US Anthropology Researches Thanksgiving Fare

by Bonni Strong
by Bonni Strong

Traditional food served on Thanksgiving has a really long history. Today, throughout America and in other countries (expats), the holiday has kept up very much with these traditions. Let’s take a look at how they came about and what people ate on November 27, 2014.

Interestingly, a lot of the typical food found at the Thanksgiving table hails from South America and Mexico. Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Bruce Smith, explained the reason for this: “Most likely this diffusion happened as a result of trading or other contact among American Indian tribes in this country.”

Wild turkeys were eating at the very first Thanksgiving. It took longer for domesticated ones to make it to the table and they were probably brought from Mexico to Europe and arrived in America via Europeans who settled the colonies.

Again with potatoes it was most likely the Europeans that brought the potatoes to Eastern America when they settled there. They were originally domesticated in South America around 10,000 years ago.

The most common type of squash – the cucurbita pepe – probably underwent two domestications (like the turkey), both in Mexico and eastern America. Some of the more common members of this species include: acorn squash, pattypan squash and spaghetti squash. The jack-o-lantern was the first plant domesticated in the Americas.

More than 8,000 years ago, corn was domesticated in Mexico but only arrived in southwest US around 4,000 years ago. Eastern North America got the crop in around 200 BC. And finally cranberries actually are originally from America, probably from New England. However, their name was most likely given by European settlers – craneberry originally – as the plant looked like a crane. American Indians were the first to use cranberries as food.

So don’t forget the cranberry sauce next Thanksgiving!


Helping Women Get into and Stay in Business

There are many organizations which work hard to get women into the workforce, especially helping them to achieve a certain level of independence through the establishment of their own businesses. Among these innovative and vital programs are the Office of Women’s Business Ownership- a branch of the United States Small Business Administration; Mujeres d Éxito- a program of the Puerto Rican-based Doral Bank; and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.

The US government sponsored OWBO has a mandate to create and oversee a network of Women’s Business Centers throughout the US. The WBCs supply technical and management assistance to women entrepreneurs who are either economically or socially disadvantaged. The centers also offer training and counseling on a large number of subjects to do with business, in a host of languages. The goal is to help women to begin and grow their own business enterprise.

Women Who Benefit from Doral Bank's Mujeres d Éxito program
Everyone Benefits from Doral Bank’s Mujeres d Éxito program

Doral Bank in Puerto Rico offers a community program called “Mujeres d Éxito” which offers support for the economic and professional development of women there. Investing so far about $2 million in programs that support women, more than 50 jobs and 20 businesses have been created through this program. Doral Bank’s “Mujeres d Éxito” has also offered professional training to at least 500 women throughout the island.

“As President of the Commission on Women Issues of the Senate of Puerto Rico, I’m honored to make a difference and be part of history with Doral Bank’s noble initiative,” said Hon. María T. González, Senator for the Mayagüez-Aguadilla Disctrict and President of the Commission on Women Issues.

The WWBIC offers small business loans of up to $100,000 to women who own small businesses. They also offer education programs, seminars, and business assistance and referral services. Together with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), the WWBIC offers a program called “Make Your Money Talk.” This special program is specially designed to help low income residents maximize their limited incomes so they can begin to build financial assets which will lead to a strong, financially independent future. As one woman who benefited from the program said to the sound of applause at the graduation ceremony from the program:

“My name is Jerrina McBride and I am a homeowner. It’s not easy to save when you have kids and you have a life, but when I received a flyer in the mail for this program, it was something that really interested me. It was an investment in myself and my family,” McBride explained.

With the help of such organizations as the WWBIC, Doral Bank and the OWBO opportunities for women to succeed in business are expanding, improving the life of everyone in the greater community.

Traducción español

Ayudando a las Mujeres a Crear y Mantener sus Negocios

Todos se benefician con el programa de Mujeres d Éxito de Doral Bank
Todos se benefician con el programa de Mujeres d Éxito de Doral Bank

Hay muchas organizaciones que trabajan arduamente para meter a las mujeres en el mercado laboral, sobre todo ayudándoles a alcanzar un cierto nivel de independencia a través de la creación de sus propios negocios. Entre estos programas innovadores y vitales está la Oficina de la Mujer Propietaria de Negocios (OWBO, por sus siglas en inglés) -una división de la Administración de Pequeños Negocios de los Estados Unidos; Mujeres d Éxito-un programa de Doral Bank con sede en Puerto Rico, y la Coporación Pro Iniciativa de Negocios de la Mujer en Wisconsin (WWBIC, por sus siglas en inglés).

