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Wherein I try to explain the stretched archaeology metaphor that this site is themed around.

Who are you?
I'm your basic white heterosexual middle-class cisgender non-disabled raised-mainline-Protestant tall thin college-educated married male from a happy intact nuclear family background, and I'm sure it shows. (I am, however, a member of the oppressed minority of people who think cilantro has a really nasty soapy taste, and who object to having it put in our food by default.) I'm a registered independent (because the Democratic party is almost as big a bunch of wankers as the GOP) living in southern Arizona, but originally from the northeast US. I've spent some time in Australia, hence my interest in that fine country.

As of December 2007 I have a PhD in Geography from Clark University and a BA in Geography and Sociology and Anthropology from Colgate University. I work on the copy desk at the Casa Grande Dispatch, and teach geography as an adjunct at Pima Community College, but obviously the blogging and work are completely separate. There's more info about me on my academic webpage and personal webpage.

What's the point of this blog?
While I started out blogging in the "personal journal" format, I gradually begain using this blog to help me think about various philosophical issues, by writing them down and sometimes getting feedback. The latter as been by far the dominant theme for many years now (while personal stuff has been moved to my LiveJournal). I treat my posts more as archived brainstorming, rather than finished and fully defensible arguments. In other words, I write this blog for me to work through things, not to preach at other people or to try to change the world or to be the definitive blog on some issue.

Topic-wise, I write mostly about the environment, esoteric social theory and philosophy questions, and anti-oppression (particularly immigration, since my wife is an immigration lawyer).

Hast thou a comment policy?
I allow comments on my posts in order to get (and respond to) feedback from visitors. That means the core rule for commenting here is "respond to the post." Don't spam, don't try to alert me to other issues that you think are important (that's what email is for). Don't skim the post for keywords then spout your boilerplate views on whatever issue area my post is talking about -- e.g. a post critiquing Judith Jarvis Thomson's violinist argument is not the place to make unrelated arguments for or against abortion. Don't heap unnecessary abuse on other commenters or third parties (though you can abuse me all you like). I don't watch the comments section 24/7, so improper comments may hang around for a while before I see and delete them.

What does "debitage" mean?
Debitage refers to the waste stone that is produced when someone makes a stone tool. All the chips and flakes on the ground around the main site logo are debitage.

The two stone tool graphics I use are meant to resemble the tula adze and backed blade, two common tools found in Australian archaeological sites dating from the last 5000 years or so.

Who is that guy?
It depends on which layout you're looking at. The blue layout (2002-2003) features the hands of John White, who gave a flintkanpping lesson to the Waynesville, MO LEAP students.

The original layout (2001-2002) featured Kenneth C. Rozen, a professional flintknapper. He was hired as part of an archaeology experiment to examine the type of debitage scatter produced by certain toolmaking techniques. The picture comes from page 55 of Kvamme, Kenneth L. (1996) "Investigating chipping debris scatters: GIS as an analytical engine" in Maschner, Herbert D G (ed) New methods, old problems: Geographic information systems in modern archaeological research, pp.38-71. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Occasional Paper No. 23.

And a flintknapper is ...?
A person who makes stone tools.