Monthly Archives: June 2012

Altered States

I have never been particularly interested in seeking out altered states of consciousness: generally I like being as sober as possible – knurd, even.  But sometimes, an altered state finds you. I was messing around in the back yard, trying … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments


Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo,  or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone.   They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give … Continue reading

Posted in World War Two | 146 Comments

Wizard War

Partly because it has some interesting examples of thick and thin problems, but mostly because it’s so damn much fun, I’m going to talk about The Wizard War, by R. V. Jones. Reginald Jones (Ph.D. Oxford, 1934)was one of the … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, World War Two | 14 Comments

Thick and thin

There is a spectrum of problem-solving, ranging from, at one extreme, simplicity  and clear chains of logical reasoning (sometimes long chains) and, at the other,  building a picture by sifting through a vast mass of evidence of  varying quality.  I … Continue reading

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Reading speed and comprehension interest me, but I don’t have as much information as I would like.  I would like to see the distribution of reading speeds ( in the general population, and also in college graduates).  I have looked … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Ethnographic Surprises I: The Child Bride

Ethnography can be full of surprises  My first fieldwork was in the northern Kalahari with Bushmen, foragers living hand-to-mouth lives.  Their ecology was certainly unfamiliar but otherwise their ways were as comfortable as those of my neighbors at home in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments