January 31, 2005

Xerodrome and Nomadology (selected works)

This is a list of selected works on Xerodrome and Nomadology (esp. Desert Nomads) for interested readers. I think this might be helpful for anyone motivated to rigorously pursue the desert-nomadology as well as issues discussed here regarding War on Terror, Mecca-nomics and Petropolitics and even Abdul Alhazred's Al-Azif. (Have collected these books from different sources: used-book sellers, friends, bookshops and of course, book-robbers.)

The Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins, Alois Musil, New York: American Geographical Society, 1928.

The Empty Quarter, John Philby, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1933. (One of the best books on Rub al-Khalie)

Travels in Arabia Deserta, Charles Doughty, London: Johnathan Cape, 1936. (Highly recommended)

The Arab of the Desert: A Glimpse into Badawin Life in Kuwait and Sauídi Arabia, H. R. P. Dickson, London: Allen and Unwin, 1951.

Arabian Sands, Wilfred Thesiger, London: Longmans, 1959.

Nomads of South Persia: The Basseri Tribe of the Khamseh Confederacy, Fredrik Barth, 1961. (Analyzing demographic processes that maintain nomadization in regard to its environment)

The Kababish Arabs: Power, Authority, and Consent in a Nomadic Tribe. Talal Asad, London: C. Hurst and Company, 1970.

The Politics of Stratification: A Study of Political Change in a South Arabian Town, Abdalla S. Bujra, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Arabian Peninsula: Society and Politics, Derek Hopwood (ed.), London: George Allen and Unwin, 1972. (Wahhabism, the cult of the desert)

The Desert and the Sown: Nomads in the Wider Society, Cynthia Nelson (ed.), Berkeley: University of California, 1973.

Nomads of the Nomads: The Al Murrah Bedouin of the Empty Quarter, Donald Powell Cole, Illinois: AHM Publishing, 1975.

In the Shadow of the Black Tents, Thierry Mauger, Jeddah: Tihama Press, 1985. (Nomadology, the Smooth and the Striated)

Bedouins of Qatar, Klaus Ferdinant, London: Thames and Hudson, 1993.

Oil, God and Gold: The Story of Aramco and the Saudi Kings, Anthony Cave Brown, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.

Bedouin: Nomads of the Desert, Alan Keohane, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2003. (Photographic records)

Posted by hyperstition at January 31, 2005 04:26 AM




By the way, anyone interested to get a very brief summary of these books before buying or reading them, let me know.

Posted by: Reza at January 31, 2005 04:34 AM



reza - i want the flag info first.

interesting list by the way. like to hear more about the empty quarter. why is it empty? (The Empty Quarter, Nomads of the Nomads). also, the Rwala Bedouins seem intriguing.

Posted by: northanger at January 31, 2005 04:56 AM



if you want to appeal to youthful readers via fictionalized accounts you could recommend ggkay (song of narbonne is set on and around the iberian peninsula) tcboyle (water music wanders all through africa kmay (kara ben emsi of course) lfeuchtwanger (something something Toledo about the time a millenium past) LoArabia (his books are pricey now; must have not come out a long time).

. ..by the way Reza, look at the 'blogs' entry I've helped it (go) to the dogs

Posted by: piet at January 31, 2005 08:33 AM



A dutch weekly carries an article on Negev bedouins harassed by Israel. No, make that terrorised. The picture shows one in front of a crumpled heap of metal rather than a shredded tent.

Posted by: piet at January 31, 2005 08:36 AM




>>> if you want to appeal to youthful readers via fictionalized accounts

well, unfortunately, these titles are very boring for young readers and possibly even for philosophers; when it comes to reading archeology or ethnography, i always go for the boring ones. as you mentioned, the finctionalized account of Arabia and desert-nomads were and i think still are quite popular; who wants to read a full chapter on the wind models and the way they affect the migration of nomads in Rub al-Khalie? ;)

Posted by: Reza at January 31, 2005 09:54 AM



>>>..by the way Reza, look at the 'blogs' entry I've helped it (go) to the dogs

oh, thanks ... will fix it today or tomorrow (have a problem to visit the MT control panel; guess it's because of the slow connection.)

Posted by: Reza at January 31, 2005 09:57 AM



what 'blogs' entry?

Posted by: northanger at January 31, 2005 10:13 AM



look at the 'blogs' entry
still on the front page here
I've helped it (go) to the dogs

Posted by: piet at January 31, 2005 10:31 AM




The Empty Quarter is Rub al-Khalie; surely you have heard all the stories about this desert occupied by Jnun (female packs of jinns) and 'Nasnaases' (a couple of hyperstition articles include passages about this desert ... also expect more information in the forthcoming post about Salat) but Rub al-Khalie is not actually empty; it is the home of the ancient Al Murrah tribe among many other tribes. Philby, the writer of this book is the second westerner who ever traveled there (forgot the first one). Although the book is full of errors about the Bedouin tribes of Rub al-Khalie but is full of geographical information, some folklore and discusses why this desert is unparalleled.

