Friday, August 29, 2008

Notes from the Science World

Anthropology in the News always has some interesting links, especially when those links lead to other links.

First, I just want to point out that only the Canadians would perform a scientific study using hockey. It would be interesting to compare these results to Army studies, as you could definitely point out that someone like Patton (for example) had a wider face compared to someone like Eisenhower. There ya go, 100% certainty with my n of 2 - now that's good science!

Second, and one I have a little more issue with, apparently mathematician Marcus du Sautoy really hated the Eighties... According to Dr. du Sautoy, eighties fashion, based so prevalently on asymmetry, flies in the face of acceptable evolutionary practice, and should be "consigned to history." Way to maintain your scientific objectivity, Doctor. He even states that "As a student in the 80s I was never attracted to the music of the likes of Flock of Seagulls or Human League. Now I know why." Or maybe you were just unpopular... The revival of Eighties music and the affection my generation has for it would certainly put the lie to your conclusions.

Now, from a historical perspective, much of eighties fashion was based on punk, and punk was deliberately anti-establishment - especially in its approaches to style and fashion. So it's hardly surprising that eighties fashion wouldn't be "acceptable" or "mainstream" (although considering the very idea of "fashion" what is?). And it is this inversion which I think is so essential to understanding eighties fashion: the asymmetry of it would easily be offset by the rebelliousness and individuality of it, which is also something which people look for. Although the current paradigm for homosexuality seems to be based on female fecundity, there is also something to be said for the idea that homosexuality is linked to artistic ability (NOTE: not that homosexuals are more artistic), and thus there is an advantage to carrying such a gene, even if not expressing it. However, we do know that spouses of artists seem to be more accepting of adultery (I can't find the stupid story, I keep getting self-help links on google :( ), suggesting again that these is something special about personal expression.

So - maybe the asymmetry of eighties fashion reflects the artistry of that decade, and should be viewed as something a little more complex than a simple evolutionary attempt to find a mate.

And finally, no mention of how asymmetry can in fact highlight the underlying symmetry of an individual...

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