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August 26, 2007

Is there a draft in here?

Tonight I finished the first draft of my thesis proposal. If all goes well my adviser and committee will sign off on it, thus giving me the go-ahead to actually write my thesis about my research in Honduras. Slowly but surely, it's starting to come together and I'm learning alot not only about my subject (water and ancient communities) but how to write and argue as well. It's going to be a productive semester.

Posted by Will at 07:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2007

Pseudoarchaeology on Point of Inquiry

Although I haven't listened to it in a while, this week's episode of the excellent Point of Inquiry podcast features Garrett G. Fagan, a Penn State archaeologist:

In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Garrett Fagan explains the differences between archaeology and pseudoarchaeology, emphasizing how the science of archaeology benefits society. He explores possible motivations of pseudoarchaeologists, and challenges various pseudoarchaeological theories about Atlantis, the origins of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, and about the discovery great pyramids in Bosnia. He also details the various ways that pseudoarchaeology and other pseudoscientific thinking may harm society.

Read more and download the podcast from the Point of Inquiry website.

Posted by Will at 02:33 AM

August 24, 2007

Why science is cool

Every once in a while a story comes along that really makes you sit back and think "why am I not in that line of work?" This time it involves poking people with a stick in the name of science. From the New York Times:

Studies Report Inducing Out-of-Body Experience
Using virtual-reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences — the sensation of drifting outside of one’s own body — in ordinary, healthy people, according to studies being published today in the journal Science.
When people gazed at an illusory image of themselves through the goggles and were prodded in just the right way with the stick, they felt as if they had left their bodies.
The research reveals that “the sense of having a body, of being in a bodily self,” is actually constructed from multiple sensory streams, said one expert on body and mind, Dr. Matthew M. Botvinick, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University.

Full story here. This research has all sorts of implications for how we understand religious experiences (re: Buddhist meditation, visions of angels, etc.), the classic out-of-body experience during medical procedures, and a host of other mysterious phenomena.

Posted by Will at 01:54 AM

August 08, 2007

Back again

Returned home safely from Central America following a whirlwind tour of the southern highlands. It was an up and down experience over the past ten weeks, with the highlights almost always involving the people. Photos online here. Now all I have to do is write a thesis...

Posted by Will at 01:35 PM