mikimoro.com http://mikimoro.com The lens of life is multi-faceted Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:19:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Catching up on anthro news: Chagnon is in the fore, again http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/19/catching-up-on-anthro-news-chagnon-is-in-the-fore-again/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=catching-up-on-anthro-news-chagnon-is-in-the-fore-again http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/19/catching-up-on-anthro-news-chagnon-is-in-the-fore-again/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:19:16 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=725 Having spent most of my summer reading books rather than blog posts, I’ve been slacking on the news-at-large in the anthropology world and it seems that really, I haven’t missed much. I came across this post from Living Anthropologically about a recent sit-down at The Edge to basically deify Napoleon Chagnon and champion his greatness. […]

Catching up on anthro news: Chagnon is in the fore, again

]]>
Having spent most of my summer reading books rather than blog posts, I’ve been slacking on the news-at-large in the anthropology world and it seems that really, I haven’t missed much. I came across this post from Living Anthropologically about a recent sit-down at The Edge to basically deify Napoleon Chagnon and champion his greatness. This isn’t my hyperbole, the nearly three hours of video and transcript basically do just that. Also, The Edge has this air of a old boy’s drinking club where people go to pat each other on the back, I need to be in this club, sounds great. Anyway.

Jason from L.A. makes great points about the discussion, Chagnon, and his place in the pantheon of anthropology but the best parts are the links he’s gathered to different discussions of the roundtable at The Edge. But the ones I liked the best were the comments at BoingBoing apparently written by mostly sane people who can look past their noses to see through the sycophantic chitchat at The Edge and Cris Campbell’s take on the whole thing. Like Campbell, I too got to spend basically an entire semester knee-deep in Chagnon’s monograph and then a scant amount of time thinking about the ensuing controversies surrounding it and his work over the last 30 years. Cris, I have bad news for you: even though your studies of Chagnon and mine are separated by many years, anthropology students are still forced to read this book and stake out our claims on the controversies.

Here I am on the side of Daniel Everett in which he says that “Chagnon is controversial, but he ought not to be” (from The Edge) because the truth is, he shouldn’t be at all. His monograph was excellently written from an ethnographical and technical perspective, hands-down the most detailed and in-depth one I’ve read on a single society, contained in a single volume. While I found a lot of the writing to be repetitive and at times, flat out boring, he went to extraordinary lengths to describe bottom-to-top the Yanomami culture. Out of the few dozen ethnographies I’ve read, not a single one comes to matching the depth of information of Chagnon’s and that should be the biggest take away from the book. The rest of the controversy of the 30+ years? I could care less. Part of that is the fact that I, as a student, am so far divorced from the issues that they do not directly affect me or my studies (or, apparently, my professor’s ideas on the subject and she’s an older anthropologist much closer to this than myself) but also because they’re just distractions from the content of the work and the point of an ethnography. The monograph was an excellent exposition into a far-flung secluded world of an amazingly resilient people whose society isn’t really that different from modern Western society despite being typically characterized as “primitive” or “stone-aged”. Really? Their intra-tribal wars are mostly about the same things ours are: economic resources. All of the fights Chagnon describes are typically over a natural resource encroachment or theft (or attempted theft) of another economic resource: women. Sure, their methods and reasoning are very different from ours but at a macro level, the two do not drift far apart.

And this is where Campbell and Antrosio, and many other researchers, end up, they valuate this information academically and on the merit of the work itself, discarding all the chaff. But there are so many people out there who want to deify Chagnon for “bravely” facing these seemingly unsurmountable controversies that seek to make Swiss cheese of his legacy, even though all the available information on the issues clearly show that he is complicit in causing these issues to even have come to the fore in the first place. Dawkins, the atheist’s best friend and one of the most vocal people in all of science, is practically tripping over himself to shower Chagnon in compliments at The Edge, presumably because he feels that the two are kindred spirits in their firebrandism — oh and because of the whole Darwin connection of Chagnon’s work, but mostly the first bit. I have immense respect for Dawkins’ scientific work and for a long time, respect as an atheist but let’s be honest, his public discussions are a one-trick pony of sticking a finger in the eye of opposition as hard as possible while trying to remain erudite. And that’s how he comes off in the discussion at The Edge: the great sycophantic defender of Chagnon for standing up to The Man. He’s drumming up an (almost dead) controversy in the grandest way possible to laud Chagnon and in part, himself. Much of the talk wasn’t about the academic merit of the work but about the problems, finger-pointing, and vitriol over the last few decades.

This is the point where anthropologists just need to stand up and in unison say “Enough is enough, we get it” because we do. There are bigger things to debate these days, so when can we start debating them? Like the need for public anthropology or how polarizing HTS is.

Catching up on anthro news: Chagnon is in the fore, again

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/19/catching-up-on-anthro-news-chagnon-is-in-the-fore-again/feed/ 0
The magic of (space) science http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/03/the-magic-of-space-science/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-magic-of-space-science http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/03/the-magic-of-space-science/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 22:54:23 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=720 Came across this today, which has me even more geeked up about going to the unveiling of STS-135 Atlantis’ permanent exhibit at Kennedy Space Center at the end of the month. It’s a hands-on demonstration of the thermal tiles used on Atlantis in order to protect it from the extreme heats of space flight.

The magic of (space) science

]]>
Came across this today, which has me even more geeked up about going to the unveiling of STS-135 Atlantis’ permanent exhibit at Kennedy Space Center at the end of the month. It’s a hands-on demonstration of the thermal tiles used on Atlantis in order to protect it from the extreme heats of space flight.

The magic of (space) science

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/06/03/the-magic-of-space-science/feed/ 0
Late race reports: 2013 Ga Spartan Sprint & The Challenge http://mikimoro.com/2013/05/08/late-race-reports-2013-ga-spartan-sprint-the-challenge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=late-race-reports-2013-ga-spartan-sprint-the-challenge http://mikimoro.com/2013/05/08/late-race-reports-2013-ga-spartan-sprint-the-challenge/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 02:21:02 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=716 With all the craziness with school this semester, I forgot to write up race reports for my last two races but luckily, both are very easy and short. 2013 Ga Spartan Sprint. Lots of fun, they changed the course around a little bit this year — we actually ran half of last year’s course in […]

Late race reports: 2013 Ga Spartan Sprint & The Challenge

]]>
With all the craziness with school this semester, I forgot to write up race reports for my last two races but luckily, both are very easy and short.

2013 Ga Spartan Sprint. Lots of fun, they changed the course around a little bit this year — we actually ran half of last year’s course in reverse. But all of that is irrelevant and this is why.

2013 Ga Spartan Sprint finish line

2013 Ga Spartan Sprint finish line

My mother, who will be 69 years old this year, completed the 4.6 mile course. Freezing temperatures and her fake hip aside, she was balls out determined. Time was irrelevant, obstacles were irrelevant — though, she climbed every wall, hit every mud pit, crawled the full 100+ yard barbed wire mud crawl, everything — all she wanted to do was finish! The worst part? Now she’s got the OCR bug! She’s waiting for me to plan her next race down here in FL this year, oh boy! Anyway, it was a ton of fun and we’re doing it again next year.

Then there was The Challenge, which was billed as being a tough-as-nails race with “unheard of” obstacles and all sorts of things that aren’t in normal races. This will be a very short review, trust me. It was billed as a 5 mile race, turned out to be slightly over 3. Took me 2 hours 8 minutes to finish. Why? Because the “unheard of” obstacle was at the end which was nothing more than a giant jungle gym of obstacles crammed into one giant one — rope climb (~5ft), log crossing, rope swing, cargo net climb 2x, one water pit (where you stood for about 15 minutes), and that’s it. This was all in the space of about 300 feet. Now, it looked impressive but it was terrible. How terrible? So terrible I don’t actually have to comment at all about the race itself, their Facebook page full of complaints does it for me. Yep, it was that bad. And that was just the race! Parking and packet pick-up took about 2 hours as well, no joke. Seriously, just go read their Facebook page, I can’t do it justice how bad this race was.