Nomads of the Nomads is the first rigorous study about Al Murrah, the largest tribe of Rub al-Khalie. Cole who lived with Al-murrahs for years (was teaching anthropology in Cairo University) explains how the intricate knowledge of the desert have inspired this tribe, they way they merged with the Saudi State, semi-sedentarized but still are the true desert nomads of the globe. Also should add possibly this sorcerous tribe is the tribe that influenced Mohammadís childhood.

Rwala is the most important tribe in Jordan and Syria; the book superbly scavenges most of the folklores in Arabian deserts, ancient poems, etc.

Posted by: Reza at January 31, 2005 10:35 AM





Posted by: Reza at January 31, 2005 10:44 AM




piet - ah, i see. missed that one entirely.

Posted by: northanger at January 31, 2005 11:17 AM



The higher flights of desert-craft are as uncanny as the soarings of an Einsteinian brain.... In both cases the responsible factor would seem to be not instinct...but education. The habit, derived from generations of instruction..., of observing the material facts and applying a certain train of reasoning...can alone account for the miracles of the expert. And so in the Arabian desert the good guide is he who observes carefully, deduces accurately and remembers faithfully. --H. St. John B. Philby, The Empty Quarter, 1933

The Murrah, I learned, are so renowned as trackers that in Saudi Arabia today the generic word for any tracker, regardless of background, is "murriyah". Abdulhadi Saleh's corps is known as Al-Mujahidi al-Muriyyah, which means, loosely, "the tracker corps." In the early days of Saudi Arabia, when King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz used the Murrah to help bring law and order to his new nation, he is said to have remarked, “We have the telegraph overhead and the trackers on the ground.” By the time the king died in 1953, nearly every police, frontier and administrative station had a tracker posted to it—more often than not, it was one of the Murrah. Historically the Murrah are counted among the 20 leading Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. They range with their camel herds over a territory of gravel plains and sand dunes that is larger than France, and that is also one of the least hospitable, most sparsely populated regions on Earth. Ceaselessly using the acute observation skills and faultless memory that survival requires, they have for centuries navigated their families and herds with pinpoint precision over nearly featureless terrain by day and night.

Posted by: northanger at January 31, 2005 11:33 AM



thank you reza -

Posted by: northanger at January 31, 2005 11:41 AM



Think this (St. John B.) Philby may be related to the soviet spy Philby - Tim Powers has a strange (quite excellent) novel about it

Posted by: nick at January 31, 2005 12:30 PM



my reading list is already biunivocally correspondent with the whole natural numbers, thanks for this ;)

Posted by: u/c at January 31, 2005 03:53 PM



OT, but what isn't these days? Sorry to post this here, but of interest to anyone taking the position that number has absolutely aggressively installed itself as the underpinning of reality (I'm not saying that quite correctly):

Posted by: thistle at February 2, 2005 09:24 PM



Better yet:

Posted by: thistle at February 2, 2005 11:58 PM



seems very O(n)Topic to me, anyway...looks amazing, thanks!

Posted by: u/c at February 3, 2005 01:01 PM



...and there's something for everyone here:

"Bernard Julia of the Laboratoire de Physique Thťorique de l' Ecole Normale Supťrieure in Paris has reinterpreted the (pure mathematical) Riemann zeta function as a (thermodynamic) partition function by defining an abstract numerical 'gas' using the prime numbers ([J])."

abstract numerical gas !....swoon!

Posted by: u/c at February 3, 2005 01:04 PM



Hi folks - major communication collapse here. My modem (at home) has decided to explode (or whatever) just in time for the Spring Festival break - don't know how long it's going to take to get back online - just about to post a paganism piece, so i guess it's revenge of YHVH

Posted by: nick at February 4, 2005 06:00 AM



u/c - as to your last message - swoon indeed. Wish there was some way i could convince myself i could get my head around it with enough effort - anyone have a smooth entry route into Zeta-functions?

Posted by: nick at February 4, 2005 06:05 AM



Well, I'm going to make an effort with at least some of this one - it seems head and shoulders above the usual run of incoherent mad-scientist-learns-HTML sites (but maybe I'm just being duped by the relatively calm design sensibility...)

Posted by: u/c at February 4, 2005 10:08 AM



smooth isn't the word with these crumblecrush krach mach models; crikey, how would you express continental shift, drift and sudden equilibrium punctuations other than crusty? Granted most tectonic subductions that feed seafloor into the heaters below are smooth and not drawing much attentiont to themselves . . ..

