Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sound familiar?

The United States was so polarized that Presidential elections were decided by only a small number of┬ávotes in only about six states. This was the situation in the elections of the late 1800’s. The election of 1896 won by William McKinley was considered a landslide by standards of the day even though the popular vote was still relatively close.

(The Great Courses – The Skeptics to American History)

The Mayflower

The Puritans left England for Leiden in the Netherlands because they were not being tolerated, then they wanted to leave Leiden because they were being tolerated and they were worried that their children would be assimilated in a tolerant society. They were barely a majority on the Mayflower but just enough so they would win any vote among the Pilgrims. When they got to America their contract was for an area near New York instead of where they actually settled in Massachusetts. When the Mayflower arrived in mid November they spent an entire month looking for a spot to settle before they settled near what is now known as Plymouth Rock. It was only months later that they discovered Boston harbor but by then they decided that they had spent too much time and effort on their current location. The coastal areas had no Native Americans because the thousands who had lived there had died from the diseases brought by the Europeans in the previous hundred years.

(Book – Mayflower – Nathaniel Philbrick)

2014 Highlights

Top Books and Great Courses from 2014. There were plenty to choose from but I am going to choose these as my favorites.

Books: ‘John Marshall’ – Jean Edward Smith : ‘The Second World War’ – Winston S. Churchill

Great Courses: ‘Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon’ – CD’s : ‘The World of Biblical Israel’ – CD’s : ‘A New History of Life’ – DVD’s



Nature can do it, why can’t we

Spider webs are made up of a protein called silk. Silk is stronger than steel and more flexible than nylon. There are many companies who are still trying to find a way to manufacture this as a product.

(The Great Courses – Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications)