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Battle of New Orleans Ended 200 Years Ago Today

The Battle of New Orleans was a series of engagements fought between December 23, 1814 through January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812.[5][6] American combatants,[7] commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, prevented an invading British Army, commanded by General Edward Pakenham, and Royal Navy, commanded by Admiral Alexander Cochrane, from seizing New Orleans as a strategic tool to end the war.[8][9][10][11] The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814 (but was not ratified by the US Government until February…

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So We’re Supposed to Be “Amazed” or “Surprised” That Tween Boys Won’t Slap a Girl?

What Happens When Clickbait Headlines Avoid Mentioning the Young Boys Wouldn’t Slap the Girl? Headlines like these are all over social media right now. Young boys asked to slap girl in social experiment What happens when you ask an Italian boy to slap a girl? You might be surprised. What happens when you put a girl in front of a boy and ask him to slap her? Some of the…

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Author Says a Whole Culture—Not a Single ‘Homer’—Wrote ‘Iliad,’ ‘Odyssey’

I think it’s a mistake to think of Homer as a person. Homer is an “it.” A tradition. An entire culture coming up with ever more refined and ever more understanding ways of telling stories that are important to it. Homer is essentially shared. Today we have an author obsession—we want to know biography all the time. But Homer has no biography. The Iliad and The Odyssey are like Viking…

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When T.S. Eliot Invented the Hipster

  Prufrock cannot bring himself to ask his companion the “overwhelming question” (which he never identifies) that carries us through the poem. He is paralyzed by the same overwhelming fear of missing out (yes, “FOMO”) that plagues a generation facing endless options and clear few choices: “In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse,” Prufrock laments. Instead, not daring to “disturb the…

THE LEARNING MAZE by Robert Bloch

I read this short story as a kid. Not sure how I came across it, but details from this story are burned pretty deep in my head. Jon’s orientation came from the screens. As he grew older, he became aware of the world beyond—the real world outside the Learning Maze. The world which had once existed without mazes of any sort and in which human beings had lived all their…

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain in 2015

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?

If the pre-1978 laws were still in effect, we could have seen 85% of the works published in 1986 enter the public domain on January 1, 2015. Imagine what that would mean to our archives, our libraries, our schools and our culture. Such works could be digitized, preserved, and made available for education, for research, for future creators. Instead, they will remain under copyright for decades to come, perhaps even…

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Split Infinitives in English: Not Actually Wrong, But Unwise

The rule against split infinitives is a bookish restriction serving no real function in English. However, many people have memorized the “no split infinitives” rule and take it very seriously. It’s best never to split infinitives (unless you want to really emphasize the risk you are taking). More: Split Infinitives in English: Not Actually Wrong, But Unwise.