Late race reports: 2013 Ga Spartan Sprint & The Challenge

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/05/08/late-race-reports-2013-ga-spartan-sprint-the-challenge/feed/ 0
Paleo growing pains http://mikimoro.com/2013/04/06/paleo-growing-pains/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paleo-growing-pains http://mikimoro.com/2013/04/06/paleo-growing-pains/#comments Sat, 06 Apr 2013 05:26:57 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=711 So three months ago, I wrote a (sort of) takedown of the lack of anthropological data in many popular Paleo/Primal books and information in general. My view on this has not changed and I still will be looking into other data as I said I would, I just don’t have the time to write right […]

Paleo growing pains

]]>
So three months ago, I wrote a (sort of) takedown of the lack of anthropological data in many popular Paleo/Primal books and information in general. My view on this has not changed and I still will be looking into other data as I said I would, I just don’t have the time to write right now…I’m doing enough of that for school!

But recently in the last month or so, the whole paleosphere has basically blown up due to (thanks to?) the publication of Marlene Zuk’s new book entitled Paleofantasy… in which she basically says everything paleo is bunk, based on made-up garbage science, et cetera. So this sent pretty much everyone into a tizzy on both sides of the debate, something I’d frankly kept out of because I’ve been doing something more important than keeping up with a trend: reading books. Anyway, her book sent many people either into body-twisting shit fits or lots of finger pointing and sneering, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. I’ve read enough now to know that much of her book is written as a smear attempt, based on factually incorrect data that she, a evoltionary biologist, should have known better than to use. Kind of like Derek Freeman’s attempt to takedown Margaret Mead’s Samoan data by using his own heavily biased data, which was summarily ripped apart by the anthropological community. Zuk attempted a hit on the scene and she’ll sell a lot of books, convince a lot of people that eating meat and veggies (and other real foods) are a “fad”, but I don’t think she’ll be writing an update to the book in the future, her credibility will have suffered too much.

However, I did read a pair of great posts by Miki Ben-Dor of Tel Aviv and one by Paul Jaminet, author of the Perfect Health Diet (still the best Paleo diet book I’ve read to date) that go heads and shoulders above nearly everything else everyone has written. Not because they try very hard to maintain a neutral bias, but because they do one thing: stick to facts. Nikoley has a great post full of piss and vinegar, as anyone would expect, but it’s not something I would point someone to if I wanted to say “this will explain in detail why Zuk’s wrong”, whereas Ben-Dor and Jaminet nailed it on the head. One thing I read that I can really agree with is that Zuk’s book “should have been a blog post in 2012, not a book in 2013″ (Sisson, natch!). And he’s totally right. She mostly covered stuff that the community figured out about two years ago and summarily left behind.

All of this back-and-forth only proves one thing: paleo’s hit the mainstream and it’s having some real growing pains. Prominent TV talking heads have been talking about it for the last year or two, numerous news outlets have run articles on it (pro and con), and it’s even crept on to The Biggest Loser. This book will be both good and bad for the community as a whole, but it certainly will do little to stop its progress forward.

Paleo growing pains

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/04/06/paleo-growing-pains/feed/ 0
Race report: 2013 FL Super Spartan Miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/03/23/race-report-2013-fl-super-spartan-miami/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=race-report-2013-fl-super-spartan-miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/03/23/race-report-2013-fl-super-spartan-miami/#comments Sat, 23 Mar 2013 23:30:42 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=708 At the end of February, I ran in the 2013 FL Super Spartan Miami down in Oleta State Park, my second Super Spartan. After last year’s race, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to run this one because it kicked my ass pretty hard, despite the fact that I was in much better […]

Race report: 2013 FL Super Spartan Miami

]]>
At the end of February, I ran in the 2013 FL Super Spartan Miami down in Oleta State Park, my second Super Spartan. After last year’s race, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to run this one because it kicked my ass pretty hard, despite the fact that I was in much better shape then! The RD and Spartan Race set up a slightly different, albeit slightly easier course this year, they didn’t take us through the entire bike trail with the 15 million switchbacks, which was a welcome change. I also ended up finishing 15 minutes faster this year over last year, even though I ended up walking about 5 or 6 miles in total this year due to shoe problems. I think the time difference was due to better wave timing and a whole lot less congestion at obstacles compared to last year, there was almost no waiting at anything except for wall climbs.

