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  • Archive for March, 2013

    Cool Retrotech

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd March 2013 (All posts by )

    Via Isegoria, here is Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine–in high-resolution photography and with a video showing the machine at work. It was designed in 1849 but not actually built until 2002.

    The Difference Engine is not a general-purpose computer, but rather was designed for the specific purpose of producing mathematical tables by the method of differences. More about Babbage, the Engine, and the Method of Differences, here.

    Posted in Britain, History, Tech | 1 Comment »

    History Friday: The Mason County Hoo-Doo War – Part Two

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 22nd March 2013 (All posts by )

    The Hoo-Doo war eventually became so bitter and vicious that all sides involved in it splintered into factions – even the company of Texas Rangers eventually dispatched to quell the range war split over it. The one survivor of the Baccus lynching still in custody, one Tom Turley, was returned to jail when he recovered, but very shortly, he was joined there by one of Sheriff Clark’s original cattle-thief hunting posse; Caleb Hall, now accused of being a cattle thief as well. A second posse member, Tom Gamel, now claimed that the notion of lynching the Baccus gang was first bruited about by the members of Clark’s posse – and he, for one, had been strongly against it. Rumors began flying around Mason that another lynching might be in the works – of Turley, Hall and Gamel themselves. Turley and Hall promptly escaped the jail and Mason County entirely, never to return. Tom Gamel stood his ground, recruiting about thirty friends – cattlemen and ranchers from the local area. He and his friends rode into Mason one day late in March. Not prepared for receiving so many presumably hostile guests, Sheriff Clark skedaddled. Gamel and his friends lingered in town for a couple of days, stewing for a fight … which nearly happened when Sheriff Clark returned with sixty well-armed local German friends. But the two sides declared a truce – and an end to mob justice. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, History | 4 Comments »

    Dinner Time

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st March 2013 (All posts by )


    Chicagoboyz bring the vindaloo.

    Posted in Photos | 6 Comments »

    “What Happens When A Famous Restaurant Doesn’t Buy Its Domain Name”

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th March 2013 (All posts by )


    (Via Ibis Studio on Twitter.)

    Posted in Humor, Internet | 5 Comments »

    Splitting the Skyscrapers in Rio

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 20th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Best viewed in HD:

    Posted in Sports, Video | 13 Comments »

    WWII B-17 Bombers and Their Crews, in Color

    Posted by David Foster on 18th March 2013 (All posts by )

    1942 photos by Margaret Bourke-White. (via The Lexicans)


    Women building airplanes during WWII, in color

    The London Blitz, in color

    Dresden: a meditation on strategic bombing

    ShrinkWrapped has published his father’s recollections of flying 50 missions as a B-24 tail gunner. There are 6 different posts at the link–start at the bottom for the first one–and one more post here.

    Posted in Aviation, Britain, Germany, History, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »

    A Matter of Taste(r)

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 18th March 2013 (All posts by )

    It is apparently not news to anyone that the office of the President of the US involves a degree of security – to include an official food-taster, as medieval as that sounds. Been going on for years, apparently, so having a designated expert to cover food safety with regards to the President isn’t something to have a conniption fit over. So someone has to eat a couple of bites – a whole helping? from a dish prepared for the White House table, and if that person doesn’t fall over, gasping and foaming at the mouth, then it is OK for POTUS consumption. Got it. And yes, I do understand very well that security ought to be tight when it comes to food supplies and preparation for any President … but the recent story about President Obama sitting by at a private luncheon with GOP senators and not being able to eat a bite because his food taster hadn’t vetted the food first strikes me as a matter a little deeper and much more insulting than it has been played.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Human Behavior, Leftism, National Security, Obama, Politics, USA | 17 Comments »

    Musical Selections for St Patrick’s Day

    Posted by David Foster on 17th March 2013 (All posts by )

    …at Grim’s Hall.

    The Celtic harp

    Some songs

    Speaking of things Irish, there is an interesting Dublin-based blog called Sibling of Daedalus. Check it out.

