A Plethoric Cyclopedia of Links

Or, Why Not Blog and Be Sick at the Same Time


Your devoted correspondent has of late been sidetracked by a nasty bout of bilious fever (never eat a salad at Chipotle!), preventing trips to both the Archives and the Intertubes. However, because I do not wish you, my kind and gentle readers, to be deprived of my avatarial presence for too long, please enjoy the following random links in lieu of more developed musings:

  • Sterling Fluharty, at Cliopatria, asked a really good question the other day: “Who Reads History Books?” His proposed method of finding out, using Amazon and a method poached from social scientists, strikes me as a good start. Anyone with the expertise that could help a fellow historian? Also, his post reminds me of how terrible the commenting mechanism over at Cliopatria is (so terrible). MoveableType anyone? WordPress? please? Goodness.
  • If you love Kate Beaton (and I know you do), allow me to recommend the lovely work of Sydney Padua who’s in the midst of doing a great alt-history series on Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage.The comics are longer-form, and the drawing a bit more detailed, and so actually a bit more in the style of someone like Dylan Meconis more than Beaton; but in any case, who can resist a story that name checks Martin Van Buren, the panic of 1837, and the Duke of Wellington and his horse? Not I; and neither you. You may want to start with the origin story. (h/t)
  • Sean Safford has a fascinating post, over at OrgTheory, about the possible consequences of Penske’s purchase of Saturn. Safford argues that the shift that Penske could be initiating is from a “producer-driven” commodity chain to a “buyer-driven” one — basically shifting the auto industry into the same sort of model that governs most other industries now (think: computers, sneakers, etc). This is the clearest statement about this deal that I’ve heard, and should be of interest to all students of American capitalism (of which this blog hopes/purports to be, in part). It might mean that the M-form corporation is finally, and completely, dead. That could have consequences…
  • This is a bit of old(ish) news, but Caleb Crain, Lingua Franca alum, generally great reviewer and correspondent of many a tony publication, and proprietor of the excellent blog Steamboats are Ruining Everything, has recently (self) published a dead-tree version of his best posts, titled The Wreck of the Henry Clay. He also had an interesting talk about the process of turning a blog into a book over at the New Yorker. The book is on my to-read list, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Finally, on a note that at least touches on the steampunk vibe that partly animates this establishment: there is robot unemployment in Japan.

Image cite: Balakov, “Everyone loves kites,” Flickr, CC License

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