The worst part for me was the shoe issues with my Inov-8 Trailrock 235s. Not only did they constantly fill up with sand and grit, I ended up leaving out my insoles by mistake and came home with half a dozen blisters — my first ever in a race! — some of which were pretty gnarly blood blisters and took about two weeks to heal, which made limping around so much more fun :( . This was my second real race in the Inov-8s and I’ve determined that I can no longer wear them due to continued patellar issues. I’m not sure what it is about the shoes but anything over a mile or two and my right knee starts hurting like crazy and it only happens in these shoes. It never happened in my now retired VFF KomodoSport LS or Trail Gloves. This same thing happened at the Carolinas Spartan Beast but I thought it was due to the crazy ass terrain, but no, it’s the shoes. Which stinks because they’re great shoes but not so great when they’re causing so much pain. Time to look for replacements!

Overall, I thought this year’s race was much better than last year’s, even though they had to re-route the course mid-race because of a fire that accidentally got started…during a drought. Nope, not kidding, Miami Fire made them re-route a few obstacles and a leg of the course, crazy! Looking forward to next year when they also add another Spartan Sprint down here in South Florida!

Race report: 2013 FL Super Spartan Miami

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/03/23/race-report-2013-fl-super-spartan-miami/feed/ 0
Race report: 2013 5k Foam Fest Miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/17/race-report-2013-5k-foam-fest-miami/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=race-report-2013-5k-foam-fest-miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/17/race-report-2013-5k-foam-fest-miami/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 04:50:54 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=704 About two weeks ago I was gearing up for the 5k Foam Fest in Miami and I’m just now getting around to the race reports, whoops! Busy, busy times. First things first. I managed to get not one but two! friends to run with me, my long-time concert photography buddy Chris and his girlfriend. This […]

Race report: 2013 5k Foam Fest Miami

]]>
About two weeks ago I was gearing up for the 5k Foam Fest in Miami and I’m just now getting around to the race reports, whoops! Busy, busy times.

First things first. I managed to get not one but two! friends to run with me, my long-time concert photography buddy Chris and his girlfriend. This was his second obstacle course race and her first, though she wasn’t sure what she was getting herself into and was visibly worried before the race started. This was an untimed race, so there are no official results but we finished in 1 hour, 24 minutes, not all of that was due running/walking, more on that later. Here’s a nice post-race shot.

But now to the race itself. The course was easy and quick, we just ran the SuperHERO Scramble Charger course in reverse, so Chris and I were already familiar with it. As I said with the Scramble, I like running in Amelia Earhart Park, it’s relatively flat, quick, doesn’t have a lot of nasty coral rock everywhere (like Oleta!) and it has about 1,000 switchbacks on the bike trails. The concept of the race — lots of foam, rather than mud — was a fun one and it made some of the obstacles that much more enjoyable. However, that’s pretty much where the love story ends. First things first, full disclosure. I was provided with two entry passes for the race in exchange for this review and race feedback. I am greatly appreciative of Chandler and Emily of Round House Racing for their hospitality at the race.

As I understand it, this is a very young race series, only in its second year, so there’s always some kinks to work out. Unfortunately, there were a lot of kinks going on here. As soon as I got there, the people manning the registration tables not only seemed unbelievably confused by what they were doing, they looked as bored as humanly possible. My line had three girls in it handing out race packets. One asked my name and marked it off, told the next one to look for my bib, while the third one actually gave me my bib and get my paperwork. Not sure three were needed but they definitely needed an energy shot or something. Past that, the rest of the volunteers looked about as bored as the registration girls, all except those officially affiliated with Roundhouse Racing, who put on the race. All those bored faces don’t exactly get you jazzed up to go run around on bounce houses.

Out on the course, things did not fare much better, actually. All of the big, signature obstacles were well-staffed with volunteers, some of whom enjoyed what was going on, most who didn’t. It was a really mixed bag of emotions out there, unlike the Spartan Race or Scramble where pretty much everyone is amped up to see people scale walls and slide through endless amounts of mud. The three girls volunteering at the first set of foam slides were very excited to see racers and who wouldn’t be? These were MASSIVE foam slides! Those were a lot of fun too, I can’t wait to see my GoPro shots from it. The people manning the first bounce house — the first obstacle we got to — were equally as geared up to watch us fly around in foam as we were about doing it. At the mud crawl near the end of the race, there was a small crowd gathered to cheer and talk smack. The volunteers were happy to be there, mostly because they got to laugh at everyone getting zapped on the back by the (mildly) electric wire we crawled under. That was…a surprise, I didn’t expect that! Downside to this: the mud smelled, quite literally, of a festering porta-potty. I’m not sure if this was by design or chance, but it definitely made you hurry the hell up.

But that’s about all the fun stuff. The only other happy volunteers were those at the end of the race and at the huge Death’s Drop tower slides — totally awesome by the way. Although, they were very lax about letting people cut in line at the slide and when you’re waiting 20 minutes to scale a 4 story slide, no one likes jackasses going to the front, even less of volunteers that let them cut, willingly. The time we spent at the Death Drop isn’t an exaggeration, I timed it. Big, big signature obstacles like these always have long lines typically for safety reasons and this was no different, but about 6 guys got to cut in front of the 20 people in front of me before the volunteer turned the rest of their friends — all two of them — back. But only after a bunch of other people complained, rightly. However, this was how most obstacles ran, unfortunately. On one of the bounce houses, a guy behind me twisted his ankle but there was no volunteer tending to him to make sure he was OK or calling for the Miami-Dade paramedics to come check him out. They were just making sure people weren’t crashing through the bounce house which was hiding a floor with holes it in (by design!) so you could bounce around and fall down to the ground — fun but dangerous. Many other obstacles — wall climbs, mud pits — had no volunteers at all. We didn’t get to do all of the obstacles listed on the Fest’s home page either, which was kind of a bummer, I was looking forward to the lilypad crossing.

So like I said, it’s a young series but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Obstacles were spaced too far apart and for a race with eighteen different obstacles, I should have been hitting an obstacle every one-fifth of a mile or so, I think mile 2 had three of four obstacles total (if all obstacles are on the course, there’d be about 6 per mile in a 5k). They need a faster volunteer rotation too, all those long faces are anathema to a racer’s energy. I had a lot of fun during the race, thanks to the bounce houses and my friends, but I came out of this race the same way I came out of the Warrior Dash: it was a whole bunch of “meh”. Of course, this is just my observation, I saw a TON of people seriously enjoying themselves, my teammates included — Chris’s girlfriend ended up having a great time even though the cargo net about gave her a heart attack. Without them, I would have been pretty bored throughout the entire race.

In the end, will I check it out again next year? Eh, I’m not sure. On the one hand, I won’t because much of this race felt like it was run on a shoestring budget and didn’t have much pizzazz to it (contrasted, the first SuperHERO Scramble was a giant blowout fun party and it was Sean’s first race he ever put together). I don’t need a party atmosphere, a boisterous DJ, tons of vendors, or anything like that to have fun, just give me a fun course, inventive obstacles and we’ll probably be OK. Even though I received media entry passes for the race, running it this year didn’t really convince me to run it next year. The guys and gals at RHR would have to change quite a few things to convince me otherwise and just adding more foam or bouncy obstacles won’t be enough. Overall, it felt like a mixed bag of a day. I had fun, but it wasn’t solely due to the race. I’m hoping the race does improve. With so few untimed obstacle course races out there, everyone’s gunning to finish fast and not enjoy the race, but even without the specter of a fast time breathing down my neck, I didn’t have much reason to enjoy the course.

Disclosure: Race entry was provided by Round House Racing, who organized the race, in exchange for a race report. I would have written this review even if I had paid for the race, but I am very grateful to the guys at RHR for covering entry.

Race report: 2013 5k Foam Fest Miami

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/17/race-report-2013-5k-foam-fest-miami/feed/ 0
Buried under ethnographies, I came across this http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/16/buried-under-ethnographies-i-came-across-this/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buried-under-ethnographies-i-came-across-this http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/16/buried-under-ethnographies-i-came-across-this/#comments Sat, 16 Feb 2013 06:13:34 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=698 In my last post, I pondered on how historically accurate the paleo diet movement may be and the last few weeks, I’ve had my nose buried in ethnographies, mostly on the Dobe Ju/’hoansi or the !Kung San of the Kalahari (pejoratively known as Kalahari Bushmen). These indigenous African people are one of our closest links […]

