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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Redundancy and its cousin, resilience

The cockpit of an Airbus A380. Notice the symmetry and redundancy, with two of everything (including the pilots). Wikipedia photo. Quick now: How many hearts does an octopus have? Answer: Three! However, two of the hearts are not backup hearts, exactly. Rather, the three-heart system is an element of octopus engineering that offloads pumping blood […]

Parched peanuts

Did our lean grandparents and great-grandparents eat snacks? I believe they did. What those snacks were, no doubt, varied from region to region. Popcorn, I suspect, is an old commodity. Here in the American South, parched peanuts were a common snack. I have a clear memory from the age of 6 or 7. I was […]

The far left

What do these people have in common?: Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, Jill Stein, David Sirota, Michael Flynn, Vladimir Putin. The answer, I would say, is that we don’t really know. That’s what is so disturbing. But first, let’s review who these people are. Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer and journalist (though I would say […]

Rethinking cookware: Back to the Iron Age

A vintage copper saucepan, circa 1970, that I recently bought on eBay. It was originally sold by Williams Sonoma and is stamped “Made in France.” It probably was made by Mauviel. I believe the French would call it a “sauteuse evasée,” or flared sauté pan. Last month, I wrote about buying a Lodge cast-iron wok. […]


While Republicans are having a public orgy of gloating (which we will not forget, when payback time comes), the responsible media are crying foul. Here are a few examples: In the Washington Post, Phillip Bump, under the headline What we still don’t know about the Mueller probe, lists several questions that must be answered. The […]

2019 Garden: Here we go

The first garden chore of the year is to clear, and then to burn, last year’s dead weeds. That got done today. The next garden chore of the year is the first tilling. That will get done tomorrow, ahead of a light rain that is due to start about 5 p.m. After that, the next […]

All’s well with the white deer

The white deer came through this morning, accompanied by four or five other does. The abbey sits in a little valley, and I’m pretty sure that the white doe and her friends and family never venture across the ridges. She is well known now in this area and is frequently seen. The photo was taken […]

Eat more mushrooms

A stir-fry of Quorn, green pepper, mushrooms, and broccoil Several articles have appeared recently about the benefits of eating mushrooms at least twice a week. Something in the mushrooms apparently wards off cognitive impairment in older people. Here are two of the articles: Science Daily: Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline New […]

The Beto-Warren ticket

This morning, the New York Times reports that Beto O’Rourke’s campaign raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after he announced for president. That’s more than any other candidate, though Bernie Sanders, at $5.9 million, came close. This adds considerable support to my belief that Beto will win the nomination. If that’s the case, […]

Boeing: It’s even worse than we think.

Wikipedia photo I have long been fascinated by aviation. Though I never got a pilot’s license (I chickened out), I have about 45 hours of flying time as a student pilot. On my trip to Scotland last fall, I was eager for the opportunity to fly from New York to Edinburgh and back on Boeing’s […]