Build a better beef

Just now there is a tidal stream of commercial life which sweeps itself into all the energy and talent of the United States—only here and there is it resisted by men of peculiar temperament and peculiar genius. The state of mind thus induced is so incompatible with that of scientific thought that, when men by success, or through exhaustion, leave commercial enterprise, they are incapable even of conceiving what science is and mistake it—when they try to understand it—for something that will lead to preserved beef, or patent washing fluids.

Theodore Lyman to Alexander Aggasiz, May 4, 1873. Alexander Aggasiz Papers. Quoted in Curtis M. Hinsley, “From Shell-Heaps to Stelae: Early Anthropology at the Peabody Museum,” in Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture, ed. George W. Stocking (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), pg. 57.

Working together to make working better

At the Boston Globe, Leon Neyfakh has a great piece on new kinds of “unions” that are trying to advocate for workers’ rights in an economy where it’s not always clear what exactly defines a “worker” anymore. They’re simply trying … Continue reading

Wanted: Coconut picker. Must provide own pink uniform.

“Harvesting Cocoanuts, Porto Rico,” Stereocard from the collection of the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños.

War without nations

Last Friday, Derek Gregory came to Madison to give a lecture in the Yi-Fu Tuan lecture series. His talk, “Drones and the Everywhere War,” described today’s use of drone strikes to prosecute the “war on terror” as the consummation of … Continue reading

Loosen up

From J. H. Kellogg, Outline studies of the human figure (Battle Creek: Modern Medicine Pub. Co., 1900), pg. 5. Available online at UNC-Greensboro Digital Collections.