Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Dire wolves

I followed a link and wound up looking up dire wolves. Generally bigger than wolves, and with the strongest bite of any canid, and hunting large animals in packs: why'd they go extinct?

They overlapped with humans (and dogs), and didn't go quite extinct until sometime after 7000BC (maybe 6000). The explanations I've seen most frequently (probably they borrow from each other) are that when the big animals died out the wolves and smaller canids out-competed them, and that some disease knocked them down.

The first might kind of work if they were slower than wolves, and the wolves caught more deer and rabbits and whatnot. I'm guessing that a faceoff of a wolf pack and dire wolf pack over an elk carcass might favor the dire wolves, but most kills were probably smaller.

The second--that dogs brought disease and the dire wolves couldn't mate with dogs (like wolves and coyotes can) to pick up disease resistance--doesn't seem to have very plausible timing. Or obvious significant fractions of dog admixtures in wolves. Maybe a disease just hit them harder, and wolves took over their niches and out-bred them.

I wonder what would have happened if dire wolves had no fear of humans. People take personal predators kind of seriously. Attacking a pack might not turn out well, but wiping out dens might be feasible.

I don't know of any Amer-Indian legends about them. Since they were so close in size to grey wolves, there might not been enough distinctive about them to merit a separate category. Or the modern Amer-Indians may have come later, after most of the dire wolves were gone. Or they just didn't keep stories that long--after all, many tribes deny they came from elsewhere.

Owl in the desert

Sometimes I like a background I don't have to pay attention to, like a live La Palma volcano feed, or a waterhole in the Namib desert. (As I type an oryx is drinking.) A few minutes ago an owl splashed in the waterhole, and then rested by the side a while. In the infrared light his eyes glared white. But when he turned to walk away and then fly off, he essentially turned invisible. Why his back feathers would be IR-neutral with his surroundings, and not the rest of him, I don't know. Blending in with visible light makes sense. Snakes, mosquitoes, fish and frogs can sometimes see IR--not all of them are relevant in the desert, or for birds.

0G and DNA repair

We all know, or could have expected, that DNA gets damaged more often in space. Cosmic rays, solar wind--it is hard to shield against these things. In fact, shielding can be counter-productive, as cosmic ray showers generate more particles than you had to start with.

That will exercise our DNA repair systems. They have some low failure rates--do they work the same up there?

A Queen's University study says that polymerases don't work quite as well in microgravity. They designed a system to carry in "the vomit comet" to make 20-second long tests of copying DNA at 0-G, and compared the error rates with runs taken without the 0-G.

If that result sounds weird to you, it does to me too.

But: convection in 0-G is different; you have to rely on diffusion. Flames look very strange and burn differently, with somewhat different combustion products.

But at this scale, why would convection matter in a mere 20 seconds?

They had some problems: "We were forced to invest much effort into improving the user-friendliness of our mini-laboratory, to make it easier to operate not only in microgravity, but also in the subsequent 2G hypergravity phase of the flight once a zero-gravity parabola has been completed," Since the experiment involved manipulating pipets, yes, some delicacy is needed.

I'd forgotten about the high-G part of the flight. The reaction should have been quenched before that stage began--it sounds like they did it right--but I wonder if vibrations and the initial acceleration (about 1.5 G) could have done some minor damage to the equipment. Their control sample was done during level flight, so take-off would have been the same. They had three 0.2ml reaction mixture tubes, and 80microliters of each of the various ingredients. That's not very big, but depending on the geometry convection might be an issue. It wouldn't be at the nuclear level, though.

Different amino acids had different transcription error rates--significantly--even for a "we only got one measurement at 0G" experiment. And there seemed to be some effect--for some of the comparisons. Their statistics are low and I don't know if their error bars are realistic.

Curious. But one run isn't quite enough.

The purchase of Cape Mesurado

A copy of the purchase contract was found: in the Chicago History museum, of course. "Caldwell worked on a part-time basis as secretary of the American Colonization Society, but he was the full-time clerk of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington. Caldwell apparently had some ACS papers at the Supreme Court when he died in 1825. Those documents were transferred to Chicago in a collection of Justice Washington’s belongings." No wonder nobody's been able to locate the document till now.

The usual narrative for the founding of Liberia is summarized here. Dr. C. Patrick Burrowes' research suggests some differences...

The local rulers who signed the purchase agreement all had English names. Did the Americans give them those names?