El gobierno de EE.UU. auspició a OWBO, la cual tiene el mandato de crear y supervisar una red de Centros de Mujeres Empresarias en todos los EE.UU. Esta red suministra asistencia técnica y de gestión a empresarias de bajos niveles socioeconómicos. Los centros también ofrecen capacitación y asesoramiento a un gran número de empresarios, en una multitud de idiomas. El objetivo es ayudar a las mujeres a iniciar y hacer crecer su propia empresa.

Doral Bank en Puerto Rico ofrece un programa comunitario llamado “Mujeres d Éxito”, que ofrece apoyo para el desarrollo económico y profesional de las mujeres. Con una inversión hasta el momento de cerca de $ 2 millones en programas que apoyan a las mujeres, a través de este programa se han creado más de 50 puestos de trabajo y 20 empresas. “Mujeres d Éxito” de Doral Bank, también ha ofrecido formación profesional a alrededor de 500 mujeres en toda la isla.

“Como presidenta de la Comisión de Asuntos de la Mujer del Senado de Puerto Rico, me siento honrada de hacer una diferencia y ser parte de la historia con la noble iniciativa de Doral Bank,” dijo la Hon. María T. González, Senadora por el distrito Mayagüez-Aguadilla, y presidenta de la Comisión de Asuntos de la Mujer.

El WWBIC ofrece préstamos a pequeñas empresas de hasta $100,000 para mujeres que son dueñas de pequeñas empresas. También ofrecen programas educativos, seminarios, y servicios de asistencia comercial y de referencias. Junto con la Autoridad de Vivienda de la Ciudad de Milwaukee (HACM, por sus siglas en inglés), el WWBIC ofrece un programa llamado “Haz Que Tu Dinero Hable.” Este programa especial está especialmente diseñado para ayudar a los residentes de bajos ingresos a maximizar sus recursos para que puedan comenzar a construir activos financieros lo que conducirá a un futuro sólido y financieramente independiente. Como una mujer beneficiaria del programa dijo ante los aplausos en la ceremonia de graduación del programa:

“Me llamo Jerrina McBride y soy propietaria de una casa. No es fácil ahorrar cuando tienes hijos y tienes una vida, pero cuando recibí un folleto en el correo sobre este programa, fue algo que realmente me interesó. Fue una inversión en mí y mi familia “, explicó McBride.

Con la ayuda de organizaciones como la WWBIC, Doral Bank y las oportunidades para las mujeres que ofrece el OWBO para tener éxito en los negocios, se continua mejorando la calidad de vida de todos en la comunidad en general.

English Translation

San Diego Charles Brandes on Middle East Investments

When one invests, there are a lot of issues to take into consideration.  Along with the fiscal issues plaguing potential investments, the “geopolitical developments of the Middle East” have to be taken into consideration.

This is an issue Brandes Investment Partners, LP, has been aware of in recent times.  According to the firm’s investment director, Gerardo Zamorano:

“It’s been a dynamic region for investments this year.  When we are looking at the potential of some of these countries, which stands out the most is how healthy they are from a macroeconomic  perspective, metrics like debt-to-GDP – that’s a real strength. The income per capita also tends to be higher than your average emerging market countries.”

In addition, a recent survey from Reuters showed “fund managers in the region are placing big bets on Middle East stocks…One only has to look to countries such as Turkey that neighbor the region to see the dismal performance of emerging markets: Istanbul’s BIST National 100 is down nearly 5% for the year.”

Zamorano, who works alongside Charles Brandes, concluded:

“Certainly, stock markets in the region have had a strong run up this year, which makes looking at individual companies and finding value on a case-by-case basis more important now.”

North Carolina: New Dinosaur Discovery

siats-meekerorumIt seems like the T.Rex might be getting a run for its money.  Now that the Siats meekerorum has been discovered by paleontologists at North Carolina State University, this could mean the T. Rex will have to share some of the attention it has been getting for the last gazillion years.  It seems that this newly discovered dinosaur – measuring over 30 feet long and weighing over four tons – was  around 98 million years ago and is the first one like this to be discovered in North America.

Indeed, according to the head of the study, Lindsay Zanno (who is also Paleontology Director at North Carolina State University), “this dinosaur was a colossal predator second only to the great T. rex and perhaps Acrocanthosaurus in the North American fossil record.”  It was in 2008 Zanno first discovered bones connected to this dinosaur during an expedition to 11-million-year-old rocks in the Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah.

The reason this dinosaur has been named Siats meekerorum is in reference to a cannibalistic monster from the Ute Native American people mythology and the Meeker family, who supported early palaeontologists at The Field Museum.

US Natural Gas Companies: The Lowdown

gasWhen it comes to gas suppliers throughout the nation, America has a variety of choices, depending on what is a priority for the consumer.  This article spotlights two companies that focus their gas supply on the more natural element – American Natural and ConocoPhillips.

American Natural seeks to “provide freedom and flexibility to today’s modern consumer.”  The company was established with the backdrop of seeking to offer consumers a choice between: commercial, industrial and retail choices.  Our staff helps its clients figure out the different fueling options available, and what will best suit their needs vis-à-vis the infrastructure to ensure the solution is accessible and beneficial.

In addition, the company offers multi-fuel stations facilitating consumer usage.  ANR sees itself as an innovator, believing “people deserve more…to be able to choose a new way to fuel their vehicles, their bodies, and their environment.”  It seeks to be “the image of America’s 21st century energy iconography.”  Customers are provided with “cutting edge energy innovation while evoking the quality of service of a bygone era in transportation fuel, combining a nostalgia for the past with the promise of the future.”

Then there is ConocoPhillips, another US company committed to producing natural gas.  Headquartered in Houston, the company began natural gas production in the Jasmine field in the North Sea, earlier this week, seven years after the field was discovered.   It is anticipated that within a year, the field will produce around 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent every day.  Further, this location has the capacity to produce 140,000 barrels (gross) of oil equivalent each day which renders it a vital cog in the wheel of the company’s plans to elevate output.

Indeed, according to the company’s Executive VP of Exploration and Production, Matt Fox, “Jasmine is one of several major growth projects that will contribute to ConocoPhillips’ 3 to 5 percent production growth rate through 2017.” In other news, ConocoPhillips is planning several startups in the North Sea, with the hope of growing its daily production by 60,000 barrels by the year 2017.

Remembering JFK This Week

News organizations and companies around the country are getting ready to mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. The anniversary, which will be on November 22, certainly opens up old wounds for many.

NBC News is marking the anniversary with a week-long series of special reports. These will culminate in a two-hour primetime documentary. This documentary is called “Where Were You: The Day JFK Died” and it will be anchored by Tom Brokaw who was a young reporter at a local station in Omaha at the time.

Leading up to the anniversary, “Today” is presenting some interviews about the assassination. These will include a sit-down with former Secret Service agent Clint Hill. He is the author of “Five Days in November.”

There are also many interesting documents housed at locations like the Shapell Manuscript Foundation that help us to reflect on JFK’s life and death. Right now, as part of their commemorative collection, they have an unused ticket to the “Texas Welcome Dinner in Honor of President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson,” that was to be held at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Auditorium in Dallas. The tickets were never used, of course, since he was killed that afternoon.

Similarly, Shapell has a collection of notes that JFK wrote during his presidency while he was on Air Force One.

Certainly, the week leading up to the anniversary of the assassination will be charged with meaning and memory.

Time Capsules Nationwide

time-capsuleOne hundred years from Thursday 17th October 2013, Harvard anthropologists will be able to open a 100-year-old time capsule.  In the time capsule is: a used Post-it pad, a first-generation iPhone, Wednesday 16th October’s edition of ‘The Crimson,’ and a can of Coke Zero.  The installment of this time capsule took place at the Tozzer Library entrance at Harvard, in attendance by 50 affiliates including Michael D. Smith, (Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences) and Peter V. Marsden (Dean of Social Science).

