WP: Oware

"Oware is an abstract strategy game of Akan origin. Part of the mancala family, it is played throughout West Africa and the Caribbean."

Eisenhower's Farewell Address

"Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

— President Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation

A Reservoir Not a Canal

Jonathan Dodson:
People who do not slow down to fill up, never really live, work, or minister out of a deep reservoir of grace. If we’re honest, many of us are more like a canal. We dispense advice, counsel, creativity, labor, and parenting as soon as it arrives in our minds. Our half-formed notions run from our heads and out of our mouths with little reflection at all.
Full article...

Solzhenitsyn's Secret Weapon

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, we will be obstinate in this smallest of matters: Let them embrace everything, but not with any help from me. [...] It's dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.
Full essay...

WP: Southern States Cooperative

"Southern States Cooperative is a agricultural supply cooperative owned by more than 300,000 farmers in the United States. Southern States Cooperative supplies farmers with feed, seed, fertilizer, farm supplies and fuel. As of 2008 there were over 1200 retail locations in 23 states."

Security Theater

Jeffrey Goldberg:
On another occasion, at LaGuardia, in New York, the transportation-security officer in charge of my secondary screening emptied my carry-on bag of nearly everything it contained, including a yellow, three-foot-by-four-foot Hezbollah flag, purchased at a Hezbollah gift shop in south Lebanon. The flag features, as its charming main image, an upraised fist clutching an AK-47 automatic rifle. Atop the rifle is a line of Arabic writing that reads THEN SURELY THE PARTY OF GOD ARE THEY WHO WILL BE TRIUMPHANT. The officer took the flag and spread it out on the inspection table. She finished her inspection, gave me back my flag, and told me I could go. I said, "That’s a Hezbollah flag." She said, "Uh-huh."
Read the rest...

WP: Dimethyl Sulfoxide

"Use of DMSO in medicine dates from around 1963, when a Oregon Health & Science University Medical School team, headed by Stanley Jacob, discovered it could penetrate the skin and other membranes without damaging them and could carry other compounds into a biological system. [...] Because DMSO increases the rate of absorption of some compounds through organic tissues including skin, it can be used as a drug delivery system."

WP: Questing Beast

"The Questing Beast, or the Beast Glatisant (Barking Beast), is a monster from Arthurian legend. It is the subject of quests undertaken by famous knights such as King Pellinore, Sir Palamedes, and Sir Percival."

Monkey down

Ran across this comic, combining the recent political goings-on with the late monkey attack.   Good for a laugh.


An excellent hour of radio from Radiolab.   Several stories around the theme of unintended consequences.   From the episode description:
You come up with a great idea. You devise a plan. You control for every imaginable variable. And once everything’s in place, the train hops your carefully laid tracks. In this episode, one psychologist's zeal to safeguard national security may have created a terrorist, while one community's efforts to protect an endangered bird had deadly consequences. And against all odds, a toxic lake spawns new life.

Cognitive Surplus

A devastating infographic comparing TV-watching time to the time it took to build one of the most useful things ever made.

Satire & the Bible

An interview with Douglas Wilson:
GH: Still, many Christians think that satire is inherently risky. How can it glorify God?
DW: By lampooning that which does not glorify God. Paul says knowledge puffs up, and when something is puffed up, what you need is a good, sharp pin. When someone applies the pinprick to the balloon of self-important knowledge, the balloon explodes! That glorifies God because the puffed-up knowledge was in defiance of God.
Full interview transcript...

WP: Chiefess Kapiolani

"High Chiefess Kapi'olani (c. 1781–1841) was an important member of the Hawaiian nobility at the time of the founding of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the arrival of Christian missionaries. One of the first Hawaiians to read and write and sponsor a church, she made a dramatic display of her new faith which made her the subject of a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson."


"The International Mobile Equipment Identity or IMEI is a number, usually unique, to identify GSM, WCDMA, and iDEN mobile phones, as well as some satellite phones. It is usually found printed inside the battery compartment of the phone. It can also be displayed on the screen of the phone by entering *#06# into the keypad on most phones."

WP: Mystery Airship

"Mystery airships or phantom airships are a class of unidentified flying objects best known from a series of newspaper reports originating in the western United States and spreading east during 1896 and 1897."

How to Replace a Wheel Stud

A very helpful guide to replacing Chevrolet wheel studs.   I followed the advice in this article while installing new studs on the rear of my 1994 Chevy Astro.    If your car is old and rusty like mine, and your brake drum is stuck, then here's a hint:  you're going to need a bigger hammer...



Steve Gibson's Windows Gizmo: WIZMO.    A handy little program that allows you to access a number of power management functions in Windows, plus many other utility-type actions.   I use it occasionally to make my monitors go to sleep without having to wait on a timer to shut them down.

Regex Dictionary

Search the American Heritage Dictionary directly using regular expressions.  

Garage as Front Porch

Steve McCoy:
Start right after work. Wave at folks in as they drive home from work. Ask them over. Wave them over. Yell as they get out of their car, "Come on over!" Give them an special invite, if that's helpful. Offer them something to drink and ask about their day. Play a game.
Full post...

10 Problems for the President

The Telegraph:
Can it get any worse for President Obama? Undoubtedly yes. Here are 10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in serious trouble, and why its prospects are unlikely to improve between now and the November mid-terms.

Life as Performance Art

Peggy Orenstein:
Distilling my personality provided surprising focus, making me feel stripped to my essence. It forced me, for instance, to pinpoint the dominant feeling as I sat outside with my daughter listening to E.B. White. Was it my joy at being a mother? Nostalgia for my own childhood summers? The pleasures of listening to the author’s quirky, underinflected voice? Each put a different spin on the occasion, of who I was within it. Yet the final decision ("Listening to E.B. White's 'Trumpet of the Swan' with Daisy. Slow and sweet.") was not really about my own impressions: it was about how I imagined — and wanted — others to react to them. That gave me pause. How much, I began to wonder, was I shaping my Twitter feed, and how much was Twitter shaping me?
Entire article...

The Ruling Class

Angelo Codevilla's widely influential essay:
Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.
In full...

Mike Mitchell

Behold, the truly, truly odd artwork of one Mike Mitchell.

Roger Ebert on Architecture

He began by telling this student: "Every building you see is the image of a man you do not see." That image is shaped by the man's values, he said. If you want roses in your garden you must have them in your heart. 
Entire article...

Make a Bow Tie from a Neck Tie

Apparently, a neck tie can be tied into something resembling a bow tie.  Here are instructions for how to do such a thing.

WP: Irn-Bru

"Irn-Bru is a carbonated soft drink produced in Westfield, Cumbernauld, Scotland. [...] In addition to being sold throughout the United Kingdom, Barr's Irn-Bru is available throughout the world and can usually be purchased where there is a significant community of people from its native Scotland. Innovative and sometimes controversial marketing campaigns have kept it as one of the best-selling soft drinks in Scotland where it competes directly with global brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi."

WP: Cinchona

"Cinchona or Quina is a genus of about 38 species in the family Rubiaceae, native to tropical South America. They are large shrubs or small trees growing 5-15 metres in height with evergreen foliage. [...] The bark of the tree is medicinally active containing a variety of alkaloids, including the anti-malarial compound quinine [...]"

Sackcloth & Ashes

The Birmingham News:
More than 1,000 people gathered at Boutwell Auditorium Friday night, wearing burlap sacks, their foreheads dabbed with ashes, to observe what was proclaimed by Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford as "a day of prayer in sackcloth and ashes."
Political stunt or honest repentance?   Interesting either way.

Marilynne Robinson on Home

Marilynne Robinson on her novel Home:
I think that the real emotional content of lives tends to be negotiated in terms of small gestures, little courtesies towards one another, little provisions for one another's comfort, and that whether we're conscious of these things or not we read them continuously as a sort of...we see them as the fabric of our lives with others, and I think that a great deal of generosity and care and love and so on are communicated in what we would call prosaic gestures, and that's just lovely to me. It's a great part of my imagination of the character, really.
Full interview (audio and transcript)...