The Eyes of the Present

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I used to think the past was sepia toned.  Probably most of us did, as kids.  At least most of us who are old enough to have grown up with framed pictures of grandparents and great grandparents, looking down on you from some wall.

My grandmother had a picture of her mother (to whom she’d been very close) on the wall of the upstairs family room, and I used to look at her, and try to trace a resemblance, and worry about whether she’d like me.  But she was sepia. I mean, I knew there had been color in her day, but to this day I’m not sure what her coloration was. How could I know? the picture was sepia.

In the same way, the black and white movies of WWII made it seem like it happened a lot more than the 23 years before my birth.  Those things, back there, in black and white, int he long distant past were not quite real.

Of course I knew that there had been color in those days. But it was an intellectual knowledge. I’d never seen it.

Which is why the colorized reels of WWI had so much impact. Suddenly these people were real, and many of them startlingly young.

And it’s why pictures like these are so startling and important.  They bring the past to life in a way we’re not used to seeing it, and they make these people just people: like us. Human and alive.

It’s harder, or it should be, to dismiss who they were and how they lived and to think we have it the hardest evah now we see them in color.

Only of course, it’s not because these people viewing the pictures are so startlingly and innocently devoid of historical knowledge they think the shepherd boy in a sort of tunic is cross dressing. (No, seriously.)  And the idiot who then said that dresses weren’t “female” till much later than that is only slightly better informed.  Dresses for INFANTS were normal till just after WWI (so in fact just a few years past that.) regardless of the infants sex.  But smocks were worn by males and females of the working class, for the simple reason that it took less fabric than pants.

I suspect until the far more prosperous middle years of the 20th century they continued to be worn in various places, and I’d not be shocked if they’d been work in the poorest and most remote villages of Portugal, either. (I lived in a cosmopolitan part of the country, me.)

To talk of “gender” or to imagine that someone of that time in a peasant village was crossdressing… dear lord.

Then there was the idiot who thought the woman making fringe to support her family should instead repair her dress.

This is your Marxist economics at work. She should fix her dress, and maybe make a better dress to herself, and then pay herself, and of course she’d be richer or something.

I was shocked none of them pointed out that the woman in elaborate Irish peasant dress was barefoot, and that there were many diseases you could contract that way.  Or perhaps “weren’t her feet cold?”  (My mother who grew up barefoot summer and winter says no, they weren’t.  You just got used to it. I don’t know. I’m glad I live in better times.)

And of course — of course — they admired the thatched roof with grass growing on it, and talked about how they wanted one.  By which time I was laughing my head off, because, you know… anyone who grew up with thatch or got to experience a thatched roof knows that by the time it “grows” things it’s thick with bugs and crawlies, and you’re going to get stuff dropping inside. The thatch needs to be renewed. (And no, I didn’t grow up with it. But some farmers had it for animal lodging and/or storage areas, so I got to see it/experience it in visits.)

I’m surprised they didn’t talk about how ecological and “green” it was.

Look, I get that it’s hard to convey to our kids how different, how PROSPEROUS a world they’re growing up in.  A friend about my age and I were talking about it last week, and we realized that we can tell our kids till we’re blue in the face, but they’ll never understand the stuff like “you can’t buy veggies out of seasons, so the first tomato of spring is amazing, and old apples from the cold room are the sweetest things you get in winter.)  They’ll understand it intellectually, just like we understood intellectually the deprivations of the people in the 30s (yes, worldwide. When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches pneumonia.) It’s awful, and long ago, and thank heavens we live now.

But now telescopes forever, just like in my mind it had been forever since WWII when it had been only slightly more than it’s now from 9/11.

The thing is that the schools and culture aren’t even trying.  These people, some of them not much younger than I but raised in very different circumstances, go about believing that the past is just like the present, only less woke, and if only those horrible people their ancestors had only had access to the woke philosophy of the young people of today, they’d have been exactly like us.

Stuff like “that woman knotting the fringe might have been all that stood between her 7 children and starvation” will either go over their heads, or they’ll start praising welfare, completely unaware that even if people wanted to back then they couldn’t feed a lot of surplus population. Because there wasn’t a lot of surplus production.

It was only those “satanic mills” and the wealth they generated, which then got applied to other things which then generated wealth that has got us to where we are now, where people who have never had a day of hunger in their pampered lives can talk about what victims they are because someone laughed near them or looked at them funny, and they know it’s the inherent racism/sexism/ismism of the west.

Short of sending them back to see the past, all we can do is teach. But we must make sure we do teach. By means of textbooks if needed. By other means if possible.

Because when people think thatch is cute, we’ve come a long way baby.  And the Gods of the Copybook Headings are revving up their engines to come and explain it again.

 

 

417 responses to “The Eyes of the Present

  1. problem being, what they are being taught now is that life was simpler and better now, and yet it was simultaneously more oppressive…

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    It may not be original with him, but S. M. Stirling has said “The Past Is A Different Country”.

    Of course, so modern idiots “imagine” other countries as “just like their own country” (when they aren’t bashing their own country).

    • I suppose some time travel stories have it, but I can just see some being astonished at being denied a passport to visit earlier times due to the incomprehension of the supposedly simplest things.

      • William H. Stoddard

        How do we know time travel isn’t possible? No ignorant tourists from the future.

        • That is Data Point Two.

          Data Point One is that no histories reveal customer service / retail types building/buying/stealing/hijacking a time travel device and the result “flash-crowd” beating the crap out of the originator or popularizer of “The Customer is Always Right.”

          • Whoever popularized the term is the one who deserves it. The originator meant it as “Let the customer buy what he wants. Don’t try to make him buy what you think he should want.”
            Unfortunately, some idiot decided that it meant that customers should just get whatever they demanded, and things went downhill from there.

          • If time travel really was possible we’d have simultaneously seen Jesus of Nazareth murdered by atheists, and the entire region of Palestine sunk beneath the Med from the massive numbers of people trying to get in to get a glimpse of Him.

            Hmmm. Maybe I’m wrong about that. The Gospels do talk about darkness, and an earthquake. Maybe the darkness was caused by massive clouds of flying drones taking video, and the earthquake caused by the added weight of all those time travelers?

            • William H. Stoddard

              I like to envision the time travel organization that auctions off a limited number of places in the area for time travelers to occupy. And not just time travelers from their own time, but time travelers from the entire span of historical memory of the Crucifixion.

              • Aren’t all time travelers ultimately from the same time, ie all of it?

              • It was on this very blog where I read of a time travel story where when people went back- there was a velvet rope set up and a sign that said “Line forms here to kill Hitler”.

                • Saw this in a webcomic (probably xkcd): Guy invents time machine, goes back in time and kill Hitler. Comes back and says: “Boy was 1945 loud!”

            • I remember seeing a novel about a time traveler going back to prevent another traveler from assassinating Christ.

              • Then there is the solution to the problem as described in Alfred Bester’s “The Men who Murdered Mohammad” – a time traveler can only damage themselves 😉

                • That could still work, though. If, say, one set fire to kneself in a crowded market on a certain day to start a chain of events that prevented a prexipitating knckdent. Or caused it.

                  Or if one intervened to save the life of someone who later comitted an assassination…

                  • That was not Bester’s thesis. In his tale the elimination of critical historical figures eliminated the Time Traveler’s personal timeline, eventually rendering the time travelling assassin immaterial.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Nope, IIRC in “The Men who Murdered Mohammad” the very attempt to change history fails and you become “detached” from the “time stream”.

                    IE when you return to your starting point, you find that nobody notices you any more and if you keep attempting to change the past you will find that you can move easily between different time periods while always unnoticed.

            • Atheists who tried to murder Jesus would have run up against the murder of Hercules problem except instead of Jesus breaking there neck they would have been struck blind and dumb and thereby rendered harmless.
              Hmmm! Maybe I should get back to work on that time machine after all.

              • I imagine they may have gotten clocked in the head when Jesus threw that table…

              • William H. Stoddard

                Assuming for the sake of argument that theism is true, are you supposing that God would not allow time travelers to act on their own free will? He seems to have allowed the Romans to do so, even when it resulted in the death of Jesus. The Roman soldiers weren’t struck blind and dumb. Nor was Judas when he tried to find Jesus to betray him.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Christ’s sacrifice was G*d’s Will thus He allowed the actions of the Romans.

                  Christ’s murder by atheists prior to His sacrifice would be contrary to G*d’s Will therefore the atheists would have been prevented from doing so.

                  Note, it would not be a violation of the atheists’ Free Will if (for example) the atheists’ time machine kept dumping them somewhere/somewhen besides where/when they intended to go. 😈

                • The Roman soldiers weren’t struck blind and dumb. Nor was Judas when he tried to find Jesus to betray him.

                  When it was the appropriate time for the sacrifice. When it wasn’t the appropriate time “but he passing through the midst of them went his way.”

            • In Legion, Brandon Sanderson has an interesting take on religion and time travel. It’s honestly my favorite thing that he’s written.

      • Time travel is almost certainly possible, and indeed, implied by any side-stepping of physics in order to get around things like the light speed limit.

        The thing is that it’s only going to be possible at such a macro-scale as to be meaningless in terms of the usual time-travel story we like to tell.

        In other words, you’re likely going to find time-travel to be possible, but only in context of such wide grain that it’s going to possible to travel to a point sufficiently separated from your present context so as to render the effects of any actions you take as irrelevant.

        If you manage to pass out of the context of space and time enough to be able to bypass that pesky speed limit, why would anyone expect that the re-entry point to this particular space and time context is going to be even remotely in keeping with the whole progression of causality and timeframe? Why should you leave and then come back to the same time, at all? After all, if you’re outside the context, what’s keeping you “in time” with the progression of causality within the context you left? Why would your re-entry point be at all contiguous, unless you were rendering it irrelevant by going right back to your start point? In other words, you may be able to go and come back, but there’s no telling what relation where you go might have to the here-and-now. You may wind up going to a location a few million light years away, and a few billion years in the past–Which, while useful to you, won’t be time travel as H.G. Wells understood the idea.

        It’s entirely possible that travel in space and time by going outside the framework of things is entirely possible. What I suspect, from the lack of actual time travelers showing up, is that it’s entirely impractical as many have imagined it. Sure, go back to the time of Jesus Christ: Odds are pretty good that you won’t wind up anywhere nearby in terms of space, and that if you want to observe and/or take part in things, you’re going to have to somehow work past that issue, and perhaps go back even further and send remote observation assets through normal space at sub-light speeds to arrive here about the time of the birth of Jesus. As a project, that might well be possible, but magically managing to have all likely interested parties who can time-travel standing there watching, at Golgotha? Not likely. Mostly because we aren’t seeing signs of it in history.

        TLDR: My take on it is that time travel is eminently possible, even likely–It’s just that the scale of it all, considering the size of the universe and time itself, means that the fine-grain “Let’s go kill that bastard grandpa of ours…” ain’t at all likely. Go back a few million years? Sure; you’re just going to be a few million light-years off, that’s all. Sheer, random chance means that you might accidentally find yourself in a position to actually effect something in your personal timeline, by maybe a thousand years or so, but the odds against that are sufficiently high that I think the numbers are only ever going to be talked about using really big scientific notation.

        • Then there’s the problem of learning to speak Aramaic or ancient Latin…

        • This is the wrong forum for a physics argument, and what you say is what is said on innumerable popular explanations of physics, and even in far too many textbooks. However, I don’t believe that it is correct. I really need to write a formal paper on this one of these days, but here’s the short form.

          As is often said, “Relativity, FTL, Causality, pick any two”

          And as is also often said “We know relativity is right because physics works”

          That second statement is incorrect. What we measure in physics experiments isn’t the principle of relativity (you can’t tell a moving reference frame from a stationary one) — it’s the lorentz transformations, or, put more broadly, the invariance of the laws of physics under lorentz symmetry.

          The Lorentz transformations pre-date Einstein, and indeed, we now know you can derive them from electromagnetism. What Einstein did was show that if you assume the relativity principle, you can derive the Lorentz transformations — which made people realize that they were *really happening* and not just a mathematical construct.

          But the reverse is not true. The Lorentz transformations being correct (which they are, experimentally, beyond any reasonable doubt), does not prove that there’s no way to tell a moving from a stationary reference frame. They only say you can’t tell by examining the shape of the laws of physics governing known phenomena.

          Of course if you look out the window, you can measure your speed with respect to a third set of objects; the “there’s no way to tell” principle only applies to purely local experiments.

          An FTL signal, by whatever means, distinguishes which frame is moving — but then, it is equivalent to looking out the window. If there are FTL signals, then there is a “preferred reference frame” (that might be universal, or it might be long-range but local, such as the old concept of the “fixed stars” — we can only guess unless and until we start measuring FTL signals). In other words, the existence of FTL signals means it is possible to talk about “velocity” with respect to a local large scale reference frame, and it resolves the paradox of which reference frame is “stationary” and which one is “moving”

          In that case, all the “FTL communication” paradoxes vanish — of course you can see events happen in the wrong order with FTL communication — because of the optical illusion that you’re seeing the earlier events later because of propogation delays. But there’s no paradox and no causality problem, because you can measure your speed to the “local preferred frame” and thus you can reconstruct the actual order of events.

