Josiah Ramsay Johnston

Ethnography: Non-Participation Observation

I performed an ethnography at Starbucks to observe the cultural hybridization overhauling Chinese society while concordantly getting my daily fix, believing I would be able to blend into the blatantly western shtick at a Starbucks a bit easier than I would have been able to in a place where it was less common to find isolated western men rapidly losing interest in hasty half-thought nonsense such as myself, thus making it easier to ‘fit in’ while I observed as unobtrusively as possible – meaning I was only kind of falling out of my chair fueled by far too many espressos, my leg only slightly thumper-esque.

Essentially, I thought that at Starbucks, a place which epitomizes guiltless self-indulgence and the necessary denial that results from deliberately taking part in the exploitation of countless droves, I would find Chinese individuals who would fit into a demographic with which I had little experience thus far while in China: the affluent; I also enjoyed the paradox of a symbolic representation of capitalism in a nation which for so long denied the value of said system, situated on its own concrete peninsula, thrust out  like a masthead into the cultural relic of West Lake in an incredible yet apparent contradiction of semiotic terms.

I observed the lower level of the Starbucks on Nanshan rd. for two hours, from 12:30 P.M. until 2:30 P.M., on January 22nd, 2006.

Data – A few of the inferences included the following:

1)Westerners who showed up at the cafe stayed much shorter spans of time than the Chinese who frequented the spot, implying a culturally-inherited lebensangst necessitating frequent and excessive movement in reaction to large, anxiety-inducing amounts of caffeine, as well as things to meet and people to do;

2)Westerners were the only ones who came by themselves, relating both a lack of the stereotypical loner-intellectual for which European cafes are so unhealthy as well as a system which supports those types and the spare possibilities of aforementioned round-eyed hominids in swindling some hapless chick into an ‘English lesson’;

3)Of the Chinese observed, about 90 percent seemed to be couples, and the rest were single-gender groups, as well as two father and daughter pairs – though any of these groups could feasibly have been slotted into any of the other categories if one has an imagination like this guy I know who isn’t me;

4)The average Chinese couple stayed at Starbucks for roughly an hour and a half – far longer than the average time spent in Starbucks by Americans, even in America, where the music isn’t quite as Kenny G.

 5) The Chinese present wore American brand names rather than their Chinese counter-parts, and spent a great deal of money on a simple morning at the Café, implying both affluence and at least a certain level of acceptance of things western, basically mind-altering alkaloids – and who can blame them;

6)There was a level of jollity in the atmosphere of the room, due partly to the sun, partly to the affluence, but some small bit seemed unaccounted for, and while caffeine may be the obvious answer, I also believe in at least the possibility of Starbucks as a kind of haven from the reality of the state in which the individuals live, in some sense, that state being one of constant mental girl-running;

7)Another difference I noted, as opposed to cafes in other parts of the world, was the interaction of the couples present in the observation area, the seemingly business-like relationships, the lack of P.D.A. (with the exception of one, rebellious-looking couple who managed to get kicked out of the place), and the reactions they made to each other in conversation, reactions that made every couple seem as if they were insecure about their status with their significant other as well as with the social group of which they were a part – occasionally, ten minutes would pass in awkward silence while the man tried to think of something to say and the woman looked at the hairy ghost in the corner scribbling;

8)Cold drinks were often the choice of the Chinese at Starbucks that day, defying the freezing temperature outdoors with a kind of merry masochistic stoicism derived from some inane sophism concerning irrational behavior when in the presence of aliens, which I have observed elsewhere;

9)Strangely, or perhaps not, the one mixed couple I observed stayed about one hour – exactly the median between the Westerners and the Chinese – making my theory law and my foot thump faster;

10)Despite all the couples present, and relevant to my previous note on public intimacy, only the rebellious looking couple kissed during the course of my two-hour observation, and then they promptly were asked to leave – due in part to the fact that they didn’t order anything;

11)The children some of the older couples had with them were allowed to consume massive amounts of sugar straight from the packets, as well as coffee, which expedited and magnified their screams until I saw ripples in my fifth espresso and felt a sudden urge to throw my chair at unspecified organism;

The limitation I encountered with this method of observation was basically the fact that it was limited to the range of possible explanations of the phenomena I observed which were derived from my own necessarily limited frame of reference, which in turn was based on facets of experience gained in vastly different settings. The implication of this limitation is, basically, that any of my aforementioned conjectures can only be seen as what I experienced, rather than what actually occurred, and thus must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Or double-espresso.


