International String Figure Association

Examples of Pacific String Figures

Caterpillar that comes after the rain

People of Biri

Bulging growth in the trank of a tomana tree

Chief Gaunubwe

Woman of Nauru

The String Figures of Nauru Island - Dan Coopey

A Loop of String, Approximately 72" in Circumference

 Allied pilots, during World War II, who had to fly over certain remote and exotic areas such as Borneo (now called Kalimantan), were encouraged to carry a loop of string up to six feet long, the ends of which were tied together to make a single loop about three feet long.  The idea was that if they crash landed their plane in an area where non-English-speaking natives were likely to be present, the pilot should (when someone approached through the jungle), casually take the loop of string from his pocket and begin to make a "cat's cradle" string figure, and as many other string figures as he knew.  It is said that, on more than one occasion, this was actually tried. 

In each case, the story goes, the native watched with increasingly friendly interest, and then politely borrowed the loop to demonstrate some string figures popular in his own tribe.  It seems to me that such an anthropological First Contact technique might be useful in extraterrestrial First Contact as well.  You will find out if and how the ET pays attention to your activity, have something to talk about, and -- after you've handed the loop to the ET -- learn something about how dexterously the ET manipulates at least one kind of object.  If you're very lucky, the ET will show you patterns of its own culture.  After all, the string figure has been (sometimes independently) discovered and perfected by members of the tribes, areas, or nations: Apache, Austria, Australia, Borneo, Chaco, Cherokee, China, Chippewa, Clayoquaht,  Denmark, England, Eskimo, France, Germany, Hawaii, India, Ireland, Japan, Kabyles, Kiwai, Klamath, Korea, Kwakiutl, Lifu, Melanesia, Natik, Nauru, Navaho, New Guinea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Omaha, Onandaga, Osage, Pawnee, the Philippines, Polynesia, Pueblo, Pygmy, Salish, Scotland, Switzerland, Tannas, Tewas, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Uap, Ulungu, Wajiji, and Zuni. 

The best reference on how to weave with both hands a hundred intricate patterns supposed to represent natural and artificial objects is String Figures and How to Make Them77.

Perhaps the most important anthropologist ever, Dr. Franz Boas, was the first to publish a careful description of how a so-called primitive people (Eskimo) make string figures, in 1888.  Other cultures use "a thong of skin... a cord of cocoanut fibre ... [or] of human hair finely plaited.  A woven cord which does not kink as easily as a twisted cord will prove most satisfactory; unfortunately, it cannot be spliced, the ends therefore must be knotted in a small square knot or laid together and bound round with thread.”

 An extract from: Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial

By Jonathan Vos Post.

(c) 1996 by Emerald City Publishing

an excerpt from a book entitled THE HANDBOOK OF UFO CONTACT, to appear Spring 1997, New York: William Morrow & Co.

Pacific Islanders and Obesity Rates. Source: BBC

Pacific islanders, especially women, are the fattest people in the world, according to latest figures published by the International Obesity Taskforce. Obesity is most often related to poverty, low economic status, exclusion from the health system.
"The Pacific is the world's capital of obesity," says Neville Rigby the director of International Obesity Taskforce's public affairs. The figures show that 55% of Tongan women, 74% of Samoan women and 77% of men and women living in Nauru are obese. This is two times the proportion of overweight people in developed countries.
The levels of obesity and chronic weight-related diseases in the Pacific have grown at an alarming rate, according to the report, which was prepared for the triennial Commonwealth health ministers meeting in New Zealand. "This is placing a tremendous burden on the health and well-being of individuals and communities and upon health care workers," the report said. Obesity is defined as an unhealthy amount of body fat. According to the World Health Organisation, an obese person is one whose body mass index, or weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's height in metres, exceeds 30. The report blames the trend on a move away from traditional diets towards fattier, western-style foods and a lack of exercise.
Cultural notions.
"The prevention and treatment of obesity in the Pacific is also made difficult by the traditional cultural notion that 'bigness' is a sign of wealth and power," the report said. The amount of hours spent watching TV has a direct effect on the obesity of children. "It is not about being rich and well fed. Obesity is most often related to poverty, low economic status, exclusion from the health system," Mr Rigby said. "In the Caribbean and many African countries, obesity is disregarded, ignored, neglected. It is just taken for granted that a poor, middle-aged woman gets fat and then dies from diabetes," he added. Mr Rigby, who is attending the Commonwealth health ministers meeting, said obesity rates in New Zealand were also rising at an alarming rate. "New Zealand hasn't been spared the obesity epidemic," he said. "Never in the history of the human race have so many people been so fat."
In New Zealand, 15% of men and 19% of women are obese. But the condition is worse among the country's Maori women - 27% of whom are obese - and Pacific Island women, 47% of whom are affected by the condition. He said juvenile obesity was also on the rise around the world because children were less active. "The amount of hours spent watching TV has a direct effect on the obesity of children," Mr Rigby said.
Various strategies were proposed for dealing with obesity. One was using taxes to encourage people to buy low-fat foods. Others were making children walk or cycle to school and limiting the size of portions served at take-away restaurants.

‘Still-Life with Parrot’ by Ian Whitfield, 2008, Oil on Canvas