challenge ideas observations writing

Defusing Confrontation

It’s Indepence Day in the United States. Historian Heather Cox Richardson has a marvelous newsletter to mark the occasion, one that reminds us to live up to our highest ideals in this country, rather than sink into our lowest manifestations of a society. We haven’t been doing a good job of reaching the ideals of life, liberty, equality, or the pursuit of happiness lately. There’s a sliver of people who would rob the majority of…

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action challenge observations

Earth Is Sick of Our Sh!t

In Central Minnesota, we had been having an incredibly mild winter after a couple of serious fall blizzards, after which the temps got so warm that the snow quickly melted. Very little snow fell in December and January. I’d say we only have about a foot of snow on the ground today (February 22, 2021). Our mild winter became bitterly cold for about two weeks in February, with the temps being in the teens and…

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action challenge history observations

We Should All Be Political

I’m writing this post on January 3, 2021, just after an hour-long recording dropped from The Washington Post of Donald Trump trying to pressure Brad Raffensberger, Georgia’s secretary of state, into overturning the presidential election so that Trump could win. I’m writing my posts for January and February early and scheduling them because I’m expecting a lot of work over the next few months. By the time this post publishes at the end of January**,…

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challenge history ideas observations pragmatic historian

A Social Contract of Care and Concern

  I found the above story on Twitter. It is attributed to anthropologist Margaret Mead as told to Ira Byock. It relates how Mead felt that the first sign of civilization within a culture was finding a broken femur that had healed, indicating that someone had taken the time to allow an injured person to heal by protecting and caring for them. It’s an interesting story, though the tweet has since been removed, probably because…

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challenge design history pragmatic historian preservation

From Notre Dame to Yogurt Cups: Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Preservation

This is a post I’ve spent years thinking about. When it comes to historic preservation, the focus tends to be on buildings and structures that are historically or architecturally significant. Through the National Register of Historic Places, there are 4 criteria under which a structure can be nominated: Those … A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or B.That are associated with the…

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