Ground control to major tom, your about to go over to the other side….
Sitting in Vermont, with a foot of powder outside, watching dying flies on the inside of cold panes of glass as they crawl on top of the thing they cannot understand and die because they refuse to submit to epiphany…the refusal to accept the divinity that frames our frame of reference, almost like me evacuated and tender-bearing across a vast stretch of highway better suited to solar panels than turn-around spots, wishing i had understood the concept of leaving home the last time to a fuller extent before spangling my cables and hooking the planking or the bridge Rilke knew or the line of ink the vim of a sporadically blessed moment and taking my leave without the keys to things i should have locked.
plenary authority means the fractal will color me that grey shade of change should i overstep the possible in China, but there are certainly plenty of places to hermit it up for a bit and recoup the unyielding tacit which will help me say what i will by then need to say.

I have finished lofting the boat. You can check out the pictures of the process at my flicker group, ‘SamuRamz.’

‘’The Uygur for over two thousand years have played a central role in the historical and cultural development of the central Asian region. Around the time of Christ the Uighur were emerging as a potent political, military and cultural force. In constant battle or confederation with the numerous tribes of the region and the dynasties of the ethnic Chinese, the Uygur grew into a great Central Asian empire. Their influence as concerns religion, literature, lawmaking, diplomacy, industry and trade was immense.
The consequences of these particular influences combined with their political and intellectual maturity would eventually have ramifications felt around the world and impact upon the civilisation we now know.
The Uighurs, being at the very crossroads of two great cultures, East and West, acted as conduits for the transference of culture and trade betwwen the two . Over the centuries thay have been involved, one way or the other, in the intrigues and strategic and political positioning of great religions, nations and empires. The Chinese Dynasties, British and Russian Empires, the Soviets, the communist Chinese and the Americans all have wooed the Uighurs and as many times betrayed them. Buddhism and Islam have both been championed by the Uighurs and their influence in the expansion of both in Central Asia and China is immense.To a modern world, that knows little or nothing of them, claims as to the Uygur’s global influence would come as a great surprise. However, in learning more about these unique people, suprise will give way to admiration for a people that for 2,000 years have defied great events and empires to develop a unique and wonderful culture in the crucible of modern civilisation.
A people who have, to this date and for over 2,000 years, maintained their cultural an ethnic identity in the face of immense military and political powers and pressures.

