“Notes on the Murders of Thirty of My Neighbors”

Writer Jim Myers wondered why 30 of his neighbors were murdered just one mile east of the United States Capitol building during the 1990s. In an investigation of the conditions that led to such a high toll, he found that there was a wide range of circumstances, including, “drive-by killings, run-by killings, sneak up killings, … Continue reading “Notes on the Murders of Thirty of My Neighbors”

Anthropology without Villains: Kurt’s Vonnegut’s Master’s Degree in Anthropology for Cat’s Cradle

  Kurt Vonnegut just got published in the Chicago Tribune, even though he has been quite dead for the last nine years. So it goes. The title of the article is “The Secret Ingredient in my Books is that there Never has been a Villain,” even though he wrote about things like atomic bombs, The … Continue reading Anthropology without Villains: Kurt’s Vonnegut’s Master’s Degree in Anthropology for Cat’s Cradle

Speaking German Like You Work at McDonald’s (or are a Hollander)

German is a strange language for English speakers to learn. In part this is because in most German for Foreign Speakers classes, there is a strong emphasis on the use of correct use of articles (16 ways to say the definite article “the”, and 16 more ways to say the indefinite article “a”). There is … Continue reading Speaking German Like You Work at McDonald’s (or are a Hollander)

The Case of the Exploding Pinto

A by-product of the industrial age are accidents by companies seeking to create wealth for themselves. Both hiring workers, and selling products creates a question of who is responsible for the safety of working conditions and products. And more important, who is responsible when a product fails, or an accident happens? Is it the person … Continue reading The Case of the Exploding Pinto

Peace Corps Edifice Complexes

Most Peace Corps volunteers are young—in their early 20s. When I went to Thailand with the Peace Corps in 1980, I was 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in Biology. And I wanted to do stuff—big stuff—stuff that could be seen, and would be talked about, like The Pyramids of Egypt. The … Continue reading Peace Corps Edifice Complexes

On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town

Culture: The values, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations of behaviors or social norms of a given population of humans. Do you know what I find amazing? I find it amazing that I never see people burning couches and cars in the streets of my neighborhood. And I find it amazing that I never find discarded red … Continue reading On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town