Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live from Philidelphia, it's the AAA witchhunt and self-flagalation show!

As I mentioned earlier, Alice Dreger at Northwestern University recently presented a paper at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Philedelphia on the ghastly behavior of the AAA organization in their "investigation" of Napoleon Chagnon. In her blog, she has provided an account of the session and some of the reactions she received after the talk. Quite in line with the general idiocy and blameless attitude of the AAA organization, she was called "demonic" and unscholarly by Tierney defender Terence Turner at Cornell.

You can find her full account here:

My “Demonic” Debut at theAmerican Anthropological Association

Friday, December 11, 2009

We (anthropologists) should all be embarassed. Many of us should be worried.

This report just came out yesterday in Science.

Chagnon Critics Overstepped Bounds, Historian Says. Science (2009) vol. 326 (5959) pp. 1466

This article describes shocking (yet not particularly surprising) account by historian Alice Dumurat Dreger (Northwestern U.) of the sleazy 2000 Patrick Tierney attack on Napoleon Chagnon and the corrupt way in which the AAA handled the accusations that were levied against Chagnon. Apparently, the AAA's commission as "task force" to look into claims posed by Tierney. As it turns out, the task forced cleared Chagnon, yet went on to state that the allegations had "merit" and had been damaging to the Yanamamö. The shocking part is that the AAA task force was quite aware that the claims were bogus in the first place yet chose to drag Chagnon through the "task force investigation" simply to make political statement to Latin American countries. This is the very definition of a witch hunt, done with the sickening dour earnestness that makes AAA meetings so horrific to attend. Shameful.

As Dreger pointed out in her paper presented at the recent AAA meetings, "I can't imagine how any scholar feels safe" as a member. Exactly: who is next? The witch hunt was sanctified by the AAA because many anthropologists simply have had a longstanding a beef with what Chagnon argued. Sloppy, reprehensible research done by many of the other ass-clowns in the AAA remains "acceptable" simply because it is "PC" enough. Woe be unto those who dare challenge the sacred cows of Anthropology.

Where are the investigations for research done that is never published? Or not published in Open Access formats to provide a product back to the people who handed over their intellectual property for nothing but a signature on a Human Subjects form? Or investigations into those that argue that "their people" don't need to read academic results? Or those who extract intellectual knowledge from their subjects, yet convert that into a "personal journey" of no utility to anyone anywhere.

Sad to be an Anthropologist today....


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Practical Guide to Geostastical Mapping

Just saw this and thought I'd pass it on:

200912101753.jpg

Tomislav Hengl has just released has new book, A Practical Guide to Geostatistical Mapping over at http://spatial-analyst.net/book/. The book is available for free browsing online and as a free PDF download, or you can order a printed copy. The book is made up of lecture material for a PHD course teaching spatial analysis using open source software. All the datasets used in the book are available at the homepage as well." Download the PDF here Interestingly, you can improve the book interactively by using an iPaper application that is part of the www.scribd.com browser. Cool idea.

From the webpage:

Geostatistical mapping can be defined as analytical production of maps by using field observations, auxiliary information and a computer program that generates predictions. The purpose of this guide is to assist you in producing quality maps by using fully-operational open source software packages: R+gstat/geoR and SAGA GIS. Materials presented in this book have been used for the five-day advanced training course "GEOSTAT: spatio-temporal data analysis with R+SAGA+Google Earth" that is periodically organized by the author and collaborators. This is an open access publication!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Research grants awarded to anthropology professors

http://www.daily49er.com/news/research-grants-awarded-to-anthropology-professors-1.2108532

CSULB is also considering eliminating 16 anthropology courses.

By Trishian Bucheli

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Although Hector Neff and Carl Lipo, two Cal State Long Beach anthropology professors, were recently awarded grants to further their research, a large number of anthropology classes are on the chopping block.

Neff, the principal investigator for the Institute for Integrated Research in Materials, Environments and Society at CSULB was awarded $295,226 from the National Science Foundation. Lipo will soon be awarded $310,000. Both grants will be in effect until 2012.

“Getting two grants in a row — it is pretty incredible,” Neff said.

Both professors had to write proposals to NSF and compete against other institutions and schools, such as Stanford University and California Institution of Technology.

“We are doing what we are supposed to be doing; we are bringing the funding and providing research possibilities to students,” Neff said.

IIRMES will be using some of the money to purchase new research equipment such as a laser fluorination system, which will be used to do research on rocks and bricks in order to get the mineral information.

“It will also provide enough money to pay for the expertise to keep the lab running,” said Gregory Holk, a geology associate professor at CSULB and IIRMES co-principal investigator.

Courses proposed to be dropped
  • 453/553: Archaeological Field Research Design
  • 472/572: Archaeology of the Desert West
  • 481/581: Faunal Analysis
  • 485/585: Physical Science Techniques in Archaeology
  • 464/564: Quantitative Methods in Anthropological Research
  • 488/588: Advanced Methods in Near Surface Remote Sensing
  • 551: Artifact Analysis
  • 571: Prehistory of Eastern North America
  • 573: Archaeology of California
  • 587: Cultural Resource Management

The IIRMES lab is used in collaboration by biology, anthropology and geology departments at CSULB.

“Grants allow support — anything that benefits the lab benefits the whole,” said Hayley Zemel, a biology graduate student.

Holk said the instrumentation about the research and lab work is utilized for archaeology findings. According to Holk, there is about $5.5 million in instruments at IIRMES. With the use of a scanning electron microscope, the research facility is able to view small images by using high magnification.

Holk is focusing on light isotope work at IIRMES. The research makes it possible to study the diets of ancient civilizations.

Holk said that by removing the plaque build-up from discovered skeletons, they can look at what the people ate. Each food has a different isotope level of carbon and by studying it, they are able to tell what the ancients ate, such as if it was grain or corn.

The lab has one of two time-of-flight mass spectrometers, which is sought by many researchers. The machine can tell the concentration of an element from archaeological findings such as pottery, Holk said.

“It is important to know the chemical composition of the pottery; it is their form of fingerprints,” Holk said.

However, many undergraduate and graduate students from the anthropology department at CSULB will not be able to work at the research facility.

“Last year, 16 classes were eliminated from the anthropology curriculum,” Neff said. “These classes were the ones that would educate and prepare students in order to work in the lab and prepare them to utilize the equipment, and for future employment.”

The classes were taken off the schedule but may still be offered in future semesters. The College of Liberal Arts and Academic Senate, however, may later decide to eliminate the courses entirely, according to Lipo.

“We are being restricted on the students we can teach,” Lipo said.

Neff said the instructors are told they cannot teach students certain subjects, which they need to learn for future employment.

“The main issues are people’s perception of the sciences. How do we co-habitat — there are many branches of study in the archaeology department,” Lipo said.

There are a lot of difficulties because the work Lipo and Neff are doing are based in science, while those in the liberal arts have a different perspective, Holk said.