Buried under ethnographies, I came across this

]]>
In my last post, I pondered on how historically accurate the paleo diet movement may be and the last few weeks, I’ve had my nose buried in ethnographies, mostly on the Dobe Ju/’hoansi or the !Kung San of the Kalahari (pejoratively known as Kalahari Bushmen). These indigenous African people are one of our closest links to paleolithic times, as their culture had remained virtually unchanged for the last 20,000 years1, even after contact with white Europeans and Blacks — their term for the Tswana and Herero tribes of Botswana and Namibia. But this all changed in the late 1960s when South Africa attempted a huge land grab of both Botswana and Namibia via the South African military. One tribe, the Nyae Nyae Ju/’hoansi moved to the neighboring village of Tsumkwe (or Tshum!kwi, depending on translation) or !Kangwa, and this had deleterious effects on their health:

In the medical world the !Kung San had been famous for having very low serum cholesterols, low blood pressures that do not rise with age, and a general of heart disease…Restudies in the late 1980s of the same population indicate that cholesterol counts and blood pressures at all ages are higher…Adoption of a diet dominated by refined carbohydrates, heavier smoking, alcohol consumption, and changes in lifestyle are all factors implicated in producing these changes. (Lee 2012: 187)2

In other words, they moved to a village and began eating a fairly standard “modern” diet and became very unhealthy. This is pretty damning information in just how short of a time frame it was. So, in a span 20 years, these people went from the pinnacle of health to the modern norm, the baseline of…crappy. And this is just about blood work and blood pressure, it’s not even talking about the high incidences of tuberculosis and other diseases, most of which were unheard of in the San population before their (forced) integration into modern society.

If they were screwed, basically, in two decades, the rest of the Western world is doomed from birth unless some things really change.

Buried under ethnographies, I came across this

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/02/16/buried-under-ethnographies-i-came-across-this/feed/ 0
Are Paleo and Primal historically accurate? http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/30/are-paleo-and-primal-historically-accurate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=are-paleo-and-primal-historically-accurate http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/30/are-paleo-and-primal-historically-accurate/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:37:38 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=694 This will not be a post involving deep research, yet. So I’ve now been doing this paleo/primal lifestyle thing for almost two years now and I’ve lost over forty pounds and kept it off, even with having weekly cheat days à la Tim Ferriss. I’ve gone from eating a bunch of junk to eating freshly […]

Are Paleo and Primal historically accurate?

]]>
This will not be a post involving deep research, yet.

So I’ve now been doing this paleo/primal lifestyle thing for almost two years now and I’ve lost over forty pounds and kept it off, even with having weekly cheat days à la Tim Ferriss. I’ve gone from eating a bunch of junk to eating freshly prepared foods almost everyday for every meal. I have honestly learned more about the actual nutritional values of foods in the last two years than I have my entire life, including my teen years when I was preparing to enter culinary school. This has gone way beyond caloric content, beyond Nutrition Information panels on packages, way beyond anything any huckster on TV or in a magazine has ever said about eating, and this is information I’ll never forget. And I’ve read a lot of books, blog posts, and articles talking about how our paleolithic ancestors ate and how we need to mimic that and for a while, I hardly questioned these theses, despite the fact that I’m an anthropology student. I figured, anthropologically, these writers must be right (at least, the actual authors, everyone else is just parroting their findings) but over the last few months, I’ve really began to question:

How much of this is absolute bullshit?

I am going to say right up front that I’ve yet to read Cordain’s original Paleo Diet — haven’t found the time! — so I have no idea what kind of anthropological or archaeological data he uses, if any. But this leads me to my next point: every other book I’ve read has no such data in it either, so how much of this idea is mythologizing and how much is based on actual fact? When reading Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint, I understand that he is in fact mythologizing because other than nutritional research, there’s zero historical data he ever references. He’s got to make it a compelling and realistic sounding story, it doesn’t have to necessarily be accurate. I don’t recall any of his references being from archaeological or anthropological studies. Or for that matter, anyone else’s. Most are relying on nutritional hypotheses about what our paleolithic concestors may have eaten rather than what archaeologists, paleobotanists, and a plethora of other scientists who dig in the dirt for a living, have eventually found. And we don’t even need to go back that far, we can figure out what people have been eating for the last four or five thousand years, simply based on archaeological data. Hell, we can go back two or three hundred and tell. Given that junk foods didn’t exist, we do know that ancestral humans ate some pretty crummy stuff. Just look to the Southwestern Indian tribes who regularly made cakes out of maize and ash. Not ash cakes (a type of cornbread) but literal cakes of ash and maize, ground together. Physiologically, the only good thing it did for them was absolutely grind down their teeth to nothing and give them abscesses. There are many such weird recipes from cultures all over the world that, nutritionally, are little more than meager subsistence meals. They keep you alive, barely.

