Friday, April 12, 2013
1. I enjoyed reading the obituary
for Margaret Thatcher that appeared
in The New York Times, including the following passage:
Though she was the first woman to lead a major political party in the West, she rubbed many feminists the wrong way. "The battle for women's rights has largely been won," she declared. "I hate those strident tones we hear from some women's libbers." She relished being impolitic. "You don't follow the crowd," she said. "You make up your own mind."I agree with Harry Binswanger, who described the piece as "surprisingly good" and "accurate", and am glad he pointed to this on his mailing list.
2. Futility Closet tells the tale of the exploit that brought freedom and fame to Robert Smalls, an interesting and heroic figure from the Civil War:
The transport ship's pilot, Robert Smalls, had resolved to escape slavery by steaming out to the Union warships blockading his city. When the ship's white officers had gone ashore that night, he directed his eight fellow slaves to fire up the boilers and guided the ship to a nearby wharf, where they collected their families. Then Smalls donned the captain's hat and coat and gave two long and one short blasts on the whistle as they neared Fort Sumter, as he had seen the captain do. The sentry sent him on his way. As he made for the Union fleet three miles away, he put up one of his wife's bedsheets as a flag of truce.3. Heh!
[T]he next time a presenter trots out a circle to make a point, find the bogus links and put him on the spot. We could all benefit from a little more linear thinking.Sometimes, a measure of relief comes from simply naming a problem, because identifying one is the first step in solving one. But I think Gardiner Morse does us all one better here. His name for the fad he describes, "Crap Circles", is part of the solution: Any half-thoughtful presenter who has heard it will stop for a moment and ask whether the potential for ridicule is really worth it.
4. Should English have counterparts to all of these? I doubt it, but you might still enjoy this list of twenty-one emotions for which there is no English word, or this more general list of words "missing" from English.