Miscellany trio

A lovely bottle of bubbly we shared on Xmas Eve; hand-carried to us all by S. from Germany.

The OLPC laptops are making a (positive) difference, the WP reports; kids favor especially using the camera and video capabilities. Their story is from very rural Peru. Give one (or more) here. You can choose to get one for yourself, too!

The snooty discriminating French may bow to market pressure and expand the geographic area that can produce effervescent wines that can legally be called champagne. Well, at the earliest in 2009, and the vines won’t come on line until, um, at least 2015…leaving them plenty of time to reverse or adjust the decision….

The NYT has finally published (dated yesterday; hmm, I was too busy to read the paper and missed it then) an article that explicates the anthropologist’s analysis of Diamond’s “Collapse”—basically too much environmental determinism and an unbalanced argument about human decisions. Diamond is a geographer, and gets it a bit, well, skewed (you’ve probably gotten that from me eight or ten times; apologies for the repetition). Yes, climate change is a factor, but, the complexity of cultural evolution isn’t addressed properly in D’s volume. [Reminder to self: get that MS finished!]


  1. marc says:

    Hi, good point about environmental determinism.

    But the great rotten thing about Easter Island’s ‘collapse’ seems to be that is was mostly due to Western contact (disease, slavery). Only later Western scientists, or well Thor Heyerdahl, came and constructed the collapse story out of very unreliable myths and even less reliable c14 dates.


    (pdf file!)

    Galling: first destroyed by outsiders, then also blamed for your own collapse!

    Good luck with your MS!

  2. Sammy says:

    Thanks for your good wishes and the Peiser link (how did I miss it?—good stuff); how goes your own Aegean research?