Envy’s hidden hand

Nyae-Nyae in northern Namibia is the last place in Namibia where Ju/‘hoansi are free to hunt in the traditional way. Photograph by James Suzman Namibian hunter-gatherers deride those who stand out. What does this tell us about why, and how, we care about fairness? by James Suzma  is an anthropologist and head of the Cambridge-based research and support group Anthropos. His latest book is Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen (2017). Edited by Sam Haselby Selfish traits such as envy have a bad reputation. They are, after all, ‘deadly sins’, ‘impurities of the heart’ and, according to the Summa Theologica (1485) of Thomas Aquinas, their … Continue reading Envy’s hidden hand

So, Uh, What’s Going On With the Sahara Desert?

The Sahara desert in western LibyaPhoto: Luca Galuzzi (Wikipedia) by Maddie Stone Stretching 3.5 million square miles across northern Africa, the vast sand dunes and rocky plateaus of the Sahara cover more ground than the continental United States. Now, a pair of scientists is making a provocative claim that the world’s largest desert has expanded 10 percent since the early 20th century, effectively adding another Texas-sized chunk. It sounds bad! But some outside experts contacted by Earther expressed serious doubts about study’s findings, suggesting more research on the Sahara, and better data collection across northern Africa, are sorely needed. To track changes … Continue reading So, Uh, What’s Going On With the Sahara Desert?

The Muslims Who Want to Save Octopuses

  Hamissi Usi swims with an octopus on Pemba Island, Tanzania, in 2010.Per-Anders Pettersson / Reuters In Zanzibar, cephalopods are getting a leg up from the Quran. by LISA DE BODE ZANZIBAR—Ivory pirates, slave traders, and naturalists alike have long sought out the Zanzibar archipelago, a biodiverse group of islands lying off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. One of these islands, Misali, is surrounded by a six-mile coral reef. It teems with rare life: hawksbill turtles, flying foxes, coconuts crabs—and lots of octopuses. This island is special to Muslims, who form the vast majority of Zanzibar’s population. According … Continue reading The Muslims Who Want to Save Octopuses

Asian Condoms in Africa: When Two Dick Stereotypes Collide

by Ian Lecklitner According to the Zimbabwean Minister of Health, Chinese condoms are ‘too small’ Reinforcing the ancient stereotype that African men and Asian men sit on opposite sides of the dick-size spectrum, Zimbabwean Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa has reportedly said that young people in the southern African country complained about the size of imported Chinese condoms, saying they were “too small.” “Youths now have a particular condom that they like, but we don’t manufacture them,” Parirenyatwa said while speaking during the launch of the Zimbabwe Private Sector HIV/AIDS and Wellness Coordination Board last week. “We import condoms from China, and some … Continue reading Asian Condoms in Africa: When Two Dick Stereotypes Collide

The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco

Moroccan students studying Islamic theology in RabatAbdelhak Senna / AFP / Getty Images “The women scholars here are even more important than men.” by DINA TEMPLE-RASTON Morocco is in a region vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, but it hasn’t had a significant attack on its own soil since 2011, when terrorists bombed a Marrakesh café. Yet ethnic Moroccans have been at the center of ISIS attacks in Europe. The only alleged survivor of the 2015 Paris rampage is a Frenchman of Moroccan origin; his trial began last week. The men behind the Brussels airport and tram bombings that happened months later … Continue reading The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco

South African Poacher Mauled to Death by the Lions He Was Hunting

  Karma has come full circle for a big cat poacher in South Africa. While hunting a pride of lions at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve (likely as part of a group), the unidentified man was attacked and eaten by the big cats he sought to kill. The Daily Mail reports that the hunter was heard screaming for help as he was mauled, but his body had been mostly devoured by the time police arrived. Credit: Charlie Lynham “The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest,” said a local worker from a nearby nature reserve. “A scream was heard … Continue reading South African Poacher Mauled to Death by the Lions He Was Hunting