A Threat to Learning that We Rarely ConsiderOn a blog entitled "A Corner of Tenth Century Europe" we find the following comment regarding the "active exchange of manuscripts among religious houses in the twelfth century." Peter the Venerable wrote to the Carthusians in 1136/7 asking for a volume of the letters of St Augustine ‘because by accident a bear ate a large part of ours in one of our dependencies.’
-- Peter the Venerable, Ep. 25, ed. Constable, I, 47; see the notes in II, 112And you thought "The dog ate my homework" was a new one.... And what sort of accident could lead to a bear eating a book of Augustine's letters anyway?
The Bear Ate My Test Questions
The relative intellectual levels of the Middle and the Modern Ages can be compared using the following news item:
While medieval bears were devouring books, modern students must be protected from encounters with the least-uncomfortable concept or idea, lest they be forced to, you know, think about them.
New York City bans mention of dinosaurs, dancing, birthdays and more on student testsNEW YORK – In a bizarre case of political correctness run wild, New York educrats banned references to "dinosaurs," "birthdays," "Halloween" and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests.That is because they fear such topics "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.Even "dancing" is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.
Der Bär Frisst Mittelamerika
The Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey asked people to identify their ethnos. Here now is a map, by county. The default map shows which ethnos is the plurality in each. Across most of middle America more people identify themselves as German-Americans than as any other ethnos. (This does not mean that a majority in each county do so; only a plurality.) The Southwest is Mexican-American. English-Americans hold pluralities in much of New England (duh?), in Virginia/North Carolina and scattered in an arc across the Upper South, and in Utah and parts of adjoining states. One finds French-American pluralities in Northern Maine & New England and in southern Louisiana (surprise!) New York City and New Jersey are more Italian-American than anything else. You can play with the map by using the left hand selector to pick one ethnos and see its absolute distribution. You can then use the right hand selector to pick a second ethnos and see the relative distributions of the two chosen ethnoi, for example Irish vs. Italian.
The Bear Drank My GasolineHere is a map of gasoline prices at the pump. Redder means more expensive. Greener means less expensive.
The Econobrowser asks why this is so. One reason is gasoline taxes vary by state.
which when subtracted give us this for the average gas price per state minus taxes:
Other factors are government requirements for botique fuels, fifteen different ones in various locales. Accessorizing always adds price.
and then lastly, the pipeline system enables sellers to move refined crude to places where it sells for more, which tends to raise the prices at the cheaper end:
Just Can't Bear ItHere is an interactive map on the abortion rates in NYC by ZIP code. You can select by year. The rate was calculated by taking 100*#abortions/(#births + #abortions). I found one error; there may be others. Overall, the rate was on the order of 41%, but there were large variations from one neighborhood to another. A cursory examination of the map will indicate, for those familiar with the demographics of NYC, that Margaret Sanger's dream is being realized.