Hello all,

Just a note to let you know that the lady and I are off to a tropical paradise vacation tomorrow and I’ll be largely incommunicado. Though both my nature and complexion are utterly unsuited for such a trip I plan to do much lazy ocean-side drinking and reading, and expect I’ll survive to blog another day.I should return to action around Saturday of next week… perhaps.

In the meantime I am setting the Nonist proper to display random posts from the archives, so you might want to check in there as there’s sure to be something on display you missed.

Lastly I thought I’d also mention that I lost all my email contacts and archives when my machine died recently so if you are a pal, an associate, an acquaintance, an enemy, a well meaning stranger, or a skeleton in my closet feel free to just shoot me an email so I can repopulate my address book. Returning home to something other than spam would be nice. If on the other hand you were hoping against hope to never hear from me again… Congrats!

So long everyone.


Dated: 07.23  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Whilst looking over some traffic statistics for thenonist.com I had an interesting realization. It seems that in the time that I’ve been using my current statistical analysis tools, a span of roughly 2 years, The Nonist has welcomed at least 1 visitor from all but 8 countries on planet Earth.

Now, The Nonist has existed in one form or another since 2003 so I could take solace in the thought that in those 3 dark years of missing statistical data The Nonist may have received visitors from one or all 8 of those countries. I could then take comfort in this fact. I could smile and allow myself to feel as though this were some sort of tangible evidence that I had accomplished something with this endeavor. And I could skip joyfully through a field of dandelions, or have a tea-party with some teddy bears, or go rainbow hunting. But I wont. This site is not called The Optimist after all…

Dated: 07.21  Comments: 4   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Sometimes one might walk down the street, breathing the air, hearing the sounds, looking around, and get the sense that the youth of America are shaking-off their apathy, finding their social conscience, and embracing the idea of active involvement so succinctly summed up by Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Other times… not so much.

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

You know, no matter how looney and wrong-minded much of religiosity may strike me, no matter how I may cringe and jerk away from it like smelling salts, I can say one thing for certain, it is not for a lack of really nifty charts. A fellow by the name of Clarence Larkin helped see to that. Pictured above is Antichrist in the Time of the Gentiles, taken from his 1919 guide to The Book of Revelation, a grand tour of the Apocalypse of St. John. Sure, they don’t chart any actual, you know… data, but they sure look cool dag nabbit!

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 2   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

I think we can all agree the TED talks are pretty terrific, top to bottom. I wanted to point you toward one in particular in case you missed it, namely Arthur Ganson, sculptor and engineer, talking about some of his kinetic art. His work just… makes me happy. Pictured above is Machine with Wishbone. Also of interest- the flickr Kinetic Sculpture pool, and the expansive Kineticus.

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

S’more Mallow S’more Problems
Quote: Money is a powerful force in human life and affairs. Its very power gives pause to those who look to evolution for full explanations of human behavior, because money has not existed long enough to have influenced evolution. By some estimates, money only goes back a couple thousand years, which is too short even to have influenced human evolution. Still, one can get some clues as to how evolution prepared us for money from the burgeoning research that seeks to present animals with economic choices. To gain perspective on human financial decisions, one may ask, what would monkeys do? Monkeys don’t care about money, per se, but they do care about marshmallows.

The Evolution of Economic Rationality: Do Monkeys Understand Money? (And yes, if you suspected this post was simply an excuse to make an image of a monkey wearing a fat lucky-charms and peeps chain, you were spot on.)

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 2   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

I originally created the image above with plans of making it a t-shirt graphic. I came to my senses, however, when it dawned on me that the segment of my readership which might fall under the “sexually submissive nerd in search of intimacy who happens to also be painfully shy, thus requiring a goofy Jeopardy! pun t-shirt to break the ice at bars” demographic might not be that terribly large.

Anyhow, I’m not one to let a decent graphic go to waste so I decided to use it for a Jeopardy! related post of some kind. Turns out the “some kind” is the “meh” kind, but I’ll press on. The best related linkage I managed to find are: This obsessionally thorough wikipedia page on the many incarnation of the Jeopardy! set with groovy photos. Some iterations of the theme song Think!. A slew of SNL celebrity Jeopardy! clips featuring the legendary Hammond-as-Connery bits. And finally two notable shots of Trebek- Aw yeah baby, “What is sexy muthafucka?” It is what it is.

Dated: 07.17  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Royalty’s all consuming concern for controlled lines of succession and the Church’s all consuming concern for the comings and goings of their flock’s reproductive organs sure did converge to do a number on children born out of wedlock! Poor bastards. Evidently a perusal of Parish registers, especially those prior to the 19th century, are positively awash in irritated euphemisms for bastardy. It dawned on me that some of the more creative among you might wish to utilize these variants when questioning the paternity of your enemies. See below for a short list (each linked, incidentally, to a notable bastard).

Dated: 07.17  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Quote: life on the internet is fleeting, there is a group of history blogs that seem to me to be central to history blogging. I don’t presume to… suggest that they are better than other history blogs that are not on the list. I do mean to say that, without them, history education on the internet would be seriously impoverished. -Ralph E. Luker.

I’d like to offer a heartfelt, albeit slightly belated, thanks to Ralph, of HNN’s Cliopatria blog, for including The Nonist amongst such fine company. You can check out his list of 80 history blogs for yourself here. I must say the thought that my absence might “seriously impoverish” others fills me with a sense of not entirely benevolent power. I imagine standing on a mountain, thunder clapping, while I shout above the din, “Mind your tongues lest I, the great and powerful Nonist, impoverish you! Mwah-ha-ha…” +

Dated: 07.16  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Moonlighting engineers with help from retirees and space enthusiasts plan alternate rocket and moon mission? No it is not the pitch for the newest Joss Whedon series.

Quote: By day, the engineers work on NASA’s new Ares moon rockets. By night, some go undercover to work on a competing design (called Jupiter). These dissenting scientists and their backers insist they have created an alternative rocket that would be safer, cheaper and easier to build than the two Ares spacecraft that will replace the space shuttle.

Jupiter developers say: It’s simpler, more powerful, and would save about 35 billion dollars over two years. Plus, rogue engineers bootstrapping to the moon? Hells yeah. 

NASA says: It’s little more than a sketch on a napkin. It’s not feasible and it won’t work. Now got off the lawn you pesky kids!

I just love this story. Not only for the space-related super-dork intrigue of it all. That we are getting to the point where such things can even be considered is thrilling. Check out the napkin in question-Direct 2.0 for tons of info, images, animations, etc. Also, check out Stephen Metschan’s 2 part story from a couple months back.

Dated: 07.16  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »