and compelling human stories to help a general audience understand otherwise difficult scientific concepts.

A startling new map of the human brain has emerged during the past decade of neuroscience research, contradicting much of what was previously believed.

This series tells stories through a mix of personal histories, expert commentary, and animation.

1) The Baby’s Brain - Wider than the Sky

A baby’s brain is a mystery whose secrets scientists are just beginning to unravel. The mystery begins in the womb - only four weeks into gestation the first brain cells, the neurons, are already forming at an astonishing rate: 250,000 every minute.

2) The Child’s Brain - Syllable from Sound

A child’s brain is a magnificent engine for learning. A child learns to crawl, then walk, run and explore. A child learns to reason, to pay attention, to remember, but nowhere is learning more dramatic than in the way a child learns language. As children, we acquire language - the hallmark of being human.

3)The Teenage Brain - A World of Their Own

When examining the adolescent brain we find mystery, complexity, frustration, and inspiration. As the brain begins teeming with hormones, the prefrontal cortex, the center of reasoning and impulse control, is still a work in progress. For the first time, scientists can offer an explanation for what parents already know - adolescence is a time of roiling emotions, and poor judgment.

4)The Adult Brain - To Think by Feeling

The adult brain is the apotheosis of the human intellect, but what of emotion? The study of emotion was once relegated to the backwaters of neuroscience, a testament to the popular conception that what we feel exists outside our brains, acting only to intrude on normal thought. The science has changed: Emotion is now considered integral to our over-all mental health.

5)The Aging Brain - Through Many Lives

At the age of 95, Stanley Kunitz was named poet laureate of the United States. Still writing new poems, still reading to live audiences, he stands as an inspiring example of the brain’s ability to stay vital in the final years of our lives. The latest discoveries in neuroscience present a new view of how the brain ages. Overturning decades of dogma, scientists recently discovered that even into our seventies, our brains continue producing new neurons.
PART-1 The Baby’s Brain - Wider than the Sky
PART-2 The Child’s Brain - Syllable from Sound
PART-3 The Teenage Brain - A World of Their Own
PART-4 The Adult Brain - To Think by Feeling
PART-5 The Aging Brain - Through Many Lives

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Archons - Exorcising hidden controllers

Updated November 5, 2011
Press Release from Robert M. Stanley
Fellow Citizens of Earth,
It is time to expose the covert controllers of mankind. I assure you this is not speculation, a hoax, or the figment of peoples imagination. These parasitic creatures are real and they need to be dealt with immediately so mankind can evolve to the next level of existence.
Although these parasites are not human, they feed off the negative energy/emotions of humans. It is unclear when these cosmic, amoeba-like creatures first came to earth, but we know they were discovered by shamans in altered states of consciousness long ago and have recently been photographed. The reason everyone is not seeing them on a daily basis is because the creature's energy signature is beyond our normal, narrow range of vision within the electromagnetic spectrum. What scientist call "visible light."
Here are a series of authentic, infrared photographs and other images of these creatures:
 

 

 

 

NASA photo
NASA photo of the same object enlarged and enhanced.
These are not space craft: they are living creatures that the modern pioneers in this field of research (during the 1950s) termed "sky fish."
Coincidentally, in 1968, an episode of Star Trek (created by the alleged 33rd degree Mason Gene Roddenbbery) featured an enormous version of the exact same type of energy-hungry, ameoba-like creature described in this press release.
 
Mr. Spock is astonished by not only the size of this creature and how much energy it is consuming from its surrounding environment, including the Starship Enterprise and its crew, but it is about to give birth. As stated before, these are biological creatures. I think of them as organic capacitors that are constantly absorbing energy.
 
The image used here in Star Trek is just a microscopic amoeba that is color enhanced. But notice the incredible geometric similarity to a photo of a "sky fish" and the mouth-like feeding hole.
In fact, a large, dark, fat fish that could fly was the description used by Carlos Castenada when he was first taught how to see these covert creatures (see excerpt below) and informed that they are able to influence the mind's of humans. But there is more to this incredible story than meets the eye.
Ancient Gnostic texts from Egypt, called the Nag Hammadi, describe two types of demonic alien beings that invaded earth long ago which they call the Archons. The first type of Archon looks like a reptile. The other type looks like a human embryo... which has the same shape and appearance as the "sky fish" photos.
 