          Anyway, again, not the right forum for a back and forth, but there’s enough folks here who are interested in the subject that I wanted them to know the story is a bit more complex than “if there’s FTL there’s time travel”. It is quite possible, even probable, that we might have one without the other. Until we have the critical experiment, we can’t know — and for all the popular science, Einstein is not the last word on the subject.

          • if you think this isnt the right place to have an FTL discussion, then you need to look around at some of the discussions we have. This is a perfectly valid forum for a long OT discussion about theoretical physics and it happens on a monthly basis.

          • Please sir… may have some more? (book referals would also be good. Preferably that do not require me to actually derive said equations. I’m squaring off with Calculus again and it’s not pretty.)

        • Most of the time travel stories I have read ignore the fact that the entire solar system is in motion. Here was actually way over there in the past.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Larry Niven has a Time Travel Series where one of the Aspects is that “Time Travel Is Fantasy”.

            Thus in one story, the Time Traveler brings back a unicorn instead of a horse. Note, the Unicorn isn’t a “cute & cuddly” critter. 👿

          • You assume the frame of reference in which it moves.

    • On that topic, you all should read Harry Turtledove’s “Household Gods,” where an SJW sort of LA yuppie is tossed back into the body of a widowed tavernkeeper on the Roman frontier around A.D. 170. It’s pretty funny (sort of) watching her try to “educate” those ancients in better ways, like having the children drink water rather than watered wine.

      • Oog. What did water-borne diseases did the kids get, dare I ask? And did they survive?

        I recall the “joke” that the Brits considered Civilization to largely be “proper drains” — but it’s NO joke. Bazalgette should be a HERO of the Human species – and perhaps several others as well.

        • The Brits are also the people who had to conquer the world to find something good to eat.

          • There is sound reason that should I ever find myself in Britain, I plan to dine at Indian restaurants. And it’s not (just) that beef is unlikely to be on the menu. (And yes, I HAVE encountered an “Indian” restaurant that served beef.)

            • Muslim cooks have no prob with beef.

              Actually, it turns out that the ancestral Aryans were beef-eaters like most IE cultures, and there are old Sanskrit texts talking about how to serve beef if a sage comes to visit. This is disavowed by crazies, but is just an uncomfortable fact to other Hindus. And it also turns out that at least some Hindu dairy farmers eat cows that have reached the end of their lives. Not publicized, but it happens.

          • Remember that a lot of the people who claim that love French Cooking, and all that entails.
            I seem to recall that when Chirac made his famous food comments to the German chancellor during the 2012 Olympic bid, it was pointed out that the UK had far more Michelin stars than France and Germany.

            • Whenever I hear that the French have the best cooking, I ask “Oh, you’ll eat brains? Horseflesh? They’re considered high cuisine offerings, you know.”

              As much fun as people make of British cooking, I don’t get it. I made a point of eating British pub food when I visited there, and it was quite yummy. (I haven’t had any lamb pie that tasted anywhere near as good since. Sads!)

              • In defense of what high cuisine is, I had it explained this way: making fish and chips or roast beef taste good is fairly easy. Making brains or offal taste good? That’s an achievement. A driven chef will often rather take the change of making something people would only eat out of desperation into something that makes your mouth water than trying to one up a normal staple.

                I get that attitude.

                And I make fun of British food much in the same way I make fun of the Coast Guard and the junior service (so junior, they don’t know the words to their own song), that is, with a smile and a wink.

          • Stephen W. Houghton

            Not true roast beef is the most English thing ever and that is good. With apologies to Orvan Taurus.

          • I’ve heard that they lost a lot of their culinary culture due to mid-20th Century rationing shenanigans, although I don’t have a cite for that.

            -Albert

            • Kind of what I gathered, from reading WWII and post-war British fiction. Supposedly (and this was according to the official stats) the average citizen was well-served nutritionally by wartime and post-war rationing … but from reading contemporary mid-century Brit fiction … eating was NOT good in their neighborhood. And everyone lamented that – and reminisced on what had been available before. Writers from Nevil Shute to Evelyn Waugh lamented the paucity of wartime and post-wartime supper tables. And food rationing went on in Britain for a decade after the war was over. As an American, I always wondered – what the hell was up with that!

              • “And food rationing went on in Britain for a decade after the war was over. As an American, I always wondered – what the hell was up with that!”
                Socialism.

                • That and paying off their war debt, as best they could, while also going full Socialist. Cloth and shoes were also rationed, which was one reason why fashion magazines were censored. If women didn’t see the New Look styles with full skirts, they wouldn’t complain about not having the material to make them. The cloth was sold abroad for hard currency and to improve balance of trade.

                  Back before the English Tourist Board (govt) bought one of the better travel magazines, said magazine had some really interesting old photos and op-eds. Alas, they now toe (and tow) the government line.

              • I have long suspected that wartime and post-war rationing destroyed the British palate. By the time rationing was over they thought sausages were SUPPOSED to taste like sawdust.

              • The Socialists found it easier to slither in their programs by just continuing what they were already under.

                For instance, once you’ve drafted all the doctors into the military and refuse to release them, NHS is easy. (Though there, they had the introduction of mass-produced antibiotics to make them look good.)

        • It’s been a while since I read it, but as I seem to recall one of the kids died of typhus, while the other kid recovered.

          • It was measles, which IRL absolutely devastated the Roman Empire of the period as there was no native resistance yet (IIRC). They did all get dysentery from her water bit too, but all survived that piece of stupidity. There were a lot of worthwhile things in that book, but damn that wasn’t a main character whose head I wanted to spend any time in twice.

        • https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/municipal.html

          “”Why is my District death-rate low?”
          Said Binks of Hezabad.
          “Well, drains, and sewage-outfalls are
          “My own peculiar fad.
          “I learnt a lesson once, It ran
          “Thus,” quoth that most veracious man: –”

          “You may hold with surface-drainage, and the sun-for-garbage cure,
          Till you’ve been a periwinkle shrinking coyly up a sewer.
          I believe in well-flushed culverts. . . .
          This is why the death-rate’s small;
          And, if you don’t believe me, get shikarred yourself. That’s all.”

      • So… cholera?

    • Of course, so modern idiots “imagine” other countries as “just like their own country” (when they aren’t bashing their own country).

      The old “all cultures are equally valid, except yours which is evil”.

      • I recall back nearly 20 years ago now how many very young people were looking at 9-11 and wondering (and the media giving them time) why the conflict couldn’t be resolved by “talking”. And I remember thinking that the benighted and awful “Christians” were the ones that understood that Islam is real and actually respected that, while the “why can’t everyone talk about it” sorts had no conceptual place where Islam even existed as something with substance. Not just “everyone is exactly like us” and not recognizing differences, but then acting like they were the ones more enlightened and accepting of differences that they couldn’t even conceive.

        If people in your own culture who believe in God aren’t real or human, how does it work that people in a different culture who believe in God even exist?

        • One of the many reasons I liked Babylon 5 over Star Trek, B5 understood that there are some differences that can not be solved by talking. Post ToS:ST would have had G’Kar work with Londo to escape the elevator, B5 understood that would not happen, and that scene is one of the best in SF in part because of it.

  3. By which time I was laughing my head off, because, you know… anyone who grew up with thatch or got to experience a thatched roof knows that by the time it “grows” things it’s thick with bugs and crawlies, and you’re going to get stuff dropping inside.

    On a visit to England in 1980 we took a bus tour to Salisbury Plain going through a bit of quaint countryside with thatched roof cottages surrounded by resplendent gardens.  The tour guide explained that they were now having to make appointments years in advance to have a roof re-thatched as it was becoming a lost art.  Those cottages were a rather laborious and expensive hobby to maintain.  

    • I got to watch one being repaired in northern Germany. The thatcher pointed out that buildings built for thatch had to be re-engineered if the owners wanted tile, because of the weight of the tile. And thatch lasted as long as time, in that climate. The reeds were half local and half imported. People say thatch “breathes” better and is healthier in that wet, windy clime. But it was a lot of work, and I noticed none of the men had any excess fat on them.

      • Wattle and daub walls are substantial enough to support thatch. They’re not substantial enough to support anything else without additional structural support (such as post and beam construction.) Tile, or slate, almost always requires stone, brick, or thick adobe walls to support them. Or if in historical New England, good 9 to 12 inch square hand hewn wood beams, and not more than 8 feet maximum between them for that matter.

      • Also tile can be broken in hail storms.

        There was a village once that suffered for years because of a hail storm.

    • Some of the hippie types building houses want to use “living roofs” (i.e. sod). One, making his house from cob, said the only right way meant having to use a base of EPDM rubber, so suck it up and go man-made & expensive on that part or know your roof will fail.

    • I note that the thatch-roofed house is Irish circa 1913 … which makes it probably an advanced version of a Gaelic “blackhouse”. I was inside a reproduction of a Scottish blackhouse once. Not a particularly nice place to live, I think… especially not circa March or so, when the snow was deep and everyone had been stuck inside for four months … including the cow that lived in the first room during the winter.

      • There was a fair amount of engineering done, to make the kitchen the warmest room and the one best suited for work and crack (fun, conversation, music, tales). And then all the neighbors would come over, so you had a kitchen full of visitors on a lot of winter nights. (And vice versa.)

  4. But now telescopes forever, just like in my mind it had been forever since WWII when it had been only slightly more than it’s now from 9/11.

    And we already have folk for whom it’s been “forever” since 9/11.

    • It is 2019. The usual stories of what the graduating High School class has NOT encountered…. will now include (aside from gestation, I suppose), the 20th Century.

    • Yep. There are kids graduating from High School this year who were born after 9/11.

    • Totally tangental except in the time sense part.

      We are now nearly twice as far from the introduction of Vampire: The Masquerade, arguably the third most important commercial RPG, as it was from the original Dungeons & Dragons. I realized that having pulled my Werewolf: the Apocalypse first edition off the shelf to look up something and noticing the date.

      It isn’t really as earth shattering, but it does a good job of putting time into perspective for me.

      • It is… odd.. to realize that when I was born, the Atomic Bomb was less that one third of its current age.

        • I was born 14 years after the end of WWII.

          I’m now 4 times older than that period.

          I remember classroom drills in case we were bombed. I remember going into the civil defense supply rooms with the school custodians. I remember watching Neil Armstrong become the first human to walk on the Moon. I remember the transition from small black and white TVs to huge color systems. I remember brace and bit drills. I remember watching the Challenger blowup. I remember massive blackouts, and massive cold whiteouts. I remember reading Tom Clancy, and then watching the Twin Towers destroyed by kamikaze attacks with large aircraft. I remember growing up expecting I’d have to go to Vietnam if we didn’t get vaporized by the USSR first. I remember Panama, Grenada, KAL 902, the first and second Gulf Wars. I remember the first time my father brought home a $1000 pay check. As a five year old, I remember watching him build a garage, and then assisting when I was a teenager in building an addition to our home. I remember 20 mile round trips on a bicycle just to buy paperbacks at the nearest bookstore. I remember waiting in gas lines for hours to fill up with just 5 gallons at a time. I remember children being born and taking their first breaths; and keeping company friends and relatives as they took their last breaths. I’ve been hired, fired, and retired.

          Mine is just one story. There are at least two dozen of you visibly, and many more just reading, here who have just as long and involved life stories as mine. What the “woke” have for experience is a mere fraction of any of ours. The problem is, they’ve failed to mature beyond the point of being teenagers with parents who they are dependent on for everything.

        • I’d heard of measuring time via atomic clock before, but this is the first instance I’ve seen a minotaur measuring his age via atomic calendar.

        • I was born two years before the A-bombs were dropped, and spent 8 years baby-sitting missiles with H-bombs on them.

          • Hell, my late Father spent WWII at Oak Ridge, refining uranium for the Manhattan Project.

            Then, to make my historical sense completely skewed, he switched from Physics to History of Science and spent much of his intellectual life in the 18th Century.

            I grew up in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, the son of a Conservative Academic who had helped make the Atom Bomb.

            Never DID have much use for Liberal politics.

        • Carrington Dixon

          I can top that, I am (slightly) older than the Atomic Bomb.

      • I realized that I don’t remember things sequentially going back into history. Past a few days ago, 1983 and 2017 are both just “the other day”.

      • If Vampire was the third and, I presume, D&D was the first, what was the second most important commercial RPG? Just out of curiosity.

    • When I was a kid, there was “current events” (LBJ, Watergate) and there was “history” (Truman, Julius Caesar).

      It’s disturbing to me to realize that today, Reagan is as far in the past as Franklin Roosevelt was in 1970s. Or that the Vietnam War is as far in the past now as World War I was then.

