Month: October 2016

Medieval Manorial System


Less than 3% of the United States labor force works in farming or farming-related occupations, yet that small percentage of the American population feeds most of the population of the country with a lot of surplus to export to feed other parts of the world.

Image result for image of feudalismThis is in stark contrast to life in the Middle Ages. It is estimated that between 80 to 90% of Europe’s population lived on the land and devoted all their time to the production of food. The remaining 10 to 20% of the population was engaged in various small and relatively simple trades and crafts in the towns, providing personal services to the nobility, or were Catholic Church clergy.

Throughout most of Medieval Europe, agriculture was organized around the manorial system. The local social units revolved around the residence of the “Lord,” who owned all the land and ruled over its use and the people…

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Goodreads giveaway – Asante’s Gullah Journey


Asante’s Gullah Journey will be offered as a signed paperback version for a Goodreads giveaway on October 13 through October 27th. This giveaway is available for Goodreads users in the United States and Canada. The story is about Beneda, a Gullah farmer and Asante an African scout for the Libraries, in the future world without technology.


Spear Thrower

A spear thrower is a simple tool that allows the user to throw a spear further than by hand alone. It is a small length of wood with a hook in the end that fits into a notch in the back of the spear. The extra power and distance gained by the thrower is due to the extra leverage it gives.

I cut a small branch with a minor branch coming off the side. I shaped the minor branch into a spur to fit into the end of the spear. The thrower was about 65 cm long.For the spear, I cut a thin sapling approximately 2 m long and about 1.5 cm thick. I carved a cup in the end of the spear for the spur to fit into. Then I bound the back of the spear with bark fiber to prevent the wood from splitting. The head of the…

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The Care and Keeping of Notebooks: A Reading List

The Care and Keeping of Notebooks: A Reading List


I found my favorite notebook—a red Moleskine, narrow-ruled, hardback—at the Harvard Book Store while on vacation. I liked its bold color. Someone had bent the front cover, giving it a well-worn look and earning me a 10% discount from the kind bookseller. I felt relief. My anxious handwriting and endless to-do lists would not be the first things to mar my new notebook. Someone had already done me that courtesy. Now there was nothing to fret about; I could write in peace.

1. “Why Startups Love Moleskines.” (David Sax, The New Yorker, June 2015)

Distraction-free, tried-and-true: the notebook remains, even in the tech-saturated realm of Silicon Valley.

The notion that non-digital goods and ideas have become more valuable would seem to cut against the narrative of disruption-worshipping techno-utopianism coming out of Silicon Valley and other startup hubs, but, in fact, it simply shows that technological evolution isn’t linear. We may eagerly adopt new…

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