Also, in the conclusion of my new book "Covert Encounters in Washington, D.C.," I report in great detail how demonic, alien creatures are secretly manipulating the minds of politicians and other powerful people in Washington.
Unfortunately, I now see that the possession of people's mind is not limited to a select individuals in positions of power on this planet. If the revelations in the excerpted conversation below are accurate, everyone is potentially being mentally manipulated by these creatures.

Excerpted from "The Active Side of Infinity"
by Carlos Castenada
pg 217
Don Juan said, "This is the appropriate time of day for doing what I am asking you to do. It takes a moment to engage the necessary attention to do it. Don't stop until you catch that fleeting black shadow."
I did see some strange fleeting black shadow projected on the foliage of the trees. It was either a shadow going back and forth or various fleeting shadows moving side-to-side or straight up in the air. They looked lie fat black fish to me, enormous fish. It was as if gigantic swordfish were flying in the air. I was engrossed in the sight. Then, finally, it scared me. It became to dark to see the foliage, yet I could still see the fleeting black shadows.
"What is it, don Juan?" I asked.
"[Long ago, the native sorcerer/shamans of Mexico] discovered that we have a companion for life," he said, as clearly as he could. "We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos, and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile; helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so."
It was very dark around us, and that seemed to curtail any expression on my part. If it had been daylight, I would have laughed my head off. In the dark, I felt quite inhibited.
"It's pitch black around us," don Juan said, "but if you look out of the corner of your eye, you will still see fleeting shadows jumping all around you."
He was right. I could still see them. Their movement made me dizzy. Don Juan turned on the light, and that seemed to dissipate everything. Don Juan said, "You have arrived, by your effort alone, to what the shamans of ancient Mexico called the topic of topics. I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico."
Why has this predator taken over in the fashion that you're describing, don Juan?" I asked. "There must be a logical explanation."
"There is an explanation," don Juan replied, "which is the simplest explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, gallineros, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them."
I felt that my head was shaking violently from side to side. I could not express my profound sense of unease and discontentment, but my body moved to bring it to the surface. I shook from head to toe without any volition on my part. I heard myself saying, "No, no, no, no. This is absurd, don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers, or for average men, or for anyone."
"Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you?"
"Yes, it infuriates me," I retorted. "Those claims are monstrous!"
"Well," he said, "you haven't heard all the claims yet. Wait a bit longer and see how you feel. "I'm going to subject you to a blitz. That is, I'm going to subject your mind to tremendous onslaughts; and you cannot get up and leave because you're caught. Not because I'm holding you prisoner, but because something in you will prevent you from leaving while another part of you is going to go truthfully berserk. So brace yourself!"
There was something in me which I felt was a 'glutton for punishment'. He was right. I wouldn't have left the house for the world; and yet I didn't like one bit the inanities he was spouting. Don Juan said, "I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer, and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs; or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs; our ideas of good and evil; our social mores. The predators are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations, and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal."
"But how can they do this, don Juan?" I asked, somehow angered further by what he was saying. "Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?"
"No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. "In order to keep us obedient, meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver- stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist; a horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, and filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.
"I know that even though you have never suffered hunger," he went on, "you have food anxiety which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be uncovered, and its food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which after all is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. The predators ensure in this manner a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear."
"It's not that I can't accept all this at face value, don Juan," I said. "I could, but there's something so odious about it that it actually repels me. It forces me to take a contradictory stand. "If it's true that they eat us, how do they do it?"
Don Juan had a broad smile on his face. He was as pleased as punch. He explained that sorcerers see infant human beings as strange, luminous balls of energy covered from the top to the bottom with a glowing coat something like a plastic cover that is adjusted tightly over their cocoon of energy. He said that that glowing coat of awareness was what the predators consumed, and that when a human being reached adulthood, all that was left of that glowing coat of awareness was a narrow fringe that went from the ground to the top of the toes. That fringe permitted mankind to continue living, but only barely. As if I were in a dream, I heard don Juan explaining that, to his knowledge, man was the only species that had the glowing coat of awareness outside that luminous cocoon. Therefore, he became easy prey for an awareness of a different order; such as the heavy awareness of the predator.