No, the Americans did not give them those names. By the late 1600s, there were individuals living at the mouth of the Junk River who spoke Dutch and Portuguese; there were French and Portuguese speakers near Grand Cess. Writing about the people of River Cess, one French writer said it was customary by 1667 for persons of note to take a European name. Another European visitor noted that children along the coast of what is now Liberia were usually given Western names in “grateful remembrance” of any kindness done to their parents by whites.

According to E-L-They-Say, Captain Robert F. Stockton forced the local rulers to sell the land “at gunpoint.” Is that true?

No. This myth had some appearance of credibility: Captain Stockton, a veteran of several duels, was no stranger to gun play. And he did brandish a pistol during the negotiations. Stockton pulled his gun in response to two pro-slavery outsiders who had come from Freetown seeking to sabotage the negotiations. At that moment, the Americans were far outnumbered by local forces who were armed with 60 or more muskets.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Evening readings

A few things struck me from the readings this evening. 2 Thess 2:10 "those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." They didn't already have a love of the truth. That's something we're often half-hearted about. They weren't/aren't willing even to want to love the truth. Too much risk, I guess--you can't control truth and who knows where it will lead you?

In John 9 some of the Pharisees got bent out of shape when Jesus healed on the Sabbath, when you weren't supposed to work. But how did they know it was work? It was a miracle--completely out of the ordinary--what rules apply to miracles? And how did they know who was working? If this was God's work, were they claiming that God has to be bound by the Sabbath?

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Arbery and Rittenhouse

The pundits all want to talk about race, and miss the point, as usual. The results of both trials were the same: you can't chase somebody down and try to kill him just because you think he might have done something(*). If the victim fights back and kills you, it's self defence, and if you kill him, it's murder.

(*) Note that I am giving Huber and Grosskreutz an extreme benefit of the doubt here.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

To seat a senator

FrontPageAfrica has gathered that the grand wizard of Lofa County has commissioned the head of the traditional leaders in the county to summon all the ‘zoes’ and ‘country devils’ to block the St. Paul Bridge which connects Lofa to Bong County until Senator-elect Brownie Samukai is certificated and inducted into the Liberian Senate."

Samukai was convicted of misappropriating money to pay soldier's pensions

A different source has a different take--and a picture of a devil: "the Citizens have brought out Country Devil’s and or Traditional Masks indicating a no turning back for the process"

The photo seems to be a stock photo, since it turns up on a story from a different county in which the country devil was brought out to oppose senatorial candidate Botoe Kanneh, a woman--women are not allowed to see the country devil.

In fact, the same devil is elsewhere described as being part of "A Liberian culture group" arriving at Zwedru City Hall. That makes sense--the big devils are/were more secret; photos seem unexpected.

And the picture appears over a story of a country devil stealing six bags of rice meant for Covid relief. "Police in the County are said to playing a low profile on the issue .." For reference, a bag of rice feeds a family for a month.

What a rabbit-hole... I'll close with something tangential. County Inspector Reginald Mehn imposed a fine of 10,000 Liberian Dollars on executives of the Poro for forcibly initiating a pastor of the Liberia Inland Church.

Planning to travel?

In honor of the 200'th anniversary of the settlers coming to Liberia, they are hosting a year-long reunion: The Year of the Diaspora. "After 40 years of a slow-down, Liberia is excited to welcome Africans in the Diaspora home again."

That seems a slight exaggeration. Back in the late 60's a number of American blacks came to Liberia with pan-African dreams, hoping to "come home." They found they weren't part of any of the tribes; they were American.

The group will be greeted at the airport with a welcoming like none other. Cultural dancers, drummers, and traditional activities will be the center of their welcome. The next morning will begin with a one hour service at the Providence Baptist Church (the first church build in Liberia, founded by Lott Carey) and a welcome Prayer Breakfast at Providence Island. After praying for the nation, we will have a traditional Liberian breakfast, followed by a reenactment of the coming of the African Americans to Liberia and their first meeting with the people local to the land.

Dr. Ford-Kulah said "It is the story of a land that was created for us and by us for no other reason, except for freedom and liberty." I will have to keep an ear to the ground about this. It sounds very Americo-Liberian, and other group leaders may want to make noise to keep their bases stirred up. Or not, if there's something in it for them all.

