"Dame dame dame, que te voy a dar ... una guayabita de mi guayabal."


Björk interviews Arvo Pärt

'cuz more vowels need diacriticals.

"Semantic ontology" databases: Natural vs. ambiguous language for search engines

Making language have precise meaning (or trying) is as old an endeavor as Francis Bacon (maybe older). As Baumann & Briggs have it, the back-and-forth between language's denotative and more gestural, socially malleable, ambiguous or performative uses are at the center of modernity. And we're still at it, according to the BBC, as "semantic search engines" aim to build databases based on the principle of "semantic ontology," which attempts to capture how all the different parts of an organisation understand a particular thing. This seems like no easy task, in fact, it might be something like the creation of AI, since it is this very property of language that seems to be (so far) unique to humans...

Musiblogogy / Musiblogogía

Phil at the musicology blog Dial 'M' for Musicology writes that "I've gone all meta and blogged about blogging." And then Ryan Banagale and Drew Massey at another musicology blog, Amusicology: Musicology in 1,000 Words or Less takes it meta-meta and writes about that post. So me writing about it is meta-meta-meta I guess, but I guess that's the nature of this weird economy of hyperlinked quotations that the blogging is built on.

Anyhow, the meat of it is the following, from Phil:
I started this blog thinking that the strange absence of music-scholarly blogs was a temporary condition, and that musicologists, once they had learned about academic blogging by example and could see what could be done in the medium, would start writing their own blogs and a hundred musicoloblogospheric flowers would bloom. Well, that didn't happen. Look at the academic blog wiki list of music-scholarly blogs. Now look at the one for history. Or linguistics and philosophy. Or even Classics and Ancient Languages, for Chrissake. We're getting our asses kicked by Latin.
And more provocatively:
I can't help but think that this is a cultural thing. Just as different parts of the orchestra each have their own micro-cultures, different disciplines within the humanities do too, and the culture of musicology is marked by its almost insane degree of caution and self-limitation. Sorry to be so blunt, but there it is: the other humanities, when they think of us at all (which isn't very often) tend to think of musicologists as something like stamp collectors, fanatically collecting and sorting and classifying stamps without caring about what they're attached to . . .
I usually dismiss this characterization, because it doesn't describe the musicologists whose work I admire. But I don't know. The point and challenge of blogging is to make connections with other parts of the intellectual world, and inasmuch as that challenge has hardly been taken up in the two-and-a-half years since I started this blog, I have to ask if we as a discipline are not actually just happier staying in our corner, playing with our stamps.
The Amusicology folks, for their part, write:
It is true that there are relatively few blogs on that list [the one Phil mentions] (there are a few more here), but I’m not entirely sure the problem is a lack of blogs as much as much as a problem of collating / unifying those blogs that are out there.
They then, very helpfully provide a list, which I'll synthesize here:
Plus I figured I'd add some more from (or about) Latin America (esp. Colombia), of, by, or for ethno/musicologists:
After all that, I want to post one last thought from Amusicology, which seems like a great idea:
Musicology blogs take all shapes and forms, some focus on longer posts, others a tidbit here or there, others still as a place to air research ideas. Perhaps what we need is a meta-blogger willing to spend their days combing other blogs and pulling together all the interesting posts/subjects. The Perez Hilton of musicology, though less profitable and fashionable (in many senses of the word).
Don't look at me, I'm going to be in the boondocks of Colombia for the next few months working, and probably without much internet. But maybe starting to make these lists is the first step...

RIP Freddie Hubbard QEPD

Legendary jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard has died. Bio
El legendario trompetista del jazz, Freddie Hubbard, ha muerto. Biografía

Aquí está haciendo su malabarismo de trompeta en 1962 con los Jazz Messengers del finado Art Blakey.
Here he is doing his trumpet acrobatics in 1962 with the recently deceased Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

And here he is in 1987 in a more subdued (but always Hubbard-ly pyrotechnic) mode on "Bodt and Soul" with McCoy Tyner.
Y aquí está en 1987 con un sentimiento más lírico (si bien con la pirotécnica que le carectizaba siempre) en el clásico "Body and Soul" con McCoy Tyner.


Lo Mejor de los Antroblogs 2008 / The Best of Anthropology Blogging 2008

De/From Neuranthropology:

The Best of Anthropology Blogging 2008 has a submissions deadline set for this Monday, December 29th. Both people who blog about anthropology topics and readers of anthro blogs can submit entries. For more details, see the details in the language that suits you best.

