Story, History, Story

Ann:   Some time ago, I got interested in why European languages so often use the same word for “story” and “history.”  Every English speaker knows that having one word for two such different things — fiction and truth, respectively — is anathema.  But my thinking didn’t go much farther than that, it rarely does.  So […]

The Simplest Answer

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about an old friend of mine named William of Occam. You know the guy I’m talking about, right? Skinny little kid in the monk’s robe who doesn’t say much. Sure you do. Some guys call him “Sharp Willy” or “Billy the Knife.” I’m not sure why, I assume it […]

Storia

Sometimes friends will be over, everybody talking, and one of the little kids will get antsy so I’ll pick up a book and start reading, quietly so as not to disturb conversation. But pretty soon nobody is talking any more, everybody’s listening to Winnie the Pooh and Piglet track the Heffalump.  I’ll bet you can […]

Guest Post: The Top 5 May 20ths Ever

Five years ago today, The Last Word On Nothing was born. I’ve been Googling around, trying to figure out why anniversaries are a thing, but most of what pops up is drivel from couples counselors. Wikipedia offers some facts about Latin names. But what I’m really looking for is why we celebrate anniversaries, why they make us feel so many […]

Redux: Not One More Winter in the Tipi, Honey

This post originally ran July 14, 2011.  NOMWITTH, however, hasn’t changed, not one bit. There are a lot of ways to shrink a carbon footprint. Bike instead of drive. Eat low on the food chain. You know the drill. Where I live, in the boondocks of Colorado, a lot of people — myself included, but […]

The trolley and the psychopath

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A trolley carrying five school children is headed for a cliff. You happen to be standing at the switch, and you could save their lives by diverting the trolley to another track. But there he is – an innocent fat man, picking daisies on that second track, oblivious […]

Behind the Curve

The Keeling Curve—the sawtoothed upward slope of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations—may be the world’s most famous scatter plot. The data that form the curve have been accumulating since the 1950s, when scientist Charles David Keeling set up his instruments at a geophysical observatory high on Mauna Loa, one of the massive volcanoes that form the Big […]