      But then, the temporal perspectives of the past are not always obvious, From Queen Elizabeth I to the Constitutional Convention was less than 200 years; it’s been longer than that from the Convention to now – and legal issues from the 1790s still appear in recent jurisprudence.

  5. Hums The eyes of the present are a upon you…..

    c4c, gonna be erratic

  6. I recall being bewildered at some TV show that had either a time travel bit or a flashback to 1940’s, 1930’s or earlier and showed things in full color. Then, I recall watching not-that-old re-runs of TV shows that had been shot in B&W. So the B&W era was at least into the 1960’s, even if color movies were possible in the 1930’s. And those wonderful, determined, photographers and experimenters of the very early 1900’s making color photos even if it meant (at least!) triple the work.

    I suppose nowadays there are some who wouldn’t bother with 720p (the modern version of a B&W set, I figure). But then, I’m one of the Ancient Ones who recalls the clock in car dashboard being an untimely joke. Then the clock moved to the radio display and even vehicles with automatic transmission had tachometers, which seems quite silly. Then, I drive a stickshift without a tachometer. Learned to shift “by ear” – and feel.

    • Yeah. Last time I went car shopping the ones with automatic transmissions had tachs, the ones with manuals didn’t. How does that make any sense?

      • It doesn’t, but that indicates you are in ‘Reality’ which, unlike Fiction, need not make sense. Mythology has its own issues, I know, but still has to be at least somewhat (NOT PERFECTLY!) self-consistent.

        • Reality, unlike fiction, does not require (nor even give a damn about) “willing suspension of disbelief.”

          It is oppressive, demanding you conform to it, not it conform to your expectations.

          Stoo-pid Reality.

          • I don’t know, we seem to be in the middle of a mass experiment in denying reality.

            I wonder if the WW guys realize how precient Mage: The Awakening, the rpg of post modern magic, was.

            Actually, knowing one of the credited authors and his worldview, I suspect he would say he’s glad to see the world realize what they knew about how you could ignore “facts” (he’s very Woke yet at the same time my touchstone for “Woke isn’t inherently evil and can even be held by a decent person”).

            • William H. Stoddard

              Are you thinking of Mage: The Ascension? I have that and am currently running a campaign using it; it says that reality is subjective (with the corollary that if your subjectivity clashes with a lot of other people’s, watch out!). Mage: The Awakening says that there is one objectively valid hidden magical truth. I thought it was a big disappointment; it threw out all the wild, crazy magic-as-superpowers that I loved in Mage: The Ascension.

              (The classic World of Darkness often seemed as if someone had set out to design an entire game line by disagreeing with Ayn Rand. Changeling: The Dreaming said that beauty lay in illusion and deception and that reality was ugly; Werewolf: The Apocalypse said that heroism lay in violence and anti-industrialism; Vampire: The Masquerade said that parasitism was a valid way of life; Wraith: The Oblivion said that value had no necessary relationship to survival; Mage: The Ascension said that reality was subjective.)

              • Yep, got my Mages confused.

                It’s the one game where I like both the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness (as new has been rebranded) to the same level. In general I prefer the Chronicles games (although Vampire is the same in both because I don’t care for Vampire much at all).

                M:tAw is very, very different from M:tAs. While I did enjoy the wild post-modern ride of the latter, the whole gnostic truth nature of the former really clicked with my love of mathematics and conspiracy theories. That said, it really clicked with me when I read the Broken Diamond actual play thread (trigger warning, links to The Big Purple). You really need to divorce yourself from the first game to enjoy the second.

                As for your theory on OWD, like I said my social circle includes a WW employee from that era who is a credited writer on Werewolf and Mage first editions and I’d say yes.

                And you left out Changeling: the Dreaming where the core argument is growing up is evil and there is no wonder in science and knowledge of the world.

                • William H. Stoddard

                  I started out my list with “Changeling: The Dreaming said that beauty lay in illusion and deception and that reality was ugly.” I think that’s closely related to what you summed it up as, though not identical.

                • One of my favourite quotes about Mage: The Ascension is also something that I use as a constant reminder about perspective: “MAGE — the game where a bunch of katana-wielding environmentalist crystal-rubbing goth-punk freaks set out to save the world from the evils of electric light, sanitation and mass transit.”

                  I love the story potential of the game but haven’t been able to buy into its basic philosophical thesis since about 2003.

                  • In all fairness, that is the most extreme take on the Tradition’s stance and the most charitable to the Technocracy (sounds almost like a quote from Guide to the Technocracy.

                    You can also view the Traditions as people fighting for the freedom of everyone to make the life they wish versus the ultimate politburo using their ability to shape reality to force people into their “New Soviet Man” mold.

                    • Granted. If I recall correctly the quote dates from between the first and second editions of the game, when the unexpected audience sympathy for the Technocracy’s benefits (if not its methods or all its ultimate goals) became evident, as below.

                      I mostly like the quote because, as noted, it is a rather forceful reminder that just because someone’s the underdog doesn’t mean everybody is going to — or should — think he’s the hero; that, indeed, from at least one perfectly rational point of view he’s going to seem like the monster. (I was always one of those who felt a great deal of sympathy for Cypher’s motivations in THE MATRIX — if, again, none at all for his actions.)

                    • I need to go back and look, but I wonder where the worst of the Technocracy portrayals in official materials tracks with sympathy for them.

                      Although I never ran a game where it mattered, I loved the Void Engineers and hated them being lumped in with groups like Iteration X.

                      I think Sorcerer’s Crusade is the most positive to the Technocracy (who don’t exist by that name yet).

                      By contrast, the first edition tied them to Queen Victoria, which tells me what they wanted me to think.

                  • you didn’t get many people playing virtual adepts, did you?

                    • Or Sons of Ether, my favorite tradition who kinda got their own fan game using NWD rules: Genius: The Transgression.

                    • i played an entire plot ages ago in a Virtual Adept spirit realm that was originally meant to be their demonstration of a city of the future…

                    • Oh, I barely got anybody playing at all. I haven’t played an actual RPG since before 2002, sadly — and that that was the year I got married is not entirely coincidental. 😦 Amazing and dismaying what this thing called “responsible adulthood” will do to your free time.

                  • William H. Stoddard

                    They discovered after publishing it that a lot of people found the Technocracy sympathetic, and ended up writing Technocracy supplements. I offered my players in the current campaign their choice of either side; they went for the Traditions.

                    • Yeah, I have the Technocracy centered stuff and M20 even discusses minor groups, like the Wu Lung, as the heart of a campaign.

                      Still no discussion of running Nephandi games, though. That’s a surprise given the popularity of Sabat games in Vampire. Yes, usually you’d see Sabat as analog of the Technocracy, but I think Nephandi is better for Sabat type evil.

                    • I briefly used them, but i really wanted to add a SAN stat for it

                    • William H. Stoddard

                      Mage uses Paradox rather than SAN as the “you’re so screwed” statistic.

                    • you can be quite insane and yet not have any paradox. The realization that a bunch of nephandic mages are creating an old one very well might affect your sanity, but you won’t take paradox for it.

                    • William H. Stoddard

                      Incidentally, in my first Mage campaign, set in Hong Kong, three of the six PCs were Wu Lung. The others were an Akashic Brother monk, a Wu-keng transvestite shamaness, and a Virtual Adept millionaire geek. Great fun! I was really disappointed to see the Wu Lung merged into the Akashics. . . .

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    The alpha playtest material for the new vampire included a character that was pretty obviously a propaganda way to victim blame* the European political establishment’s way out of the rape consequences of immigration policy. (If the character had been meant to make sense in the context of purported history, instead of propaganda, it would make more sense to have ties with the political establishment.)

                    I think that may have been what spurred me to the following analysis. The vampires run America’s big cities. Big city criminal violence would be advantageous to the vampires. Therefore, in the World of Darkness, blame for inner city social issues can be laid at the feet of the vampires. Implying that toxic systemic societal contra-revolutionary tendencies are definitely not the cause.

                    Gameable and stands up to serious analysis are not the same thing.

                    *Surprise, surprise. One of the major minds behind the alpha has had allegations come out about socially manipulative and sexually predatory behavior.

                    • Is that the source of the “Vampire 5th edition is an Alt-Right game where you play Nazis” controversy came from?

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Possibly, the victim blame character was a female vampire who liked to prey on young people in refugee groups, and had ties to a group inspired by Pegida. I understand that the playtest material was very hostile to that character, and assumed it would be treated as an adversary.

                      On the other hand, someone had hired Ken Hite to look at modern European security organizations and situations, and produce material for the playtest and probably the final game. Any realistic, thoughtful, even handed take on that is likely to be interpreted as you describe by a far left audience.

                    • Maybe that was it. It was over by the time it hit my radar (similar with the recent Zack Sabbath thing, although I have thought about blogging about unpersoning on that one).

                      Interestingly, if Ken Hite was involved I might give 5th a look. I still miss Suppressed Transmission.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Zak put a lot of effort into defending that playtest design choice. If the allegations about Zak are true, they would fit the pattern of that defense.

                      Of course, the person making the allegations apparently knew Zak well enough that they could have salted false claims with details that would fit a true pattern.

                      There are places to litigate those claims, here is not one of them, and I’m not sure any of the relevant businesses are either. Though the idea that a business like the one that put together DnD Fifth edition had the spare funds to do any sort of extensive background check sounds laughable.

                    • For a variety of reasons based on observed behavior by him I’m willing to accept they are more likely true than not.

                      What I meant by the unpersoning is how people have erased links to his website they put in their blog years ago, retroactive removal of Ennies, and WotC taking him out of the credits.

                      My opinion is such a move, in the same way as removing Penn State’s one national championship for Sandusky, has nothing to do with justice or fixing things.

                      It is that it has to do with covering your ass just as much as unpersoning in the USSR did. Oh, the reasons are different, at least on the surface. If you erase all the times you say he wrote great D&D material you can pretend you didn’t miss the warning signs or accepted his defenses or any decided your niggling worries were less important than getting a copy of Red and Pleasant Land.

                      It’s narcissistic, dishonest, and helps the next predator because instead of learning to watch you learn to hide. That’s what I want to talk about, not Zak’s behavior and the truth or falsehood of the accusations.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Yeah, I can heartily concur on that last.

                      Angle I was going for, if he didn’t technically do anything criminal, punishing him by trying to restrict his sales amounts to prejudice against a ‘lifestyle choice’. (I’m hardly the tolerance type, but it is unmeet to only go after acceptable targets.) If he did do something criminal, that can be proven in court, then trying to restrict his sales falls well short of punishing him appropriately. If guilty and can’t be proven, our courts inherit some pretty explicit design choices, I think from common law. He sure sounds like a male Hillary Clinton, but all /I/ actually know is the sorts of arguments he made defending the vampire playtest.

                      Basically, the same drum I’ve been beating since finding out about that mystery writer who was unawarded for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

              • Perhaps my best role playing experience was a campaign run on the assumption that since all the various types of players held world-views that were mutually exclusive (and fairly delusional on their own), BECOMING a Vampire, Werewolf, etc, caused massive Post Traumatic Stress, and all the heirarchies were absolutely barking.

                My main character was a Red Talons Ragabash (trickster) with an eidetic memory….which I was allowed to play with the insights I had gleaned from actually knowing someone with an eidetic memory. Such people are truely odd. They have no talent for seeing things as they aren’t. Terry would have said that they are substitious….they believe in things that are real that nobody believes in. Because they’ve seen them.

                • Chronicles, with its “build a human character and then put a supernatural template on him” would be perfect for that. Play as humans, play through the trauma, and then have the campaign.

                  Also, while the worldviews are different and not 100% compatible they are also no contradictory. Some books even discuss how groups interpret the overlaps (such as the realm of Arcadia some Mages visit when Awakening versus the realm of Arcadia Changelings are kidnapped to).

                  The one thing they did work to keep compatible was the game systems, although power levels don’t 100% sync.

                  Mage/Werewolf crossovers, in particular, interest me. Then again, I find W:tF much more interesting than pretty much anything but Mage new and old and Wraith in the OWD. Maybe new Demon is as interesting.

      • Last year when I went car shopping I didn’t even see a manual. Given C always gets the newer car (because patriarchy creates benevolent sexism I’m sure some feminist would say) we probably wouldn’t get it, but I do miss stick shift.

        • I prefer a stick shift, but with a left knee rebuilt nearly forty years ago I find the clutch wears me out far to quickly to be acceptable.

          • Until this winter, I’d tease you for that. But I guess I really need to flush the fluids. At -15f, my clutch is vera stiffff. The brakes were bad too.

            • Teasing is nothing in comparison with Mr. Arthur Rightis who is taking up residency in multiple joints in y neighborhood.

              Teasing I am accustomed to — the only thing about me which has never been teased is my hair.

              • The no good so and so has been a resident here since I was in my 30s.