He then made the most damaging statement he had made so far. He said that this narrow fringe of awareness was the epicenter of self-reflection where man was irremediably caught. By playing on our self-reflection, which is the only point of awareness left to us, the predators create flares of awareness that they proceed to consume in a ruthless, predatory fashion. They give us inane problems that force those flares of awareness to rise, and in this manner they keep us alive in order for them to be fed with the energetic flare of our pseudo-concerns. There must have been something in what don Juan was saying which was so devastating to me that at that point I actually got sick to my stomach.
After a moment's pause long enough for me to recover, I asked don Juan, "But why is it that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico and all sorcerers today, although they see the predators, don't do anything about it?"
"There's nothing that you and I can do about it," don Juan said in a grave, sad voice. "All we can do is discipline ourselves to the point where they will not touch us.
"How can you ask your fellow men to go through those rigors of discipline? They'll laugh and make fun of you; and the more aggressive ones will beat the shit out of you... and not so much because they don't believe it. Down in the depths of every human being, there is an ancestral, visceral knowledge about the predators' existence."
My analytical mind swung back and forth like a yo-yo. It left me and came back, and left me and came back again. Whatever don Juan was proposing was preposterous, incredible. At the same time, it was a most reasonable thing; so simple. It explained every kind of human contradiction I could think of. But how could one have taken all this seriously?
Don Juan was pushing me into the path of an avalanche that would take me down forever. I felt another wave of a threatening sensation. The wave didn't stem from me, yet it was attached to me. Don Juan was doing something to me, mysteriously positive and terribly negative at the same time. I sensed it as an attempt to cut a thin film that seemed to be glued to me. His eyes were fixed on mine in an unblinking stare. He moved his eyes away, and began to talk without looking at me anymore.
"Whenever doubts plague you to a dangerous point," he said, "do something pragmatic about it. Turn off the light. Pierce the darkness; find out what you can see." He got up to turn off the lights. I stopped him. "No, no, don Juan," I said, "don't turn off the lights. I'm doing okay."
What I felt then was a most unusual, for me, fear of the darkness. The mere thought of it made me pant. I definitely knew something viscerally, but I wouldn't dare touch it, or bring it to the surface, not in a million years!
"You saw the fleeting shadows against the trees," don Juan said, sitting back against his chair. "That's pretty good. I'd like you to see them inside this room. You're not seeing anything. You're just merely catching fleeting images. You have enough energy for that."
I feared that don Juan would get up anyway and turn off the lights, which he did. Two seconds later, I was screaming my head off. Not only did I catch a glimpse of those fleeting images, I heard them buzzing by my ears. Don Juan doubled up with laughter as he turned on the lights.
"What a temperamental fellow!" he said. "A total disbeliever, on the one hand; and a total pragmatist on the other. You must arrange this internal fight, otherwise you're going to swell up like a big toad and burst."
Don Juan kept on pushing his barb deeper and deeper into me. "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico," he said, "saw the predator. They called it the flyer because it leaps through the air. It is not a pretty sight. It is a big shadow, impenetrably dark, a black shadow that jumps through the air. Then, it lands flat on the ground.
"The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when it made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights and feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man."
I wanted to get angry and call him a paranoiac, but somehow the righteousness that was usually just underneath the surface of my being wasn't there. Something in me was beyond the point of asking myself my favorite question: What if all that he said is true? At the moment he was talking to me that night, in my heart of hearts, I felt that all of what he was saying was true, but at the same time and with equal force, I felt that all that he was saying was absurdity itself.
"What are you saying, don Juan?" I asked feebly. My throat was constricted. I could hardly breathe.
"What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat. There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic."
Don Juan's words were eliciting a strange, bodily reaction in me comparable to the sensation of nausea. It was as if I were going to get sick to my stomach again. But the nausea was coming from the bottom of my being, from the marrow of my bones. I convulsed involuntarily. Don Juan shook me by the shoulders forcefully. I felt my neck wobbling back and forth under the impact of his grip. The maneuver calmed me down at once. I felt more in control.
"This predator," don Juan said, "which, of course, is an inorganic being, is not altogether invisible to us as other inorganic beings are. I think as children we do see it, but we decide it's so horrific that we don't want to think about it. Children, of course, could insist on focusing on the sight, but everybody else around them dissuades them from doing so. The only alternative left for mankind is discipline. Discipline is the only deterrent. But by discipline I don't mean harsh routines. I don't mean waking up every morning at five-thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until you're blue. Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations. For sorcerers, discipline is an art; the art of facing infinity without flinching; not because they are strong and tough, but because they are filled with awe."
"In what way would the sorcerers' discipline be a deterrent to the flyers?" I asked.
Don Juan scrutinized my face as if to discover any signs of my disbelief. He said,"Sorcerers say that discipline makes the glowing coat of awareness unpalatable to the flyer. The result is that the predators become bewildered. An inedible glowing coat of awareness is not part of their cognition, I suppose. After being bewildered, they don't have any recourse other than refraining from continuing their nefarious task. If the predators don't eat our glowing coat of awareness for a while, it will keep on growing.
"Simplifying this matter to the extreme, I can say that sorcerers, by means of their discipline, push the predators away long enough to allow their glowing coat of awareness to grow beyond the level of the toes. Once it goes beyond the level of the toes, it grows back to its natural size. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico used to say that the glowing coat of awareness is like a tree. If it is not pruned, it grows to its natural size and volume. As awareness reaches levels higher than the toes, tremendous maneuvers of perception become a matter of course.
"The grand trick of those sorcerers of ancient times was to burden the flyers' mind with discipline. Sorcerers found out that if they taxed the flyers' mind with inner silence, the foreign installation would flee, and give any one of the practitioners involved in this maneuver the total certainty of the mind's foreign origin. The [alien mind control of these creatures] comes back, I assure you, but not as strong; and a process begins in which the fleeing of the flyers' mind becomes routine until one day it flees permanently.
"That's the day when you have to rely on your own devices which are nearly zero. A sad day indeed! There's no one to tell you what to do. There's no mind of foreign origin to dictate the imbecilities you're accustomed to. My teacher, the nagual Julian, used to warn all his disciples that this was the toughest day in a sorcerer's life for the real mind that belongs to us. The sum total of our experience after a lifetime of domination has been rendered shy, insecure, and shifty. Personally, I would say that the real battle of sorcerers begins at that moment. The rest is merely preparation."
I became genuinely agitated. I wanted to know more, and yet a strange feeling in me clamored for me to stop. It alluded to dark results and punishment, something like the wrath of God descending on me for tampering with something veiled by God himself. I made a supreme effort to allow my curiosity to win. I heard myself say, "What-what-what do you mean, by taxing the flyers' mind?"
"Discipline taxes the foreign mind no end," he replied. "So, through their discipline, sorcerers vanquish the foreign installation."
I was overwhelmed by his statements. I believed that don Juan was either certifiably insane or that he was telling me something so awesome that it froze everything in me. I noticed, however how quickly I rallied my energy to deny everything he had said. After an instant of panic, I began to laugh, as if don Juan had told me a joke. I even heard myself saying, "Don Juan, don Juan, you're incorrigible!"
Don Juan seemed to understand everything I was experiencing. He shook his head from side to side, and raised his eyes to the heavens in a gesture of mock despair. He said, "I am so incorrigible, that I am going to give the flyers' mind which you carry inside you one more jolt. I am going to reveal to you one of the most extraordinary secrets of sorcery. I am going to describe to you a finding that took sorcerers thousands of years to verify and consolidate."
He looked at me, smiled maliciously, and said, "The flyers' mind flees forever when a sorcerer succeeds in grabbing on to the vibrating force that holds us together as a conglomerate of energy fields. If a sorcerer maintains that pressure long enough, the flyers' mind flees in defeat. And that's exactly what you are going to do; hold on to the energy that binds you together."
I had the most inexplicable reaction I could have imagined. Something in me actually shook, as if it had received a jolt. I entered into a state of unwarranted fear, which I immediately associated with my religious background.
Don Juan looked at me from head to toe. "You are fearing the wrath of God, aren't you?" he said. "Rest assured, that's not your fear. It's the flyers' fear, because it knows that you will do exactly as I'm telling you."
His words did not calm me at all. I felt worse. I was actually convulsing involuntarily, and I had no means to stop it.
"Don't worry," don Juan said calmly. "I know for a fact that those attacks wear off very quickly. The flyer's mind has no concentration whatsoever."
After a moment, everything stopped as don Juan had predicted. To say again that I was bewildered is a euphemism. This was the first time in my life ever, with don Juan or alone, that I didn't know whether I was coming or going. I wanted to get out of the chair and walk around, but I was deathly afraid. I was filled with rational assertions, and at the same time I was filled with an infantile fear. I began to breathe deeply as a cold perspiration covered my entire body. I had somehow unleashed on myself a most godawful sight: black, fleeting shadows jumping all around me wherever I turned. I closed my eyes and rested my head on the arm of the stuffed chair.
