Author Archives: Dito

About Dito

Matapu demo

Matapu demo at UCA
Here I am demonstrating an Amazonian bull-roarer.

[available at: ]

Check out what happens at the 1:30 mark in this 1931 film:

“Warrior Dances, Matto Grosso outtakes” (1931) – University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) Mato Grosso Expedition Collection


How my blog takes advantage of you

Reading these blogs exposes you to covert monitoring and Big Data collection for profit. But you probably already knew that.

The cost of sharing our thoughts in this commercial environment is asking you* to allow this tracking. This freemium blog is not really free. I must partner with others who silently and invisibly monitor your activities here. They aggregate this data with other Big Data to commodify our digital intercourse

blog tracking lgThis Lightbeam screenshot shows how many third party sites run in the background while I type here and you read this.

You are not a passive reader/viewer here, you are an active laborer in the production of a lucrative commodity for multiple corporate entities. You will not, however, stand any chance of sharing in that lucre.

You agree to give all profits from your activity here over to those Data Brokers, who store, aggregate, package and sell that data for incredible profit (see this 2014 ProPublica summary).

The Federal Trade Commission is still trying to catch up with this new industry. The May 2014 FTC report, Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability, concluded that

“In the nearly two decades since the Commission first began to examine data brokers, little progress has been made to improve transparency and choice. This report attempts to provide a window into data brokers’ collection and use of consumer information and makes recommendations to enhance transparency and consumer control” (p. 57).

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill added the following in her concurring statement:

“Data brokers gather massive amounts of data, from online and offline sources, and combine them into profiles about each of us. Data brokers examine each piece of information they hold about us — where we live, where we work and how much we earn, our race, our daily activities (both off line and online), our interests, our health conditions and our overall financial status — to create a narrative about our past, present and even our future lives….

Consumers are largely unaware of the existence of data brokers and the detailed, sensitive information contained in their profiles. As a result, to the extent that some data brokers offer consumers the ability to access and correct or suppress their data, consumers don’t know how to exercise these rights, rendering such rights illusory. Furthermore…data may change hands many times along the way from source to data product. As a result, even if consumers are aware of the existence of data brokers and their profiles, and have the ability to access the data about them, it is challenging, if not effectively impossible, for them to identify the sources of data and who else has seen it. As the Commission outlines in today’s report, many data broker practices fall outside of any specific laws that require the industry to be transparent, provide consumers with access to data, or take steps to ensure that the data that they maintain is accurate” (p. C-3).

In a similar vein, Ashkan Soltani, offers his Pulitzer-recognized opinion on all this monitoring and commodification of your experience:

“Please note: This site unfortunately features some Quantserve/Wordpress tracking widgets that can’t be disabled. Sorry! I recommend blocking third-party cookies, using a privacy-friendly browser, or installing privacy add-ons like Disconnect or Ghostery.”

Our surveillance  of your visit is designed to more effectively turn your virtual (online) self into a real commodity for sale and resale in perpetuity. And we thank you for your willing assistance and pliant acquiescence.

* I want to personally thank all my readers for allowing this to continue. Without you, and I mean both of you, my efforts here would be for naught.


From Tidemill to Hayes

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, the world embraced Cold War fatalism and considered the possibility of nuclear annihilation like never before and never since. Nine months later in Riverside Hospital (Newport News, Virginia), I was born. We lived in Gloucester, on Route 17 near Tidemill Lane for a while, then moved uptown to Hayes. Soon therafter our road was paved, NASA put a man on the Moon, and the future began. I went to Abingdon Elementary School where I almost tried to learn the trombone. My real specialty was knowing every single bike trail between Wicomico and Stokes Drive, and all the kids who traversed them. We had fun.

A tornado took away the school I knew as Gloucester Intermediate. Others knew it as the High School, and most recently it was Page Middle School. I tried to play football there — not much came of that — and I made a gun rack in Shop. It was Mrs Sterling’s art classes that really caught my attention. Her end of C-Hall, as I knew it back in the ’70s, caught the brunt of the 16 April 2011 tornado. It broke my heart to see the photographs and news footage.


My first year at Gloucester High School I took an after-school class in photography with Mr Brian Bergh, my most influential teacher (art was always my my thing). Through high school I took photographs for the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal, the Duke’s Dispatch (the GHS student newspaper) and the yearbook. I majored in painting and philosophy when I started at Christopher Newport College, and I kept taking photos for my hometown newspaper. I took a semester off and worked as a Party Chief for The Sirine Group, local engineers and land surveyors. That semester off lasted nine years. CNU had grown quite a bit when I returned and graduated (Class of ’95). Philosophy ended up as my minor, and my Fine Arts focus on painting and photography transitioned to an Art History concentration for graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University. My cv has a bit about graduate school and after.


I started taking photographs for newspapers, as a stringer for the Gazette-Journal. At CNU I was the photo editor of the student newspaper, The Captain’s Log. My newspaper work culminated with an internship at the Daily Press. Although my art was primarily oil on canvas painting, I’d experimented with fine art photography since the ’70s. My 1995 Senior Exhibition at CNU’s Falk Gallery included studio photographs and oil paintings. I had the pleasure of living next to the darkroom at VCU, so I was able to transition to more fine art and art-historical research photography in Richmond. I provided actors with head shots occasionally, and production shots for directing grad students. I was also happy to help with photography and poster/program design work for local theatre companies.

My photography experience paid off when my research turned to rock art in the American Southwest and Brazil…