                • My doctor kept looking for gout, until Mr. Roentgen’s device showed the truth. Ibuprofen gets me out of bed and to sleep at night. The toes join up with my hands, so my DIY potter’s wheel got repurposed.

          • When we moved here, the only affordable tractor was a stickshift. OTOH, you don’t change gears on the fly; it’s just not done on this type of tractor. Still, after a day’s worth of moving snow, my left knee isn’t happy. My wife cannot use a stick (ankle), but she’s happy with the hydrostatic garden tractor we have.

            The next item for the automotive piggy bank will be a utility tractor with a hydrostatic transmission. I can keep all the old implements, which makes the entry price merely painful, not excruciating.

          • 20 years in the 3rd world wrestling Series 70 Landcruisers around potholes big enough to swim in has quenched much of my love of manual transmissions. The osteoarthritis in my knee likewise.
            Heck, my Honda NC 700 back in the USA has a DCT automatic transmission (it was $1000 cheaper than the manual).

        • To my, and evidently even car-guy’s, shock, it is possible once again to get a Corolla with a stick. It has to be the hatchback, and advances in technology mean it actually gets (on average) slightly worse mileage than the continuously variable transmission version. On the other hoof, when you start out, you actually MOVE, instead of waiting for the transmission to think it over.

          • Yup my last stick shift (2007 Accord) went the way of the whales in 2017. Stop and go traffic was getting to be a pain in the (well knee) as that Arthur dude got going. CV transmissions now regularly whomp manuals for mileage, and computer assisted tracking and all wheel drive solve most of the winter driving issues. And if they don’t solve the problem park the dang thing and wait for people to get the road cleared, you’re an idiot to drive that kind of snowfall other than for radical emergency. It just misses something. Even in the most cantankerous clutch I ever drove (1989 5.0l Mustang) there was just something visceral about throwing the shift lever and using the clutch.

            • I got my 2012 Ford Fiesta with a manual, as the automatic version was $1000 more expensive and the dealer had the manual on the lot because no one else wanted it. On a long highway trip I can usually get roughly 45 mpg, using driving techniques pretty much no one these days even thinks about (neutral on long downhills, etc.).

              • We were looking at little Chevys… Sparks? The used lots had manuals mostly. I was really surprised. My daughter got a “Sonic” that was an automatic.

        • I got my Volvo C-30 for a very good price because it was a manual transmission. The people in Ann Arbor evidently didn’t know how to drive a stick, or weren’t aware of how much fun it can be. As long as my knee holds up, I’ll keep driving this car.

      • Because if you really know how to drive a stick, you don’t need no stinking tachometers.

        Tachs are for … kitty cats.

    • I learned to drive with a stick. But I’ve never been able to shift without a clutch just by listening and getting the gear ratios to sync up like my Dad.

      • I have never even tried to bypass the clutch, save for “out of gear to neutral.” I do not know who invented/perfected synchro-mesh, but to whoever he was (or she was, or they were), I raise a glass.

        • [clicky] Earl Thompson of GM, who was first on the market with a syncromesh box in the 1920s.

          That’s something that wasn’t in my extensive automotive engineering library, though I could walk to a shelf and pull out books on the development of automatic transmissions.

          • You can find it on Project Gutenberg now, but I have a genuine physical copy of The Gasoline Automobile [1919] that grandpa had. It does pretty good job of explaining why gasoline, with all its problems, won over steam and electric and whatever: convenience and energy density.

            • For endless hours of entertainment, try “Dykes Automotive Encyclopedia.” Any edition will do, though the later ones are amusing, as they simply kept adding more stuff without removing any of the old, so there are articles on how to re-spoke wooden wheels alongside “how torque converters work.”

              • The end of your comment did not make my expectations due to the start.

              • I encountered a chapter of Dykes on Bikes once. I’ve seldom seen a more humorless bunch.

                Hey, at least I offered to stand the dropped bike up for them. The four of them tugging at it weren’t making much headway. Though I thought shooting me the finger as we rode off was uncalled-for.

                I guess “dyke” rates higher than “biker” on their Us Scale, or something…

                • Dykes on Bikes do play an amusing sequence in The Mule, but then Eastwood has the touch for that.

                  No video clip on line yet, apparently.

                • That’s interesting, because it is quite different from my experience, both the humorlessness and the inability to stand up dropped bikes.

                  Could be geography or just I’m closer to their world.

        • Then again, if you’re as uncoordinated as I am, even with a clutch, “If you can’t find ’em, grind ’em.” Another phrase whose meaning is lost to the rising generation.

      • Way back in my early twenties the clutch cable in my Honda 350 motorcycle broke on the way to work on a Monday morning. Took a while to get smooth but I got to work. Kick it to neutral at stop lights. Then push a few steps until I had enough speed to drop it into first. At first it was a challenge then it became poor man cool. Finally fixed it a week later.

        Woulda totally sucked in a car though.

        Wanted a new Ford, Ram or Government Motors truck but sticks aren’t an option until your up to an F450 or thereabout.

        • the cable broke on my ’76 Dodge Colt. I drove it 4 or 5 miles home (in Metro NOLA traffic on a friday evening), and then (early saturday morning), drove it another 5 or so miles to the dealer to get a replacement. Stop lights were timed so I didn’t need to start it to get going but once. My Honda ST1100 once got a drag to the clutch so I was killing it at the lights, and then starting it in gear to get going, but holding the lever and braking would get just enough slip to stop or a steep enough uphill start it wouldn’t roll. just burn the clutch . . . otherwise, I nearly never use the clutch for shifting on a bike.

        • Been looking for new vehicles since my wife totaled her car. I’m seeing 8 & 9 speed automatics now.

        • In college, I managed to screw up my left foot (strained the arch) just before driving home. 140 miles, with about 2/3s on interstate. I’d use the heel to get the VW bug in first gear, then it was clutchless until I had to stop.

          FWIW, the Honda Ridgeline pickup is now a 6 speed automatic. Curiously, there’s no way to select an individual gear, but there are several traction modes to get you into or out of trouble.

    • There’s also the cinematic convention that anything set more than a few years in the past must be shot through the piss-colored filter.

    • “Learned to shift “by ear” – and feel.”

      How else would you do it? Seriously. That’s the way I have always done it.

      • I’ve had bad hearing since I was seven. But I got so I could literally feel when it was ready to shift, even without using the clutch.

  7. William H. Stoddard

    I’m remembering one of Heinlein’s early stories where a character is asked if he’s ever been hungry, and he says yes, in one of his social science courses.

    But then there are changes since my childhood. Why didn’t you phone home when your train was running late/check GPS/do a Web search on the word/rent the movie/run it through a computer (Heinlein was asked that about doing the math for a scene in Space Cadet)/use a calculator/send an e-mail/send money through PayPal? John Barnes had a brilliant passage in Mother of Storms about the young engineering student who likes hiking and camping in the desert, but he can’t take his girlfriend because she doesn’t enjoy looking at plants and animals that don’t how digital tags telling her how to appreciate them. . . .

    • Papa, what’s a ‘slipstick’?

      • Why do they call it ‘dialing’ a telephone?

      • The gadget I keep in the office to remind the computing machinery to behave – or else. And yes, there’s a CRC handbook, too.

        • William H. Stoddard

          I have two slide rules. A few years ago, when I couldn’t find my calculator, I used one to do vehicle design in GURPS; it speeded up the cube roots.

        • Mine’s a simple plastic high-school type, not even fancy boxwood. After more than forty years, I’d have to peruse the instructions – which I still have – to make use of it again.

          If I ever get around to it I’m going to make a little glass-fronted display case with a brass hammer on a chain, and a plaque that says “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS.”

          • At least some people still know orienteering with a compass and a map…

            • Don’t the infantry still teach that?

              How about the Boy Scouts?

              • I presume. And at least here orienteering is a somewhat popular hobby. They still do teach it at least some in schools too, I think, as a way to get physical exercise. But I presume most kids forget everything about that as soon as possible.

                • Carrington Dixon

                  My wife thought orienteering would be fun; so, we went to one of the local ‘meets’. I sort of sleep-walked through the course — mostly helping the wife. Turns out that I won in my age group. Back in the day the Army had made us do a harder course in the dark.

                  (And yes, there was a large JROTC presence; so, the Army is still into orienteering.)

                • Still a requirement to get my Red Card for firefighting 15 years ago.

              • Back in my day, the Boy Scouts did. Or at least it was in the handbook. Nowadays, it depends on the troop, and with urban troops and leaders, well…

              • Considering the number of ROTC classes I’ve run across in parks doing orienteering exercises, it seems likely the Army is still teaching it.

              • Taught it in Boy Scouts 15 years ago when my kids were in it.

                • Yes. It was still a requirement to get to 1st Class in Boy Scouts, through 2010 (last time I registered as an adult). Don’t remember what level. Of coarse there is an Orienteering Merit badge that was popular too. We used to layout a coarse at district & council event weekends. Local Camps have orienteering trails. Used to be a to do check off items for all the troops & newer scouts.

                  That said. It was really a surprise on how many ADULTS had no clue on how to use a compass. Remember one outdoor training where they taught compass orienteering. Everyone there for training had to run the coarse regardless of our background; there were multiple starting points so no one could “follow” someone else, with the same ending spot. Hubby & I, along with two others were all but standing on the same spot. We finally compromised with tokens. The other two were retired military. Hubby did Boy Scouts as a kid. I had done Girl Scouts. Hubby & I both are Forestry graduates (well before GPS). The rest of the participants weren’t even close.

                  OTOH I’ve seen, and experienced, the “I know where I’m at. The damn map & compass is wrong.” Syndrome. I’m bad enough at it to haul myself back to the point when I see someone else doing it, willing to speak up loudly; politely, but loudly. Happens to everyone. No matter how much experience you have. Seen people pull it with the GPS too. All I can say about Map & Compass: Batteries don’t run down.

                  • Carrington Dixon

                    I’ve seen, and experienced, the “I know where I’m at. The damn map & compass is wrong.”
                    Back in the day, I taught a map reading class to some National Guard Trainees. I opened with the old joke, “You see before you the most dangerous man in the Army — a second lieutenant with map and compass.”

                    • 🙂 🙂

                      The last time I saw it occur is on an 8 day backpacking trip Cascade’s wilderness areas; started at Waldo Lake south-east side, came out at Scott Lake. Troop & adults had a wide variety of experience & speed. To prevent holding back older more experienced youth, the rule was stop at Anything that looked like a branch trail, no matter how faint. Wait until group was all together again. Usually a 10 to 15 minute break for the first of the group. For the tail (me), not so much. One stop there was a poorly maintained major trail. But the map “where we were suppose to be” given the group speed, didn’t show a trail branching off. No trail sign. So “obviously” a game trail. But older scouts, & other two leaders couldn’t agree exactly where group was on the trail. In trees, no visual to any high points; no GPS. FWIW, none of the 3 opinions being offerred up, were correct. Group was much further up the trail than everyone figured. Not only that, the “poorly maintained trail with no trail marker”, was the one the group needed to take … resolution was one of the younger scouts asking “how could the map & compass be wrong? As the older scouts were always saying that map & compass were never wrong.” (Okay, younger scouts might have had a little help. Looks away innocently …)

                • So… I’ve read that the magnetic North Pole is galloping from Canada on its way to Russia. I guess that means the little correction arrow to Magnetic North on my old topo maps is just a historical oddity without any remaining link to reality.

            • map?
              Who needs a map?
              Who put this River in the way?

      • It’s that thing in the leather case on the bookcase in my cube 🙂

        I also recently put a Timex-Sinclair 1000 next to it. I joke they are my “emergency calibration” tools if something goes wrong calibrating the EOD curve and surface.

        • But do you still have a TV that can accept the TS-1000’s RF modulator output as an input signal?

          • No, but because of how the signal is generated you can bypass the RF modulator with any generic NPN transistor, a pair of load resisters, and a pair of signal diodes. The RCA out becomes functionally a composite output (actually, just the luminosity signal, but at B&W that is all you need). Plenty of web pages will show you although most miss the signal diodes on the output line (really improves quality)

            On one I’m gutting the RP modulator box and putting the new circuit in there.

            Then again, once the HPD-12 and my Elf are done I’m thinking of building a ZX80/81 clone or a ZX Spectrum.

            • Timothy E. Harris

              I’ve still have a ZX-81 I ordered as a kit because it was $20 cheaper that way. They sent me an assembled one with a note saying they were sorry, but they were out of the kits and they hoped that would be acceptable!
              I think they were in the process of setting up the production lines for the rebranding as the Timex Sinclair 1000 (It didn’t have the extra 1k ram though).

              • The 1000 only had the 1k (which is 256 bytes after screen memory). The 1500 had 2k built in.

                I have two 16K expansions, one TS and one Memotech.

      • Ever see Clifford Stoll’s electronic calculator? Its a 5 or 6 foot long slide rule mounted on a wall with motors to drive the slides. Was a hoot to watch him play with it.