But it makes me circle back to my question: how much of our paleo and primal diet guidelines are based on supposition rather than fact? While there aren’t many real world subsistence tribes or bands any longer, some do still exist, such as the Dobe Ju/’hoansi of Botswana and are quite indicative of what our concestors may have eaten and it’s not terribly instructive for the paleo diet empire. For subsistence hunters living in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, you aren’t picky, you’ll eat just about anything you know won’t kill you. In the ethnographic film Bitter Melons, they describe a melon that the local /Gwi San people consume for little other reason than its water content, despite the fact that they all say it apparently tastes god awful. But hey, you’re in the desert, you don’t have much choice, eat or die. They eat a few other things as well, including a turtle (don’t ask, I have no idea how a turtle lives in the desert, either). But it illustrates a great point: paleolithic man didn’t survive on the purported bounty of meats, fish, nuts, seeds, berries, and fruits that’s written about in paleo books. Every book will tell you they ate a healthy diet of all these things, though there’s no historical references to back it up, but it must have been true because all you could do was hunt and forage (which was more foraging than hunting). Some ancestors may have in fact enjoyed this delicious bounty but many did not since, well, those food stuffs didn’t exist everywhere, all the time. This is pre-agricultural revolution so you’re eating whatever you find or kill, for the most part, gardening — even on a small scale — was incredibly localized to particular climes.

So, where do I go from here? I’m not sure, but there will be research analysis done. I’m currently in one class where we’re actively studying two existing subsistence bands — the Yanonamo and the Dobe Ju/’hoansi — along with some pre-contact Aztecs. I know this won’t reveal much in the overall view of their native foodways but it will provide some insight. Do I doubt everything guys like Sisson, Cordian, Wolf, et al say about what paleo humans ate? No, not entirely, but I do realize they’ve got a story and ideology to sell, so things will get trumped up a bit. I know that supposition and theorizing is a huge part of it because we’ll never know exactly what our ancestors ate, that stuff just doesn’t survive in the record very often, but we can learn far more from their tools because those do survive in the stratigraphic record. I’m going to start researching and see what I can find. I won’t turn the paleo world upside down but it will at least bring me some solace to know how much we’re on the mark or off it.

Are Paleo and Primal historically accurate?

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/30/are-paleo-and-primal-historically-accurate/feed/ 4
A mud race AND a foam race? That sounds interesting. http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/21/a-mud-race-and-a-foam-race-that-sounds-interesting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-mud-race-and-a-foam-race-that-sounds-interesting http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/21/a-mud-race-and-a-foam-race-that-sounds-interesting/#comments Mon, 21 Jan 2013 05:58:39 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=690 So a few months ago on a Facebook group for mud/obstacle course races, someone asked about races where you don’t have to get all muddy and dirty. To this day, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one, but whatever, I find the mud absolutely fun; my mother still tells me stories about […]

A mud race AND a foam race? That sounds interesting.

]]>
So a few months ago on a Facebook group for mud/obstacle course races, someone asked about races where you don’t have to get all muddy and dirty. To this day, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one, but whatever, I find the mud absolutely fun; my mother still tells me stories about when I was a kid, how I absolutely hated getting dirty and would change clothes frequently during the day — for the record, I remember going to my dad’s house and spending hours playing in the mud! I had mostly forgotten about the subject until I checked the group again recently and scrolled down to find the post again and saw someone had mentioned an upcoming foam run-type course coming up. Sounded intriguing, since it sounded like it might be the opposite of most races: foamy and fun versus dirty and (potentially) grueling.

I finally decided to check it out and didn’t realize it was so soon, 2 Feb 2013! But once I took a look at their obstacles, I had to sign up, some of these look way too fun. A 30 foot slip-n-slide? Yes, please. A bounce house full of foam? Um, yes! What really sealed the deal was the Death Drop obstacle. Seriously, this looks like so much fun.