    Posted in History, Holidays, Ireland, Music | 2 Comments »

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day From Chicago

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 16th March 2013 (All posts by )

    It’s that time of year again. There are hordes of people just like this guy who were out at 6am here at River North in Chicago and the bars are packed to the gills. Last year at this time it was 80 degrees and beautiful (that will never happen again in my lifetime) but this year it is a more typical 32 degrees with a bruising wind. That won’t stop the fun though and everyone I run into is buying booze or taking cash from the ATM or trotting from bar to bar or waiting in line somewhere.

    St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago has to be seen to be believed and I am not talking about dying the river green.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Chicagoania, Humor | 7 Comments »

    Whose Interests Will Jack Lew be Representing??

    Posted by David Foster on 16th March 2013 (All posts by )

    …as Secretary of the Treasury?

    Prior to joining the Obama administration (initially as a Deputy Secretary of State, later as White House Chief of Staff), Mr Lew worked at Citigroup, where his employment agreement contained an interesting provision…specifically, a provision protecting his accrued bonus money in the event that he left the bank to take “a full-time high level position with the United States government or regulatory body.”

    Suppose you were running a business, the XYZ Company, and were considering hiring for a key position a person who was working for one of your customers or suppliers..and you found out that he had an employment agreement providing special bonus protection in the event that he takes “a full-time high-level position at the XYZ Company.” Would you hire him? Might you be just a little bit concerned that your customer/supplier was trying to implant in your company an individual who would steer the business decisions in favor of that customer or supplier, rather than focusing resolutely on the interests of XYZ Company itself?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Politics | 16 Comments »


    Posted by Jonathan on 15th March 2013 (All posts by )

    A narrow street in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz /

    Posted in Photos | 10 Comments »

    New Article in Pragati Magazine: The Re-industrial Revolution

    Posted by Zenpundit on 15th March 2013 (All posts by )

    I have a new piece up at Pragati Magazine  this morning, which focuses on a book review of Makers by Chris Anderson:

    The Re-industrial Revolution 

    ….If anything, Anderson has managed to understate the velocity with which the technology is advancing and the creative uses to which users are putting their machines. Since the publication ofMakers, a succession of news stories have revealed everything from Formlabs’ slickly designed Form 1 machine to users printing functional (if fragile) assault rifles, car bodies and biomedical surgical replacements for missing pieces of the human skull. One gets the sense that the genie is out of the bottle.

    Anderson is not merely making a technologically oriented argument , but a profoundly cultural one. In his view, the existence of the Maker movement, operating on the collaborative, “open-source” ethos is an iterative, accelerative driver of economic change that complements the technology. Anderson writes: “…In short, the Maker Movement shares three characteristics, all of which are transformative:

    Read the rest here.

    Crossposted from

    Posted in America 3.0, Announcements, Business, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, India, Science, Society, Tech, USA | 5 Comments »

    For Dan – The Guardian of Granny’s Recipe Box

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Among the recipes in the box is one for dandelion wine.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Miscellaneous, Photos | 7 Comments »

    History Friday: The Haunting of Mason County

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th March 2013 (All posts by )

    The so-called Mason County Hoo-Doo War was one of those particularly impenetrable frontier feuds which mixed up all the classic western feud elements into one bloody and protracted mess; legal possession of land provided one cause for conflict, there was also a clash between cattle ranchers and local farmers and townsmen, wrangling over the ownership of cattle – branded and otherwise – ethnic resentment between German and native-born American or Anglo settlers, the passions of Unionist and Confederate partisans still at a simmer in the aftermath of the Civil War, and finally, that Mason County was situated on the far frontier, where enforcement of the law was a sketchy and erratically enforced thing.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, History | 5 Comments »

    Streusel Layered Coffee Cake

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th March 2013 (All posts by )

    I made a pretty successful run at Grandma’s rye bread a few weeks ago and decided to look at something else in her box of recipes to try out.