Un número creciente de antropólogos está escribiendo sobre sus trabajos e ideas en línea, compartiendo antropología en todas sus formas y manifestando cuan pertinente es la antropología para el resto del mundo. Por este motivo, “Neuroanthropology” se propone crear una colección de los mejores artículos en los blogs (o bitácoras) dedicados a la antropología.

Favor seguir las siguientes instrucciones para proponer artículos:

Hay dos categorías de artículos – (1ª) los más populares (en términos de número de lectores) y (2ª) los que usted elige como el mejor ejemplo de su trabajo en línea en su blog.

Por favor, envíe un ejemplo de cada categoría (del más popular y del preferido), incluyendo el título del artículo, la dirección del artículo en línea y una o dos frases que expliquen porqué usted piensa que estos ejemplos han sido exitosos.

En el caso de blogs con más de un autor, pueden entregar dos ejemplos de sus artículos en la segunda categoría.

Por favor enviar los detalles a Daniel Lende vía dlende[@]nd[.]edu
(eliminando los paréntesis).

Esta información debe ser enviada a más tardar el 29 diciembre de 2008. “Lo mejor de…” será publicado en línea el 31 de diciembre.

Muchas gracias a ustedes nuestros colegas.

Best of Anthropology Blogging 2008: Call for Submissions
Melhor de blogging antropolgia 2008
Le meilleur de la blogosphère anthropologique francophone: appel aux candidatures
Anunciando La Primera Edición de “Lo Mejor de los Blogs Antropológicos”
Antro-blogoskape yang paling baik untuk tahun 2008: sejenis kompetisi
Annunciando la prima edizione di «I migliori dei blogs di antropologia»

We’ve already had a great number of submissions from a diverse range of blogs. I’ve posted the list of participating blogs below. If you don’t see yours on the list, please send me a submission!

And if you did send me a submission but don’t see your blog, send me a reminder note. With Christmas, over-aggressive spam filters and the like, I want to be sure everyone gets included! Just one note - if it’s a blog in Portuguese, Greg is handling those submissions. So I haven’t included any of those in the list below.

Read the rest of this entry »


Senador Gregory Meeks habla de los afrocolombianos


Gobierno de Gramáticos/ Government of Grammarians

Malcolm Deas, the British historian who has written on the role of grammar and power in Colombia, most be loving it: Congress members debating Uribe's re-election referendum had to call in a special grammatical Swat team to debate the pluperfect participle used in the referendum to figure out if it allowed the president to have a third term concurrently or non-concurrently. Link

Me imagino que a Malcolm Deas, el historiador brítanico que ha escrito sobre el papel de la gramática en las formas del poder político en Colombia (citado aquí), le gusta el bororó del referendo de reelección, en que se ha tenido que llamar a un escuadrón de respuesta rápida de la Academia Colombiana de la Lengua para pronunciar sobre la interpretación de un "participio pluscuamperfecto." Enlace

Human Terrain Systems Handbook Leaked

Anthropologist David Price describes the training Handbook of the embedded anthropologists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here

The recently leaked (unclassified) Human Terrain Team Handbook (September 2008) reflects Human Terrain’s vision that by aiding in the more sensitive occupation of populations, Human Terrain Teams are reducing violence. The Handbook states that, “the end-state of Human Terrain Team support is to provide the unit the reasons why the population is doing what it is doing and thereby providing non-lethal options to the commander and his staff.” This statement expresses the Handbook’s internal logic that: anthropologically based non-lethal subjugation = good; lethal subjugation = bad. The Handbook ignores more traditional political and ethical considerations of anthropologists’ responsibilities following a logic more aligned with notions that subjugation of other cultures = bad. Such traditional anthropological considerations are outside the logical scope of the Handbook; it takes anthropologically aided subjugation as an acceptable goal from the outset.


RIAA will stop suing music file-sharers...

... and will just unilaterally and without recourse cut off internet access for people making files available. Link This isn't too great either.


CFP: "Representing Music—or—Music Representing"

CALL FOR PAPERS AND PARTICIPANTS: "Representing Music—or—Music Representing"
City University of New York Graduate Students in Music 12th Annual Symposium

Saturday, 25 April 2009
CUNY Graduate Center, New York City

Led and moderated by LEO TREITLER, Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus, CUNY Graduate Center

The CUNY Graduate Center's Music Ph.D.-D.M.A. program invites applications from graduate students for participation in its Twelfth Annual Graduate Students in Music Symposium (GSIM 2009)—this year, a collaborative, interactive event on the theme "Representing Music—or—Music Representing," to be held on Saturday, 25 April 2009 at the CUNY Graduate Center. The symposium will consist of two parts: a morning seminar for the selected participants, conducted by Professor Treitler; and an afternoon workshop, moderated by Professor Treitler, in which a selected number of student papers will be the focus for group discussion and critique.

