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LTO Cambodia, Chinese Death Rituals, and Stupid Stupid Laws

I recently discovered LTO Cambodia, a blog describing itself merely as “A Barang in the Land of the Khmer.” I’m so grateful to the author of that blog for photoblogging the excellent, excellent – looking exhibit of old maps of Kampot at the French Cultural Center.  They even tagged and labeled some of the old maps with contemporary locations! Oh, the nerdvana of this!

The photo below is from that post. Click here to see the whole post.

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Sounding Sociology and Food on July 8 2011

I’ve regularly been bowled over and had socks knocked off by the wonderful wonderful sociological blog “Understanding Society.” Really, you should all subscribe to this blog, which makes complex, and current, sociology comprehensible, while explaining its relevance (I also like “Philosophy Bros,” but that’s a different matter).  Here are some of the posts which have entranced me most recently:

Dude, was “Marx an analytical sociologist?” 1. Microfoundations 2. Rational Individual Choices 3. Causal Explanations.  Could be.

Dissecting the social,” more on current analytical sociology.

Thank gods there are also “Alternatives to analytical sociology.”

As for Food Stuff, there are new confirmations of what we’ve known for a long time, all of which have come to me via the excellent blog “Ancient Foods” and the “Agrobiodiversity Weblog.”

There’s a fascinating note that the so-called Green Revolution of the 1960s relied on manipulation of the same gene that ancient domesticating farmers manipulated over 10,000 years ago.  “Ancient Farmers Started the First Green Revolution.”

And of course, agriculture played havoc with our population’s overall health, something we’ve known for a very long time (though few enough of us seem to remember it, day to day). in the Science Daily, (via Ancient Foods), “Dawn of Agriculture took Toll on Health,” including this opening paragraph:

When populations around the globe started turning to agriculture around 10,000 years ago, regardless of their locations and type of crops, a similar trend occurred: The height and health of the people declined.

For you rice fanatics, there’s increasing evidence that rice seems to have had a single origin point of domestication (the Neolithic Yangtze River Valley), and not separate points of domestication.  Southeast Asian patriots may moan about this (there is another theory which argues for a local domestication), but I’m thrilled to know more. Check out the Rice Domestication Roundup at agrobiodiversity weblog.

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Sounding on “The Social Disciplines”

Yeah, so….everyone has a ‘junk drawer,’ right? That place where you stick all those things you are, inexplicably, interested and fascinated by, but unable to describe succinctly?  The ‘social disciplines’ is my attempt to name that junk drawer for the purposes of this blog: stuff I’m interested in that is otherwise nebulously categorical.

  • 18 levels of Chinese Hell
  • Fire to the Commons! An essay you should read – ‘further theory’
  • Why bureaucracy matters when you are trying to “DIY” your own funeral
  • Downsizing Chinese Graves
  • Racialization or Denominalization of Worship Styles
  • Understanding Society – a Blog You Should Be Reading. Continue reading
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Sounding on Cambodia for March 10, 2010

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News: Buddha's skull found in 1,000-year-old miniature pagoda in China

Really? This seems like big news.

LONDON: Archaeologists have claimed that a 1,000-year-old miniature pagoda, unearthed in Nanjing, China, holds a piece of skull belonging to

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the pagoda was wedged tightly inside an iron case that was discovered at the site of a former temple in the city in August this year.

The four-storey pagoda, which is almost four feet high and one-and-a-half feet wide, is thought by archaeologists to be one of the 84,000 pagodas commissioned by Ashoka the Great in the second century BC to house the remains of the Buddha.

The pagoda found in Nanjing is crafted from wood, gilded with silver and inlaid with gold, coloured glass and amber.

It matches a description of another of Ashoka’s pagodas, which used to be housed underneath the Changgan Buddhist temple in Nanjing.

A description of the contents of the pagoda indicate the presence of a gold coffin bearing part of Buddha’s skull inside a silver box.

Although scans have confirmed that there are two small metal boxes inside the pagoda, experts have not yet peered inside.

According to Qi Haining, the head of archaeology at Nanjing Museum, “This pagoda may be unique, the only one known to contain parts of Buddha’s skull”.

But he said there would be a lengthy process before the cases could be opened.

“The discovery of the relic will have a huge influence on the cultural history of Buddhism in China and will establish Nanjing as a premier site. It will be a great encouragement for Buddhists as well as for future studies,” said De Qing, an expert in Buddhism in Nanjing.

On the other hand, I always get a bit skeptical when experts involved in such religious discoveries make remarks like the following. Remember Jesus’ coffin?

“It is important for Buddhism as a religion to have these sarira, or relics, to show its followers. The more a Buddhist practises, the more relics will remain of him after his death. I am hugely excited. I think they should take the skull outside of the container, it is a sacred item, but it is not an untouchable item,” he added.

via Buddha’s skull found in 1,000-year-old miniature pagoda in China- ET Cetera-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times

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My Goodness – Dumbass Holywood Buddhists and Inflatable Children

Quick links:

Sharon Stone, who is understandably pissed off about China’s repression of Tibet, has decided that the Sichuan earthquake, which has taken the lives of horrific numbers of lives, was the result of Karma. I learned about if from this post, properly titled “Not everyone who says something stupid about a natural disaster is a Christian.”

Dumbass father in Cambodia decided to inflate his child rather than feed him, apparently. The take on this, here, is priceless:

A father, while “playing” with his 5 year old son decided it would be a hoot to play “inflate my kid.” I don’t know if any of you are familiar with this game but it is the one where the retarded Cambodian father sticks an air hose designed to fill car tires in his 5 year old’s anus. Unfortunately the game was cut short when Daddy learned that kids don’t inflate. Don’t worry, the kid (Sok Sambo is his name) suffered a distended stomach but received medical attention and will be just fine for about 15,000 miles before he may need to be re-inflated and possibly rotated.

My favorite part of the story is that the police have decided not to arrest the man because his only offense was “pure stupidity, against which there is currently no law.” The article was silent on whether the legislature was trying to change that…and how many pounds of pressure a properly inflated 5 year old Cambodian boy’s stomach should achieve.

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