Science for the People: Amazons

sftpThis week, Science for the People is learning how science can shed light on the stories told by our ancestors. They’re joined by folklorist and science historian Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World, to learn what archaeology can tell us about legendary warrior women in cultures from around the world. They also talk to anthropologist John Hawks to learn how researchers gain insights from ancient human remains.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

The werewolves are hungry

Very hungry.

If you are like me (let’s hope not), you have wasted time wondering why werewolves traditionally act like monsters. You know, killing and eating people. Sure, there is that whole “primal nature of the beast” overwhelming “humanity” thing; but that is clearly not sufficient to explain the lycanthropic killing sprees. Aquarium sharks don’t kill all their roommates, and it is hard to get more primal than a shark. Why do sharks act in this reasonable way? Because they aren’t hungry[1]. Continue reading “The werewolves are hungry”

Wickedly Rational or Spiteful (Cinde-really? Part 3)

Traditionally, fairy tales are short, fitting neatly into the brief time twixt bath and bed, where they induce nightmares about witches who eat children. In order to achieve this, fairy tales often dispense with time consuming things like character development, complex plot twists, and, you know, having things make sense. We do not need to know why the Evil Queen in Snow White is obsessed with being the “fairest of them all” (childhood beauty pageants?), we simply need to know that she is evil.

When one decides, however, to use a much beloved fairy tale to generate a cash cow, feature length film (BIPITI-BOPITI-BOO!) without having to bother with developing your own plot, one has an obligation to fill a few of those extra minutes with some depth of character.

After all, compelling villains are plausible villains. Good villains (er?) have a reason for villainy. They do not just enjoy being evil for the sake of being evil[1].

Which makes me wonder, why did the Wicked Stepmother choose to imprison Cinderella during The Great Slipper Test? Continue reading “Wickedly Rational or Spiteful (Cinde-really? Part 3)”

Cinde-really? Part the Second

The Frogger loves Disney‘s Cinderella, mainly because she thinks Cinderella’s ball gown in pretty, likes dancing, and loves all the cute animals[1,2]. As a result, I have had many opportunities over the past few months to observe this film in great detail, repeatedly. These posts resulted from subjecting the normally active mind, thirsting for stimulation, to triplicate viewings whilst traversing the wintry wastelands of the Midwest, with the second of two presented here, wherein I shall examine why the Cinderella story, rather than being uplifting, depresses me. Continue reading “Cinde-really? Part the Second”