    My wife has an annoying habit of wanting sweets for breakfast. Maybe it is me but I just don’t like them in the morning. She loves a sweet roll or whatever with her coffee. So I decided on the Streusel Layered Coffee Cake as my next try. The recipe looked simple and I had most of the ingredients laying around. Here is the ingredient list:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Recipes | 5 Comments »

    Never Give up on the Cause of Freedom

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 14th March 2013 (All posts by )

    It is only after an unknown number of unrecorded labors, after a host of noble hearts have succumbed in discouragement, convinced that their cause is lost; it is only then that the cause triumphs.

    François Guizot

    Guizot is an under-appreciated writer, a Classical Liberal of the French school, a truly embattled group who struggled against long odds. In the new book by James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, we cite to Guizot’s General History of Civilization in Europe (1828), which is a brilliant book. I also hope to read his The History of the Origins of Representative Government in Europe (1861).

    Cross-posted at America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, France, History, Politics, Quotations, Tea Party | 4 Comments »

    Google Reader: The End

    Posted by L. C. Rees on 14th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Google will discontinue Reader, their online newsfeed reader for RSS and Atom, on July 1, 2013. Reader users must find a replacement.

    Google is killing Reader as part of a spring cleaning ritual where products with little following are sacrificed:

    We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.

    Finding a Reader replacement is complicated by why Reader’s usage declined: those who used newsfeed readers to follow blogs and other web syndicated content now use “social media” like Facebook, Twitter, or even iTunes. A small minority even use Google Plus, Google’s most recent try at “social media”.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Blogging, Internet, Tech, Tradeoffs | 3 Comments »

    Pope Francis I

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 13th March 2013 (All posts by )

    God bless the new Pope. Michael Potemra notes that St. Francis of Assisi was called to rebuild the Church. May his namesake repair what needs repairing.

    Pope Francis I

    On the subject of St. Francis, I highly recommend G.K. Chesterton’s short, entertaining and insightful life of St. Francis. (There is a nice edition which also has Chesterton’s short biography of Thomas Aquinas.)

    Posted in Book Notes, Photos, Religion | 25 Comments »

    The Whole Universe on Your Screen

    Posted by David Foster on 13th March 2013 (All posts by )

    …from galactic clusters down to charm quarks and below.

    I linked The Scale of the Universe a while back…was reminded of it by a link on Don Sensing’s blog…the performance of the site seems to have been significantly improved since I saw it and is now much smoother.

    And via American Digest, here is Magnifying the Universe.

    Posted in Science, Space | 1 Comment »


    Posted by Jonathan on 13th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Remarkable verbal pirouettes from gun-ban advocate Mark Kelly:

    Obviously Glenn Reynolds is right about this. Kelly bought the guns for the same reasons so many other people are buying guns. No other explanation makes sense. He expected to do it without anyone noticing, and now that he’s been called out he’s appearing in friendly media to try to minimize damage to the cause. We won’t believe him but surely some people will, perhaps the same kinds of people who believe gun bans reduce crime.

    (Via Breitbart.)

    UPDATE (March 14): Whoops!

    Posted in RKBA, Video | 3 Comments »

    The Outsized Role of Britain in the Modern World

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 12th March 2013 (All posts by )

    [B]y a singular chance, the expansion of that small society from Elizabethan times onward became increasingly identified with the central movement in the history of the modern world. No mere book can hope to do justice to the theme: it is written in the lives of men, in their work and arts, in the creations of their minds, in science and industry, in the busy tracks of the ocean, upon the landscape and on the face of the outer world. It was an extraordinary, an unimaginable, fate that befell the island people. Wherever we look in the world, or in modern history, we come upon evidence of the contribution they have made. Whether it is at sea, in the arts of navigation or maritime warfare from Drake to Nelson to our own time; whether it is in voyages of discovery from the Cabots to Cook and Scott of the Antarctic, in methods of planting and colonisation from Humphrey Gilbert and Ralegh, Captain John Smith and the founders of New England to Gibbon Wakefield and Cecil Rhodes; or in industry, trade, finance; whether it is in the experience of self-government, laid open for all to see, or in the essential traditions of the free world — personal freedom for the citizen, liberty of opinion and speech, the sanctity of individual life (the arcana of civilized society); or in the example of an instinctive and generalised morality of common sense and toleration, with its precious message of individual responsibility; whether it is in the gradual unfolding of the resources of industrial and mechanical power (the basis of modern industrial civilisation, worked out in this island), with its subsequent developments in atomic energy and in the air; or in the unceasing proliferation of its genius at once for literature and science — the experience of the island people has been more and more closely bound up with the essential achievements of the modern world, the most significant and certainly the most fruitful movements of the human spirit in the modern age.

