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The zoo of the giraffe women: a journey among the Kayan of Northern ThailandIn a village in the far north of Thailand, under the stunning light of a tropical sun, surreal women impeccably wearing their ethnic attire, smiling and motionless, offer themselves to the cameras of voracious tourists. Adorned with gorgeous necklaces of shining brass coils, they are the famous “giraffe women”, the epithet commonly used to define members of the Kayan tribe originally from eastern Burma. The vivid contrast between the myths narrating the origin of this ethnic group and their current condition as refugees from the civil war in their homeland provides an outstanding and sharp testimony to life in Thailand’s “human zoos”. A wide selection of photographs taken by the author using primitive vintage cameras from the early 1900s and a poignant short video, shot with Super-8 film, enrich the volume, visually amplifying the unique mood of the written account.
UntitledAnthropometric data are often described in terms of percentiles and too often digital human models are synthesised from such data using a single percentile value for all body dimensions. The poor correlation between body dimensions means that products may be evaluated against models of humans that do not exist. Alternative digital approaches try to minimise this difficulty using pre-defined families of manikins to represent human diversity, whereas in the real world carefully selected real people take part in ‘fitting trials’. HADRIAN is a digital human modeling system which uses discrete data sets for individuals rather than statistical populations. A task description language is used to execute the evaluative capabilities of the underlying SAMMIE human modelling system as though a ‘real’ fitting trial was being conducted. The approach is described with a focus on the elderly and disabled and their potential exclusion from public transport systems.