The Uygurs (or those tribes that would eventually be recognised as Uygurs) were first recognised by history with reference to them in Han Dynasty, Greek and Iranian records as being identified as a peoples traced back in Central Asia circa 300 B.C.E.
Circa 300 B.C.E. There is hypothesis that the Uygur were descendents of the Hun, however this does not seem to be proven. Chinese records would indicate that they can definitely be traced back to the Dingling nomadic tribe that roamed north and north western present day China and in areas south of Lake Baykal (south central Siberia) and between the Intush River and Lake Balkush in Mongolia. The Dingling were later referred to as Tiele, Tielli, Chile and Gao Che which means “High Wheel”, a name still used today by some Han Chinese to describe the Uygur.
Circa 138 B.C.E and 119 B.C.E The first official Chinese envoy Zang Qian (Chang Chien) is recorded as being in the area of the Uygur and making representations to tribes as far west as the Ferghana Valley in present day Uzbekistan
Circa 73 C.E The Uighur commence a continuous 28 year period of conflict with the Han Chinese.
Circa 60-59 B.C.E Emporor Xuan Di of the Western Han Dynasty takes control of the Uighur area and establishes an office of the Governor of the “Western Region” a name used by the Chinese for many years to refer to the area that now includes modern day Xinjiang.
Circa 10 B.C.E Uygurs regain their autonomy.
Circa 220-581 C.E The Six Dynasties Period in which the “Western Region” once again becomes a political dependency of the central Chinese.
327 C.E . Zhang Jun sets up the Gao Chang Prefecture with the administrative capital in present day Turpan
Circa 552-752 The Uygurs are conquered by and ruled by the Go Turks (a.k.a. Kok Turks)
Circa 670, 688, 693, Go Turk, Uygur, Tibetan and Shato groups join to harrass and capture Chinese outposts
Circa 744-745 Uygurs throw off the rule of the Go Turks and under Ruler Khutlugh Bilge Kul Khagan (Khagan = Ruler/King) form the first true Uygur state.
Under the guidance of Khutlugh and subsequently his son Moyunchar the Uygurs commence the building of an empire by subjugation of other Turkic tribes and eventually extend Uygur sovereignty north to Lake Bayakal, east to present day Gansu China and South west to present day Tibet and India. The capital of the Uygur empire is established in Togabash on the banks of the Orkon River in Mongolia.
Moyunchar set up trading outposts with the Chinese where a large number of goods such as horses, yaks, camels, reindeer, fur, wool, silk jade, metals, medicines and diamonds were traded. The Uighurs used their wider network of subject tribes to become a nexus point for goods movement. In doing so they amassed great wealth. A descriptions from the Chinese embassey in Ordu Baligh around the time of empire state that the Khagans of this period wore a ceremonial saffron robe and a rimmed hat with fur ear flaps. He was surrounded by a heavily armed squadron of bodyguards, which included some of most elite warriors in his army, and held discussions regularly with his administrators and army staff. There were embassies from various Turkic tribes, Chinese, Tibetans, Indians and Arabs that called upon the Khagan to negotiate trading deals. This point clearly illustrates the power the Uighurs gained by taking control of the Central Asian trading hubs. They also set up a courier service throughout Mongolia and other conquered domains. These developments allowed the Uygur to have the best of their nomadic steppe world as well as those of the settled civilizations.
Circa 747: Tokhuz Oghuz, Khyrghiz, Kharlukhs, Türgish, Basmyls, Sékiz Oghuz, Tokhuz Tatars and Chiks tribes brought under Uyghur rule
Circa 751: Battle of Talas; Tang Dynasty withdraw from Eastern Turkistan; Moyunchar invasion of the Tarim Basin in present day Xinjiang.
Circa 755-757 The Tang Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom requests help from the Uygur to quell an internal rebellion against its sovereignty. The Uygur successfully prosecute several campaigns and eventually the Tang are triumphant. In reward they bestow favourable trade terms on the Uygur as well as an annual Tribute measured in Silk. Also the Chinese Emporer gives his daughter as a bride to the Uygur Khagan.
All told in the period 740 – 840 A.D. three Chinese Princess’ become Uygur Khatuns (Khagan wife). During this period the Chinese also set up the Anxi Governors office in Xizhou (Turpan) later moving to Guizi (present day Gulja). Garrison towns were set up in Shule (Kashgar) and Suiye on the banks of the Che River.
Circa 759 Moyunchar Khagan dies and is succeeded by his son Bogu. It is under his rule that the Uighur reach their political and military peak.
Circa 762: Bögü Khaghan launched a campaign against the Tibetans with the Tang and managed to re-capture Luo Yang (the Western capital of the Tang) from the Tibetans. During the campaign, Bögü met with Manichaeist priests and converted to Manichaeism. Thus, Manichaeism became the official religion of the Orkhun Uyghur Khaghanate.
Circa 779, In 779 Bogu Khagan, considering Uygur military might to be equal to the task, collaborated with the Sogdians in planning an invasion of China to take advantage of the death of the then Emperer. Fearing not defeat but the ultimate loss of cultural and physical identity as a result of possible success, the plan is stopped by the assassination of Bogu by his cousin Baga a famous Uygur General.
780: Krygyz tribe brought under Uygur rule
End of Uygur Empire: Military Wane and Migration

Circa 789-795 With the death of Bogu in 779 and the subsequent death of his successor Khutlagh Bilge Khagan in 795 Uygur power wanes. The Khaganate pass’s to the Ediz Dynasty
Circa 805 War commences with northern neighbours the Krygyz
Circa 833: Anarchy in the khaghanate, Ay Téñridé Ülüg Bolmysh Küchlüg Bilgé killed
Circa 839 Severe winter destroys the Uighur economy. 839: Ay Téñridé Khut Bolmysh Alp Külüg Bilgé Khaghan killed by his ministers and rebels
Circa 840 Krygyz capture Uighur capital kills the Khagan Ho Sa and subjugates the people, Orkhun Uighur Khaghanate collapses

