What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, is a 2005 non-fiction book by John Markoff. The book details the history of the personal computer, closely tying the ideologies of the collaboration-driven, World War II-era defense research community to the embryonic cooperatives and psychedelics use of the American counterculture of the 1960s.
The book follows the history chronologically, beginning with Vannevar Bush's description of his inspirational memex machine in his 1945 article "As We May Think". Markoff describes many of the people and organizations who helped develop the ideology and technology of the computer as we know it today, including Doug Engelbart, Xerox PARC, Apple Computer and Microsoft Windows.
Markoff argues for a direct connection between the counterculture of the late 1950s and 1960s (using examples such as Kepler's Books in Menlo Park California) and the development of the computer industry. The book also discusses the early split between the idea of commercial and free-supply computing.
The main part of the title, "What the Dormouse Said," is a reference to a line at the end of the 1967 Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit": "Remember what the dormousesaid: feed your head." which is itself a reference to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States.
A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN was directed and edited by Marshall Curry and was supported and released by Field of Vision. The film was nominated for a 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short; it was also an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and was part of a special screening and panel discussion at the New York Film Festival. It was released on 22 Alamo Theater screens across the country and at The IFC Center in NYC.
A painfully powerful short film.
Hat tip: On the Media
The Cohen testimony, a new Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, the risks of laundering our hot takes through history, and the story of an infamous Nazi rally.
When President Trump’s former personal lawyer testified in front of Congress this week, it was both captivating and oddly familiar. This week, On the Media looks at the tropes that ran through the hearings, and offers a guide to news consumers trying to understand the tangled threads of the Mueller investigation. Plus, a sideways glance at historical hot takes and a second look at an infamous Nazi rally in the heart of New York City.
1. Bob and Brooke on Michael Cohen's enthralling testimony this week. Listen.
CORRECTION: In the opening segment, we describe U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, as belonging to the wrong political party. Rep. Cooper is a Democrat.
The messaging behind the Green New Deal; a former insider's look at Facebook's problems; a potential solution; and the godfathers of the modern newspaper column.
At Tuesday's State of the Union, President Trump continued to call for a wall at the southern border. Meanwhile, some Democrats point to the real crisis: climate change. A look at the messaging of urgency and hope around the Green New Deal. And, a former mentor to Mark Zuckerberg lays out his deep criticisms of Facebook. Then, a Facebook employee makes the case for one potential solution. Plus, a new documentary about Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin, two New York City reporters, who helped turn column writing into an art form.
2013-04-19: the day the indieweb successfully federated a comment post. The Test Note It started with Laurent Eschenauer using Storytlr to post a simple note on his site that sent mention pingbacks to Barnaby Walters and Aaron Parecki: Testing #indieweb federation with @waterpigs.co.uk, @aaronpareck...
The story of Twelve Apostles is the story of early Christianity: its competing versions of Jesus’s ministry, its countless schisms, and its ultimate evolution from an obscure Jewish sect to the global faith we know today in all its forms and permutations. In his quest to understand the underpinnings of the world’s largest religion, Tom Bissell embarks on a years-long pilgrimage to the apostles’ supposed tombs, traveling from Jerusalem and Rome to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, India, and Kyrgyzstan. Along the way, Bissell uncovers the mysterious and often paradoxical lives of these twelve men and how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia. Written with empathy and a rare acumen—and often extremely funny—Apostle is an intellectual, spiritual, and personal adventure fit for believers, scholars, and wanderers alike.
Purchased at UCLA Store for $6.99+tax
The earliest fragments of English reveal how interconnected Europe has been for centuries, finds Cameron Laux. He traces a history of the language through 10 objects and manuscripts.
Presidential eulogizing, special counsel speculation, immigration coverage, and forgotten Hanukkah history.
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history.
1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen.
2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen.
The ideas of rosier pictures of past presidents is an interesting one.
Masha Gessen’s story makes me wish we had many more Masha Gessens.
I particularly liked the story and history of Hanukkah given here. Definitely something to think about.
Before the internet was consolidated into centralized information silos, RSS imagined a better way to let users control their online personas.
Literature and History is a free podcast, covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present. It includes summaries, analysis, historical background and original music.
I’ve now listened to a couple of episodes and they’re truly fantastic! While I would have expected a lot more focus on the literary, I’m actually even more impressed that Doug focuses so heavily on the history and context of the pieces as a means of gaining entry to them and the times from which they stem. What a truly phenomenal bunch of work he’s done!
The Enuma Elish and the Atrahasis, in circulation 3,800 years ago, were Mesopotamia's creation and flood epics, making them 1,000 years older than Genesis.
There are a few sections of these ancient texts which indicate that thousands (or more) were wiped out due to illness and disease that sound like a flu, a virus, or some other local pandemic. Gives pause to think about what the state of public health was at the time.
Enuma Elish and Atrahasis are indeed not well known, but I’ve actually seen quite a bit about them as the result of reading within the area of Big History.
I’ll have to do some digging but I’m curious if any researcher(s) have done synoptic analyses of these books and the Book of Genesis from the Old Testament. I’m sure there aren’t as many as there are of the synoptic gospels from the New Testament, but it might be interesting to take a look at them.
The obvious quote of the day:
The gods became distraught at the destruction they had unleashed. The midwife goddess, Mami, who helped raise the first generations of mankind, was particularly saddened, and “The gods joined her in weeping for the vanished country / She was overcome with heartache, but could find no beer”. Yes, it really says that.
As a side note, fermented beverages like beer were more popular throughout history than they are in modern America, because unlike now, prior generations of humans didn’t have the public health ideals or levels of clean drinking water that we do today. Thus beer and other alcoholic drinks were more par for the course because they were less likely to make you sick or kill you to drink them. Naturally the Mesopotamian gods must have been healthier for drinking them as a result too!