5k Foam Fest Death Drop

5k Foam Fest Death Drop

You can’t deny that looks fun as hell. Now I’m just looking for someone to run it with me, so if you want to get all filthy dirty then spend a few minutes on monster-sized slip-n-slides (are you an adult? do you like to have fun? duh, of course), sign up for the Miami race on their site, I’m looking at the 10:30AM wave. Not too early, not too late, and no one is going to look at us weird when we’re chugging post-race beers!

A mud race AND a foam race? That sounds interesting.

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/21/a-mud-race-and-a-foam-race-that-sounds-interesting/feed/ 1
Race report: 2013 SuperHERO Scramble Charger Miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/20/race-report-2013-superhero-scramble-charger-miami/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=race-report-2013-superhero-scramble-charger-miami http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/20/race-report-2013-superhero-scramble-charger-miami/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 06:20:54 +0000 richard http://mikimoro.com/?p=688 On the 12th of this month, I ran my third SuperHERO Scramble, my second one in Miami and my first in Amelia Earhart Park. This year, Sean and team have introduced a race series akin to that of the Spartan Race, races of three increasing distances and difficulties. This race was the first in the […]

Race report: 2013 SuperHERO Scramble Charger Miami

]]>
On the 12th of this month, I ran my third SuperHERO Scramble, my second one in Miami and my first in Amelia Earhart Park. This year, Sean and team have introduced a race series akin to that of the Spartan Race, races of three increasing distances and difficulties. This race was the first in the new series, entitled the Charger (followed by the Intimidator and Villain). They basically just took their original race and tacked on 3 or so miles and borrowed obstacle ideas from other races, so while it was a “new” race, it really wasn’t. The longer distance was fun as I noticed that between my last Scramble and this one, the distance increased but my two times were not that far apart. I managed to finish this race in 1 hour, 34 minutes (last year was 1 hour 17 minutes), finishing slightly slower than last year even though the distance roughly doubled, because there was not a humongous freaking swim involved! When the race was in Oleta State Park, there was a massive swim involved and the swim this year was much, much shorter, perhaps only 200 or 300 feet, if that.

Most of the obstacles were the same as before as well as they’re kind of Sean’s trademark torture style. However, this race included some new ones such as the 5 gallon bucket carry (à la the 5 gallon bucket fill at last year’s Super Spartan in Oleta State Park mixed with the pancake carry of the Spartan Beast in South Carolina) and the new “Hell Freezes Over” which was a 10-15 foot submerged belly crawl through a muddy trough of absolutely freezing cold water (à la Tough Mudder’s Arctic Enema). I knew the water was going to be cold but I did not know how cold it was going to be! Let’s just say that my GoPro failed to function for about 5 minutes after I trudged through Hell Freezes Over, it froze up immediately due to the extreme temperature change. Another new one was a replacement for their old slime slip-n-slide, they replaced it with an absolutely MASSIVE! slide, it must have been about 40 feet tall and was fun as all hell (it was also preceded by a brand new 20 foot ascension wall of approximately 75 degrees almost-straight up, that was fun!). The newest obstacle that I absolutely hated was the new gymnastics ring over a pit of water obstacle. Rings and monkey bars aren’t that tough, even when paired with a refreshing dunk, but these rings ascended in height as you progressed and seemed to get a little farther away from each other as well. If the first ring had a length of six feet to its line, the last one ended up about four feet higher. That was tough to navigate because unless you’re very tall, you get stuck somewhere in the middle, as I noticed most participants did — many got stuck right in the middle (as I did) or the very next ring (which was second to last). I believe this was because of the decreased ring height coupled with a loss of wing momentum. It was a fun obstacle but put my hands through the ringer.

I really, REALLY enjoyed this race, nearly as much as the previous two I’d done. I liked the new distance — I HATE ALL THE BIKE TRAILS! — and the new obstacles, all topped off with a redesigned finisher’s medal, complete with year and race designation (Charger [2013]). I’m glad to see they’re greatly expanding the race and turning it into a series, I’m ready to conquer the Intimidator and Villain!

Race report: 2013 SuperHERO Scramble Charger Miami

]]>
http://mikimoro.com/2013/01/20/race-report-2013-superhero-scramble-charger-miami/feed/ 0