        • If it was a circular slide rule, dividing by zero might open a gate to a different world…

        • Carrington Dixon

          I remember a Harry Stine novelette from an early 1950s Astounding, called :The Galactic Gadgeteers” were one of the main characters carried around a six-foot slide rule.
          Sometime in the 1960s or 70s, somebody realized that you could make such a long rule less cumbersome by candy-striping it around a cylinder. I was intrigued, but by the time I could afford one, the price of electronic calculators had come down enough that I bought one of those instead.

      • My father started to teach me to use on, but the calculators hit the market and he didn’t see much point. He took one look at the calculators and invested in companies that made batteries and paper.

        Did pretty well, too.

    • “I’m remembering one of Heinlein’s early stories where a character is asked if he’s ever been hungry, and he says yes, in one of his social science courses.”

      Now if you ever miss a meal they put you on a list as “food insecure” and you get counted to show how awful life is in America.

  8. Except perhaps for the very first one, every bicycle I had throughout childhood (and well into adulthood, really) was a “girls” or “womens” bike. Why? Because those bikes were all hand-me-downs from my (numerous) aunts. And that was the U.S.A. in the 1970’s & 1980’s.

    BUT… nobody cared. Transport was transport and bike beat no-bike.

    • Does that mean you were crosscycling or were you a transcyclist?

    • It has always amused me (except when it pained me) that if guy riding a “boy’s bike” slipped, the frame could give him a nasty shot where he least wants a nasty shot.

      • The “wrong” bike benefited me greatly thus, I must admit. And why it should be only for women, anyway? Do not males wear kilts? (Alright, kilts and bicycles seem a strange pairing, but it’s Big World and all sort of Strange Things happen.)

      • I’ll admit that growing up, I could never see the advantage of a “boy’s bike.” I understood why girls would need the girl’s bike over the boy’s design, but I couldn’t understand why boys would have any reason to want the boy’s bike over the girl’s.

        • Stability and strength. Ever notice that girl’s bikes were double tubed a lot of the time? The direct line is a stronger construction and only the need to account for a skirt made the change worthwhile.

          Consider that, preventing what can be a very painful and, if it happens just right a reproduction or even life-threatening injury, to boys wasn’t worth a redesign, but making sure girl’s fashion wasn’t impacted was.

          • I can’t remember when I last saw a “girl’s” bike in meatspace. For that matter, I can’t remember when I last saw a female wearing a dress. It would be unusual enough that I would probably remember it.

            • I submit that in this day and age an average looking woman who wanted more male attention could achieve it simply by adopting dresses and skirts as her primary wear. And I don’t mean minis or micros. Below the knee or even ankle length would work.

              • Daily, I usually see at least two or three female employees wearing dresses here at work, and it is not uncommon to encounter one or more ladies in dresses when I eat at Panera Bread. And a young woman in a long skirt was doing physics problems at the next table over, last time I was in there. Just this past Monday I saw a woman in a micro-skirt ordering at Penn Station East Coast Subs; she had the body to make it work but it was so short it just barely covered everything that needed to be covered.

              • Seriously – it works for me, when I do a book event, and dress in my late Victorian/Edwardian garb. Ankle-length skirt, high-laced shoes, long sleeves and prim collar-to-the-throat. Full petticoat, and elaborate hat, too. (And corset, because the style REQUIRES A CORSET!!) It is purely awesome how gentlemanly that men of every age become, when I appear in that get-up, although I am over sixty, over-weight and only pleasant-looking. It’s almost magical. Look like the Dowager Duchess of Grantham, get treated like the Dowager Duchess!

                • I don’t even do the corset part, and I get a similar response. Women seem puzzled more than anything, but the gents become practically gallant.

                  • Women seem puzzled more than anything

                    Probably because “modern” women have so little understanding of men, and what they do understand is mostly invalid. Most any mother of boys can tell you this but there is scant funding for understanding nor promoting such understanding.

                • I don’t have anything against dresses, it’s just that they’re not something I see locally.

                  A lot of stuff seems to be *very* regional.

                  A couple of decades ago a friend from Oregon went to Denver and met a banker. He was upset because the banker was wearing cowboy boots with a suit. Apparently the suit was fine, but cowboy boots were such a fashion faux pas that they destroyed his credibility as a banker.

                  I guess cowboy boots aren’t a thing in Oregon…

                  I can sort of see his point, maybe I’d feel the same way if the banker was wearing slip-on shoes with no socks…

                  • And the Denver banker was looking askance at the effete West Coast snob . . .

                    • I agree with the Denver banker. And I live on the West Coast. Though I grew up in a rural part of California where we used to joke about the difficulty of convincing our HS track team to wear track shoes rather than cowboy boots, so I may be a bit biased.

                  • which is still a thing in FL

                  • When G. W. Bush became president I heard people (seem to) seriously complain and be upset about his cowboy boots because reasons. Made us a joke in Europe or something.

                  • That Oregon was likely a citified Western (Willamette Valley) Oregonian.
                    In the rest of Oregon, in the range and ranch country, cowboy boots are common.
                    Now logger boots, on the other hand, we don’t see too much of anymore.

                    • Like chaps, logger boots have drifted off to a new demographic…

                    • Blast those spotted owls . . .

                      And even Portlandians can ‘get’ cowboy boots sometimes. When I was living in McMinnville I took some country dance lessons in a local tavern. The instructors kept laughing at my dress shoes and saying I needed to get some cowboy boots. I replied that I wasn’t a cowboy, had never been a cowboy, had no intention of ever becoming a cowboy, and that if I started wearing cowboy boots I’d be no different from all the yuppie cowboy wannabees that would come slumming down from Portland on a Saturday night.

                    • >> Blast those spotted owls . . .

                      Well, yes.

                      OTOH (now that I’m retired & not a young 20 something …) I was a much better programmer than I would have been a forester. I was a good young forestry tech & would have continued to put my instruction with practical reality together, because that is who I am. BUT, I was an very, very, very, good application programmer. When your ability starts higher, ultimately with the same work ethic, it is just “better”. Without the spotted owl, programming is not a forced path taken.

                • Danny Hamilton

                  I am willing to bet that you accept the Chivalry shown you with grace and style.

                  There is an attitude that expects a man to behave as a Gentleman.
                  Very few Women have it today and most men have been trained to NOT be Gentlemanly or they will get screamed at.

        • Masochism? But even then… better to find a “mean” girl…

        • The boys’ bike, I suspect, was structurally sounder and more rugged, the top-beam completing a triangle, thus better distribution of forces. This was likely a holdover from days when steel used in bike frames was less reliable and robust than present materials.

          • The “mixtie” frame is stronger and normally considered a “girls” frame, but the top tubes run from the rear wheel to the head tube, all the other women’s frames are weaker.

        • Really? It was always clear to me that the boys bike design was structurally stronger than the girls bike.

        • “Boy’s bike.”

          Bicycles, once gearing came into play eliminating the old “high rider” types, were more or less designed around a diamond shaped frame, with the seat tube dividing it into two triangles. Structurally, that’s very strong and rigid, making for a bike that’s stronger for a given weight and material and more efficient in turning peddling effort into forward motion. The lowered top tube, to allow for women’s skirts (the origin of “girl’s bike”) weakens the arrangement.

          Mind you, most recreational bikes don’t really take advantage of the strength/weight advantage of the “diamond” frame, but that’s the picture people have based on those that do.

          So it’s not so much “boy’s bike” as “resembling a normal, reasonably well-engineered bike.”

  9. Sigh. I am so old I can remember when we lived in Black & White.

  10. So few people understand that “Green” means poor, dirty, verminous, and smelly.

    • …and remember, the most militant of the Greenies are against toilet paper now.

      I guess pretty soon California will be telling people that they should only bathe once a week in order to save water, and then they’ll start wittering about maintaining a healthy skin biome or some other pseudo-science, so going around smelling like a bum will be a sign of wokeness…

    • “Green” means “young and utterly inexperienced.” Even if quite elderly, the meaning applies all the same.

    • No, so many people think if they get their desired feudalism:

      1. They will be lord of the manner.
      2. Think medieval feudal lords lived like today but without TV or wokeness.

      I guess #2 is kind of what you said, but I think it is important to remember they do know it will be poor, dirty, verminous, smelly, and short for the vast masses (you know, rednecks and MAGA hat wearers) and consider that a feature.

      They are just ignorant enough to think they can escape it (because it’ll be like The Hunger Games) and that they’ll all be in charge (which is what the Inner Party always promises the Outer Party).

  11. I try to explain my past with no electricity and no plumbing. I just get smiled at as if I were crazy.

    • Ah, the “Is your sauce double-parked?” look.

      “Can you imagine living without smartphones?”
      “No need to imagine. They’re a recent invention. Live without ANY phone for a few years.”
      get a look as if I stepped off a saucer and have 17 tentacles

      • s/sauce /saucer /

        Sheesh. (and no, I’ve NOT been dipping into the Ouzo – yet.)

      • As part of a school project I spent a mercifully short time in late winter / early spring staying in a cabin on an apple farm in the Catskills. It came without electricity or running water. Heating and cooking was by a wood stove. I did not particularly enjoy the experience of the outhouse on a winter night, but I am quite sure I would have liked it less on a sunny afternoon late in July. (Cue the Dillards’ version of Old Blue.)

        On more than one occasion I have lived without a phone. While I finally broke down and got a cell phone, I still do not have a smart phone.

        • I finally joined the 21st century and got a smart phone. It’s so smart, I can do just about anything except use it as a telephone…

          • Bell’s dream realized? Since he worked with the deaf, a “phone” that works better for text would likely have pleased him immensely.

          • William Newman

            “I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone. ” (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bjarne_Stroustrup)

          • I was utterly baffled the first time somebody handed me her smartphone so I could make a call. I couldn’t even figure out how to bring up the interface.

            On the other hand, a few years before that, my attention had been caught by a friend’s phone, which incorporated a GPS, a camera, and the ability to read books on it. So eventually I got there anyway.

        • I still don’t have a cell-phone. I have an iPad, but it mercifully does not permit random yahoos to demand that I speak to them any hour of the day or night. When people ask me why I don’t have a cell-phone so the could call me, my answer is, “There is only one person on Earth that I would want to be able to call me 24/7/365, and I married her.”

          • you know, they have power switches, and you can turn the ringer off, too. they’re pretty hi tech

          • The chief benefit to a cellphone is not being able to receive calls 24/7. It’s being able to make them. My first cellphone was purchased because I was about to take a long road trip and wanted to have a reliable way to call for help if I had a vehicle breakdown.

            Today I use a smartphone, but I freely admit that the “smart” part is an expensive indulgence. I don’t need the apps or the GPS or the internet access… but it’s mighty nice to have them sometimes. And the value to a birder of a bird-guide that adds basically zero weight to one’s load, and includes sounds as well as pictures, cannot be overstated.

      • Oxthulu?

        • Not *quote* *that* Ancient, though I have joked that I used to babysit Cthulhu. When someone figures me to be “Wow, you’re old!” there’s no point in denying, so embrace it to extreme. (To my astonishment, the relative child got the joke and nearly fell over laughing.)

      • I don’t possess a smart phone. People pretty much think I’m crazy. But then I don’t get interrupted in meetings, movies, the confessional, etc. and I never have to worry about dropping it in the toilet, or losing it.

      • I was asked about having the restaurant’s app on my phone. I cut off the spiel by saying I didn’t have a phone.

  12. > Short of sending them back to see the past, all we can do is teach.

    Sending them back would accomplish little. A lot of people are only going to see what they’re programmed to look for, whether it’s a photograph or in their face.

    • On the contrary, it would accomplish a lot. They’d be out of our hair. Oh, you’re positing the ability and inclination to bring them back at some point…

      • Only if they survive. That prospect seems rather doubtful. Granted, the (precious few) survivors would likely be rather.. dare I say it… Enlightened.

      • Abandoning them there is an attractive proposition… on the other hand, would we want, say, 1819 declaring war on us for dropping illegal immigrants into their societies?

        [meanders off considering the practicality of going to war with one’s own future…]

        • Hrm, how much could The Past learn of Modern Invention from SJW’s? The amount of information would be non-zero, but how much would be *useful*? Not saying there would be NONE of use, but filtering would be much needed.

        • Yeah, that is why it would be better to send them sideways and leave them there.
          ‘Here’s an Earth, all nice and uncluttered for you to use, create your utopia there, we’ll even let you have what ever gear you want to take with you….no you don’t get to come back, but we will be watching….and learning. I’m sure you will teach us quite a bit about just how wonderful Marxism is.’
          The laugh after that last part is optional.

          • Why do they need gear? After all, the only thing that adds value is labor and a virgin earth of raw materials will provide everything with enough work.

            Besides, taking gear would be taking the labor of others.

            • Book early for prime seating on the Colony Ships to Contra-Earth!!!! Exactly opposite Earth’s orbit, this here-to-fore unobserved planet is now being opened for Environmentally Sensitive, Low Footprint Fully Sustainable Colonization by The Woke. No racists, no sexists, no homo/trans-phobes Will Be Allowed On This Planet!