    A.L. Rowse, The Expansion of Elizabethan England (1955).

    In our upcoming book, America 3.0, Jim Bennett and I trace the roots of American freedom and prosperity back through British and English history to the conquest of the island by Angles, Saxons and Jutes fifteen centuries ago. But our focus is on America.

    The quote from A.L. Rowse sketches a much larger theme which our (already large) book could not contain: the English impact on the entire modern world. A book on this subject may yet appear from Jim Bennett’s hand, and it will be the Big Book, which we have discussed for years, a history of the entire Anglosphere from its oldest Indo-European roots down to today and outward into the future.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, History, Society, USA | 4 Comments »

    Play ball as in the olden times…

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Chicago 16 inch softball

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos | 4 Comments »

    Girl Genius is down due to DNS

    Posted by TM Lutas on 12th March 2013 (All posts by )

    For a certain style of geek, the week is not complete without stopping by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dip into the mad science world of Girl Genius, a creation of Phil and Kaja Foglio. The series is a three time hugo award winner, twice winning an Eisner award, and three time winner of the Web Cartoonist choice awards. In other words, it’s very good.

    But like many of their mad scientist creations, they’ve been let down by a minion, and their domain has expired. You can, however still reach it via IP number. But curses, the actual comic does not use relative addressing so you have to plug that in separately, like this to get Monday’s tasty bit of a world where mad science rules.

    Posted in Internet | 5 Comments »

    Briefcase Bleg

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 12th March 2013 (All posts by )

    This post from Carl at LITGM reminded me of something. Below is my briefcase. I have had it for the better part of a decade now and it is shot.

    Time for a new one. I prefer the soft sided type as I don’t carry a ton of stuff back and forth anymore – typically some papers from work and my checkbook if needed, magazines occasionally, my new Samsung Note pad computer, phone, etc. I also carry a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in there (pocket sized) and a few business cards. I don’t mind paying more for something that is a little higher quality. Any brands you can recommend are appreciated. I like leather but am not opposed to some other material. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

    Posted in Blegs | 14 Comments »

    “Healthcare 2.0”

    Posted by Jonathan on 11th March 2013 (All posts by )

    This issue has to be handled carefully by reform proponents. Otherwise leftist pols, in tacit collaboration with tech lobbyists who want to be paid to create an automated version of the current system, with reduced costs based on fewer workers and worse (rationed) service, may frame the issue as NHS-style single-payer vs. greedy doctors. Therefore it’s important to argue that the right kinds of reforms might greatly improve the quality of medical care AND the patient’s experience, as well as reduce costs. Mead doesn’t quite make this case.

    Currently one sees increased reliance (in the USA) on nurses and physician’s assistants to do things that physicians formerly did. This makes sense to some extent but there is a limit to the amount of skilled work that can be shifted away from physicians without degrading quality of care. The Obama model is to cut costs by overworking a smaller number of physicians while shifting as much work as possible to less-well-paid workers, making patients wait longer, reducing quality of care overall and expecting people to put up with it. The better alternative would lower costs and improve care by using technology to increase productivity.

    The Obama model is hostile to the high-tech alternative because 1) the Obama people don’t have a clue about either economics or medicine and 2) high-tech reforms would contribute to decentralization and individual control of medicine, and Obamaism rejects decentralization and individual control on principle.

    Posted in Medicine, Politics, Tech | 3 Comments »