"I don't know which way to turn, don Juan," I said.
"Tonight, you have really succeeded in getting me lost." Don Juan said, "You're being torn by an internal struggle. Down in the depths of you, you know that you are incapable of refusing the agreement that an indispensable part of you, your glowing coat of awareness, is going to serve as an incomprehensible source of nourishment to, naturally, incomprehensible entities.
"And another part of you will stand against this situation with all its might. The sorcerers' revolution is that they refuse to honor agreements in which they did not participate. Nobody ever asked me if I would consent to being eaten by beings of a different kind of awareness. My parents just brought me into this world to be food, like themselves, and that's the end of the story."
Don Juan stood up from his chair and stretched his arms and legs. "We have been sitting here for hours. It's time to go into the house. I'm going to eat. Do you want to eat with me?"
I declined. My stomach was in an uproar.
"I think you'd better go to sleep," he said. "The blitz has devastated you."
I didn't need any further coaxing. I collapsed onto my bed, and fell asleep like the dead.
[When I arrived] home, as time went by, the idea of the flyers became one of the main fixations of my life. I got to the point where I felt that don Juan was absolutely right about them. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't discard his logic. The more I thought about it, and the more I talked to and observed myself, and my fellow men, the more intense the conviction that something was rendering us incapable of any activity or any interaction or any thought that didn't have the self as its focal point.
My concern, as well as the concern of everyone I knew or talked to, was the self. Since I couldn't find any explanation for such universal homogeneity, I believed that don Juan's line of thought was the most appropriate way of elucidating the phenomenon. I went as deeply as I could into readings about myths and legends. In reading, I experienced something I had never felt before: Each of the books I read was an interpretation of myths and legends. In each one of those books, a homogeneous mind was palpable. The styles differed, but the drive behind the words was homogeneously the same: Even though the theme was something as abstract as myths and legends, the authors always managed to insert statements about themselves.
The homogeneous drive behind every one of those books was not the stated theme of the book. Instead, it was self-service. I had never felt this before. I attributed my reaction to don Juan's influence. The unavoidable question that I posed to myself was: Is he influencing me to see this, or is there really a foreign mind dictating everything we do? I lapsed, perforce, into denial again, and I went insanely from denial to acceptance to denial. Something in me knew that whatever don Juan was driving at was an energetic fact; but something equally important in me knew that all of that was guff.
The end result of my internal struggle was a sense of foreboding; the sense of something imminently dangerous coming at me. I made extensive anthropological inquiries into the subject of the flyers in other cultures, but I couldn't find any references to them anywhere. Don Juan seemed to be the only source of information about this matter.
The next time I saw him, I instantly jumped to talk about the flyers. I said, "I have tried my best to be rational about this subject matter, but I can't. There are moments when I fully agree with you about the predators."
"Focus your attention on the fleeting shadows that you actually see," don Juan said with a smile. I told don Juan that those fleeting shadows were going to be the end of my rational life. I saw them everywhere. Since I had left his house, I was incapable of going to sleep in the dark. To sleep with the lights on did not bother me at all. The moment I turned the lights off, however, everything around me began to jump. I never saw complete figures or shapes. All I saw were fleeting black shadows.
"The flyers' mind has not left you," don Juan said. "It has been seriously injured. It's trying its best to rearrange its relationship with you. But something in you is severed forever. The flyer knows that. The real danger is that the flyers' mind may win by getting you tired and forcing you to quit by playing the contradiction between what it says and what I say.
"You see, the flyers' mind has no competitors. When it proposes something, it agrees with its own proposition, and it makes you believe that you've done something of worth. The flyers' mind will say to you that whatever Juan Matus is telling you is pure nonsense, and then the same mind will agree with its own proposition, 'Yes, of course, it is nonsense,' you will say. That's the way they overcome us.
"The flyers are an essential part of the universe, and they must be taken as what they really are; awesome, monstrous. They are the means by which the universe tests us. We are energetic probes created by the universe," he continued as if he were oblivious to my presence, "and it's because we are possessors of energy that has awareness that we are the means by which the universe becomes aware of itself.
"The flyers are the implacable challengers. They cannot be taken as anything else. If we succeed in doing that, the universe allows us to continue."

20 Incredible TED Talks for Anthropology Majors

Because anthropology involves a breakneck collision course between so many different subjects, students with broad interests find it an absolutely thrilling major. Not like anyone can blame them, really; the multifaceted concepts behind human evolution and culture open up some intriguing, sometimes scary, truths about what it means to be a member of mankind. Seeing as how TED just so happens to harbor similar goals, plenty of its famous, stimulating Talks series feature lectures of interest to the anthropological community. A small sample of its rich intellectual bounty can be found here, but seeking out some of their other offerings will do nothing but help supplement lessons and pique eager minds.

1) Zeresenay Alemseged looks for humanity’s roots: This TED Talk sends viewers to Ethiopia on a paleoanthropological journey digging for truths behind mankind’s ancient origins. Zeresenay Alemseged shares the stunning true story of his team’s excavation of the oldest known child skeleton. A discovery that might very well open more doors toward better understanding our biological history.


2) Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging: Step from humanity’s past to one option in its multiple-choice future, courtesy of a respected Cambridge professor. Likening aging to a degenerative disease, he believes that the right science can reverse, even “cure,” the natural process, and describes the benefits of doing so. Time will ultimately reveal this mindset’s true outcome, but it certainly provides nourishing food for thought today. 


3) Wade Davis on endangered cultures: An enviable position with National Geographic granted Wade Davis the extraordinarily rare opportunity to immerse himself in indigenous and marginalized societies worldwide. His multimedia TED Talk exposes audiences to these threatened peoples, often displaced and threatened thanks to imperialism and globalization. It’s a somber look at a tragic anthropological reality for tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) worldwide. 


4) Nicholas Christakis explains how social networks predict epidemics: Today’s anthropologists should probably pay attention to the role social media plays in forming cliques and subcultures. As Nicholas Christakis’ thorough research reveals, mapping Facebook, Twitter, and the like actually provides the quickest conduit for tracking the spread of everything from diseases to creative ideas. Suffice it to say, valuable (if not life-altering) applications for this technology exist beyond the anthropological realm. 


5) Jane Goodall discusses what separates us from apes: Because biology and evolution make up a significant chunk of a future anthropologist’s education, paying attention to one of the world’s most pre-eminent primatologists is essential. After a lifetime among Tanzanian chimpanzees, Jane Goodall marveled at the eerie parallels between humans and their closest genetic relatives. But at least one glaring departure exists, revolving around differences in language and communication complexities. 


6) Dan Dennett: Cute, sexy, sweet, funny: Such simple, though often subjective, concepts like those in the title actually involve some seriously complex social and biological constructs. Though, scarily enough, the latter doesn’t always exactly gel with the former. In fact, sometimes one’s physical wiring declares the exact opposite of the philosophical.


7) Nina Jablonski breaks the illusion of skin color: In a TED Talk sure to spark some controversy and discussion, Skin author Nina Jablonski harnesses NASA’s TOMS7 satellite to draw conclusions about pigmentation and UV exposure. She notes some interesting points about UV rays’ role in darkening skin, and believes that the phenomenon eventually infiltrated humans at the genetic level. It’s compelling science, to be certain, and one anthropology students should keep in mind as their studies progress. 


8) A.J. Jacobs’ lives biblically for a year: Anthropology majors nurturing a healthy interest in religion and its role in inspiring humanity toward both good and evil will undoubtedly find this particular lecture fascinating. Here, they can explore one journalist’s attempts to spend an entire year following the Bible literally, and the resulting internal and external stresses. Considering the topical nature of fundamentalism and ensuing cultural and political controversies, his insight might very well prove beneficial in the long run.


9) Chris Abani muses on humanity: This Nigerian activist’s modus operandi is simple, straightforward, and noble: “to chronicle, to share and to document stories about people.” This also happens to be the core goal of the entire anthropological community. Chris Abani collects stories the way some people collect baseball cards, and he shares some here that uphold humanity’s dignity without paying lip service to its more sinister corners. 


