Pompeii: Swords-and-Sandals Flop

As a film setting, the town of Pompeii in the first century CE is a lot like the deck of the Titanic in 1912: no amount of special effects or clever script writing is going to save it from the disaster awaiting. As a film, Pompeii has a lot of the former, but precious little of the latter to rescue it. That’s probably why it’s in the … (more–>)

Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

An intriguing possibility was reported on Science Daily this morning: Earth’s last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years — roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal and could drop to … (more–>)

Neolithic site dig uncovers sophisticated structures

A Neolithic site in the Orkney Islands shows our ancestors had sophisticated building skills more than 5,000 years ago. According to a story in The Scotsman, A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought. The archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which is still in its … (more–>)

April, the cruellest month

April, wrote T.S. Eliot in his remarkable poem, The Waste Land, is the “cruellest month.”* And not merely because of the inclement and unsettling weather that seems to mix winter with spring in unpredictable doses. Nor for the necessity of filing one’s taxes before month end, always a painful chore. I started thinking about April while watching the movie, 1911, about the Chinese uprising against the … (more–>)

Culloden and the Family Tree, 267 Years Later

It doesn’t begin with Culloden. History is seldom so neat and precise that a single event can be identified as the start or end of a thing. Rather, Culloden was a hinge, a point at which events changed direction, when the door to the past was closed and one to a very different future opened. You might say it really begins centuries earlier, in the long, … (more–>)

Clawing our way back up the ladder?

In 2006, Moneysense listed Collingwood as the 11th best place to live in Canada. The other ten above us on that list were all major cities. We were the number one town. Mayor Geddes beamed. Today we’re a lot further down the list. Numero 54 to be exact, out of 200. I wrote about that list back in 2011. We plummeted from the giddy heights of … (more–>)

It’s snowing, snowing, snowing…

I was looking outside today as the snow fell in Collingwood (-11C when we awoke, -10C when I first walked my dog…) and thinking of my brother-in-law in England, where they are getting walloped by a Canadian-style winter. He must be perplexed by the weather this week. It’s very Canadian. These pictures are from the Daily Mail, sent in by their readers from all over the … (more–>)

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