Archive for the 'History' Category

ACH and MH 17

So, last week, as you’ve doubtless noticed, a jet was shot down in eastern Ukraine. (Actually, several jets, but the one we’re all interested in is Malaysian flight 17.) Watching events unfold over the last couple days has been interesting, because they’re not really going how I (or anyone, I suspect) expected them to.

If we operate on the assumption (and note these are assumptions, and important ones) that MH 17 was fired at by an SA-11 system and crew provided by Russia, then the big question you have to ask (though few are, in public) is “why”. Why did it happen?

I can think of several ideas with varying degrees of plausibility. And if we play a round of ACH – Analysis of Competing Hypotheses – some start to look more likely than others.
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Published in: General, History | on July 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

Daughter of the Coast Guard

I’m not normally one to write book reviews, but I’m also usually not in the strange position of having read a book that nobody on the Internet seems to have ever reviewed before. Even with my eclectic tastes in books, there’s almost always someone out there who’s read pretty much anything I’ve come across.

Not so with Daughter of the Coast Guard, a novel by Betty Baxter that was published by Goldsmith Publishing in 1938. Since it’s a fairly decent book that nobody’s ever heard of, I thought, eh, might as well review it, for posterity, or something.

Warnin’: Here be spoilers.
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Published in: General, History | on October 4th, 2013 | No Comments »

Mountain Dew Pudding

It’s fun to occasionally browse through random old cookbooks looking for something new to make, and I admit the decision process is often a bit erratic. This sounds good, but I don’t have all the ingredients; I have everything for this, but it doesn’t look particularly good, or the instructions seem questionable, or the recipe looks incomplete, or the name is stupid… you know how it goes.

This week, I made Mountain Dew Pudding, pretty much just because of the name. (What, me, linkbait?)

It is, I dare say, not quite what you’re probably thinking of…
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Published in: History | on June 19th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Most Awkward Sentence Ever

When reading old books, a certain type of person likes to laugh or snicker when they come across some quaint old bit of vocabulary that happens to have changed slightly in meaning in the intervening decades.

You know the things I’m talking about. Describing someone who is merely strange as queer, or someone happy as gay. Mentioning throwing another faggot on the fire, perhaps.

Language changes. We all know this, and most of these instances really aren’t that noteworthy, let alone funny.

Sometimes, though…
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Published in: History | on January 28th, 2013 | 4 Comments »

Value, in the Eye of the Beholder

It’s kind of sad, if you stop and think about it, how much history is getting destroyed these days. I’m not talking about the fad of “upcycling”, wherein all too often perfectly serviceable antiques, or at least things that are old, get – if we’re honest – ruined and turned into… uninspired objets d’art, and then listed for sale on Etsy in the hopes that there really is a sucker born every minute. (I kid. But only slightly.)

No, what really depresses me is how much history is being destroyed, these days, because of inflated precious-metal prices. Grandma’s gold wedding ring? Melt it down! Uncle Bobby’s Air Force wings, in sterling silver? Melt ’em down! Those old salt cellars sitting in the cabinet? Melt ’em down!

Artistic value? Historical value? Sentimental value? All subservient to the intrinsic value. Nobody cares about anything except the weight, anymore. Which is a bad thing, because as precious-metal prices have increased several-fold in the last decade or so, the market value of most old jewelry, silverware, and so on has not increased accordingly, so that a really huge number of artifacts from the last two-hundred years are worth, in many instances, the same or even less to collectors than to precious-metal refiners, which is not a terribly enviable situation, if you care about history.
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Published in: Geekiness, History | on December 31st, 2012 | 1 Comment »