Updating my last journal post, ive finished my studies of Minoan history as well as the study of Archeology, both of which were quite fascinating and the former of the two being the singularly most tedious historical study i have ever pursued due to the nature of the chronological evidence which must be evaluated and put into context – while this has been many times, each facet must be appraised by the interested individual and cast in the light of his/her own tacit understanding in order for it to attain some significance as other than the mere fancy of an egomaniac.
The trig course is going well: ive managed to scrape a 89% test average out of it so far, and its halfway completed.
Russian literature is beautiful, broad, expressive emotionally, precise, and any other explitives one can think of to attach to the only literature which can as a rule be used as a doorstop, and which is also enjoyable, in a train ride kind of way.
Junior research project – interesting, informative as far as sources are concerned, but perhaps aimed at a level a bit below wht im used to being considered as…though perhaps that a good thing.
And finally, boatbuilding….got the proposal in the works up at Warren Wilson, there considering whether or not i should have some free lumber for the construction of my 8.5 foot dinghy.
Thats the curriculum as it now stands – lets see if i can get it any more complicated!

Sir William Ramsay – Biography
William Ramsay was born in Glasgow on October 2, 1852, the son of William Ramsay, C.E. and Catherine, née Robertson. He was a nephew of the geologist, Sir Andrew Ramsay.

Until 1870 he studied in his native town, following this with a period in Fittig’s laboratory at Tübingen until 1872. While there his thesis on orthotoluic acid and its derivatives earned him the degree of doctor of philosophy.

On his return to Scotland in 1872 he became assistant in chemistry at the Anderson College in Glasgow and two years later secured a similar position at the University there. In 1880 he was appointed Principal and Professor of Chemistry at University College, Bristol, and moved on in 1887 to the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at University College, London, a post which he held until his retirement in 1913.

Ramsay’s earliest works were in the field of organic chemistry. Besides his doctor’s dissertation, about this period he published work on picoline and, in conjunction with Dobbie, on the decomposition products of the quinine alkaloids (1878-1879). From the commencement of the eighties he was chiefly active in physical chemistry, his many contributions to this branch of chemistry being mostly on stoichiometry and thermodynamics. To these must be added his investigations carried on with Sidney Young on evaporation and dissociation (1886-1889) and his work on solutions of metals (1889).

It was however in inorganic chemistry that his most celebrated discoveries were made. As early as 1885-1890 he published several notable papers on the oxides of nitrogen and followed those up with the discovery of argon, helium, neon, krypton, and xenon. Led to the conclusion by different paths and, at first, without working together, both Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay succeeded in proving that there must exist a previously unknown gas in the atmosphere. They subsequently worked in their separate laboratories on this problem but communicated the results of their labours almost daily. At the meeting of the British Association in August 1894, they announced the discovery of argon.

While seeking sources of argon in the mineral kingdom, Ramsay discovered helium in 1895. Guided by theoretical considerations founded on Mendeleev’s periodic system, he then methodically sought the missing links in the new group of elements and found neon, krypton, and xenon (1898).

Yet another discovery of Ramsay (in conjunction with Soddy), the importance of which it was impossible to foresee, was the detection of helium in the emanations of radium (1903).

With regard to the scientific honours which – besides the Nobel Prize have been awarded to Ramsay, mention can be made of a great number of honorary memberships, viz. of the Institut de France, the Royal Academies of Ireland, Berlin, Bohemia, The Netherlands, Rome, Petrograd, Turin, Roumania, Vienna, Norway and Sweden; the Academies of Geneva, Frankfurt and Mexico; the German Chemical Society; the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London; the Académie de Médecine de Paris; the Pharmaceutical Society, and the Philosophical Societies of Manchester, Philadelphia and Rotterdam. He also received the Davy and Longstaff Medals, honorary doctorate of Dublin University, the Barnardo Medal and a prize of $ 5,000 from the Smithsonian Institution, a prize of Fr. 25,000 from France (together with Moissan), and the A.W. Hoffmann Medal in gold (Berlin, 1903). He was created K.C.B.(Knight Commander of the Order of Bath) in 1902, and was also a Knight of the Prussian order “Pour le mérite”, Commander of the Crown of Italy, and Officer of the Legion d’Honneur of France.

In 1881 Ramsay married Margaret, the daughter of George Stevenson Buchanan. They had one son and one daughter. His recreations were languages and travelling.

Sir William Ramsay died at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, on July 23, 1916.

O thou that in the heavens does dwell!
Wha, as it pleases best thysel,
Sends ane to heaven an ten to Hell,
A’ for thy glory!
And no for ony gude or ill
They’ve done before thee.