One of my favorite podcasts is Literature and History, launched nearly three years ago by a literature PhD from California named Doug Metzger. As the name suggests, the show is a history of literature - starting from the Tower of Babel origin myth and continuing on through Ancient Greece and…
Did someone say literature? history? I’m there! And best of all it looks like there are over 60+ hours of content to consume here!
I love his use of the word “ephemera” in relation to social media, particularly as he references his podcast about ancient history.
The 41st president took the helm during a moment of seismic change on the international stage and in the political order at home.
Where have all the good public servants gone?
📖 Read pages 75-102 of Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David in In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel (Thames & Hudson, 1st edition; July 24, 2018)
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
Ancient cities of the biblical period did not include public areas comparable to the central forum in Roman cities, the piazza in medieval European cities, or the shopping malls of modern cities. Instead, the gate area was the heart of the city, as everyone who entered or left the city had to pass through it.
The city gate was where elders of the town sat and passed judgment on disputes brought before them.
Importance of the city gates
Movement through this inner gate could have been controlled, so that possibly not everyone who was allowed into the piazza could then proceed further into the city.
I’m reminded of theater design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which lobbies are meant to physically hold everyone in a public space before they’re let into the actual theater space inside.
Tabun is an Arabic term referring to round overns used for baking, measuring around 0.5-1m (1 1/2-3 1/4 ft) in diameter and generally constructed of earth, though occasionally from a circle of rounded stones.
…four large stone steps (a rare find in itself, as built stone steps are seldom uncovered in excavations) descended into the main room.
To the best of our knowledge, drainage channels have not been reported in ordinary dwellings in biblical period cities–only in the city gates–so this came as a surprise.
“To the best of our knowledge” –I like the warning/caution they give here, though most may gloss over it. Small statements like this are small flags in the text that scholars should note for potential future research. Subtle flags like this pop up in math textbooks frequently, but often only the well-trained know to take advantage of them.
This demonstrates how the understanding of archaeological remains can change as an excavation progresses.
Another archaeology 101 example here. Keep in mind that something that may look one way at a point in the research may change fundamentally as one “digs” further.
A bench stood next to the entrance–a feature found only in cultic rooms.
…which we interpreted as a stable.
again another cautionary flag that might possibly take other interpretations.
One room (G) is unusual: it contained a bench…
G doesn’t seem to actually be labeled on diagram C3, but does appear on Fig. 28 of building C10
Pillared buildings are well known from the period of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and were used as public storehouses for the produce collected as tax from farmers. The existence of such a building at Khirbet Qeiyafa clearly indicates central authority and administration.
We know that in ancient times urgent messages were communicated over great distances by sending signals using fire or torches. Evidence of this practice in the Kingdom of Judah comes from an inscription on a pottery sherd from Lachish from the time when Nebuchadnezzar was besieging the city: “we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish according to all the signs which my lord has given. The palace at Khirbet Qeiyafa would ahve been an ideal place for sending and receiving such torch-signals.
Nice documentation in the archaeological record for early long distance communication
…we can three phases of development in cities in Judah in the biblical period (Fig. 33).
Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably the first site constructed according to this plan. [urban planning in Israel involving a casemate wall with houses that incorporate the casemates as rooms. Several examples from the following centuries exist using a similar pattern.]
The excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa thus reveal another important aspect of the historical figure of David, and show that not only did he build cities, but also that a new concept of urban planning emerged during his reign.
… the city was built in several major phases. In the first phase, the site was cleared of earlier settlement remains and bedrock was exposed around the future city. In the second phase, stones were quarried and brought up to the line of the city wall. […] In the third pahse, the builders began work on the gates and their chambers. […] Construction of the wall itself commenced in the fourth phase. […] In the fifth and final phase, the private houses whose walls incorporated the casemates were constructed.
This was a good demonstration that the chronological dilemma cannot be resolved on the basis of pottery alone.
In the 2008 season we had discovered carbonized olive pits in the city wall and in rooms of the destroyed buildings in Area B.
The enormous tension that accompanied sending the samples via express mail resulted in the credit card with which we paid for the shipment being mistakenly packed inisde and sent to the laboratory at Oxford, along with the olive pits.
This could be a great plot point in a thriller version of this story!
One might think that with multiple samples, they might send them separately, that way if some are lost, then at least they’ve not lost everything!
A discovery made in our 2011 excavation season […] A jar containing some 20 olive pits was found in the destroyed city. […] which clearly indicate that the city had been destroyed no later than 980 to 970 BCE. […} Today, the dating […] is based on nearly 30 samples, probably the best radiometric dating we have so far for any level in a biblical city.
…determining the dates of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah is not a simple task, and the length of those of David and Solomon, exactly 40 years each, appears to be a literary device rather than reflecting historical reality. We therefore propose that the round number of 1000 BCE as the date of David’s accession to the through, though this is merely an approximation. […] But it is clear from the radiocarbon determinations that Khirbet Qeiyafa can be dated to the time of David or Saul, but no to Solomon’s reign, which is later than the results obtained. It will only be possible to decide conclusively if an inscription naming one king or another is found at Khirbet Qeiyafa. To be scientifically cautious, we accept the later date, to the reign of King David.
The “excavation dump” is the term commonly used by archaeologists in referring to the piles of earth and stones that they remove from the ground during excavation.
In 2007 it was possible to claim that nothing was known archaeologically about King David; ten years later the situation is very different, and archaeology can present two sites from his period in the Judean Shephelah.
Guide to highlight colors
Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Red–Example to work through