In the state of Florida, Leon County recently held a ceremony sealing its Viva Florida Time Capsule.  Containing more than 130 items (reflecting life in the region), the seal will stay closed for 110 years.  The reason behind this time capsule is due to the state’s 2013 Viva Florida celebration that honors the 500th anniversary of when Juan Ponce de Leon came to Florida.  According to Nick Maddox, County Commission Chairman, “the committee has done a tremendous job in selecting items and materials that reflect the uniqueness of our community.  Many of us might not be around to open the time capsule in 2123, but I know we’re all looking forward to sealing it on October 25.”

Another time capsule was set up in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Approximately 25 students were invited into their high school auditorium.  There, they found large, yellow-decorated envelopes on a table at the front of the room in the form of time capsules which they were asked to open.  This was an exciting event for the fifth grade class’ room mother at North Dickinson Elementary School, Linda Cavanagh.  She explained, “one of the reasons I did this, was because I want you, for the rest of your lives, to dream, to set goals for yourself, to always forge ahead,” I just want to show you, that at one time, you had a lot of dreams, and I hope you never let go of that, and that you keep making new ones and keep moving ahead.”

According to Wikipedia, time capsules are “historic cache[s] of goods or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists or historians. [They] are sometimes created and buried during celebrations such as a World’s Fair, a cornerstone laying for a building or at other events.”

World’s Largest Dinosaurs Visit America

dinosaursKids love dinosaurs.  So it’s fun to take them to a museum displaying them.  The traveling exhibition entitled “The World’s Largest Dinosaurs” has so far been enjoyed by both children and adults alike.  It was first displayed at the Museum of Prairiefire, Kansas City, marking the beginning of 20 such exhibits to be shown by the American Museum of Natural History over the next 10 years.  While the museum itself is actually still under construction, the dinosaur exhibit is in existence in a temporary location.  Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.  Chairman of the AMNH’s Paleontology Division and Exhibit Curator, Mark Norell explained that the exhibit investigates the biology of a group of super-sized dinosaurs (long-necked and long-tailed sauropads).  Norell’s aim through the exhibition is to portray the dinosaurs as what they were “living, breathing animals,” and imbue viewers with a notion of “how much they ate, how their hearts worked, how their brains worked.”

Next year, Jim Dondero, co-founder and president of Highland Capital Management, is also presenting the exhibition at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas.  Beginning on April 6, 2014, these huge dinosaurs will tell a great story.  As James Dondero himself said, “Dinosaurs rock! The science and fantasy of dinosaurs inspire children of all ages. We are proud to help bring the World’s Largest Dinosaur exhibit to Dallas.”

In addition, in March of next year, southern hemisphere dinosaurs will be paying a visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota. As part of a traveling exhibit entitled “Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana,” the exhibit will include reconstructions of 20 dinosaur skeletons.  Dinosaurs on display will mainly be those that evolved in isolation in South America, Africa and Madagascar.  Viewers will discover how geologic history impacted the dinosaur evolution during the Mesozoic Era, and how they differ from their northern brethren.  Included in the exhibit are:  big South American carnivore Giganotosaurus, the nearly 7,000-pound Suchomimus found in what’s now the Sahara Desert in Niger, and Cryolophosaurus from Antarctica, who sported a pompadour head crest.

Geography America – Giant Traveling Maps Program

giant-traveling-mapThe public programming section of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Live, has a project to promote geography America in schools.  The plan – that began around six years ago – was set up to help students learn about geography America on a much larger scale than they have been to date.  Indeed, at the Schuylkill Valley Middle School in Leesport, PA, students are going to be benefiting from a 35 by 26 foot map of North America thanks to the Giant Traveling Maps Program.  Sixth graders have been using the map to study longitude and latitude Friday.

As well as being a map, there are America geography adventures, world atlases, interactive games and more that enable students to learn about the continent’s physical characteristics, culture and history.  While initially the map just had Africa, it has since expanded and now includes North America, Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific Ocean.

This project is proving to be a fun way for kids to interactively learn about geography America.