The symposium will focus on the intersections between theories of musical meaning and musical discourse. (Please see the attached essay by Prof. Treitler for a more extensive prompt.) Students in all music disciplines are encouraged to apply, especially those interested in hermeneutics, criticism, aesthetics, semiotics, metaphor, theories of language, and narratology.

Students wishing to apply as participants must write a brief (100-word) statement about their experience and/or interest in the topic of the study day. The statement must also include the applicant's name, institution, e-mail address, and phone number. Participation will be limited to 15 students; selection will be random. Applicants are advised that the selected participants will be responsible for several reading and writing assignments in advance of the symposium, and for actively contributing in seminar and paper workshop discussions.

Students wishing to propose papers for the paper workshop must submit a 300-word abstract with title, and a separate cover letter with the author's name, institution, e-mail address, and phone number. Proposals will be read by the Program Committee with names of the authors withheld. Applicants are advised that authors of the selected papers will be required to distribute their completed papers to all participants two weeks before the symposium. Those applicants whose papers are not selected will automatically be included in the pool of potential participants (described above); for applicants submitting abstracts, there is no need to also submit the 100-word statement of interest.

All materials and questions may be sent to gsim.cuny.2009@gmail.com. Applications must be received by 1 Feburary 2009.

More New School protests

More on the New School hullaballoo. Dining hall occupied, university President tomoatoed.



"Capt. Nemo": Ghettotech designer of homemade Colombian drug subs / Malicia indígena: "Capt. Nemo," diseñador de los narcosumersibles

Tengo que confesar una pequeña obsesión con el tema de los narcosumersibles, de los cuales he tratado antes en este blog. Pues ahora sí cayó su diseñador, un tumaqueño con el muy apropiado nombre de pila de Capt. Nemo. En un artículo del Los Angeles Times (aquí traducido al español por Google), explican el diseño:

una elegante forma de "V" del casco; una robusta quilla, que es la espina dorsal del barco, y un sistema de escape que hace que el barco parece un monstruo de las profundidades...los buques que miden hasta 60 pies de largo y equipado con complejos sistemas de lastre, comunicaciones y sistemas de energía. Ellos normalmente tenían motores de diesel de 350-caballos de fuerza, y los cuatro tripulantes tenían lo último en radio, GPS y teléfono satelital.Los subs tienen una extensión de 2000 millas, más que suficiente para ir de aquí para la Bahía de Tehuantepec en México, un destino favorecido...
Sé que es por mal y todo, pero vacana la astucia de Capt. Nemo.

Fernando Vergara / Associated Press (from http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-captainnemo14-2008dec14,0,1166020.story)

I have to confess a slight obsession with homemade Colombian drug subs, which I've mentioned before on this blog. Well, they finally got the designer, a commerical shrimper for Tumaco known by the appropriate sobriquet of Captain Nemo. The LA Times has a full acount, including some of the design principles:

"He had a marvelous criminal vision," Colombian navy Capt. Luis German Borrero said. "He introduced innovations such as a bow that produced very little wake, a conning tower that rises only a foot above the water and a valve system that enables the crew to scuttle the sub in 10 minutes. He is very ingenious."

Portocarrero's craft are difficult for counter-narcotics officials to detect on the open seas because their tiny wake creates a negligible radar "footprint." Also, authorities say, the exhaust is released through tubing below the surface, frustrating patrol aircraft's heat-sensing equipment....

Portocarrero's vessels measured up to 60 feet long and were outfitted with complex ballast, communications and power systems, officials said. They were typically powered by 350-horsepower diesel engines, and the four-man crew had state-of-the-art radio, GPS and satellite telephone communications. The subs have a range of 2,000 miles, more than enough to get from here to Mexico's Bay of Tehuantepec, a favored destination, Borrero said.


Musicians condemn use of their songs as instruments of war

... music played at unbearable volumes has been frequently deployed in Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere by the CIA, as part of a sophisticated portfolio of torture against detainees.Now the music world is hitting back. A collective of bands and artists, including some whose recordings have been used against their wishes, have come together to demand the US stops using their work as an instrument of war.

Bruce Springsteen has already voiced anger at how Born in the USA has been devalued in this fashion. Now, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he has been joined by artists including Massive Attack, Elbow, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, UNKLE's James Lavelle, Matthew Herbert, the Magic Numbers and Bill Bailey. Their protest will include minutes of silence at concerts and festivals.