10) Spencer Wells builds a family tree for humanity: Even though the human race boasts incredible genetic diversity these days, that coding had to start programming itself somewhere. This TED Talk by Spencer Wells, the National Geographic Society’s genographic project head, discusses how he’s currently working backwards to discover the biology every human on earth currently shares. For anthropology students and anyone else fascinated by the life sciences, his lecture is a satisfying mental treat. 


11) Rodney Brooks says robots will invade our lives: Because mankind’s machines have left an indelible impact on its evolutionary, social, and cognitive development since pretty much the beginning, it stands to reason that they’ll continue to do so forever. These days, robots infiltrate so many facets of daily life in the First World, many people can’t visualize a future without them. And though this TED Talk hails from the dark ages of 2003, much of what it has to offer still applies to contemporary times. 


12) Louise Leakey digs for humanity’s origins: Another amazing anthropological lecture inquiring about the beginnings of modern humans, this time coming from the Rift Valley and Lake Turkana. Here, mysteries about Homo erectus and other species who may have eventually spawned us battle it out for scientific dominance. After all, “until 30,000 years ago, at least three upright walking apes shared the planet Earth,” so right now, the real ancestor could be any one of them, or one that continues to remain unknown. 


13) Kevin Bales advises us how to combat modern slavery: Slavery has plagued humanity since ancient eras, and continues netting millions of billions of dollars annually, particularly when it comes to labor and sex. Kevin Bales’ research, which he shares here, exposes the tragic, inhumane reality behind some of the world’s wealthiest industries. And then he tells viewers exactly what needs doing to ensure equitable economic treatment for all the world’s peoples. 


14) Amber Case claims we are all cyborgs now: Technological advances in communications, particularly cell phones and the internet, will inevitably lead to evolutionary changes to accommodate them more and more in our daily lives. Whether or not this turns humanity into “Terminator” or useless blobs with “external brains” is anyone’s guess, but anything’s possible. Regardless, though, anthropologists will inevitably end up dealing with the aftermath, so they may as well start preparing now.


15) Robert Sapolsky shares the uniqueness of humans: TED frequently shares its favorite videos from around the web, and one particularly human-centric example comes straight from Stanford University’s Class Day in 2009. Primatologist Robert Sapolsky hilariously skewers the human animal and its often inexplicable behavior patterns. It certainly makes you wonder what the rest of the world’s biomass makes of such curious bipedal creatures.
 

16) Stefana Broadbent discusses how the Internet enables intimacy: Social media critics frequently lambast the isolationist components of the Internet, but cognitive scientist Stefana Broadbent heartily disagrees. Her two decades’ worth of research regarding communication via cell phone, instant messaging, social networks, and more lead her to believe that they actually encourage individuals to stay connected with one another. Loved ones separated by distance or time can use these available tools to foster closeness rather than staying apart or constantly waiting for correspondence. 


17) Aaron Huey looks at America’s native prisoners of war: America’s inhumane, brutal treatments of indigenous peoples is a well-known, but tragically under-addressed, atrocity. Aaron Huey’s photographs of the shocking, impoverished conditions at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation showcase how such historical injustices continue stretching into contemporary times. The suffering of the Lakota people summarizes how horrifically imperialism’s marginalization hits native civilizations and serves as a clarion call toward social action. 


18) Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs. West — the myths that mystify: Despite frequent interactions (and an extended period of British exploitation), India and “Western” society still manage to perpetuate myths and misunderstandings about one another. Drawing from his experiences as Future Group’s Chief Belief Officer, Devdutt Pattanail explains that these assumptions likely stem from religious roots. Although this TED Talk expresses a businessman’s perspective, his insights resonate far beyond the boardroom. 


19) James Watson on how he discovered DNA: James Watson and Francis Crick built upon Rosalind Franklin’s research to unlock the scientific reality of DNA — although only the first two received any sort of recognition for it. Nevertheless, the story remains one of the most important in life science history, and its relevance to anthropology should be self-evident. Majors and non-majors alike should still sit and marvel over the triumphs, drama, and tragedies behind piecing together the mysteries driving living matter. 


20) Adam Ostrow: After your final status update: Archaeologists and anthropologists of the past (and today, obviously) dig through ancient dirt to discover as many truths about human culture and evolution as they can. Those in the future will have completely different territory to excavate: the digital landscape. Social media sites unwittingly serve as virtual memorials to the deceased, providing a first-person view of contemporary cultural memes.