Holk said this is the best place for master’s students to go, and that the department has as many instruments as well-funded research labs.

Many master’s students from CSULB are losing out on this opportunity, he said.

Neff mentioned that he has had to get students from other universities to work at IIRMES, such as Cal States Dominguez Hills and Fullerton.

“When the committee decided to eliminate the 16 classes they did not even know what they were eliminating — they only had class numbers in front of them,” Neff said.

Every January, Neff usually takes a group of graduate students to Guatemala to do field research. This coming January, he will not be able to go on the trip.

Neff said, “There are not enough students who know how to use the equipment properly, I need at least some students who know what they are doing.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

Here's to everyone out there and to hoping you are all able to enjoy a happy thanksgiving! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finite Element Analysis - Force and Stress on Artifacts

I came across this free 2-D FEA package - ForcePAD that is being distributed by Lund University. It allows you to examine the effect of force and constraints on shapes in various configurations. From the website:

ForcePAD is an intuitive tool for visualising the behavior of structures subjected to loading and boundary conditions. The design of the user interface aims to be as intuitive as a standard image processing software. Users should be able to design structures, apply loads and define boundary conditions without knowledge of the underlying finite element model. ForcePAD is also designed to give an intuitive image of stresses and deformations in the material.

Some of the documentation (i.e., screenshots) are in Swedish and the instructions are fairly barebone. But one can quickly do studies of a variety of shapes and configurations such as this "fishhook" that I sketched up in about 2 minutes. Cool stuff.
200911241436.jpg

Evolution and Bananas (of all sorts)

This past week, the much hyped distribution of 50,000 copies of the Origin of Species handout at university campuses finally took place. This was an effort that was funded by the Creation Science Institute (man, everyone gets an institute) and choreographed by the towering intellects known as Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. Kirk, of course, was the boy-idiot star of the painfully horrific television show "Growing Pains." His new role as Creationist spokesperson perhaps is explicable as some damage done as a child actor. The other member of the duo is the nutball New Zealand minister and evangalist Ray Comfort. Ray is infamous for his rather hilarious argument that the shape of the banana -- since it fits so nicely in a human hand and has such convenient peeling properties is "proof" of a Creator who could have only had us in mind when he conjured up the fruit out of the nothingness. You can see all the hilarious glory here. Of course, the modern banana's shape and characteristics are embarassingly the result of human breeding programs of a once wild and pod-like banana. The Creator is Us! Gack. Nannanananana... Leader!

Anyways, I saw a number of copies of the book laying around campus this past week. It is a cheapass printing with a 50 page intro by Ray Comfort. Its a funny waste of money, actually, given the difficulty getting students to actually read anything more than a single page of text. Few, if any, will likely delve into the book and it likely end up in recycling bins and garbage like those books that the Hare Krishna's hand out. Or maybe they will end up in required reading list of our ANTH 120: Intro to Cultural Anthropology, or the ANTH 501 graduate seminar.

While neither Ray nor Kirk came to CSULB to personally deliver the books, you can view a telling display of befundery by the boy-idiot Cameron while he was at UCLA to spread his nutty word.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Laboratory Safety

I take laboratory safety quite seriously. With chemicals like HF and HCl being used in a low light environment that borders on no light, you really can't be too careful. So I ask all my students to watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ-1lfammjk&feature=player_embedded

And you should too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rats! (and German Ecologists)

Today's USA Today covers a new paper that is just being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by ecologists Andreas Mieth and Hans-Rudolph Bork from the Institute for Ecosystem Research in Kiel, Germany. This paper "Humans, climate or introduced rats – which is to blame for the woodland destruction on prehistoric Rapa Nui (Easter Island)?" challenges Terry Hunt and my argument that (1) Easter Island was colonized in AD 1200 and (2) that rats played a role in transforming the ecology of the island.

Their argument sets up our previous work as a "straw man." They claim that we argued that rats *only* caused these trees to go extinct. This is, of course, absurd - trees were primarily destroyed by burning, not rats. Rats, however, must have had some impact on the environment simply because (1) they were there, having been introduced when people arrived (2) rat populations must have been large, based on the lack of natural predators and the plethora of food provided by the Jubaea chilensis palm (i.e., nuts). All we are saying is that this aspect needs to be considered when putting together the overall explanation.  

The real point of contention is what prevented regeneration of the forest, not what cut it down. The fact that there was no forest regeneration is fairly clear from archaeological evidence (made by a variety of folks). While we see prehistoric sedimentation, we don't see palm root molds other than those made in the pre-human occupation surfaces. Mieth and Bork, following the standard "catastrophe" story believe that the lack of regeneration is due to erosion and ecological collapse. I would argue that rats would have made it difficult, if not impossible for the trees to regrow - and that humans would have had little incentive to regrow these slow growing trees (Jubea palm live up to 500 years) especially since any new trees would harbor more rats. Much of the differences in these stances has to do with what one assumes the productivity of the wooded environment was like -- they assume that the productivity was high (because it was forested). I think the evidence speaks otherwise.

I've been working hard on this part of the story for the book - it forms the focus of a chapter we call "Resilience." Where this covers the conditions that prehistoric populations faced when they arrived on the island, the materials/technology/plants/animals they had with them, and the details of the history resulting from this combination. It's coming together...

Below is what I do not think is the case. It just didn't happen. More on this later...

200911141339.jpg+200911141340.jpg+200911141342.jpg=200911141344.jpg ?

Some strong words about "Leadership"

Blogger "Dr. Crazy" over at Reassigned Time has posted some strong and insightful words about what it means to be a leader in an academic setting. Dr. Crazy is an assistant professor at a midwest university who speaks rather bluntly, though anonymously, about his experience in the academy. In this entry, DC comments on the lack of leadership among administrators - and could easily be speaking about CSULB.

If faculty governance and faculty contribution to a university community is going to work properly, it won't just do so by magic. Because here's the thing: groups of people can only come together to work effectively if they have structure, guidance, and information. There needs to be a person who takes responsibility for creating structure, for guiding decision-making processes, and for disseminating information in a way that is responsible, transparent, and coherent.

In other words, we need administrators. Faculty can't do their jobs unless they have effective administrators to create an environment in which that can happen. Left to their own devices, to piece together information by happenstance and to have discussions and to make decisions without a clear structure, clear goals, and clear guidelines, faculty will most of the time fail. That's right. I said that. Faculty can't just run the university by committee.

Now, faculty members are smart folks. They can do a lot of things well. They can achieve a great deal for a university - above and beyond their individual teaching and research - with strong leadership. With charismatic and strong leadership, they may even be able to achieve this great deal and feel proud of it and like what they're achieving.

But also, faculty members are smart folks. They know when they're being given the run-around. They know when the rhetoric doesn't match the substance. They know when the hundreds of hours they've put into something to make it great have meant nothing, and when that something is being gutted. And once they know these things, they are going to stop being so interested in cheer-leading, in taking one for the team, in doing their jobs well. This is not because faculty members are selfish or scattered or lacking in commitment. It's because they are smart folks, and they know that to be smart means not investing one's time in something that has clearly become totally fucked. They know that being smart means not letting themselves get fucked.