Egghead revolution at the New School

Arjun Appadurai posits the knuckle-scape for unpopular university president.




Another Latino immigrant beaten to death by strangers

What the fuck is going on in New York these days?

Says The Times

The two brothers from Ecuador had attended a church party and had stopped at a bar afterward. They may have been a bit tipsy as they walked home in the dead of night, arm-in-arm, leaning close to each other, a common tableau of men in Latino cultures, but one easily misinterpreted by the biased mind. Suddenly a car drew up. It was 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a half-block from the brothers’ apartment, was nearly deserted — but not quite. Witnesses, the police said, heard some of what happened next.

Says The Post
Moments later, a maroon SUV occupied by three black men pulled up while the brothers were holding each other by the arms, cops said. Believing the brothers were gay, one of the black men spewed, "Check out those f----ts over there," police said. The trio then jumped out of the SUV with the driver brandishing an aluminum bat and accosted the two brothers, cops said. As one of the suspects shouted, "Fuck you, Spanish people," the bat-wielding driver allegedly bashed Sucuzhanay in the head, crushing his skull.
Jose Osvaldo Sucuzhanay, 31, the Ecuadorian owner of a local real estate agency, was taken off life support and died.


Conference: Reconfigurations of Racism and New Scenarios of Power After 2001 / Reconfiguraciones del racismo y nuevos escenarios de poder

Reconfigurations of Racism and New Scenarios of Power After 2001
Reconfiguraciones del racismo y nuevos escenarios de poder despues del 2001

December 8 and 9, 2008 at the Campus Center, Reading Room, University of Massachusetts Amherst .

Since the 2001 World Conference against Racism, held in Durban , South Africa , in 2001, Latin America has emerged as a primary region in global constellations of racial politics and race-specific policies. The rise of Black movements across the region has been met by the elaboration for the first time of state policies explicitly designed for Afro-descendant populations. Yet social indicators reveal that the majority of the Afro-Latinos still suffer from serious social inequalities and persistent political and economic disenfranchisement. This international conference brings together leading Black movement activists and specialists in comparative race relations to assess the status of racial inequality, the current state of racial politics, and the efficacy of racial policies pertaining to Afro-descendants in the Latin American region and, comparatively, in the Americas as a whole since Durban.

Desde la Conferencia Mundial 2001 en contra de racismo que tomó lugar en Durban, Suráfrica, en 2001, América Latina ha sobresalido como una primera región en las constelaciones globales de políticas raciales y específicas a razas. El auge de los movimientos negros en la región ha enfrentado con la elaboración por primera vez de políticas estatales explícitmante diseñadas por poblaciones afrodescendientes. Mas los indicadores sciales revelan que la mayoría de los Afro-latinos siguen sufriendo de las inequidades cosiales y persistente marginalzación política y económica. Esta conferencia internacional convoca activistas sobresalientes del movimiento negro y especialistas en relaciones raciales comparativas para medir el estado de las inequidades raciales, de las políticas raciales, y la eficacia de las políticas raciales a facvor de los afrodescendientes en la región latinoamericana y, comparativamente, en Ámerica generalmente.

Confirmed speakers include:
Entre los ponentes estarán:
Jhon Anton (Corporación de Desarrollo Afroecuatoriana, Ecuador); María Inés Barbosa (UNIFEM); Humberto Brown (Alianza Estratégica Afro-descendiente); Nirva Camacho, Red de Organizaciones Afro-Venezolanas); Epsy Campbell (Black Latin American Parliament, Costa Rica); Suely Carneiro (Geledés, Brazil); Sergia Galvan (Red de Mujeres Afro latinoamericanas, Caribeñas y de la Diaspora); Libia Grueso (Observatorio de Discriminación Racial-Universidad de los Andes, Proceso de Comunidades Negras); Joseph Jordan (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); Claudia Mosquera (Universidad Nacional de Colombia-Bogota); Tianna Paschel (Uiversity of California at Berkeley); Seth Racusen (Anna Maria College); Matilde Ribeiro (Former Minister of Racial Equality, Brazil); Romero Rodríguez (Mundo Afro, Uruguay); Rosita Romero (Centro de Desarrollo de la Mujer Dominicana); Edward Telles (Princeton University); J. Michael Turner (Caribbean Cultural Center, GALCI) and Tukufu Zuberi (University of Pennsylvania).

For program details and other information, please contact the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, UMass Amherst at 413-545-4648, write to us at afrolat@polsci.umass.edu, or consult our website at http://www.umass.edu/clacls/events.htm