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Casaubon's Book

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50 Years After Silent Spring

It is the nature of popular books to inspire people to wildly overstate their importance.  The most stunning example is Abraham Lincoln’s statement upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 “So you’re the little lady who wrote the book that started this great war.”   While _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_ was an incredibly important book, one that…

Back to School

On my lap, I’ve got a set of school books that date from the 1850s to the 1890s.  They belonged to various of my father’s family – my great-uncle, George Hume, who died long before I was born and studied Eaton’s Common School Arithmetic in Amesbury, MA in the late 19th century,  20 miles from…

One of the hardest things for people to get their heads around is the fact that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we will. For affluent people in the west in an era of rising energy availability, for the most part can and do went together. In an era of declining resource availability…

Some years ago, I had the occasion of being at a dinner party on the fourth of July with a bunch of graduate students, and we realized that among 11 of us, we came from 9 different countries. After commenting on this and the date and discussing American fireworks laws for a while, we began…

You learn pretty quickly to adjust for what any mainstream media says about peak oil and anyone who does any kind of preparation. Consider the case of my friend Kathie Breault who has appeared in various newspaper and television accounts. Kathie is grandmother, a midwife and a permaculturist, and about the least “survivalist” person you…