Word of the day


Winkle – a small herbivorous shore-dwelling mollusc with a spiral shell; an small sea snail that is edible; to extract, obtain or remove someone or something with difficulty or effort; to use a lot of effort to get (information) from a person.

Saturday’s smiles


It’s so dry that:

The trees are whistling for the dogs.

The council closed two lanes of the town swimming pool.

When a country town finally got a brief shower it caused quite a commotion.  One of the town’s residents was disturbed by the noise and went outside to see what was happening.  Water falling from the sky was such a shock that the man fainted.  They had to throw two buckets of dust in his face to revive him.

Church leaders have got together to do their part to conserve water.  Until further notice, Baptist churches will baptise  by sprinkling, Methodists will baptise with wet-wipes,  Anglicans will issue rain checks, and Catholics will pray for wine to turn back into water.

Cows are only producing evaporated milk.

Tech progress freed children and women


Technical progress freed children from hard labour:

It’s summertime and across the United States, children are away from school. The custom of long breaks in the school year dates to when most Americans worked in agriculture and often needed their children’s help on the farm. Of course, most children simply didn’t attend school, instead helping with housework and grueling farm labor year-round. In 1820, for example, primary school enrollment in the United States was just over 40 percent. That percentage rapidly shot upward in the coming decades, reaching 100 percent by 1870. But even then, many children didn’t make it past elementary school. In 1870, U.S. mean years of schooling stood at just 4.28. That number has risen steadily ever since. What changed? Technology, for one thing.

In his book Enlightenment Now, Harvard University professor Steven Pinker recounts how technology helped get boys off the farm and into the classroom. He quotes a tractor advertisement from 1921:

“By investing in a Case Tractor and Ground Detour Plow and Harrow outfit now, your boy can get his schooling without interruption, and the Spring work will not suffer by his absence. Keep the boy in school—and let a Case Kerosene Tractor take his place in the field. You’ll never regret either investment.” 

It wasn’t only boys who were helped by technology:

As more farms adopted efficiency-enhancing agricultural devices like kerosene tractors, more boys attended school instead of working the fields. For girls, the huge time savings brought on by labor-saving household devices played a similar role. As running water, electricity, washing machines, and other modern conveniences spread, time spent on housework plummeted. Pinker’s book also contains a telling chart documenting the change.

Most of the work replaced by those technologies had traditionally fallen to mothers—and to their daughters. The time freed up by innovation enabled more girls to attend school.

Washing machines and tractors have accomplished more than just cleaning clothes and ploughing fields. They also freed America’s children to receive an education. . . 

It’s not just American children who were freed from farm and house work.

Domestic appliances which reduce the burden of housework have made it easier for women to work outside the home.

Whether they’ve also made the sharing of domestic chores between men and women more equal is debatable.

Understanding and caring



Understanding other people’s points of view is a sign of caring and contrary to popular opinion that the left are more caring, research shows people on the right understand those on the left better than the left understand those to the right of them.

Conservatives and moderates understand liberals better than liberals understand them.

Those who identified as “very liberal” performed notably worse than anyone else.

Via The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion:

In a study I did with Jesse Graham and Brian Nosek, we tested how well liberals and conservatives could understand each other. We asked more than two thousand American visitors to fill out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out normally, answering as themselves. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as they think a “typical liberal” would respond. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as a “typical conservative” would respond. This design allowed us to examine the stereotypes that each side held about the other. More important, it allowed us to assess how accurate they were by comparing people’s expectations about “typical” partisans to the actual responses from partisans on the left and the right.  Who was best able to pretend to be the other?

The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal.”

Does this add credence to my belief that many liberals really aren’t very liberal because their ideology and insistence on seeing everything as political  closes their minds and, at times, their hearts?



Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Life’s not fair. It never was, it isn’t now, and it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the trap, the entitlement trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not. – Michael McConaughey

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