              Contra-Earth is guaranteed to be an Ecologically Woke colony, free of the traumas which have afflicted Earth’s history! Simply contact Kornbluth Interplanetary Expeditions online, complete our simple 5-minute suitability questionnaire and soon you, too, can joion the wokest colony ever!

              • Please note: Contra-Earth Ltd guarantees all colonists as much Social Justice as they can handle — it is in the contract!

              • You do realize what planet is exactly opposite Earth, right?

                Can we insist all the SJWs sent there get pierced ears?

                • Goreans value beauty. How many of the exiles would qualify?

                  • Before or after work?

                    Some PUA sites do before and after feminism picture comparisons of the same woman (usually before and after college). A lot of those women used to be quite attractive.

              • B Ark tickets are selling fast- don’t get left behind!

                • Nah, all things considered, even though they were idiots, B Ark were the workers of the Golgafrinchan people, and not the SJW types. (If they people who actually did the work were that lost in space, consider how bad their ‘superiors’ were)

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Actually, the B Ark contained the useless people of the Golgafrinchan society.

                    The Rulers would have been IIRC on A Ark and the useful workers would have been IIRC on C Ark.

                    • It was the people that the ‘Elite’ thought were useless. In other words, the non-elite people who actually made the society work. Ark A was the politicians and civil servants, and Ark C the academics.
                      Which is why the rest of the Golgafrinchans were wiped out by an unsanitary telephone.

                    • I’m going to download and re-read that section of RAEU, cause I might be misremembering, and its been a long time since I read that part.
                      D.Adams has always been a read-return/resell author for me, his style of humor doesn’t really click, so my memory is quite probably faulty.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I looked it up and B Ark are the ancestors of Earth Humans with the characters thinking “well that explains so much about Earth Humans”. 😈

                      Note, I’m not a fan of his humor but I won’t criticize those who are fans of his humor. 😉

        • On extended consideration, picking a fight with 1819 would be a suicidally stupid thing to do.

          At the dawn of the Industrial Age, no electricity, no real medicine, no internal combustion, “no lights, no phones, no motorcars, not a single luxury…”

          Once they got the idea of what was going on, it wouldn’t take them long to figure out how to unmake a dystopic future. They didn’t have our technology, but they were neither stupid nor ignorant.

          They’d also have the high ground advantage. So 2019 would have to send “corrective expeditions” back, and… they didn’t have street cameras with facial recognition feeding central databases in 1819, but the degrees of separation between (important or traveled) people were probably much shorter than nowadays; and there were fewer, smaller places to be; a lot of criminals from the Americas were recognized and re-arrested in Britain and vice versa.

          Good thing I’m not a science fiction writer; I’d overanalyze all the story out of it.

    • Sending them back would be dangerous. Can you imagine the world if they reproduced?

  13. The thing is that the schools and culture aren’t even trying.

    Whattaya mean, “not trying”? They’re downright exasperating!

    • Aye, they are more trying than I am – and have it upon good authority that I am very trying indeed!

    • Actually, saying they are not trying is being generous,

      They are actively doing the opposite of education. They have found the “solution” to the reality Orwell discussed in My Country Right or Left and, at least in Europe, it is having the effect Orwell predicted.

  14. … completely unaware that even if people wanted to back then they couldn’t feed a lot of surplus population.  Because there wasn’t a lot of surplus production.  

    Even if there was surplus of food there were problems with the logistics involved in moving it to the people who were in need.   

    One reason that Philadelphia was such a successful city, becoming the second largest city in the British Empire before the Revolution, was the location which gave it access to a large and rich variety of food sources.   Do they even teach how local geography effected development anymore?  

    • “Why did they build where it floods / quakes / is subject to sea storm / whatever?’ Because that’s where the *TRANSPORT* was *POSSIBLE*.

      With (mundane freight) rail and air travel to nigh-anywhere, ANY locale might work as well as any other. But somehow say, (tosses dart) Lamar, MO is not the place to bet big on, even now.

      • In the case of places such as Naples all that ash when it finished falling made for rich crops. Along rivers like the Nile when the river receded the slit left behind made for rich crops. Hurricanes don’t hit either New Orleans or Galveston often enough to convince people give up on the choice location as ports.

        So the ease of transportation and availability of crops as driving factors overriding certain inconveniences? Heck yeah.

      • There are abandoned cities all over Russia. Most of them were built during the Soviet era, to exploit particular resources, to spread out in case of war with the USA, or simply to establish Soviet presence in largely unpopulated areas.

        Many of them were accessible only by a single railroad line, and a handful accessible only by air. Once the residents were no longer subsidized/coerced by the Soviet government, they left. Military, police, window washers, bricklayers… there are photo sets of some of the abandoned cities with papers still rolled into typewriters, tables still set with dishes, parts still loaded into machine tools, like a fleet of land-bound Marie Celestes. “Oh frack, the train is leaving, get to the station NOW!” I guess…

      • Stephen W. Houghton

        “With (mundane freight) rail and air travel to nigh-anywhere, ANY locale might work as well as any other.”
        Even today transport by ship is cheapest. How many big cities are not on the water.

        • Even inland, you still see transport as a reason for a town. In Illinois, whenever you had a highway cross a rail line, there would be a town (complete with grain elevators and a warehouse or so). Bigger towns/cities usually had a waterway in the mix, or several highways in addition to the rail road.

        • Donald Stephens

          I would expect most people think that Chicago is where it is because it was convenient for the rail lines.

          Not even close: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Portage_National_Historic_Site

          • Chicago: settled 1833, incorporated 1837
            Chicago and Galena Railway, 1848. This was Chicago’s first rail line. I sincerely hope that railroads had nothing to do with Chicago’s siting.

            OTOH, the growth of Chicago would have been driven by rail. Rough memory count from the 1960s has 6 or 7 major rail lines going to Chicago.

            • I live just a bit over one mile from the Chicago Portage. Chicago was incorporated as the east terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal, which began construction in 1836. Financing was a problem, made worse in the aftermath of the Panic of 1837. The canal was finished in 1848, but later that same year Chicago got its first railroad connection.

              Chicago was not only a good location for river/canal traffic, It was at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, which helped to force any land traffic through here. Chicago became a place where goods and people left one train and got on another. Eventually around 20 class I railroads had terminals in Chicago or its suburbs, and the local belt lines which switched trains between them were often busier than all but the largest class I roads. Even after 150 years of mergers and consolidation no one railroad spans the country. Chicago is where the Atlantic railroads meet the Pacific railroads, and that is what made Chicago the “second city” behind New York in the days before air travel and interstate highways.

              • Yeah, the combination of a good harbor and good location for a rail nexus made it a prime location. With the river/canal setup, it had a lot going for it. I can’t imagine anywhere else on Lake Michigan that would have been as favorable.

              • I thought Chicago was a rail nexus because someone bribed the government to require all rail lines to go through the city.

                • This is a joke, right?

                  You didn’t have to bribe any railroad to choose the most favorable route, and not ‘all’ the railroads went through Chicago. There was competition to find routes with easier grades, because locomotive pulling power is limited (much more so in the 1800s than today), and easier grades meant longer trains using less fuel and fewer locomotives and crews to operate them. There was competition to build into the larger cities and where raw materials were located. It was about investors trying to make money, being the first into an area and getting the business first and then protecting your position. Local businessmen recognized the value of having rail transportation and invested, becoming wealthier if the railroad was a success. Many railroads went bankrupt, and those were often purchased by the roads already in operation to expand their reach.

                  Chicago grew because railroads built to it and from it, But the bribery went the other way if anything. Railroads needed land and permission to build, which (sometimes) required some grease. Quite often the politicians were investors (whether they paid par value for the stock is another question). Nearly every rail route to and from Chicago was in place by about 1890. By then Chicago had grown from a tiny settlement near Fort Dearborn into a city of a million. With the railroads came opportunity, since it became much easier to ship. The Union Stockyards, the steel mills, the manufacturing jobs, all that came because the railroads were here.

    • Between inexpensive transit (ponder that it is cheaper to build something in CHINA and ship it ’round the world than it is produce that same thing locally) and the utterly wonderful “problem” of agricultural “over”production… all of History is looking on and marveling that anyone has complaint. If the Jane/Joe Average of times past could do so, he/she’d ask the complainers, “Can we trade places?”

      What does J. Average of 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, even 1900 get?

      Smallpox no longer exists – right there HUGE WIN.
      Antibiotics – Granny feared pneumonia for good reason. Now?
      Plumbing – “proper drains” are Powerful Medicine indeed!
      Today’s “poor” live richer than Kings of old.
      And I’ve not yet even mentioned the wonder that is the Synchronous Motor.

      • When I moved to the Piedmont of North Carolina in the early 1970s major employers in the area were manufacturing industries, the three best known being cloth, furniture and tobacco.  These jobs are almost all gone.  The largest single employer in my county is now the public school system.

        While furniture manufacturers still have their offices located in the state it long ago become regular practice in most of the industry for wood from the North Carolina mountains to be shipped to China to be made into furniture which was then shipped back to the US for sale. This is done not only because shipping is cheep — to rebuild plants to improve production and the cost of employees under our present laws have become prohibitive.

        • Is it because shipping is cheap or because we’ve made any changes to something so damn expensive.

          After all, when you couldn’t permit the Empire State Building today in under twice the time it took to build it you’ve imposed huge costs on manufacturing upgrades just based on the time risk (that your changes won’t be worth their cost when you finally implement them).

        • Well, yes, the Chinese have no EPA to contend with, merely corrupt party bosses demanding a piece of the action … and well aware that without action there can be no piece.

    • Given professors of geography publish papers like Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research (which as far as I can tell was not a Sokal style hoax) I doubt the professor even know how geography affects development.

  15. The Library of Congress has Prokudin-Gorskii collection of color photographs of Imperial Russia, taken during the end of Nicholas II’s reign. One of the entry points to their confusing interface is here: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/gorskii.html

    Also, there’s shorpy.com, which has photographs like this: https://www.shorpy.com/Battle-of-Nashville-1864

    There’s also a video series called “WWII in Color” which has a lot of footage you don’t generally get to see. Out of all the film shot in WWII, it seems all documentaries are pieced together out of a tiny subset of what’s out there.

  16. Some in my family were still ploughing their fields by horse in the early 1930s (https://westfargomusings.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/schultz-album-306.jpg). My grandmother talks of the men going down to the lake to cut ice in the winter and then store it in the cellar under the house, using straw for insulation, so they could keep things cool into the summer. Other grandma remembers having to crawl down the dry well (dug by hand) when she was a kid in the early 1930s to grab canned goods stored in it (because it was cool down there).

    For me those stories still have meaning and give context to many of the books I’ve read set in times past (helloooo, Louis L’Amour). For my daughter all there will be is some photos. No first hand stories. It might as well be ancient history, like Rome or Babylon.

    Some of my female friends (a couple of years older than I) were complaining about the career expectations of women being minimized by society and that they shouldn’t be expected to be raising children, because they are equal to any man. Pointing out to them that, in terms of history, it’s been but the blink of an eye for women’s primary role as that of mother, and that is the reason most women stayed close to home when working didn’t go over well. Somehow I don’t think sending pregnant women out on a tuna boat for several weeks at a time would go over well, but their all equal to men now, so to H*E*double hockey sticks with millenia of cultural expectations grounded in keeping the species alive. Culture needs to change NOW and reflect only modern sensitivities!

    • their all equal to men now, so to H*E*double hockey sticks with millenia of cultural expectations

      Most of the women who make such arguments consider themselves of the “more equal than others” caste and dismiss the past as prey to patriarchy.

      Because when you really want to believe there’s a pony in there you will accept an incredible amount of horseshit.

      • In general, I suspect that these women mean, “I am woman, equal to man, and thus equally capable of being CEO,” not, “I am woman, equal to man, and thus equally capable of mining coal.”

        • Yep. I’ll believe feminists really care about equality when:

          1. The complain that the 10 most dangerous jobs (by deaths per 1000 workers per year) in the US are over 90% male and that needs to change.
          2. The acknowledge colleges are 60% female and increasing and that is a problem.

          Until then, I hear “equality” from a feminist and hear “I want more and I don’t want to earn it.”

        • I acknowledge that, hystorically, women have greater experience bossing folk around, but I would never call a woman bossy.

          • There are times the various attitudes common to women have been the biggest reason I acknowledge being gay is not a choice.

            I’ve even had a bi female friend ask me why aren’t all men gay.

            I suspect the “greater experience bossing folk around” was a huge part of the question.

          • This is actually the biggest reason that I think that it’s right and good for women to make a conscious effort not to boss men/husbands around. We’re freaking GOOD at being bossy. Have to be or all of our children would die.

