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[Xmca-l] Re: The power of Humanities in a recursive loop



Kudos to Andy and Martin for focusing on such a lowly topic: human waste. Here’s a quote from the link from Martin on toilets in the cradle of western civilization:

"So the health benefits of the technology would have been limited, McMahon says. Although the pit toilets would have successfully separated people from their waste — the measure of a good sanitation system because it prevents the faecal–oral spread of disease — studies by the US Agency for International Development say that some 75% of a population must have access before there are widespread improvements in health.”

The idea seems to be  that increases in human life spans come from broad epidemiological advances, rather than heroic, end-of-life measures that are available only to those with lots of money and power. The rich do live somewhat longer, but not a whole lot. A rising tide raises all boats. This is collaborative creativity on a large scale. This is not a triumphalist, heroic narrative, rather more grounded, lowly. More Emily Dickinson than Homer. But still the humanities, in keeping with the subject line.

Incidentally, I am reading a book by Yuval Noah Harari—Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. The last sentence from the first chapter: "Homo Sapiens conquered the world thanks above all to its unique language.” An interesting reference in the Wikipedia article on Harari is an article he wrote on a historical shift of the self-concept of the soldier from hero to victim, in keeping with a shift away from the triumphalist narrative. I can’t help thinking this is a reflection on electoral politics in American, which is a reflection on everything else. A hall of mirrors.

On the Road (In Oakland now, just across the bridge from San Francisco)
Henry




> On May 25, 2016, at 10:46 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co <mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>> wrote:
> 
> With a historical dimension, too:
> 
> <http://www.nature.com/news/the-secret-history-of-ancient-toilets-1.19960?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20160526&spMailingID=51458273&spUserID=MTc1NjM2MjgwODgwS0&spJobID=923132954&spReportId=OTIzMTMyOTU0S0 <http://www.nature.com/news/the-secret-history-of-ancient-toilets-1.19960?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20160526&spMailingID=51458273&spUserID=MTc1NjM2MjgwODgwS0&spJobID=923132954&spReportId=OTIzMTMyOTU0S0>>
> 
> Martin
> 
>> On May 23, 2016, at 7:09 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>> 
>> There is a fascinating sub-branch of science which has developed in which scientists sample the sewerage outflow from entire cities and analyse it down to tiny traces, producing a measure of the amount of alcohol or  methanphetamine being used, the extent of diabetes, the state of the populations kdineys etc., just as they would for an individual.
>> 
>> Andy
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/~andy>
>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making> 
>> On 24/05/2016 4:47 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
>>> That’s exactly what I figure each time I flush paint thinner down the toilet!  :)
>>> 
>>> Martin
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> On May 23, 2016, at 12:09 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu <mailto:annalisa@unm.edu>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> A thermogeologist once told me, "The solution to pollution is dilution." So my thinking is like that.
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
> 
> 

Status: O