The National Geographic has written up the Great British Beaver Debate over here.
The splendid Cath Levett, who does graphicksy things for tehgraun, recently produced this excellent height chart, which she called ‘possibly the most satisfying graphic I’ve ever produced’:
This of course immediately reminded me of this earlier attempt at the same kind of thing, from The Times in 2007, which has featured before at the Virtual Stoa:
Good height charts are terribly satisfying.
Since I seem to have fallen back into a habit–goodness knows how long it will last–of posting here in a low-key way, here are three links to pages through which you can get to the audio files of talks I’ve given over the last few months and years that have found their way on-line, in case anyone is interested.
17 February 2011: ‘Why secular liberals need Roman Catholics (and Marxists)‘, a talk at ‘Republicanism and Religion: a colloquium in memory of Emile Perreau-Saussine’, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
19 February 2014: ‘Towards a new, gendered history of property-owning democracy‘, a lunchtime Sussex University Lecture in Intellectual History.
15 May 2014: ‘Bees, Ants and Beavers in European Political Thought‘, an informal talk given to the King’s College Apicultural Society in Cambridge.
A writer may tell me that he thinks man will ultimately become an ostrich. I cannot properly contradict him. But before he can expect to bring any reasonable person over to his opinion, he ought to shew, that the necks of mankind have been gradually elongating; that the lips have grown harder and more prominent; that the legs and feet are daily altering their shape; and that the hair is beginning to change into stubs of feathers. And till the probability of so wonderful a conversion can be shewn, it is surely lost time and lost eloquence to expatiate on the happiness of man in such a state; to describe his powers, both of running and flying; to paint him in a condition where all narrow luxuries would be contemned; where he would be employed only in collecting the necessaries of life; and where, consequently, each man’s share of labour would be light, and his portion of leisure ample.
(T. R. “Bob” Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1st ed. , pp. 11-12)
Country music (including but not limited to Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, and its relationship to suicide) — Marxism — The war in Iraq — The case the British government made for the war in Iraq — Media coverage of the war in Iraq — Differences between British and American media coverage of the war in Iraq — Dead socialists (including the question of whether or not Paul Sweezy was in fact dead: he wasn’t when we began corresponding on the question, but later he was) — Favourite novels — University admissions — Boycotts of Israelis — Blog technology issues — The paradox of democracy — Paul “The Thinker” Richards — Defamation law — French headscarves laws — International rugby partisanship — New Zealand and whether it is a dull country — Amnesty International — Italian anti-war demonstrations — Christopher Hitchens — The precise distance from Boulder, CO to Birmingham, AL — My Normblog Profile — The number of Red Sox supporters who have Normblog profiles — Where the Wild Things Are — Bob Dylan — Favourite films — A Mighty Wind — Nashville — Joan Baez — George W. Bush — The Hutton Inquiry — Lucio Colletti — Why the film Life is Beautiful is so terrible — The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Mobile telephones — Cricket — The various ways in which my students used to pronounce the name “Geras” — Rock stars — Exam marking — Arnold Lobel and his Mouse Tales — The Butler report — The Campo de’ Fiori in Rome — Shakespeare plays — Obnoxious right-wing writers (including Mark Steyn and Andrew Bolt) — American airport security checks — Terrorist threats — Socialist Register — The 2004 US Presidential election — Baseball — Visiting Oxford — Thomas Hobbes — Roman libraries — Classical composers (especially Schubert) — Jokes about rational choice theorists — The Tour de France — Etienne Balibar — Favourite actors — The excellence of kittens (and, more generally, cats) — American street names — Wendy Cope — Footnotes in Capital — Umpiring — Passport applications — Margaret Thatcher’s resignation — Margaret Thatcher’s poetry — Jews for Justice for Palestinians — Chavez and anti-Semitism — Academic plagiarism — David Aaronovitch as marathon runner — x-RCP front organisations — Robert Wokler — Academic jobs — Musicals — Australia — The rubbish-collection regime in Oxford — Tony Judt — Whether or not the Euston Manifesto was part of a “common, hysterical defense of the Anglo-Dutch financial system, and their permanent right to loot the economies of the world” — American practices of memorialization on campus — Flooding in Oxford — The Beatles — Jerry Cohen’s valedictory lecture — The New Left Review — Loyalty oaths — A Dance to the Music of Time — Merton College, Oxford — Visiting Manchester — Critical opinions about America — Puzzles involving marbles — Traffic robots — The Beach Boys — Tony Blair’s relationship with God — Bernard-Henri Levy looking funny in photographs — Authorisations to use military force — John Stuart Mill on international intervention — The Eurovision Song Contest — Adam Smith — Nick Cohen’s views about torture — Alfred Hitchcock films — The thorny question of whether seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was on drugs — The problems of travelling between Oxford and Cambridge.
Biggest regret? In July 2004, Norm wrote, “Might you have an interest in watching a Test or some part of one with me?”, and I never took him up on the suggestion.
His final words of the correspondence, from the start of this month: “My own care from the NHS has been exemplary.”
The Virtual Stoa has been down for a few weeks. Sorry about that: the WordPress installation came under some kind of sustained attack, the hosting company took it down, and I only just heard what I had to do to get it back up again. Not that it matters much–there has been so little fresh content recently.
However! I think we can now mark the Return of the Stoa with some pictures of Astrid the Baby Rhino, from our visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park the other day. Astrid is a smashing baby rhino, and the Park’s first.
This is Astrid, with her mother Nancy (who was named by David Cameron, the local MP, after his daughter).
Astrid, the star of the show, aged about six weeks. Apologies for not getting the bump on the nose where the horn will grow into focus.
Astrid, having a feed (I think).
Roxy! Not a rhino, but a five-day old baby camel. (When the photo was taken, she was nameless. But she now has a name, and not one from David Cameron.)
I haven’t posted here over the last couple of weeks–life has been dominated instead by an attempt to go on holiday to the Orkney Islands, which was thwarted by the fact that Ptolemy–wounded, bandaged, confined-indoors Ptolemy–managed to escape from our house shortly after we got to Orkney, prompting us to turn round, head back South, and try to find him and persuade him to come home.
The good news is that he came home early on Monday morning, after a week spent living rough. He was quite a bit thinner and, relatedly, extremely hungry.
We worked out pretty quickly that he hadn’t really run away, but was still hanging around on what one might generously call his territory, and we were able to negotiate a series of dusk meetings on neutral ground–in the car-park by the flats on Victor Street–where we gave him food and, on one occasion, were permitted to stroke him. (He came home the following morning.)
Our neighbours were terrific, phoning in sightings and generally taking an interest and being supportive. And he seems to have removed his bandage mid-week, which was a sensible move, as getting it wet or dirty could have been very bad for his injury underneath.
The photo is of him resting at home on the day he returned. Since the picture was taken, he’s been bandaged up again by the vet, and reacclimatised himself to life indoors, for a bit. He’s still eating more than usual, and I think he’s regained the weight he lost (poor thing). (Having observed him closely these last few days, I am confident that he does not subscribe to the maxim widely attributed to Kate Moss, that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.) Andromache is being tremendously solidaristic.
And it is just excellent to have him back at home, where (we think) he belongs
So it turns out poor Ptolemy has a fractured metatarsal in his right-hind-paw, and will be indoors and bandaged up for the next month or so. Happily, he doesn’t have to wear a Stupid Plastic Cone–at least not initially: he’s shown no interest in trying to remove the bandage, and I hope things stay that way. And he’s generally being heroic and good tempered about the situation, which can’t be much fun for him. Good cat.