When I first set up this website in 2000, there were few alternative ways of using the internet apart from websites and email.

Since then there has been a huge growth in new types of internet communication. I have decided to experiment with these because they help me to understand a little of what is happening through 'participant observation', the traditional method of anthropology.

It is also possible to reach a different audience using the new methodologies. My current experiments are as follows.

On-line encyclopedias

There are many of these, but one of the most used is 'Wikipedia'. It did not seem appropriate to put up an article on oneself, but I was fortunate in having two friends, Dr. Mark Turin, and especially Gabriel Andrade, who wrote a Wikipedia article about my work which can be found on the web.

Film archives on the web

The rapid spread of greater bandwidths ('broadband') has recently made it possible to set up film and video archives which people can watch from many parts of the world. There are many of these, but I have started to contribute to the most popular at the moment, 'Youtube'. I am on Youtube under an assumed name, 'ayabaya' and currently the more than three hundred films, with more planned, can be seen at

I have written some reflections on my use of Youtube.

Web-logs or 'blogs'

The blog is a recent phenomenon and obviously can be used in many different ways. I am experimenting with two.

One is

where I am putting up a guide to 'How the world works' which was originally published as a set of letters to my grand-daughter Lily. The book has been translated into nine languages and has sold reasonably. But there are many who cannot obtain it, and so I am putting up a few sections a week, on which people can comment if they wish.

The second is an attempt at political satire about the war on terror

It imagines what two medieval Inquisitors who wrote the very influential anti-witchcraft manual, 'The Hammer of Evil' (Malleus Maleficarum), might advise the current leaders who are pursuing what they proclaim to be a 'war on terror'. It also considers some of the effects of this unending battle on freedom and democracy, in a similar way to George Orwell in '1984'. Already there are a set of interesting comments on this blog.


Another very popular use is as a meeting place, chat room or forum. There are numerous possibilities here. I have started to experiment by joining a University forum. This is called 'Facebook', and is used in many western universities, each university having its own local site. I have an account with the University of Cambridge Facebook community which is only open to those with a University email (@cam) account, or their friends, so you cannot see my activities there unless you are one of these. At present, something like three-quarters of my first-year students are subscribers to this and it is growing... The login for this community is at:

Mixed use

There are, of course, many other combinations. For example, one of the most popular is 'Myspace', where one can blog, post videos, have a chat room and so on. I have a myspace site, but have not yet thought what to do with it! It is at

University of Cambridge: 800 Years

Podcast interview on the credit crunch

Cambridge University's leading thinkers delve beyond the headlines to show us what history, anthropology and even hormones can teach us about the credit crunch.