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: 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.   


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  <>
**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?"


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!