2009/11/03

Claude Lévi-Strauss dies at 100

Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French anthropologist who transformed Western understanding of what was once called “primitive man” and who towered over the French intellectual scene in the 1960s and ’70s, has died at 100.
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His work elevated the status of “the savage mind, ” a phrase that became the English title of one of his most forceful surveys, “La Pensée Sauvage” (1962).

“The thirst for objective knowledge,” he wrote, “is one of the most neglected aspects of the thought of people we call ‘primitive.’ ”

The world of primitive tribes was fast disappearing, he wrote. From 1900 to 1950, more than 90 tribes and 15 languages had disappeared in Brazil alone. This was another of his recurring themes. He worried about the growth of a “mass civilization,” of a modern “monoculture.” He sometimes expressed exasperated self-disgust with the West and its “own filth, thrown in the face of mankind.” nytimes


Giant Crack Will Create a New Ocean

A 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean eventually, researchers now confirm.

The crack, 20 feet wide in spots, opened in 2005 and some geologists believed then that it would spawn a new ocean. But that view was controversial, and the rift had not been well studied.

A new study involving an international team of scientists and reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the processes creating the rift are nearly identical to what goes on at the bottom of oceans, further indication a sea is in the region's future.

The same rift activity is slowly parting the Red Sea, too. LiveScience.com – Mon Nov 2, 5:43 pm ET

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