Strong leadership means:
  • Knowing how to run a meeting. If you're sitting at the head of a table, and if you're putting yourself in a position of authority over a group, you also hold responsibility for keeping the group on track. You hold responsibility for focusing the discussion, and for explaining why the discussion is being focused in the way that you choose. You hold responsibility for stopping people from talking over one another, and you hold responsibility for managing the personalities and interests around the table in order to keep the conversation civil and productive. (This is not unlike managing a classroom well, incidentally.) If a meeting is going on for 2 hours and there's no end in sight and people start leaving before it's over? You don't know how to run a meeting.
  • Answering questions honestly, even when the honest answer may not be to everyone's liking. Spin is not strong leadership, particularly when you're expecting a group of people to do the motherfucking dirty work for you.
  • Taking ownership over your role in a particular process. If the travesty that is driving the process is your idea, at the very least you can admit that it was all your idea and explain why. Speaking in the passive voice "it was decided..." "people have agreed..." "it is the case that..." is disingenuous at best. Dude, if you're behind the steering wheel, admit it. Be responsible for it. Take the punches that you fucking deserve for it. You can't keep your hands clean and be a strong leader.
  • Understanding that you don't get to decide things in a vacuum only to force faculty to come together under false pretenses to ratify your decisions.
  • Asking for input before decisions are made, not after. (I suppose that's the same thing as the last bullet, only stated differently.)
  • Realizing that getting people to buy into a process isn't a matter of making decrees or coercing people through scare-tactics (ahem, did we learn NOTHING from the Bush presidency?), but rather about persuading them that their investment in the process actually means something and that it will have tangible, and hopefully positive, results.
  • Making friends with people who have big mouths and getting them to use their big mouths to support you rather than to fight you. And if you try to persuade them and they aren't buying it? Maybe you need to listen to their objections and really take them to heart. And maybe even try to address them directly, rather than just responding with fucking sound bites.
  • Inspiring trust in those whom one expects to do the heavy lifting.
You know why tenure matters? Above and beyond academic freedom in scholarship and in the classroom? It matters because when we don't have strong administrative leadership, and I suspect this happens at all institutions in a variety of contexts at one time or another, somebody needs to be able to speak up, loudly and clearly, on behalf of students, on behalf of faculty, and on behalf of the future of the institution. Tenure has made little difference to me in terms of my scholarship or my teaching. I have never felt in jeopardy in those areas, and I think my institution values my autonomy in those areas. Where tenure has meant the most to me is that I don't have to hold back at all when it comes to fighting bullshit that will hurt my university, my colleagues, or my students. Now, my loud and contentious voice may not make any difference. But at the very least I do have the power to say my piece without fear of losing my job. And since I'm being put in a position where I'm being expected to "participate in" (read: authorize) things that entirely contravene our mission and our values, then I need that power and I need to use it.

But you know what I want? I want a leader. I want a person who will make it unnecessary for me to feel enraged and to go into battle mode. This is not to say that I want a leader who agrees with me in all things or who serves my interests above all others. No, that wouldn't be a good, strong leader. I want a leadership that has a vision, that articulates it clearly, and that doesn't try to pass things through under the radar. I want to be able to be a team player, even if I don't entirely agree, because I trust the ones leading me. I want to feel secure in my leadership's intentions, and I want to be reassured that I don't need to raise hell if I disagree with something because even if I express an objection quietly and civilly that it will be taken into account. I want to be confident in my leadership, knowing that it is making decisions with students, the faculty, and the institution as its first and most important priority. I want leadership that does not betray me, that does not use my hard work to advance a policy or program change only, in the implementation phase of that change after it has been approved, to strip that change of any value or meaning. I don't want to feel as if my leadership is taking advantage of my initiative, abilities, charisma, and intelligence. I want to feel as if my leadership values those qualities in me, respects them, and uses them to initiate positive change.

Look, I believe in compromise. I believe that it's impossible to make all people happy all of the time, and I believe that it's not my leadership's job to make me happy. But I also believe that if you expect people to serve, if you request their service, that you should value that service when it is given. And you should honor the spirit of the final product that those people produce.

I've had two experiences with leadership this week. One of those experiences was exemplary, in terms of demonstrating exactly the qualities that a strong leader has. The other, not so much. Tragically, the lack of leadership that I experienced this week is going to affect every single student at my university, and just about every single colleague of mine within my college.

I am angry, I am demoralized, and I am in no way going to shut the fuck up about the latter of the two experiences. Maybe my angry outcry will make no difference. Probably it won't. But I want it made very clear that I do not endorse what is happening, especially since when everybody was busy trying to get the thing support in the first place, I was the motherfucking spokesmodel.

Lesson learned. [From Leadership]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CSULB MA Graduate Program in Archaeology - Admissions for Fall 2010

Although the Department of Anthropology is not going out of its way to advertise this, we are officially accepting applications for students who want to get an MA in Anthropology and focus in Archaeology. Yes, you heard it right: we are looking for students and are excited to accept a new group of MA students for Fall 2010.

We are particularly looking for students who are fairly committed to taking a science-based approach to the archaeological record. While there is lots to learn (and brain reorganization required), the result provides students with strong analytic and critical tools necessary to be competitive in archaeology and other related disciplines.

At CSULB, it our goal to provide archaeology students with:

  • strong theoretical training;
  • access and hands-on training on state of the art instrumentation;
  • field work opportunities;
  • exposure to an innovative and highly interdisciplinary environment that combines theory and the use of analytical techniques to solve problems central to the understanding of the physical, life and social sciences;
  • internships and graduate assistantships;
  • funds for student research projects;
  • One-on-one mentorship for graduate work and post-MA careers.

Campus and department applications can be found here: http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cla/departments/anthropology/ Be certain to email me (clipo@csulb.edu) or Hector Neff (hneff@csulb.edu) if you are interested in the program or are planning to apply. We would be happy to provide you more information and to answer any questions you might have.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mapping Anthropology Departments and Citation Analyses

As a lark, last spring I created an interactive map of all of the anthropology departments in the world. This map makes use of Google Maps and their API. You can view the AnthroMap here:   http://mendel.cla.csulb.edu/anthromap/ The main page looks something like this.

There are two kinds of departments shown: Departments with PhD programs (Red) and those with just M.A. Programs (blue). Click on an icon will show you the Department URL, the University URL, and a list of faculty who teach in that Department (accurate up to June 2009). When possible it lists the email addresses of each of the faculty. 200910291825.jpg   

You can also do a citation analysis for the departments. On the pop up window, you can click on "Citation Analyses." This runs a query through Google Scholar for each of the faculty and sums up the number of citations for each published article for which the individual was an author. The data are displayed in bar chart form to allow comparisons. The window also has a list of each of the faculty that links to the articles and the raw citation data.

