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Showing posts from April, 2012

Year Zero

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I received a new book to review on Friday. It's coming out in early July and was written by Rob Reid, the fellow that founded Listen.com (which in turn founded Rhapsody) and is filthy rich as a result. Why he's still working is beyond me but I guess you have to have something to do with your time and he decided to write the book Year Zero---and I'm glad he did.

How's this for a concept: The Earth is about to be destroyed in order to keep the rest of the Galaxy from going bankrupt due to all the fines other species owe from illegally downloading human music.

That is, of course, very reminiscent of Doug Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, and intentionally so.  I've just started the book but it holds a lot of promise.

I should finish this in a couple of days and I'll let you know what I think. In the meantime, listen to a lot of music while you still can. Those aliens are about to destroy the world!

Domesday

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I'm continuing to read the book 1215 and it's really fascinating

The historic events or items that were involved with the Magna Carta signing are usually familiar to me but my depth of knowledge about them generally aren't very deep.

The Domesday Book is a prime example of this. The picture to the left is an excerpt from one of the pages. You can see examples of passages and even full pages by going to this address.

I've seen mentions of the Domesday Book here and there for most of my life but I never really knew what it was. Usually I see it mentioned relating to census data---how many people were alive in this or that year.


This is the format of the page that you'll see.

The Domesday Book is the record of the great survey of much of England that was conducted in 1085-1086 on the authority of William the Conqueror. He wanted the survey done so he'd know how much royal revenue would be available and how dependable it would be.

To do this King William sent peop…

When is forest not forest?

I'm reading this book titled 1215. Pretty snazzy title, huh?

In it the authors give the background of why the Magna Carta had the conditions within it that it did. For example the kings of England had long exploited both commoners and nobles alike by claiming large amounts of land as Royal Forest (which didn't mean that the king necessarily owned the land, but it did mean that other people could not legally hunt large game (mainly deer and boar) on the land). People that hunted deer and wild pigs on Royal Forest were subject to large fines and possible mutilation---taking out eyes and testicles was a colorful punishment.

This definition of forest is interesting because you'll often hear about how much deforestation has occurred in England in the past 800 years. Back in 1200 over one third of England was forested, y'know? But that is because of all the land declared "forest" by the king which was actually plowed fields and even villages. So the belief that the…