    • And thus they will destroy their culture and possibly ensure a new dark ages when the next generations of women will mostly be confined to home and breeding and dying young and having a miserable and short old age unless they manage to bring at least a few kids to adults who would care for them when they are old. But who cares, it may not happen in THEIR lifetime.

      • Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. – Exodus 34:7

        It seems feminists will demand every place male specific terms are used must be applied to women.

        In this case, to their daughters.

    • I’ve spaded my entire garden a couple of times when the ground was too wet too late into the season to use the plow or tiller. For a 50 by 30 plot, that’s a LOT of work and blisters.

    • “My grandmother talks of the men going down to the lake to cut ice in the winter and then store it in the cellar under the house, using straw for insulation, so they could keep things cool into the summer. ”

      They were doing that on Lake Massabesic as recently as the 1950s.

      “so to H*E*double hockey sticks with millenia of cultural expectations grounded in keeping the species alive. ”

      It’s a really, really, REALLY bad idea to bet against Mama Gaea. She has four billion years of experience building socio-biological systems that work.

  17. If I could find a way to give them what they say they want and let them suffer the consequences without us having to suffer with them I’d do so in a blind and consider my choices just.

    And when they begged to be relieved of what they wanted I’d refuse and consider that just too.

  18. When I saw the Irish girl with bare feet, I assumed that it was either summer, or she knew she was posing and didn’t want to bother with the wear on her good stockings and shoes. Plus shoes were not comfortable, unless they’d been so worn that they likely needed new soles and were not really your “good” shoes if you had two pair.

    Once I whined to my grandmother and great aunt about folding laundry. The next week, we did the wash in the back yard the old fashioned way. I’ve never whined about laundry since.

    • I recall my grandmother using a twin-tub washer with a wringer (mangle) into the last 1970’s – and not complaining about not having something fancier or newer. Born in 1913, she knew first-hand how it was. “There’s the water. There’s the firewood. If you need hot water, you know what to do.”

      Right now, my washing machine has issues with solenoids or electric valves and sometimes I need to press a button to get things to resume. Yeah, the failure mode means I need to merely press a button another time. Luxury!

      • Just like on The Jetsons!

      • My mother used one of those twin-tub washers with an electric powered (wahoo!) wringer instead of the hand-cranked version. When I was little, she still owned a washboard, just in case the machine didn’t quite do the job. (This was before disposable diapers…)

      • Grew up in the normal modern fashion, but then lived without running water or non-manual heat (and sometimes without electricity) for 28 years… it is astonishing what one can get used to… Now I once again live in a normal modern house like a normal modern person…. automated central heating is a marvelous novelty, but I still sometimes forget that you must flush the indoor outhouse.

      • We had a twin-tub washer in the ’60s, but no wringer. The second tub had the high speed spin and a faucet would direct water to the perforated cone in the center. It worked, but was a pain. Mom is allergic to mold, so Dad got the laundry duty. As family finances got better, we finally got an automatic washing machine.

    • My mother had a dishwasher when growing up….her brother and her.
      Was the first non-essential kitchen appliance bought when she got married and moved to CA with my father.

    • That’s another thing some moderns just cannot grok- go back less than a century, and basic household jobs like cooking, cleaning, and laundry were tedious, laborious, all day affairs. The lady of the house didn’t have pre-prepped or takeout meals available, but had to pretty much cook everything from scratch. No disposable diapers, so more stuff to wash. No vacuum cleaners, so more sweeping & mopping- and on it goes.

    • I grew up doing laundry by hand in a huge built-in stone tank, with a sculpted washboard.
      I actually enjoyed it and have wondered how much the neighbors would freak if I had one built.
      The tank was large enough that I climbed in it to wash when I’d been planting my garden or forking over the compost pile. (Aka when mom said “you’re not going across the house like THAT. Wash first.)
      I preferred the sun-warmed water to cold hose water. Made sure to change the water in the tank before I went to do dirty work.

  19. Last weekend I had an opportunity to visit my late grandmother’s house in rural northeastern Arizona. I remember visiting her when I was a youngster, in the early 1960s. She was then still using a wood stove (I was too young to be trusted with an axe to chop wood for it), a washtub, a scrubbing board. My mother used to tell stories that when she was a girl in the late 1940s or so, her father worked at the local electric plant, (which was powered by a diesel generator in a shed, which he would start in the morning and shut down for the evening, and frequently have to repair)

    • I went to school with a gal who interned at Wisconsin Public Service (state electrical provider, or close to it). From her I learned that things are INSANELY close to the margin and it’s a bloody miracle things work at all. Yet, work they do. And this in a Modern, First World country. It is absolutely NO surprise that Venezuela has power grid issues. I suspect they [Venezuelan gov’t policies] drove off the competent operators and engineers and the turbines are in such a state that will NEVER resume operation due to the mis-handling they’ve suffered.

      • All right thinking people know competence is a white, patriarchal, cis-normative excuse for oppression.

        The frightening thing is that isn’t a parody but something now taught in universities.

      • I am sure that having to accommodate Magical Wind Energy into the system and convert it into clean constant amperage electricity has eased things no end.

        • Venezuela has a lot of low head hydropower capability. A generator, a water wheel, and a gearing system (or belt system) and you can have some electric power locally; at least until the local thug squad steals it or destroys it. Venezuela is a perfect modern example of why every firearm owner in America should shoot to kill if anyone ever passes a bill to even begin confiscation of any type of firearm. And yes, I mean actually doing that now in NYS and Ct; those states passed the historical point of justification for active violence when it comes to firearms. The only reason why they haven’t so far is people are a hell of a lot more tolerant than they used to be.

        • I’ve done a few solar systems (current one under construction is the biggest, at 3.6kW), and looked into wind as a supplement. No fracking way! It relies in things going just right, and the failure modes seem to run from hard-to-repair to downright catastrophic. I also don’t like how one has to deal with the power after the batteries are fully charged.

          OTOH, solar has its own set of headaches, but I’m willing to bet that 1) the great Cascadia earthquake won’t destroy too many local structures (East of the Cascades–westsiders will be hurting), but 2) electricity and fossil fuels will be in short supply for a while.

      • WPS and the older U.P. co-ops don’t seem to ever do any kind of upgrades. The co-op I used in Texas was very good, but the TXU supplied grid was worse, even though much of it looks shiny and new.
        But hey, wind turbines!!

      • The early comments about fires at two of the major plants made me suspect that sabotage would be a likely explanation.

        The Voices were silent on the question of “who would benefit”, though.

    • When I was a tad in central MN, one of our neighbors had just a wood stove for cooking. I used to make some pocket change by helping cut & split wood for them. For their 50th anniversary, their kids bought them a nice little propane range and a first tank fill. Once the gas ran out, the range became a nice pan rack and the Mrs. went back to cooking on the wood stove. Propane costs money, after all . . .


  20. I’d embed, but using the phone . . .

  21. The caffeine is weak in this one this morning, so off topic commnt to follow …

    Lori Loughlin has committed career suicide with college admissions scandal
    [SNIP]
    Loughlin also co-stars as altruistic do-gooder Aunt Becky on the Netflix series “Fuller House,” a reboot of “Full House,” the ABC series that ran for eight years (1987-95) and rocketed Loughlin (and the Olsen Twins) to stardom. Know that Netflix officials and the show’s producers are huddled in an office, wringing their hands and wondering what to do about Loughlin/Aunt Becky. Know that they’re already thinking of ways to write her out of the series, and know that they won’t mess around. Netflix is all about the money and, like Hallmark Channel, Loughlin will play a part in sinking their bottom line.
    [END EXCERPT]

    They could use the opportunity for a Big Reveal, exposing Aunt Becky as a tyrannical, virtue-signaling busybody, a hypocrite whose altruism is just an excuse to tell everybody what they ought do.

    They could, but they won’t.

    N.B. – having never seen and never planning to — short of Clockwork Orange-style screening — see Full House/Fuller House it is conceivable I am entirely misinterpreting what the author means Aunt Becky’s character to have been. Shrug.

    • Laughlin is also the lead in the Hallmark TV movie series Garage Sale Mysteries as well as other of their productions.

      • That’s easily handled: she gets run over by a truck and the gal* (surely it will be a gal) who inherits her shop (or buys it at estate auction) has to solve the mystery of her murder (and discovers extremely valuable antique hidden inside the store … possibly a mint Action Comics #1 stashed in a desk drawer for which Laughlin’s character was murdered.)

        Abso-effing-lutely NO CHANCE that gal will be named Dyce Dare, a specialist in restoring antiques.

        • I hate to imagine what might have happened to cause Dyce Dare to leave the city of Goldport, CO and move to McLean, VA.

  22. There are some wonderful color photos (real color, not colorized) of the Russian Empire, taken in the early 1900s. The photographer invented his own color process which relied on 3 cameras with filters; projection require 3 projectors with precise alignment. Some of the photos here:

    https://twistedsifter.com/2015/04/rare-color-photos-of-the-russian-empire-from-100-years-ago/

  23. Whenever I’m tempted to yearn for a prior Golden Age, I just keep reminding myself that I would probably have been functionally blind for most of my life if I hadn’t been born in the decades of easy optical lens making.

    • As I spend a month every summer on my uncle’s farm which had basically been left in the same state it had been when he had been a kid there in the 20’s – well, they had a fridge and a television, although nobody much watched it as a the reception was bad – in the later half of the 60’s and most of the 70’s… NO. It was a fun place to visit, and sometimes I miss those holidays, but god damn I would not have wanted to LIVE there. Outhouse, no other place to wash yourself but the sauna, heating by wood stoves mostly, cooking, which thank god I never had to do as aunt was definitely not about to trust me with it, by a wood stove which heated the kitchen unbearably hot in the summer, the time my aunt needed to do simple household tasks (okay, they also had a washing machine, that old style thing with a wringer).

      And even if I myself lived for 16 years in that cheap rental with no shower and several other problems, at least it still had a damn TOILET inside. Once you have had to run to the other side of the yard a couple of times in the middle of the night to freeze your ass in the outhouse you REALLY start to appreciate that. And try using that outhouse in the middle of the winter when you ate something that gave you the runs… 😀 I guess that expression may come from what you need to do then.

      And both of those places, especially my rental, would have seemed like the top of luxury to most people who had lived before last century, and to at least half of the population of the planet living then, or now.

      • I remember my maternal grandparents’ house, with an outhouse in the back yard, and roughly around the age of 7 grampa built an indoor model with a bucket inside the seat.

        There was a hand-pump for water at the kitchen sink.

        • I’ve mentioned it before. Will again. I’ve seen the cabin grandma & grandpa lived in with a 3 year old & new born. Might have lived there as newly weds before the first kid. Grandma just talked about mom’s (3 year old) tantrum & taking off down the mine road, when grandma had to feed the new baby. Of the outhouse. Of wood stove. Of the only water available was the creek down the slope across the road … in the mountains in MONTANA. Oh, yea, no car. Grandpa needed it to go to work at the mine.

          Great Uncles’ place (Hayhurst Valley in Oregon) had two cook stoves: the original wood one & a secondary electric or gas one (don’t remember). The original working hand pump for the well was still in the kitchen with the standard kitchen appliances you just turned on. They also had a standard hand pump well out by the barn. Place was sold 1980. Last time anyone in the family stopped in to say “hi” to the new owners, they (family member) said nothing had been changed …

          I used a wringer washer to wash cloths and hung my cloths to drive in the late ’70s. Didn’t have a car to take cloths 30 miles to laundry mat (or home, 70 miles). That was what the neighbor had available for me to borrow. Now I whine if I have to take cloths to a laundry mat, when washer or dryer at home dies.

        • I spent a couple of winters when I was quite small with “an indoor model with a bucket inside the seat”. Mom would fill the bucket with snow because cold things stink less in the morning.

    • I wouldn’t have survived childhood without antibiotics and would have died as a baby without formula.

      Two guys sent from Heaven itself that never get enough good press, Sir Alexander Flemming for penicillin (plus all the un-named men who developed it for general use) and whoever the guy was that invented baby formula.

      • I would have died without antibiotics, so…

        • I was not a premature birth. But without antibiotics I’d had at minimum severe disabilities. As it is I’m just over weight & the Reactive Hypoglycemia (likely because of dieting through teen years because, you know 5’4″ and 110# is “FAT”).

          I would have starved without formula.

          My son would have starved without formula; or “failed to thrive”.

      • One of the others was Howard Florey who put a lot of work into turning Fleming’s discovery into something practical.

  24. There was an article over on https://www.zdnet.com/article/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-the-problems-not-robots-its-the-system/ where AOC said something that really irritated me and falls along the vein of this conversation.

    “The majority of people, she (AOC) feels, don’t experience the positive effects of our national prosperity.”