Note that you might get a baffling HTTP Error 503. As far as I can tell, there are some limits placed on the application as to how often it can query Google Scholar. I suppose I could make this a 'canned search' running every day, but it would take more coding and I'm lazy. If you get this error and know how to fix it, let me know. If not, wait a while and try again. Someday I'll figure it out.

For an example, here is a graph of the citations for the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa.   

200910291823.jpg

If you are looking for references to CSULB's department (and you know who you are... Nancy) you can try this link or possibly this one. Draw your own conclusions about impact to the discipline, productivity and contributions to the University.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Questioning Collapse

The marketing folks at Cambridge have set up a web site for the Questioning Collapse edited volume. The website is basically a blog (built on wordpress) that allows students/reviewers to interact and pose questions -- as well as provide information about the authors and their research. It's a good way to promote a book, I think, since some of the aspects of reading the book are going to generate questions and challenges. Exactly how individuals will find out about the web site is a little more mysterious (thus, my link here.). I wonder if books have facebook pages. Although there isn't much in the way of content at the site now, it should grow pretty quickly.

Questioning Collapse Web Site

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Escaping the Dark Labyrinth

Philosophy is written in this grand book the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and to read the alphabet of which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one wonders about in a dark labyrinth.

- Galileo 1623.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Evolution and the Levels of Selection: Samir Okasha

For anyone interested in the "levels of selection" dimension of evolutionary theory, you should definitely acquire Samir Okasha's book -- Evolution and the Levels of Selection-- 2006, Oxford University Press. Okahsa covers the topic from a philosophic point of view and in a way that gets to the heart of the matter. For me, his coverage of MLS1 and MLS2 models is particularly useful as is the discussion of the Price Equation.

  

If science were a band, it would be TMBG.

They Might Be Giants has released their new album Here Comes Science. I guess this one also comes with a DVD which must have videos and the like. With songs like "Science is Real" to "Meet the Elements" to "Cells" this is a must have for any well-stocked laboratory. A number of these songs are also available on YouTube:

Meet the Elements

I am a Paleontologist

Science is Real

The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas or Why does the Sun shine?

Put it to the test.

Electric Car

Roy G. Biv

Computer Aided Design

The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Writing

TheDepartment of Anthropology at Durham University has put together a series of short pieces on the process and task of writing. These pieces were submitted in response to invitations put out by Durham University to a wide range of faculty working in the social sciences. As they state on their web page:

2009 IIRMES Annual Report

IIRMES is an interdisciplinary institute on CSULB that combines researchers from anthropology, biology, geography, geology, chemistry, physics - and probably a couple of other disciplines. It is housed in a facility in Microbiology and consists of laboratories with shared instrumentation. Our archaeometry and luminescence dating facilities are located within IIRMES. On a yearly basis, we are required to issue an annual report that covers the activities of IIRMES for the benefit of faculty, students, staff and administration. For those of you interested in the following enduring mysteries(**):


(1) what is purpose of life?(2) what is IIRMES and why does it do?(3) can an IIRMES make me more successful and persuasive?(4) if IIRMES were an animal, what animal would it be?(5) what goes on in that mysterious building on the east edge of campus?(6) what have archaeology students been up to?(7) what do archaeology faculty do in their labs?
you might check out the 2009 IIRMES Annual Report that is now online at:
IIRMES2009AnnualReport.pdf  <http://www.iirmes.org/Home/publications/IIRMES2009AnnualReport.pdf?attredirects=0>
**Results may vary. Answers to above stated questions are not guaranteed or even necessarily possible. See your doctor before applying IIRMES to any part of your body. Never drive under the influence of IIRMES. Individuals who are allergic to science are asked to seek professional help. Keep arms and legs inside the moving car at all time. Never point a laser straight at your eye. Avoid sunlight if a vampire. Keep out of sight of zombies.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thor Heyerdahl on Moai Moving

"This is was not the way it was done, " said the islanders.

Leonardo was the name of one of those who argued that the stones had walked in an upright position. It sounded so meaningless that I would long since have forgotten the episode had I not written it down in my own book on the expedition at the time.

"But, Leonardo," I said, "how could they walk when they had only heads and bodies and no legs?"

200908241640.jpg

Friday, October 2, 2009

Enhancing archaeological training with iTunes U.

As many know, the Forces of Evil (tm) have been tirelessly working to prohibit us from teaching students the skills necessary to be functional and successful archaeologists. Buoyed by a sense of righteous power derived from absolutist versions of relativism (where relativism is enforced by law) coupled with vast indifference to outcomes, our collevileagues (tm) continue to figure out ways to keep education as bland and pointless as possible. Fortunately, students now have the Internet from which to draw knowledge to complement whatever bits of training we can slip past the department's curricular guardians. In particular, iTunes U features a wide host of opportunities for learning in nearly all conceivable disciplines. Many of these turn out to be ideally suited for the ambitious archaeology student. So for anyone interested, you might consider enhancing your training in archaeology by taking some free online classes. Below are just some of the classes that are available at iTunes U that will provide you some training in archaeology and related disciplines that will make you smarter, stronger, and better looking (okay... probably only the first).

Introduction to GeoScience: Oxford University

Soil Studies: Open University

Soil and Weathering: Colorado School of Mines

Archaeology: Open University

World Archaeology: Open University

UCLA Series on Evolution, Culture and Human Behavior

If you know any other good iTunes U lectures, let me know!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Simon Conway Morris - Lecture on Inevitability of Humans

While there are aspects about "inevitability" that are taken too literally (in that history is constrained because it has *already happened*) and that makes me alert for "woo-woo thinking", there is a good iTunes U lecture by Simon Conway Morris on the constrained design space in which evolution can occur. Conway Morris was the paleontologist that worked on the Burgess Shale fossils (originally collected by Charles Walcott in 1909). His findings provided ample fodder for Stephen Jay Gould to argue for the historical contingency of evolution in Wonderful Life. Ironically, in recent years Conway Morris has argued for something akin to the opposite of this stance: the convergence evolution. Here, he argues that that we are not here by chance: but are inevitable due to the strong structuring dimensions of the physical universe. This is explained in detail in his book Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe.

I think the understanding of design constraints is an important issue, especially for archaeological applications of evolution. We need this concept in order to understand the space in which style can occur versus what is technologically necessary. For example, decoration can vary infinitely yet the vessel upon which it is placed may still have to serve as a fireproof container. Holes cut in the sides are part of that particular design space. Thus, we must be careful to construct classifications within those constraints in order to not confuse analogous similarity with homologous similarity. In many cases, the design space may be far smaller than one might think.

Conway Morris goes a little far here by arguing that the design space for life makes humans inevitable. There are certainly some dimensions of humans that are due to design constraints but distinguishing which are due to historical constrains (i.e., the environment of evolution) and which are due to design constraints (i.e., the chemico-physical dimensions that make us possible) are something to analyze, not to assume a priori.