From Holy Willie’s Prayer by Robert Burns

Columba’s Altus Prosator, The Maker On High, dates from the 6th century and is the earliest known Scottish poem. It carries the message Celtic monks brought from Ireland, that God is everywhere and heaven touched our world. A remarkable poetic generation at the end of the 15th century led to the assumption that Scottish literature began in the late Middle Ages. But the discovery of poems such as Altus Prosator has caused the date to be adjusted by almost a thousand years.

Robert Henryson died in 1490, William Dunbar disappears after Flodden in 1513, Gavin Douglas died nine years later and Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount died in 1555, five years before the Reformation. Lyndsay believed the Church was corrupt and urged reform. His play Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estates is the most important surviving drama of early Scottish literature. Theatres were closed after the Reformation and the stage became a no-go area for almost 200 years. By putting false words into the mouths of men, playwrights were said to be mocking God’s greatest creation.

Allan Ramsay opened a theatre in Edinburgh and his play The Gentle Shepherd appealed to a wide public. The Kirk hated it and Ramsay was forced to close. Ten years later, in 1756 a play written by a Church of Scotland minister, The Tragedy of Douglas by John Home, opened in Edinburgh. Home was forced to resign along with other ministers who attended the performance.

The Kirk’s belief in predestination, the idea that God has decided which souls to save, created its own social and spiritual elite, which provided a rich source of material for writers like James Hogg and Robert Burns. ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’ is one of the greatest satires in European literature. And a similarly powerful attack on the Kirk came with James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner in 1824.

James Thomson also challenged the church. Wandering the streets of an imaginary city, The City of Dreadful Night narrator finds ìdead Faith, dead Love, dead Hope.î The city is never in sunlight and is populated by sleepless people. Thomson’s atheism was a response to the squalor of the newly industrialised cities, which mocked the idea of a loving God. For the first time a Scottish writer questioned God’s existence, though many refused to give up on the idea of a meaningful way of life.

In the 1920’s, reaction against the First World War led many to find faith in political ideologies. Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Neil Gunn suggest society can be rectified by socialism. MacDiarmid wrote his Hymns to Lenin, and Sorley MacLean composed An Cuillin, which draws on the Gael’s history of suffering. The Cuillins of Skye rise above history and spread from the Western Highlands across the world.

Something like half a century after Thomson, Alexander Trochhi also embraced a kind of nihilism, using the far more contemporary methods of sex and drugs. Trocchi, with fellow travellers Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs, was a voice of the 1960s Beat generation and his ideas would later be pursued by likes of Alan Warner, Janice Galloway and Irvine Welsh.

But not all Scottish writers rejected God completely. Muriel Spark continually stresses the importance of spirituality and works by Norman MacCaig, George Mackay Brown, Iain Crichton Smith and Edwin Morgan reveal a spiritual dimension. Morgan’s poem Message Clear, which at first sight is a textual maze, offers visual difficulties that reflect its spiritually hopeful message.

The poet Tracey Herd sees religion as a benevolent influence, while Alan Spence’s Buddhism and Leila Aboulela’s Islam have not simply influenced, but lie at the heart of their work, just as Christianity enthused, inspired and stimulated Columba.

It’s all about leaving behind a peaceful tommorow.

Joseph Smith was from vermont, and he founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
New Hampshire has a neolithic archeological site 4,000 years old, complete with a sacrificial table.
Sometimes its the miscellany which keeps me going.

Iraqi turnout was about 61 percent and surpassed 66 percent in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, including key Sunni Arab-majority ones, according to initial estimates, election officials said Saturday.

Voter turnout for last american election: 60.3%, of which a dubious majority voted for Bush?

There is obviously something wrong with the way the political systems of America are functioning if a state, free of its dictator and voting in spite of terrorist threat, can turn out more citizens than a centuries old democracy – which concordantly triumphed in assigning leadership to the worst possible candidate, whose can be credited, among other things, with the following statement:

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” —George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

“I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.” —George W. Bush, on visiting Denmark, Washington D.C., June 29, 2005

“We discussed the way forward in Iraq, discussed the importance of a democracy in the greater Middle East in order to leave behind a peaceful tomorrow.” —George W. Bush, Tbilisi, Georgia, May 10, 2005

“I’m going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess, it’s the Mother in me.” —George W. Bush, Washington D.C., April 14, 2005

“In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible — whatever that means.” —George W. Bush, on his time frame for shoring up Social Security, Washington D.C., March 16, 2005

Did we really elect him? Let’s hope the Iraqi people, though they are taking lessons from us, have the commonsense to wait a few centuries before electing their village idiot.

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