Posts Tagged ‘history’


January 19, 2009

Juan Cole’s Informed Comment

Juan Cole’s insights into events in the Middle East and the Islamic world are informed by his deep knowledge of their languages, culture and politics. He reads and understands the Arabic language media and often can correct the simplistic picture of events presented in the American press. He is a professor of History at the University of Michigan and his historical perspective is at its most incisive today in showing the complex links between Martin Luther King, African colonialism and Barack Obama.


Killer App

January 13, 2009

Dan Bricklin

Slashdot today links to John Dvorak on the the 30th Anniversary of VisiCalc, the original computer spreadsheet program. When Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston created VisiCalc for the Apple II in 1979, it was, as Robert X. Cringely noted,

the last element required to turn the microcomputer from a hobbyist’s toy into a business machine.

In retrospect,  it was an astonishing invention. 27,520 bytes of code, running in 32k of RAM, it was about one-thousandth the size of the current version of Excel and had about 90%  of the functionality most people use today. Dan Bricklin offers a free download for Windows PCs.

One egg

January 12, 2009

The Orwell Diaries

George Orwell’s daily diary entries from seventy years ago (beginning after the publication of Homage to Catalonia) have followed him from England to Morocco, where he was convalescing from his wounds in the Spanish Civil War.  He comments on politics, of course, but also on farming techniques, wildlife and weather.

For the past few dozen entries, he has been obsessing about the number of eggs his flock of Moroccan hens are laying each day. The many commenters have started to mirror his monomania.