The lecture is, nonetheless, a good one for thinking about evolution and issues of convergence.

Mannahatta: Manhattan of AD 1609

I've always been intrigued by the way in which past landscapes structure contemporary ones -- and how we can use our knowledge of shape of landscapes to explain why the environment we see today is the way it is. Cities are particularly interesting in this regard. The natural landscape often constrains and shapes the evolution of urban development and dictates the kinds of things that humans must cope with in order to do the business of being urban (i.e., transforming swamps to land, crossing rivers, knocking out hills, etc.). Perhaps the evidence of this interaction is nowhere better seen than in the shape and structure of Manhattan. The city has been so massively developed that one might think that isn't one shred of "natural" in the streets and buildings. Yet, that's not entirely true since the history of the growth of the city has had to embrace the natural features that long preceded Europeans -- streams, marshes, hills, geology, etc. Canal Street really was a canal at one point, built on top of a stream/wetland. Wall Street really is the site of an early historic wall, placed on a topographic high point when the island boasted a fort. And so on. An understanding of natural and historical world is required to understand Manhattan, as detailed in the amazing, insanely detailed, massive, chest crushing, Pulitzer Prize winning book "Gotham" by Burrows and Wallace.

Recently, the Wildlife Conservation Society has put together Mannahatta, a website dedicated to providing a way of understanding the natural heart of the island of Manhattan. It is pretty impressive. At the heart of the project is an interactive map of that shows the island as it was in AD 1609. The map allows you to look at a specific location and see where it stood in the Native American inhabited landscape of the early 17th century just prior to the arrival of Henry Hudson and other Europeans.


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North American Luminescence Conference

I just signed up for the 6th biennial North American Luminescence Dating and Dosimetry Conference to be held in Seattle on October 22-24. ((To all my Seattle friends: I can't wait to see everyone.)) This year's conference is going to be hosted by Jim Feathers and his UW laboratory. Jim's work in luminescence sets the standard (extraordinarily high) for archaeological applications of luminescence and it will be worth the trip alone to hear what he and his lab are doing. As a bonus, the workshop features talks by luminescence experts doing work in geological applications -- such as high resolution dating of dune formation, etc. The cost is cheap: $28 for students, $55 for professionals. If you can make it, I recommend it.


Monday, September 14, 2009

More Ant Zombies

As reported in ScienceNews, an article in American Naturalist by Anderson et al (2009) documents the process by which fungus invades ants and turns them into zombies. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/46184/title/Death-grip_fungus_made_me_do_it

sm_killerfungus_ant.jpg200909281528.jpg

The original article in AN:

Andersen, S. B., et al. 2009. The life of a dead ant: The expression of an adaptive extended phenotype. American Naturalist, 174, (September): 424-433.

As an aside, Dretske has been working on the question that plagues everyone ... "How do you know you are not a zombie." Of course, this puzzles me daily. Required reading.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Moai Model and Base Shape

This is a see-through version of the moai that I've been working on. It is derived from a photosynth of a face-up fallen moai that is located along the south coast moai road (east of Charlie Love's excavation for those in the know). The redlines show the location of the center of mass.


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I'm now wondering whether the shape of the base has something to do the location of the center of mass and the general process of moving. Thinking about how tipping the statue to one side would make having a round front edge advantageous since the statue could effectively and smoothly "roll" along the front back and forth, minimizing friction, "rubbing" on the bottom, and making it easier to transfer the pendulum motion from one side to the other. Take a soda can, for example, and tilt it forward to a point before it tips over. If you rock the top of the can back and forth, the can will "roll" along its front edge and the shape of the travel will be along the shape of the curve of the bottom. Note that the front is the important part if the statues moves in that direction. Also note that the shape of the curve dictates how much of the statue makes contact with the ground at any point in time. The sharper the curve, the less surface area makes contact. The "flatter" the curve the greater the surface area.

Consider this photo of the base of a moai from just outside of Rano Raraku. Matt and Deb are in the photo for scale positioned 5 meters from each other (as measured by the tape). It is a big statue. Here the shape of the base is circular towards the front one-half and more rectangular towards the back. The front curve is consistent with the "rolling" idea in the walking - small surface area during the rotation. The less curved sides also make sense since the greater length in contact with the ground means less pressure/surface area. This would avoid deadly pressure flakes that show up on "road moai" due to the gravity and the reflected force of the tilted statue on the welded tuff.


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Humanities and Education: Dehumanized

Dehumanized: When math and science ruled the school

Mark Slouka's recent article (September 2009) in Harper's Magazine makes some interesting observations about the nature of teaching in the humanities that that are thought provoking, useful and interesting. Slouka points out the clear value of humanities -- but also makes the point that not ALL humanities teaching is necessarily of value. Assessment clearly has a strong role here (i.e., are students more capable of thinking critical after they take a class or get a degree or not - or are they just "older"). He makes an excellent point that the importance of humanities is that they ARE value-laden and thus politically volatile. The point is that we need to be able to conceive of these values and understand their relation in terms of the world we want to live in. Instead, we get toothless introspection. His quote here is a good one about the restless futile inward debate that comprises much of the "social sciences": "Politically neuter, we now sing the politics of ocularcentric rhetroic. Safe in our tenured nests, we risk neither harm nor good." Ultimately, I think Slouka downplays the integrative role of mathandscience (as he puts it) and humanities (where it's not the former telling the latter what's what, but humanties using tolls from mathandscience to asses the degree to which we can get to our value-laden goals). But it's the fodder for some interesting thinking.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moai models II - Fallen statues walk again...

I've been working to build a model of a "transport" moai. These moai are found fallen on the roads that lead from Rano Raraku to areas across the island. Maps of these roads can be found at our http://www.rapanuidatabase.org via the downloadable KML files (and Google Earth). These statues are ones that have "failed" in transport -- for whatever reason, they toppled over and were not re-raised (largely impossible on big ones and any that could not be "excavated" back onto the landscape). Modeling a fallen moai is a key task since the ones that reached the ahu were often modified at that point to trim the bases and make them more upright (rather than tilted forward).

The hard part about doing this is that the statues are, by definition, fallen and thus are not easily photographed in 3 dimensions (unlike the upright ones). If a statue has fallen on its back, you get reasonable information about its front (and vice versa). I did my best with a statue that fallen on its back. You can view the photosynth of this moai here:

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f895e1a6-cb75-4a24-b136-c79ee44d48eb

To generate the new model, I created a point cloud out of the photosynthed photos. I then used VRMesh - a trial version of a commercial software package -- to build a mesh object. It took a lot of tweaking to turn this into a watertight object given the noisy pointcloud and the lack of a backside for the moai. Then using AutoDesk 3ds Max (a 30-day evaluation copy), I turned the mesh into an object in a physical object. This is the result (below). The palm tree is in there just for goofs - it is not a jubea palm so not even remotely appropriate for Rapa Nui, but you only get a couple of choices...).

moai-standing.jpg  

Now I've got to figure out how to make the moai "move" in a physical realistic way. That is going to take learning a lot more about Autodesk 3ds Max - which is insanely complicated and probably vast overkill for what I'm trying to do (but, for 30days at least, it's free to try).

Using Autodesk 3ds Max, however, I can calculate the center of mass, though. This tells me, as I expected, that center of mass is forward, towards the leading edge of the bottom. The center of gravity is not, as I was thinking, low. In fact, the center is precisely in the middle of the moai. Why is this?

I think the answer is because that is where you would want it to be if you were going to "walk" the moai across the landscape in the inverted pendulum model. If you put the center of mass low, you would have a stable object, but rocking the object would take a great deal more energy since you'd have to move the top quite a bit before the low center of mass moved at all (imagine what would happen if it was a cone and the COM was basically even to the ground). Putting it higher allows the minimum amount of investment in tilting the object to get it to move. But if you put it too high, it would be really unstable and more likely to fall over. So the best solution, is to put it right in the middle.

Of course, this placement makes no sense at all if you moved the statue while it was horizontal and on a bunch of logs (as many might claim). In fact you'd probably want to have the center of mass closer to base to making standing it up easier. That way, you would have to invest the minimum amount of effort getting it tilted up before it "rights itself." Another clue to moai transport.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Moai Models

One of my goals this summer was produce volumetric models for moai in order to determine center of mass and other physical parameters. Although $100K provides one the funds to purchase a 3D laser scanner, my approach was to do this using nothing more than a camera and photosynth. Using 100s of photos, www.photosynth.net, a point cloud extractor and some mesh editing software, this turned out to be laborious but possible. As a first step, I started with this photosynth of a statue that stands on a small ahu just a little ways from Tongariki.  

You will need to install a VRML plugin on your machine (see: http://cic.nist.gov/vrml/vbdetect.html) or (much preferred - MeshLab for which there is a mac, linux and windows version). But when you do, check out:

http://www.csulb.edu/~clipo/moai3.x3d or

http://www.csulb.edu/~clipo/moai3.3ds (and install MeshLab from http://meshlab.sourceforge.net)

I went from this (note that all the photos in the synth were taken in portrait mode and photosynth was unable to reconcile that fact with the landscape).


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to this:


moai00.png

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Zombies, Math and Modeling

Given the imminent threat of a zombie outbreak, it is good to know that some mathematicians/epidemiologists are taking zombies seriously. In Munz et al (2009) "WHEN ZOMBIES ATTACK!: MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF AN OUTBREAK OF ZOMBIE INFECTION" recently published in an edited volume (Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress) [and yes, the last author's last name really has a question mark at the end. see: http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/ ). According to their model, only quick aggressive attacks have a chance of staving off the end of the world. The abstract describes it all:

Zombies are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually

portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently,

we model a zombie attack, using biological assumptions based on popular zombie

movies. We introduce a basic model for zombie infection, determine equilibria and

their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the

model to introduce a latent period of zombification, whereby humans are infected, but

not infectious, before becoming undead. We then modify the model to include the

effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular,

impulsive reductions in the number of zombies and derive conditions under which

eradication can occur. We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the

doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all.


This graph says it all:


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Friday, July 31, 2009

Zombies, ants, and fungi

For those of you just about to sit down to enjoy a bowl of wild mushroom risotto, you might consider the potential consequences....

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fungus-makes-zombie-ants

Thursday, July 23, 2009

synthy synths from Easter Island 2009

More synths for the viewing per square meter than any other blog around. All that I've done can be found here: http://photosynth.net/UserProfilePage.aspx?user=clipo&content=Synths

Puna Pau: the hat quarry -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=818c127b-d00c-4dba-a398-21272605de17

Moai at Rano Raraku -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=3c2daf90-cdcc-42fb-a91f-8e3f2057af21

Tongariki -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=1a605039-e964-4b87-aa91-e6c8f777a261

Pukao at Tongariki -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=0dd2f6cf-a9b4-4906-bc4e-d464f5d97d8a

Road Moai along South Coast -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f895e1a6-cb75-4a24-b136-c79ee44d48eb

Road Moai at Vai Mata -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f0f45b30-9dac-4073-bbc1-7e06b005143a

Vinapu -- http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=e59fb781-1072-4965-b06a-9bea8e19252e

Fallen Moai II

This photosynth was created for one of the road moais on the south coast a little past Akahanga. The statue fell on its back so the front surface is more visible than the previous synth at Vai Mata.

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=F895E1A6-CB75-4A24-B136-C79EE44D48EB

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fallen Moai

Part of our analyses here on Rapa Nui consist of observing moai in their various forms -- at the quarry, in the roads, on the ahus. There are a number of attributes related to the technology of carving, transporting and displaying the statues that can be discerned - a fact I puzzle over given the lack of previous acknowledgement and abundant crazy speculation. To paraphrase: "What were they thinking when they described the moai?"

Anyways to help document some of these things, I created a photosynth of one of the "fallen" moai that failed during transport (or at least that is my current hypothesis). This synth worked out fairly well and has a lot of good detail about moai morphology (click the ctrl key to see the point cloud).

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=F0F45B30-9DAC-4073-BBC1-7E06B005143A


Rapa Nui 2009 180.JPG

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Zombies in the News

For those of you who are concerned about tracking the location of zombies that are reported in the news, you can now do so in your web browser. Check out:

http://mendel.cla.csulb.edu/zombies/

zombie.png

For the latest zombies, Google Maps and Google News mashup. Keep track of zombie reports in your neighborhood!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Archaeology in the News

I updated the Archaeology News widget a bit to make it a bit more informative. I need to parse out the duplicates and do more work on the markers, but it is coming along...

http://mendel.cla.csulb.edu/archynews/

Widget

Friday, June 12, 2009

Anthropology Graduate Programs Around the World

As an experiment, I expanded a citation analysis tool I wrote for google apps and mashed it up with Google Maps API to display the location of anthropology graduate programs around the world.  The map allows you to look at the faculty present and also view the distribution of citations for individuals. It was more of a programming experiment than anything. It is a work in progress -- so may be broken -- but try it out if you get a chance:

http://mendel.cla.csulb.edu/anthromap/

BTW: Although it uses standard javascript (the Google Maps API), this does not appear to work in firefox.  Try Safari, IE, Google Chrome...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Topographic Analyses: LandSerf

For those of you out there wondering how to take LiDAR data or DEMs and turn them into cool 3-D visualizations or to do some analyses on them, you might check out LandSerf.

LandSerf is a freely available Geographical Information System (GIS) for the visualisation and analysis of surfaces. Applications include visualisation of landscapes; geomorphological analysis; gaming development; GIS file conversion; map output; archaeological mapping and analysis; surface modelling and many others. It runs on any platform that supports the Java Runtime Environment (Windows, MacOSX, Unix, Linux etc.)