Well, I happen to have seen a silly animation yesterday: shocking.com/~trinity/flashback.swf if you are a kaleidoscope freak this loooooong hippy flash is for you; 9 comments where I found the link futurehi.net/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=567 caution advisory, this is a hedweb (pharm) admirin' site

Posted by: piet at February 4, 2005 10:09 AM



The Zetatomic Helix Challenge has begun! - Follow the clues and visualizations, figure out what the hell I'm talking about, and win a prize! Otherwise, please check back in the future for the math behind the animations, to be posted at the conclusion of the challenge.

a pox on conehead kabouterisms that seem to make no other diff between smooth and choppy than in terms of bitframes --- as my most recent . . .eh bitacqaintance Cheney puts it in a letter to a Hartford paper editor: "I don't want numbers about numbers. I want numbers about people. I want to turn on the TV news and hear about today's variation in the average number of children in Connecticut classrooms. I want to know what percent of sixth-graders can, today, find Iraq on a map. I want to know this week's high school drop-out total. I'd like to see totals comparing East Hartford, Westport, and Norwich." - http://users.adelphia.net/~gcheney/letters.htm

Posted by: piet at February 4, 2005 10:39 AM



http://www.imathination.net/_dz1_x_1-177_r_1_2_8f_clean_big.htm I like this one: shades of the Rodney Collin book cover that was a breakthrough screw for Dan Winter

Posted by: piet at February 4, 2005 10:53 AM



Reza - great stuff. Any way we can maintain an updatable list - or lists - on the site, to which contributors can add? This would be good for many subjects. They could of course be edited as they grow. Thinking it would be one way of genuinely facilitating multiplicity.

Posted by: Tachi at February 6, 2005 03:07 AM



> anyone have a smooth entry route into Zeta-functions?


Posted by: maetl at February 6, 2005 11:02 PM




>>> Any way we can maintain an updatable list - or lists - on the site, to which contributors can add?

Apologies for the delay ... yes, why not? If you have a list please send it in. think del.icio.us is also useful for this job (btw, the sub-grouping problem was solved with all tags, categories, etc ... will put the link to the Hyperstitionís real-time archive on the sidebar soon)

Posted by: Reza at February 10, 2005 04:59 PM





thanks very much; see Automatic Ontology...in 3D! AT Undercurrent (http://blog.urbanomic.com/dread/)

Posted by: Reza at February 10, 2005 08:02 PM



This page also has a really nice animation showing the Zeta at work:

Posted by: u/c at February 11, 2005 01:41 PM




Thank you. Well, the animations look cool but it takes me time to figure them out; think these formulae, diagrams and numbers should be followed rigorously or will turn into something like fractalmania of the 80s and 90s.

Posted by: Reza at February 12, 2005 05:18 AM



hehe - yes, as I said elsewhere, pretty ironic that the neo-hippies love the 'look' of these abysmal numoscapes!
Think the very general principle of zeta is quite easy to understand, but will report back if I manage to make 'sense' of the abstract-numerical-cloud idea. This should be a GAS ;)
Weird how everything's gone quiet over here...seemed to be building to a manic crescendo just a couple of weeks ago....these are the engineering problems of plateau-building I suppose...

Posted by: u/c at February 12, 2005 12:49 PM




LOL ...Yes, Iíve already got the principle (have a mathematician friend who is a worm for this kind of stuff) but as you mentioned this cloud idea is a bit obscure. As you know I love the G word, so canít resist these neo-hippie temptations.

strange, every year at this time, blogs I read go into some kind of post-catatonic exhaustion: Nickís command center is on fire (if not already evaporated); think he will get himself a new modem this week; Iím also v. busy for a few weeks, but will try to participate in discussions and update some of previous posts. This upcoming real-time archive gives us the opportunity to update articles; personally, Iím going to update the Takfiri piece (+ chronopolytics I, Pazuzu and Machines are digging).

By the way, my next post will be a long answer to your article on faciality; am trying to find a way to smooth all jagged complexities as I guess it will become another incomprehensible 'Pestis Solidus'.

Posted by: Reza at February 12, 2005 01:56 PM



well, I'm stuck inside while 100mph winds and rain fly around the desolate xeroscape outside, so I've got too much time on my hands (as if you couldn't tell ;) but winter here can wield a powerful depressive influence so I guess that's what UK and other northern hemisphere bloggers might be suffering from.

Nick is entering the year of the rooster today, so maybe he needs a wake-up call.

Posted by: u/c at February 13, 2005 11:05 AM



Apologies to everyone for (enforced) absence - been buried in a shit-storm of technological meltdown, New Year shutdown and generalized aggravation - at least I should be able to comment now I've got the office connection back.

Posted by: nick at February 14, 2005 02:09 AM



Hey, welcome back Col. ;)

Posted by: Reza at February 14, 2005 03:27 AM



Reza - latest report from technohell - goddam computer going to be under the knife for several days (3-4?) so still going to be restricted to peripheral agitation from the comment boxes for best part of the week (if lucky, which given recent frickin saga i'm not counting on)

Posted by: nick at February 14, 2005 07:26 AM



Sorry to hear that ... no problem, donít worry, i have to be away from hyperstition agitations too (for a short time). any single clue what has happened to your machine?

Posted by: Reza at February 14, 2005 08:38 AM



Software crunch, D-drive dysfunction, probably motherboard problems ... it's a goddam mess

Posted by: nick at February 15, 2005 01:02 AM



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