Wondering about smelting

Rabbit tracking about the bronze age, I ran across a Journal of African History article about smelting in Africa. One item of regret in the article: "Nevertheless, the study of forging or smithing practice generally has been neglected in favour of studying the smelting process. Undoubtedly, the near-indestructibility of smelting slags has contributed to this situtation, but, as was pointed out by Stanley in 1929, so has the understandable reluctance of curators to submit metal artefacts for destructive metallographic analysis."

Some scholars have been very eager to move iron smelting into the first millenium BC in sub-Sarahan Africa, but once you get away from Meroe (Nubia, in ages-old contact w/ Egypt), the evidence is pretty frail and disputed, the wikipedia article on Bantu expansion to the contrary. The chronology is muddled, but it looks as though both iron and bronze started being made a bit before 1000AD. (Coincidentally, that's about the time the Andeans started making bronze too. It seems bronze was rare and beautiful enough that they used it for ornamets rather than tools/weapons. Maybe given more time--but they didn't have time.)

The failure of iron smelting technology to spread seems to demand a little explanation. There would be two main secrets: what was the rock used, and what was the procedure. After knowing those, you could figure out the details with trial and error. And, once these were known, the technology did spread. Low grade iron ore is fairly widespread, and charcoal is not hard to come by either.

In fact, I'd think making bronze would have been the trickier thing to teach. Tin is rare. Spies in Nubia wouldn't know exactly where the ore came from (not local). There's some in what's now Nigeria, and once they figured that out they started in making bronzes--now famous. Copper -- that people already had.

At any rate, I wonder if there was an effort to keep the materials and process secret from the rest of the Africans. It would help with the Nubian balance of trade ...

The rest of Africa did learn. The way smelting was treated is suggestive: "The operations of sub-Saharan smelters were associated almost ubiquitously with extensive ritual. ... The smelter's role was identified as special, with the smelter accorded a particular status, either elevated or in some cases as a member of an outsider caste. ... The reproductive symbolism of the smelting process was often made explicit by the anthropomorphic design of furnaces found ranging from Nigeria to southern Africa." (The emergence of the bloom of iron was like a birth.)

The symbolism and secrecy could have developed independently in each place, but I suspect they were there from the start--from the first men (women were not allowed) who learned smelting. Did they pick that up from the Nubians?

I've had a hobby of trying to figure out how people with limited resources would discover things. For example, unless you have enough metal to experiment with, and possibly waste, you're not likely to try to mix metals to see what you get. Take bronze, discovered/created over 6000 years ago. Copper is moderately common, tin is rare. If you only have a little bit of tin, you'll be very careful with it.

Discovering what happens when you mix it with copper is only likely to happen by accident--if you try stirring melted tin with a copper rod, for instance. Even small amounts of bronze would be a very interesting discovery and prompt further investigation. After some trial and error, you'd discover that you didn't need much tin in your copper. Some people suggest the discovery came when copper and tin ore rocks mixed in the same charcoal fire, but a copper pot plus charcoal in a bed of tin ore rubble plus somebody being careless with the fire seems more likely.

If you are a tin producer, you might try adulterating the product, and wind up with something odd. Very odd, and maybe worth researching. And as a tin producer, you might have enough tin to research with. (On the other hand, I'd expect that you would then import copper and export bronze, but in real life the bronze producers imported tin.)

If you're rich enough to do alloy research, to try to find something as good as that famous type of copper that's so extra hard, you'll come up with some interesting things eventually. It'll take a while to find a good mixture, but even if you die of arsenic poisoning somebody else can take up the work where you left off.

I'd like to think it was the third possibility--I'm fond of basic research--but I think it might have been the second.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


I grew up far from extended family, but we always took the opportunity to give thanks. Perhaps my memory fails me here, but I don't recall the pilgrims ever being on stage at home--at best they showed up at school. In my home the focus has generally been on family and food, but with a good side of what we're thankful for now. No ancient history, either good or bad.

I see that some (e.g. the columnist that Althouse referenced) want to tip the day on its head: "don't give thanks, be angry."

You can always find something to be angry about. It's a great thrill to pass judgment.

It's also dangerous to your soul. And maybe Uncle Keith votes the wrong way and is an aggressive vegetarian and thinks you married a slacker. On the other hand, he also took care of your cousins when his sister and her husband were in that terrible accident, and he makes a wonderful lentil chili, and his daughter is a wonderful painter. Can you find something to be thankful for? No?

Maybe it's easier if you have Someone to be thankful to.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The night before Thanksgiving

Maybe we'd be happier if we just gave in and played bumper cars in the grocery store.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Google vs DuckDuckGo datapoint

Blogger is a google project, of course. I wanted to find a link to a quick review I'd done of a book, on blogger. Google should be able to keep track of it's siblings, right? The result on google was "Your search - "1177 b.c." site:idontknowbut.blogspot.com - did not match any documents."

DuckDuckGo pointed me to the post I wanted.

The google settings include SafeSearch ON (locked on by the browser, apparently). I can't think of anything terribly unsafe or offensive about the post, and IIRC D.D.G. used a safe search by default. The results were the same w/ chrome and firefox.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Research note for self:

How uniform is COVID testing? How much does it vary from test-chemical batch to batch, and from machine to machine, and from operator to operator?

Friday, November 19, 2021


Why do soldiers wear a uniform?

They know at a glance who's part of the team; who can be trusted; who had the same basic training and knows the same things. Maybe they've had other training to--they've had the same fundamentals. Look for what's the same first, then what's different.

Commander Salamander assures us they do it the other way round now--look for what makes sailors different first.

This is an interesting experiment, although I haven't heard who approved doing these clinical trials on humans, or where the control group is.


At Astral Codex Ten: Ivermectin: Much More Than You Wanted To Know

He goes over a long list of studies, evaluates the studies (throws out a lot of them for cause), and looks at the remainder. There's a residual slight preference for ivermectin, but the effect is small--and may be thanks to an unexpected confounding factor.

I may take ivermectin someday--I sometimes travel to parts of the world where it is very useful, and not just for horses.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lyrics question

When I first heard Grazing in the Grass (on a crackly AM station) I couldn't make out what this refrain was. When I finally figured out the lyrics, I wondered how in the world they managed to sing what I found to be such a tongue-twister.

From the ridiculous to the sublime: from my observation this morning some hymns have lines that are a bit harder to sing--the syllable sounds don't make for easy transitions from one sound to another. If you have a syllable ending in "d", you need a little extra air between that and the next one that starts with a "t". I suppose syllables that blend together smoothly can be called "slurs" or something similar, but I'm not familiar enough with musical terminology to say.

Is there a term for the juxtapositions that make it harder to sing smoothly? Jackhammer words, maybe?

I suppose if the music is stacatto, these might fit better than those that allow "slurs", but most of the time, or for spoken poetry, I'd think them worse.

At any rate, I wonder what terms I should use in searching to learn more.

Treatment of the elderly

The book on the Dakotas "as they were" when they were still hunters makes for fairly grim reading. They were typically strong and tough--or rather, the survivors were. Hunting, even with firearms, was an arduous project, and since an area was easily hunted-out, they had to migrate--and that could often be an ordeal. The infant mortality rate was very high, hunters could be injured, and deadly conflicts with neighboring tribes regularly killed a few. (Not many--large scale wars were logistically quite difficult and dangerous.) The high death rate is known in popular mythology as "living in harmony with nature."

When food ran short--"The aged were, however, generally treated kindly." But not always.

According to their own testimony, a usage formerly prevailed among the Dakotas ... their singular way of disposing of those who were superannuated and unable to keep along with hunting parties. They were unable or unwilling to carry them, and had some scruples about killing them without ceremony or leaving them to perish by slow degrees; so they compromised the matter, and did what they called “making enemies” of them. The old men were armed with guns or bows and arrows and were allowed to defend themselves as well as they could, while the young men killed them with clubs. They thus gave them an opportunity to die with honor on the field of battle, and satisfied their scruples of conscience about killing them. This custom has long been obsolete,

He cites two stories they told of old women left behind to die. In one a young man rescued her, carried her on his back despite the mockery of the rest of the group, and even defended her against enemy attack when the rest of the group fled. Offered honor for his bravery, he proposed that they honor the old woman instead, which they did. In the other story, a woman was left behind to die in the fall, and in spring some passing near the place thought to bury her bones. They found her alive and well--a kindly stranger had, despite some difficulties, provided for her all winter. The hunters from her own group killed her and stole her provisions.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Rabbit tracking about mammoths

The note below reports that the Dakota worshipped mammoths, though they thought them water creatures. Hmm.

Mammoth diet seems to have been grasses and small plants (heavy on some flowers), and steppe-based. OK, though maybe they frequented sinkholes sometimes? And elephants are known to snorkle to cross rivers.

The Dakota said they had come from much farther north, and showed some familiarity with the ways of the Inuit. So... Do the Inuit have stories about mammoths?

Tracking that down isn't easy. There allegedly are stories of huge creatures with tusks that lived underground. But the stories may not be that old. In 1885 a naturalist was on a ship which met some Inuits with mammoth tusks and bones. They said the relics were not from living animals, and Townsend showed them a picture of a skeleton, and drew for them what a reconstruction would look like. That picture would undoubtedly have been widely described, if not circulated, and probably copied.

And when was the legend recorded? I haven't found that, though the Dakota's story is older than 1885.

Pity. It would be fun to find some more ten thousand year old legends.

Friday, November 12, 2021

More from "as they were"

The religion of the Dakotas consisted principally, but not wholly, in the worship of visible things of this world, animate and inanimate. Their chief object of worship was Unkteri, the mammoth, though they held many erroneous opinions concerning that extinct species of elephant, and did not know that the race was extint. They had seen bones of the mammonth, pieces of which they had in their possession, and they were too well acquainted with comparative anatomy not to know that it was a quadruped. ... as they were not seen on land and their bones were found in low and wet places, they concluded that their dwelling was in the water.

They also worshipped a thunderbird, and "Taku-Shkan-Shkan", that which moves. "men affirmed that they had seen stones which had moved some distance on level ground, leaving a track or furrow behind them." And sometimes they worshipped ghosts. They learned from Europeans: Wakantanka was the Great Spirit, but was still just the God of the foreigners. Sacred rocks were often painted red.

The hunter or traveler, stopping to smoke would fill his pipe and holding it up would say, "Here, ghosts, take a smoke and give us a good day."


I once traveled several days on foot with a chief, and when we encamped at night he made the figure of a turtle in the earth and prayed to it for good weather. ... At our next encampment ... but this time the turtle failed to respond. ... he was in a bad humor, spoke very disrespectfully of turtles, and declared that he would be revenged on the next one he met.

Advice, which has evidently been almost universally followed:

If anyone wishes to construct a consistent system of Indian mythology, such as will be satisfactory to the public, the best way for him to do it is to form a theory of his own, adopt some Indian notions, reject others, invent some himself, and not ask the Indians too many questions.


The great mass of the people evidently believed in a superintending, overruling Providence, by which the world is governed and men often rewarded according to their deeds. ... They were also accustomed to point out examples where great sins had been followed by severe punishments. These retributions they did not ascribe to any of the gods who they ordinarily worshipped in public. ... The punishment of the wicked was ascribed to Taku-wakan, that is, some supernatural or divine power, though Taku-wakan is not a proper name and had no personal signification.

When the half-breed interpreter was asked by an inquuisitive visitor what the Indians thought about another world (the land of spirit), he did not like to tell how little he knew about the matter; but he chose rather to conceal his ignorance, and to gratify the inquirer at the same time, by giving such an answer as he knew would be more satisfactor than the true one. The writer speaks from experience, having been himself thus imposed on.

The only one of Pond's reports: he was the brother of the Samuel Pond, whose book I was referencing. Also, Unktehi wasn't universally worshipped.

"As they were in 1834"

"Scott Campbell no longer sits smoking his long pipe, and conversing in low tones with the listless loungers around the old Agency House; but who that resided in this country thirty or forty years ago can pass by the old stone houses near Fort Snelling and not think of Major Taliaferro and of his interpreter?"
He was skillful as an interpreter, and perhaps more skillful as mis-interpreter. When translating for Major Taliaferro, he gave a true rendering of what was said, for the major knew the Dakota language too well himself to be deceived by an interpreter; but for those who were ignorant of the language he sometimes used his own discretion in the choice of what to say. The words of the speaker, whether Dakota or English, lost all their asperity, and often much of their meaning, in passing through his interpretation. He told what he thought the speaker should have said rather than what he did say, and frequently a good understanding seemed to have been restored, simply because there had been no understanding at all. The grievous words which stir up strife might go into his ears but did not come out of his mouth, especially when it was for his interest to restore peace between contending parties. This readiness to substitute his own language for that which he professed to translated might not be the best qualification for an interpreter, and sometimes it proved mischievous; but he doubtless intercepted many harsh and passionate words, which, if they had reached their destination, would have done more harm than good.

Perhaps, but I think truth is better.

Monday, November 08, 2021


is alive and well. From a 1965 article: "They are frequently responsible for tribal education, regulate sexual conduct, supervise political and economic affairs, and operate various social services, including entertainment and recreation as well as medical treatment." (Preserve us from their medical treatment, though.)

From FrontPageAfrica:

James Kolleh, candidate of the opposition People's Unification Party (PUP), a leading contender and the only candidate who is a non-member of the Poro tradition, seems to have gotten the worst of the campaign, which features allegations that he's a non-Poro member and shouldn't be elected as represenative.

Traditional leaders have reportedly tried to lure Kolleh into the tradition by establishing "Bush Schools" in all of the major towns in the district, a move that has prevented him from meeting residents of those towns.

Some traditional leaders, FrontPageAfrica has gathered, have reportedly attempted kidnapping Kolleh at night in Blameyea Town under the pretense of endorsing his represenative bid, but their plans reportedly failed after Kolleh received a hint by residents of the area.

Perhaps that seems obscure. If there's a Bush School in the town, they can kidnap him and initiate him by force.

"Rep. Cole ridiculed Kolleh for not joining the Poro prior to his represenative ambition, calling him a "new born baby". "Every member of the Bong Legislative Caucus is a member of the Poro."" Since you aren't considered a man until you've been initiated, the insult makes sense.

Politics gets complicated sometimes

I had never heard this claim of its origin before: From View of Sierra Leone by Frederick Migeod:

Colonel Warren was probably only initiated into the first stage, and being obliged to take the oath of secrecy any details of interest, if any, died with him. In any case without a very perfect knowledge of the Mende language, it would be impossible for him to learn much. Further, a certain length of time is necessary for the initiation, and a sojourn under conditions no European could long maintain. Circumcision must have been already performed. Nevertheless admission to the lowest grade would make him a full Poro man ; and oracles have always been workable, and yet do not yield their secrets even if they have any.

When he was initiated he received the name if Nyandebo (=Nyande-mo, fine-man) so I was informed.

Warren gives the account of the beginning of Poro as follows ; " The Mende claim to be the originators (of Poro) and there is a tradition to the effect that it was brought about by the death of the first Mende chief. Tliis chief had the reputation of being very powerful, and, on his death, his principal attendants, fearing that when his death was made known to his people there would be trouble in the country and a general split up of the Mende tribe, decided that they would keep his death secret. It. so happened that the chief had an impediment which made him talk through his nose, so a suitable person had to be found to personate him. When the person was found he was sworn on the chief's corpse and other medicines that he would not reveal the secret. So effective was this, that others were gradually told the secret and likewise sworn."

The Poro is both a secret national council and a school for the youth of the tribe. The former assembles as requisite, and a chief may invoke the assistance of the Poro as it might be a national church.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Just change some names

One of the participants at a meeting today posted a curious essay Leon Trotsky wrote about anti-Semitism in the USSR. (He said it was there, and shouldn't be.) A couple of quotes seem curiously timely.
The hatred of the peasants and the workers for the bureaucracy is a fundamental fact of Soviet life.

Strike the "Soviet" and replace it with what you please...

The privileged bureaucracy, fearful of its privileges, and consequently completely demoralized, represents at present the most anti-socialist and most anti-democratic stratum of Soviet society.

Job's friends

If being a prophet means explaining God and the divine meaning of events, then were Job's friends taking on the role of prophet?

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Book lovers

Those who spend the greater part of their time in reading or writing books are, of course, apt to take rather particular notice of accumulations of books when they come across them. They will not pass a stall, a shop, or even a bedroom-shelf without reading some title, and if they find themselves in an unfamiliar library, no host need trouble himself further about their entertainment. The putting of dispersed sets of volumes together, or the turning right way up of those which the dusting housemaid has left in an apoplectic condition, appeals to them as one of the lesser Works of Mercy.

Happy in these employments, and in occasionally opening an eighteenth-century octavo, to see ‘what it is all about’, and to conclude after five minutes that it deserves the seclusion it now enjoys ...

"I resemble that remark."

Tuesday, November 02, 2021


I've served on a grand jury (very interesting) and a petit jury (dull case but we did our duty).

I'm glad I'm not on the Rittenhouse jury. (I don't live in that county, but they could have asked for a venue change.) Just as with the Chauvin trial, the jurors will be identified and politicians will flirt with threats.