LandSerf seems to be able to open all kinds of vector and raster data and has a variety of great tools for analyses. One that I think will particularly useful in our study of Guatemala mangroves and for the Yazoo Basin is the "peak/pit" analysis (such as the example below of peaks in the English Lake district). Best of all its free!

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New Directives...


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Puttering...

I've finished the new radio controller with video. I added a sunshield and a belt pack for the two 12-volt batteries that power the LCD panel and the video receiver. In the photo to the right, you can see the latest version with the waist-worn battery pack. IMG_0075  

I also constructed a rig add-on for the new laser range finder. This device measures distance to the ground and stores data in a Recon data collector. Combined with post-processed GPS data collected via the Trimble GeoXH units, we can determine the elevation of the point immediately below the cameras. Woot. To do this, I need to make a hanger that would allow the rangefinder to hang directly down with 2 degrees a freedom. A trip to Harbor Freight and the purchase of a chair caster solved that problem (plus a bunch of stock aluminum).


IMG_0077 IMG_0078

Faculty governance ( or the lack thereof...)

An open letter to the Chair of the CLA Faculty Council and the President of the Academic Senate at CSULB.

May 26, 2009

To:                 Nele Hempel-Lamer, Chair, CLA Faculty Council

                       Praveen Soni, Chair, Academic Senate

Cc:                  Gerry Riposa, Dean of Liberal Arts

                        Brett Mizelle, Chair, EPCC Committee

From:             Chrys Rodrigue, Professor, Geography

   Chris Lee, Professor, Geography

    Carl P. Lipo, Associate Professor, Anthropology

                        Hector Neff, Professor, Anthropology

RE:                  Faculty Governance Concerns – EPCC Committee Meeting 19 May 2009

Over the course of the spring 2009 semester a number of Anthropology faculty have organized to remove 16 archaeology-specific Anthropology classes from the archaeology curriculum from the Department. This motion represents a significant programmatic change in the focus and direction of the Anthropology BA/MA degrees, though it was represented as just the minor deletion of a few courses.

On May 19, 2009, the proposal to eliminate all of these courses went to the College EPCC committee and was ultimately "approved". This resolution aside, a number of things took place during the meeting that we find disconcerting with respect to faculty governance and the process by which proposals are evaluated by committees elected by the faculty. Specifically, the faculty governance issues involve the unconventional role of Associate Dean Mark Wiley in the EPCC process and whether his intimidating presence and actions prevented open deliberations and discussions and, therefore, due process for the EPCC to make an informed decision regarding this case. The following points provide some background to our concerns regarding the process undertaken at the May 19th meeting.

(1)   Associate Dean Mark Wiley, an ex-officio member, asked to have people removed due to "Fire Marshal" rules. The EPCC meeting is an open meeting and, as such, all interested parties are allowed to attend and participate. Technically speaking, if the number of people in the room surpassed the 15-person seating capacity that the Fire Marshal allows, this should have triggered (a) finding a bigger room or (b) finding another time when everyone could participate. In this sense, Associate Dean Wiley acted to limit the information available to the committee about the nature and impact of the proposal. Ironically, even with the eviction of the students, the room still contained more than 15 faculty, Fire Marshal standards notwithstanding.

(2)   Associate Dean Wiley's action removed individuals from the meeting who had no other means of participating in this process of major curriculum change. In Anthropology, lecturers and students are not allowed to attend any meeting (committee or department) and are kept uninformed about proposals that directly impact them. The EPCC meeting is the ONLY place in which they have any voice. Yet, they were prohibited from expressing their voice.

(3)   Associate Dean Wiley abused his administrative authority at the meeting, acting at times as de facto Chair and leader of the committee. However, his membership is ex-officio; Dr. Brett Mizelle is the EPCC Chair. The CLA constitution states that, for the EPCC Committee, “The Dean or Dean's designee shall be an ex officio, non-voting member of the Committee. Fundamentally, Associate Dean Mark Wiley, an ex-officio member of the committee, misused his authority as Associate Dean to restrain the process of evaluation and discussion.

(4)   The EPCC is a body elected by College Faculty for the purpose of evaluating the potential impact that proposed curriculum changes have on the College as a whole and its mission. By removing interested parties from this meeting, Dean Wiley acted to undermine the democratic basis of the faculty governance process. The practice and the procedures of the committee are neither determined nor decided upon by Associate Dean Wiley. The CLA Constitution (http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cla/people/constitution.html) states that “The Committee shall act for the College Faculty, in accordance with Policies and Procedures set by the Faculty Council and the University Academic Senate, in all matters involving curriculum and educational programs.”

(5) The disingenuous use of the Course Change proposal mechanism to effect major programmatic restructuring like this should have resulted in the Committee sending the proposal back to the Department with a recommendation that Program Change is the correct procedure, not the Course Change procedure. Had Associate Dean Wiley not intervened improperly to block discussion, the committee could have learned about and considered the magnitude of the course drop proposal and evaluated whether the Course Change procedure was being used to circumvent the fuller discussion required for major programmatic change. Indeed, the Chair of Anthropology testified at the 5/19 meeting that the proposal was, in fact, a program change and not a course change. As such, it should have been evaluated as such a request, a process requiring far greater participation by stakeholders across the campus and involvement by the Faculty Council.

(6) Questions about postponing the vote until adequate information could be obtained were rejected by Associate Dean Wiley (a non-voting ex-officio member, as specified in the CLA Constitution) before they could be evaluated by the Committee. We do not understand his haste: Tabling the vote would not have hurt the proposal, since the same effect could be achieved by the Department simply not running the 16 courses for at least three years. Not tabling the vote did hurt the many stakeholders in the archaeology curriculum (students in archaeology, archaeology faculty, and faculty in other departments and colleges).

(7) It is essential to note that the EPCC committee was not provided with any names or course descriptions for the courses to be eliminated – only course numbers. Additionally, no rationale or justification for the removal of any of them was offered. The Chair of Anthropology failed to provide supporting evidence or a vision of what the degree is supposed to do without the proposed courses. Consequently, there was, effectively, no basis upon which the EPCC committee could have made an informed decision. In this regard, the decision-making process at the May 19th meeting deviated from all other actions on curriculum proposals, in which specific documents and rationale are required and reviewed. The Anthropology course removal proposal was a particularly unusual request for consideration by the EPCC committee in that it represented a major programmatic change in the content and curriculum of the BA/MA in Anthropology.   The primary argument in support of the 16 course drops consisted of statements claiming that these changes were approved by the Department; yet no documents or any supporting evidence for this claim was made. This is contrary to ordinary curriculum changes that require detailed information about the rationale and justification used for proposing curriculum changes, especially those as drastic as these..

