Weapons of Mass Distraction

“America’s Army and Delta Force: Black Hawk Down are the ‘Why We Fight‘ for the digital generation. Though not explicitly doctrinaire in an ideological sense, by showing the very young how we fight, applying the moral application of lethal force on behalf of liberal values, these games create the wartime culture that is so desperately needed now. One hopes they’ll inspire the best gamers to consider a career of military…

…what teens are reading

My freshman, or perhaps junior high, English teacher made us read [The Outsiders] for class. She evidently thought this was a ‘hip’ book to read because she could then show us the movie afterwards. Guess what book she chose not to require us to read. Catcher in the Rye, which of course we would have liked more. We didn’t read it, however, because there was no corresponding movie. Now that…

Say What? Created Langauges of the World

“With so many ‘real’ languages in the world, why would anybody make up another one? …Many authors create a language, or part of one at least, to flesh out their books and make them more realistic… The Star Trek series alone has spawned at least six languages: An’Dorian, Borg, Darmok, Ferengi, Vulcan (more Vulcan here), and the extremely popular Klingon. There are also political and social reasons for creating languages.”…

A Measure to Treasure

Among the excesses of the French Revolution: “Churches were re-consecrated as ‘Temples of Reason’, and so-called ‘revolutionary marriages’ were presided over, where priests and nuns were tied together naked, and drowned. Few of these allegedly egalitarian initiatives lasted far into the nineteenth century. By a long chalk the most durable among them was the creation of the metre.” Robert MacFarlane reviews The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey that…

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The Flubber Fiasco

“Just what do you do with [a] huge mass of reject Flubber??? The obvious answer was to send it to the local dump to be incinerated. This sounded like a good idea until Hasbro President Merrill Hassenfeld received a call the very next day after they hauled it away. The call was from the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island claiming that there was a huge black cloud hovering over the…

What Is Money?

“Some forms of money are completely unfamiliar. They may look weird and wonderful to our eyes. Or, like the axe, they might look quite familiar, but it simply would not occur to us that they could have been used as money. ” –What Is Money?British Museum)