Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pensioned Off

Many of us were planning to retire in the relatively near future, with or without incentives; inevitably we’d be exchanging experience for youth in the process. On the whole, this is a good thing. But this incentive distorts the hiring pattern, as well as the retirement plans, and the effects will be more obvious than they might otherwise have been.

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Posted in Bureaucratic Whimsy, Mitten State, Over the Hill, Politickin' | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Computer Should I Buy?

A friend at work–a reasonably computer-literate supervisor who’s never owned a computer–asked for purchasing advice the other day. Here’s my response, which could perhaps be useful to someone else.

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Posted in Semi-Geekery | Tagged | 2 Comments

Memoir of Douglass Houghton by Alvah Bradish: a short review

An odd book. The 70-page memoir is essentially useless, but the appendix contains summaries of Houghton’s geological survey work, including a long excerpt from his fourth (1840) report to the Michigan legislature, which is fascinating. Houghton’s fourth report was a masterpiece of synthesis, summarizing the field notes of his team into a coherent and generally readable explanation of what they’d seen. Wonderful stuff. There are clues in other work excerpted here that Houghton could manage this sort of masterwork pretty much at will. Doubtless that’s the reason he was so widely admired. It’s a tragedy that he died so young.

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Victory by Julian Stockwin: a short review

Pretty much entirely devoted to Nelson’s chase of Villenueve, with enough context to explain the importance of Trafalgar. Ends where all such novels end: In London, shortly after the great battle, with everyone not knowing how to handle the conflicting emotions generated by Nelson’s victory and Nelson’s death.

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