(9) The logic of the rationale of the Associate Dean – that majority vote by the Department was the ONLY criterion by which the proposal needed to be evaluated -- undermines the reason for having an EPCC committee in the first place. If the issue of departmental majority was the only criterion that matters in this proposal, then there was nothing anyone could have said at the meeting to lead to a rejection of the proposal. Not only does this eliminate any role in having a college-level hearing, it also contradicts practice for the evaluation of new course proposals. New courses proposed have their Department’s vote of support, thus, given the logic provided by the Associate Dean, there should never be a reason for the EPCC committee to discuss or evaluate the rationale behind any curriculum proposal.

(10) The Associate Dean restrained the democratic process of evaluation and discussion. At one point, he adamantly demanded that Dr. Lipo “stop” his questioning of the motion on the table, claiming that no new information would be contributed. We believe that members of the EPCC who might have questioned the proposal, including assistant and associate faculty subject to RTP, might have been intimidated into silence. Associate Dean Wiley’s actions prevented the committee from taking the time needed to hear questions from interested parties, ask their own questions, request more data, and generally gather the information needed to make an informed decision representative of the interests of all departments in the College. We are especially concerned that, given Associate Dean Wiley’s angry demeanor, assistant and associate professors kept any questions to themselves.

(11) Finally, we note that the mission of the EPCC committee as outlined in the CLA Constitution is to uphold the mission of the College. This mission specifically includes supporting curriculum that provides students training in analytical and scientific reasoning, quantitative methods and participating in active and ongoing scholarship. Given that NO material was provided with the proposal to demonstrate how dropping classes furthered this mission yet ample documentation was provided to the contrary, there is no constitutional basis to support the decision of the EPCC committee.

Please note that the published formal mission of the College (http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cla/about/mission.html) is stated as “The College of Liberal Arts offers a curriculum centered in the study of individuals, societies, and cultural groups, past and present, and in national, regional and global contexts. Students acquire skills and knowledge in communication, critical thinking, language and literature, analytical and scientific reasoning, quantitative analysis, and philosophical foundations that enable them to enjoy and understand the rich and dynamic cultural heritage of humanity, lead productive and creative lives, be responsible world citizens, and provide leadership in addressing concerns of society.” In addition, “Students gain an understanding of diverse societies and ethnic and gender issues critical to a changing world. The faculty bring current theories and knowledge to the classroom and create opportunities for students to participate in active and ongoing scholarship. The College provides quality undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that meet critical regional needs.”

Direct Relations of Eliminated Curriculum to the Mission of CLA*

·                        Analytic and scientific reasoning: ANTH 551, ANTH 453/553, ANTH 481/581, ANTH 485/585, ANTH 488/588

·                        Quantitative Analysis: ANTH 464/564

·                        Opportunities for active and ongoing scholarship: ANTH 551, ANTH 453/553, ANTH 485/585, ANTH 488/588.

·                        Dynamic cultural heritage of humanity: ANTH 571, ANTH 472/572, ANTH 573

·                        Critical regional needs: ANTH 573, ANTH 587, ANTH 453/553, ANTH 488/588

·                        Current theories and knowledge: All classes.

During the EPCC meeting, no information was provided to the committee about how the existing courses do not meet the mission of CLA nor how the remaining curriculum does a superior job in meeting this mission. Thus, the process that took place in the meeting violated the core mission of our College and prohibited faculty from allowing democratic action from taking its due course.

In summary, the proceedings at the EPCC committee point to a process that no longer represents faculty governance with due process and fair review. Instead, the committee was forced to rubberstamp the Department of Anthropology’s vote to conduct large-scale programmatic change through abuse of a course drop procedure designed for minor catalogue clean-up. This entirely nullifies the purpose of a faculty-representative committee and its role as independent evaluator. This action contradicts the basis of self-governance at CSULB and, as such, requires investigation by the Faculty Council. We note that the CLA Constitution states that the EPCC vote is only a recommendation and not a final decision. As quoted in the CLA constitution “the Educational Policies and Curriculum Committee shall maintain overview of the educational policies of the College in the framework of the mission of the College and shall make recommendations for action to the Faculty Council and Dean.”

We ask that the decision and process be reevaluated in the interest of the University community and to give voice to the many individuals who are impacted by this motion. Under the provisions detailed in the CLA Constitution (http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cla/people/constitution.html), we ask:

(1)           The Faculty Council Executive Committee request that no action be taken on EPCC decision of 5/19/09 with regards to the Archaeology courses until the Faculty Council has the opportunity to investigate the rationale, process, and procedures used in its evaluation of the Anthropology proposal (as specified in Article III 6.2b, directed in Article III A.5.2 and Article III A.5.3, and allowed in Article II A.4);

(2)           The Faculty Council Executive Committee request that the proposal from Department of Anthropology be returned to the Department for additional evaluation and justification steps consistent with Program Changes (as allowed under Article II B.2 and the second clause in Article II A.7);

(3)           The EPCC decision of 5/19/09 in relation to Anthropology proposal to drop 16 archaeology classes be evaluated by the Faculty Council (when it reconvenes in the Fall) with regards to the capricious limitation of involvement from affected stakeholders (as allowed in Article II A.7, Article II B.2, Article III A.5.2 and Article III A.5.3).

(4)           The EPCC decision of 5/19/09 be evaluated by the Faculty Council in terms of the consistency of evidence necessary for recommending curricular change for adding and dropping courses (as allowed in Article II A.7, Article II B.2, Article III A.5.2 and Article III A.5.3);

(5)           The EPCC decision of 5/19/09 be investigated for its intent as a Program Change rather than a Course Change, thus requiring more extensive justification and involvement of all campus stakeholders (as determined by the second clause in Article II A.7 and allowed under Article II A.7, Article II B.2, Article III A.5.2 and Article III A.5.3 );

(6)           The Faculty Council raise the issue of faculty governance concerning program changes and review of impact to the College and University as specified under Article II A.4 and the second clause of Article II A.7.

(7)           The actions of Associate Dean Wiley on 5/19/09 be reviewed as to his misuse of an administrative position with regards to faculty governance (as specified under Article A.5.3);

(8)           The Faculty Council review the role of the ex-officio member in the discovery and discussion portion of the evaluation process when the potential exists for reducing committee inquiry due to intimidation of members subject to current and future RTP (as specified under Article III A.5.2); and,

(9)           The Faculty Council review the role of the EPCC committee as an independent body of democratically elected faculty representatives from the College upholding the mission of the College of Liberal Arts with respect to its review of all curriculum changes (as specified under Article III A.5.2).

*Appendix: Courses Proposed for Drop by the Department of Anthropology on 5/19

453/553: Archaeological Field Research Design

472/572: Archaeology of the Desert West

481/581: Faunal Analysis

485/585: Physical Science Techniques in Archaeology

464/564: Quantitative Methods in Anthropological Research

551: Artifact Analysis

571: Prehistory of Eastern North America

587: Cultural Resource Management

573: Archaeology of California

488/588: Advanced Methods in Near Surface Remote Sensing