    Strange, but she’s obviously never been out of our country to visit a 3rd world nation, or even Europe other than a resort, maybe, for that matter. Everyone in America experiences the positive effects of our national prosperity. Homes, transportation, food, medical care everyone has better access and outcomes than 90% of humanity today, and 100% of humanity from 200 years ago. Even the homeless experience prosperity in that their scrounged shelters and clothing are 5 to 10 times better than anything available to be scrounged elsewhere in the world. Nowhere else in the world are foods thrown in the trash that are still edible, and in massive quantities than in the U.S. I swear to God that AOC kid is so ignorant, she probably doesn’t even know how to tie a pair of sneakers.

    • If we commence a discussion of all the things AOC does not know we’re gonna need a bigger blog.

      • We going to need a bigger Internet.

      • I flipped through the car sound system and caught Occasional-Cortex blathering on about how good losing your job to automation would be. It was a tossup between laughing out loud and wanting to throw a brick through the control panel.

        • Occasional-Cortex blathering on about how good losing your job to automation would be

          Well, she’s just following in Pelosi’s footsteps. Back around 2009-10, Pelosi was on about how the extended unemployment was good because it gave people a chance to pursue their dreams.

          I guess, as long as those “dreams” didn’t include employment to provide for themselves and their families.

    • “I swear to God that AOC kid is so ignorant, she probably doesn’t even know how to tie a pair of sneakers.”

      Thankfully for her, we’re such a prosperous nation she can find and afford to purchase velcro sneakers.

    • Homes, transportation, food, medical care everyone has better access and outcomes than 90% of humanity today, and 100% of humanity from 200 years ago.

      Last year I did a takedown of the ridiculous “the poor get poorer” idea with a comparison to the richest man in the world at the time Forbes created it’s first “Rich List” with amenities that ordinary, even poor, folk have today.

      You simply could not pay me enough to go back to that time, not to stay, anyway.

      https://thewriterinblack.com/2018/01/29/the-poor-get-poorer/

    • She ought to get back to her roots as it were and visit a few of the more rural areas of Africa – and NOT with a guided tour setup providing isolation from the harsh realities of living in such places.

  25. Christopher M. Chupik

    Salt used to be a measure of wealth. Our society is so prosperous we hand out packets of it for free at restaurants and spread it on our roads in winter.

    • Our highway department gets Federal money to salt the roads, so they now do it despite complaints from the populace and highway engineers.

      Meanwhile, if you want salt at a restaurant, you have to get a waiter’s attention, and eventually they will bring you one packet containing half a whiff of salt. So you have to send them back to resentfully gather another twenty or so, and by the time you shake out the three grains from each packet, your food is cold.

      • Seattle banned salting the roadways, because the runoff would go to the Sound. I’m glad I never lived there.

        • because salt in a salt water sound is so much worse than transmission fluid and antifreeze.

          • It’s un-natural mined salt from Kansas, not natural-natural seawater salt… even though the Kansas salt came from the sea to start with.

            And some envirotard would be on TV wailing that salt runoff would change the salinity of the whole Pacific Ocean, causing mass fish die-offs, red tides, and more Elvis sightings in Tacoma.

            • Already got that song and verse from one years back when they had a snowfall and vids went viral of all the accidents.
              I now live in two opposites. Menominee, MI is cheap and only salts a few places enough to matter (US41, 10th ave at times) and forget side streets. Outside the city the county prefers sand (that sucks once motorcycle riding starts . . . takes a while to go away)
              Marinette, WI salts most of its streets, but during a storm really does the intersections, and lets the rest hang until later.
              And for the envirotards, the eco-issues in the Green Bay are not salt.
              Now-a-days it’s zebra mussels, worries the Asian Carp will get in, lamprey (still), and old pollution from years ago (locally arsenic salts, PFOA) or in thedir minds (The Back Forty Mine)

              • Oregon finally broke down and is using brine on troublesome stretches of state highways. I found it’s a Really Good Idea to run through a car wash after a cross-Cascades trip in the winter.

                At the county level and in less hairy portions of state roads, they’ve been using cinders, though there’s usually enough rock in there to pose a risk. Lost one windshield last winter from a rock on a county road. I don’t have the medical commute this year, so I can be more picky on when to go over the hill.

                The Marine Board has lots of warnings about invasive species. Hasn’t been a problem for us; our boat goes the same river when we use it.

                Did the Coho Salmon improve the lamprey situation? They were bringing them in when I moved west, but I’ve heard that mercury accumulation kept salmon off the commercial list.

                • I use a spray on preventative, and will need to re-do it this next season. it’s a waxy gel and I use a paint sprayer to apply it
                  Salmon didn’t do as much as the lamprey traps and zappers. They’ve been reduced, but still are a pest. Zebra Mussels are the big bad right now.

  26. Ahem. [engage rant mode]

    What we are all discussing here is the new front in the Culture War, the Winston-Smithing of the past. It is everywhere. More later.

    • Okay I’m back, Real Life interruption.
      Cutting to the chase, there is a story nominated for the Nebula called “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington.”

      I’m not going to complain that the story exists, because people can write what they want. I’m not going to complain that it got nominated for a Nebula, because A) I have not read it and B) of course it got nominated.

      The thing I am going to complain about is the theme that the story partakes of. You’ll note that the story isn’t called “The Secret Lives of George Washington’s False Teeth.” The theme is to take something -normal- that happened far in the past and make a Social Justice atrocity out of it. Back in the day poor people sold healthy teeth for money. It was a thing that happened.

      Sarah has detailed above the same theme in action. Taking a colour photo from 1901 and interpreting it as evidence of oppression, cross-dressing, Patriarchy, or some other 2019 fashionable SJW notion.

      Retooling the past into a weapon to attack the present. Because as Mr. Jussie Smolette so recently demonstrated, there’s never a White Oppressor in a MAGA hat around when you need one. Because people are getting wise to the fake-attack thing, it is much easier to take a plowshare from 1799 and beat it into a new Bloody Shirt to attack the Patriarchy with in 2019.

      Concentrate on the Nine Negro Teeth and ignore where the rest of the 24 came from, that’s the name of the game.

      Therefore we will all have to get used to seeing anything from Van Gogh to Aeschylus being militantly misrepresented as PROOF! PROOF, I TELL YOU!!! of the eeeeeeviles of Western civilization.

      [End rant mode]

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I recently realized that the denazification of Germany can be understood as having been cultural genocide. 🙂

        Which of course led to much soul searching, and regret over the Nuremberg trials and the liberation of the camps. XD

        I actually, seriously, did have a long tearful conversation today about why I regret not trolling more libs about how their objections to a functioning US economy compromise their moral authority to object to the murder of illegals in particular and the rest of the world in general. A society based solely on things the left hasn’t compromised their moral authority to argue for probably could not be a society. I would also regret the psychological effects of trolling the left to the degree that my worse nature desires. I still firmly reject a number of the arguments they like to make.

  27. I just want to hold my hands in my head and cry reading this.

    Not because of what you’ve written, but because of the people that are looking for something to fight against are going to try and tear this all down.

    We are, in quite a few places, living in the earthly paradise. When your lowest class citizens have obesity issues from having too much food, your issues are not the sort of issues that we have. Our issue is the lack of people with skills, not the inability to practice those skills. The cost of a doctor is relatively high because the skills take so much time and effort to find and make.

    Women live a life that is better than their great-grandparents, let alone their grandparents. And, if they live in the West in an area that hasn’t fallen into an ethnic ghetto, they have more rights and more access to opportunities than 99% of the women in history. The culture around them will protect them even when they are truly guilty of what they’re accused of.

    (I want to scream at one woman that I have on my FB feed because she’s complaining that her fiancee is “merely” spending about $75,000 for their wedding. And her fiancee is occasionally “too nice.” Honey, there are places-and they are not that far away-where if you were to even raise your voice that you didn’t want to be raped this afternoon by your husband, somebody would beat you senseless. And, it might even be your own parents doing it to you.)

    But, because we have risen so high…people want to tear it down because they can only figure out how to destroy things. They can’t make things, they can barely maintain things. Tearing them down? Oh, that they can do-and they’ll love it because they can hear the crashing and screaming.

    I sit here, and I fear. One day, all of us people that are sane (and probably Odd and queer as a three-dollar bill) are going to have to do something about it. The solution to these problems are not going to be pretty. But, the easy solutions are being slowly torn away from us.

    • Thus Spengler’s Cycle: hard times make hard men; hard men make soft times; soft times make soft men; soft men make hard times (repeat).
      The spoiled have no problem thinking that their prosperity is theirs by right & entitlement. The idea that the soft world they live in was laboriously built over multiple generations doesn’t enter their empty little over-educated heads (maybe parenthetically when they bitch about environmental damage). They tinker with the mechanism, and eventually bring the thing to a screeching halt, and civilization back down to barbarism.

      • My only issue with Spengler’s Cycle is we exist.

        While some of us did have hard times some of us did not. I did not have any particularly hard times until the military artificially created some mild hard times in the form of boot camp.

        Plenty of guys my age I know who aren’t necessarily U. S. Grant hard would still know to rise up and follow his spiritual successor if needed. Most of us stood ready for a time to do so.

        I realize the answer is the Huns are in the minority, but are we types ever not? I suspect at best we’re a plurality.

        There has to be a way to keep the minimum critical mass of “I understand what goes into sustaining the life we live today and I’m willing to do my part of it.

    • There was a meme I saw on FB that made me want to headdesk really hard, all about how ” ‘unskilled labor’ is not a thing that exists, except as a way to create divisions and make people believe that their crappy jobs are better than they are”. And it went on about how blue collar labor was unskilled labor, which is COMPLETELY incorrect. And unskilled labor is absolutely a thing. Giving any random person off the street a shovel to dig a hole or whatever is very different from someone who knows how to operate equipment that can dig a hole faster and easier than ten people with shovels.

  28. I was thinking of something related to this topic. People who claim past lives always claim to have been some sort of royalty, never a galley slave or peasant, and there were a lot more peasants than royalty.

    Then, I started doing my family tree. And I do trace back to Scottish royalty, and a few lords and ladies of England. And I got to thinking- when people started to be recorded, only important people were recorded. And while there were a lot more peasants- royalty and very important people were more likely to survive and have children, children who survived to have children. Now, since every descendant of a royal can’t be a royal- you run out of slots – some revert to commoners, and maybe even to peasants if they’re really down on their luck. And if you go back far enough- it really is likely that everyone alive is descended at some point from royalty. So if you’re going to travel back to a past life, you’re likely to skip all the unpleasant lives and revert to one where you were royalty of some sort….

    • Of course, your past life need not be related to anyone in your current family tree . . .

      And with my mechanical bent, I was probably the Galician slave boy who smeared goose grease on the axles of Caesar’s (or some nameless Tribune’s) chariot.

    • “And while there were a lot more peasants- royalty and very important people were more likely to survive and have children, children who survived to have children.”

      Um… not necessarily. The English and Scottish royal lines are both full of generations where only one child survived to adulthood. And peasants tended to have a lot of kids. Of course, the peasants also lost a lot of their kids to famine, disease, war, accidents…

      OTOH, Y-chromosome analysis allegedly shows that something like several million people alive today can trace their ancestry to Genghis Khan. So who knows?

      Question: how many people who claim to remember past lives remember past lives from a different ethnic group – an Englishman who remembers being Chinese, or an African woman who remembers a life in pre-contact South America? China and India between them have always included something over 25% of the living human race, so a LOT of people should remember past lives as a Chinese or Indian.

      • “Those recovering the memory of their former lives seldom fail to remember having been Egyptian princesses, or the lovers of Egyptian princesses. It would seem that, at that stage of the earth’s history, all the inhabitants were Egyptians, and all the Egyptians were royal personages. If I have lived before in remote ages, I would much rather have been an ancient Chinaman. I might have been an ancient Chaldean or an ancient Persian. It even seems barely possible that I might have been an ancient European, as I am now a modern European.” Chesterton

    • Gen George Patton Jr being a notable exception.

  29. I was watching “Apollo 13” the other day — still excellent. And then realized it has been nearly as long since “Apollo 13” was made to the present (23 years), as it was from the REAL Apollo 13 to the making of the film (25 years)

  30. Tempis Fugit Dept.:

    The Berlin Wall has been down longer than it was up.

  31. Re: The old photographs

    One thing that always gets me: How on *Earth* did they keep it all *clean*?! All that lace! All that upholstery! All the cotton/wool/silk crud on people who had to wear it every day to physical labor.

    I have time to clean things maybe once a month. All that crud would have a layer of grime on it if I had to bother with it. Being able to toss it all into a washing machine is just about the only thing allowing me to remain presentable.

  32. Unfortunately, this is a field with an *extremely* low signal to noise ratio, with popular science explanations shrilly insisting that there’s nothing to see here, move along on one side, and fringe theorists who may have done a little too much LDS in the 60’s on the other side, and not much room in between.

    I’d say the paper which did the best job helping me get my thoughts in order on this issue is “Faster-than-c Signals, Special Relativity, and Causality”, by S. Liberati, S. Sonego, and M. Visser, Annals of Physics, volume 298, pp. 167-185 (2002)

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