Exposed in Print, I Now Tell My Story

foto credit: Ute Van Den Bergh/collection of Meredith Small

I was recently exposed for my previous revolutionary activities.

Everything they said about me and my fellow activists is true. And that time was one of the most interesting and intellectually engaging periods of my life. That’s because this particular revolution was not about governance or politics; there was no civil war involved. Instead, it was a scientific revolution that changed the very foundations of the discipline of evolutionary biology.

The reveal, with my work cited several times, wasn’t posted on Facebook or Twitter. Nor was it part of some investigative reporting…

Newly Discovered Roman Road Found on the Floor of the Venetian Lagoon

Foto by Meredith F. Small

Last week, archaeologists announced the discovery of an old Roman road, remnants of docks, and indications of large buildings, sitting on the bottom of the Venetian lagoon. Romans left the Veneto, the Province which includes the lagoon and the contemporary city of Venice by 475 A.D. as their Empire fell apart, so this road is important because it is concrete evidence of stable and active life in the lagoon before that time. …

Why Do Anti-Vaxxers Stick with Their Refusal to Save Themselves and the Lives of Others?


A lot has been written about the various reasons people are refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Unaware of the twenty years that mRNA techniques have been in the works, some feel the vaccines have been developed “too soon.” Others think the shots are part of a “human experiment,” and they are not swayed by the expansive clinical trials nor by the fact that 3.6 billion doses have been administered around the world so far with minimal or no side effects and almost nonexistent mortality…

History, and Data, Show That It Is Not.

Francesco Valma@wikimediacommons

On November 21, 2019, I walked over a temporary bridge set across the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, and bought some long white candles with pictures of the Blessed Virgin imprinted on the wax. I then joined the long line of believers entering the church Santa Maria Della Salute. Inside, the crowd squished up to metal platforms where young people, working at a fevered pace, added them to a rack with hundreds of others, lit the whole bunch at once then blew them out as they moved on to the next batch.

How Venetian Artists Keep Their City Alive

(Vatican stamp with artwork appropriated from Alessia Babrow)

In spring 2020, Italian artist Alessia Babrow got a real shock when she the Vatican issued an Easter stamp using a piece of her street art.

Babrow had been posting a series of images up on walls and corners all over Rome for a project she calls “Just Use It,” but the wording didn’t mean anyone could then take her art for their own purposes. As reported by international media outlets, Babrow puts hearts on all the great religious figures such as Buddha, Ganesha, and the Virgin Mary and overlays the words “Just…

Humans Are Designed to Be One and yet We Splinter into Many

We are living in difficult and confusing times. Over the past year, we have been pulled together battling a global pandemic while at the same time falling apart because of disturbing, dangerous, and ubiquitous culture wars.

The pandemic obviously unites us. Covid-19 has jumped from person to person, oblivious of individual identity, community or country affiliation, race, ethnicity, age, or gender. In its contagion, the virus dramatically shows that everyone is prey to the same germs and that we all have the same fears about sickness and death…

Or Is It Various Birthdays?

March 25th was the 1600th birthday of the founding of Venice.

Or so the story goes. It’s a tale of two gentlemen from Padua, a town on the mainland about 30 miles west of Venice. On March 25th, 421 CE they were rowing or sailing in the lagoon and happened upon one of the many small islands, this one called Rivoaltus, that constitute what we now call the city of Venice. The Paduans moored their boat and then put a couple of stones on the ground to mark the moment, and left. …

Anthropologists Show That What Kids Eat Matters More than What They Do

Chris Benson @ Unsplash

Over 13 million American children and teens are now classified as obese, and many others are overweight. During the past year, we have seen how obesity puts a body at risk for severe disease and death; starting on that path young makes for an extremely unhealthy outlook.

Sociologists, nutritionists, pediatricians, and child educators have done many studies trying to figure out why so many kids end up fat when childhood has normally been a time of high-energy play and running around. Possible culprits are too much time inactive…

Humans Just Can’t Handle What Evolution Gave Us


Wild conspiracy theories have polluted our country these days, and everyone is rushing to figure out why so many Americans are sucked into these clearly false and highly paranoid ideas. Apparently, 50% of Republicans believe that Hilary Clinton and others are involved in a child pornography ring run out of a pizza parlor, 42% believe that hydroxychloroquine is effective against Covid-19, 30% of them are aligned with that nutty Q-Anon stuff, and about 68% believe that Donald Trump won the election. But it’s not just Republicans. Twenty-five percent of all Americans believe…

Why an internet search is not research

Wiliam Iven@Upsplash

Every time someone says, with conviction and pride, “I’ve done my research,” I laugh out loud. What they really mean is, “I looked it up on the internet.” Calling that move “research” is like looking at someone’s driver’s license and believing you have the full measure of the person just because you know their name and address. Or asking a bunch of friends what they know about something and then taking whatever looney thing they say as fact.

Cruising the internet is not research; it’s simply looking something up in a very superficial…

Meredith F. Small

Anthropologist and author of Our Babies Ourselves, magazine articles, and Inventing the World: Venice and the Tranformation of Western Civilization (Dec ‘20).

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