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Zeno’s Tax Paradox

I wrote a short article for, the website of the Foundation for Economic Education.  

Reading an unreadable copy of a microfilmed newspaper

 I’ve shown y’all some examples before of difficult historical handwriting. This is the digitized version of the microfilm copy of the 1859 Pella Gazette  (in Iowa). It’s about politics. I’m reading hours of this stuff and its like listening to a record that is 50% static. At least it is in English. There is plenty […]

Book Event – Netherlands East Indies

I’m hosting a book event this Thursday for Fred Borch, a historian who has written a new book on war crimes of the Japanese in the Netherlands East Indies (when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony). I’ll be serving as the interviewer/ moderator for the discussion. More information about the event is here:

German Handwriting in Rockingham County, Virginia

Literacy was power, and those who could read and write were able to hold political office, interpret legal documents, participate more readily in the marketplace, and stay informed of news from beyond the valley. Periodical subscriptions in the valley were limited to an elite audience, and the “nonsubscribing masses” were therefore dependent on these elites […]

Historic Inscriptions in the Shenandoah Valley

In the thousands of names and dates inscribed on the walls of Virginia’s Grand Caverns I see a giant puzzle, a sort of tapestry of American culture, two hundred years in the making. Some names, dating as early as 1808, were engraved in the form of type-set letters, the red walls carefully scarred to reveal […]

On Female Vikings and Voynich Translations

(I know what you are thinking: what an unoriginal article for a blog post. There must be hundreds of articles online with the same title.) The internet has the potential to magnify new historical discoveries. A new piece of evidence or a new theory can quickly leap from historical journals and magazines into popular social […]

A doorway to the past

When  I bought my house a year ago, I inherited a barn full of old materials. Some of these I suspect came from a house that stood on the neighboring property from between circa 1840 and 1920. The house is a bit of a mystery because there is almost no sign of its existence. The […]