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Author: Claire

Indy-Pindy: The Liberty Mouse

“In a warm little burrow, deep in the ground, a family of mice had a baby. His name was Indy-Pindy.” By the end of the first page of Kent McManigal’s new children’s book, young Indy-Pindy, The Liberty Mouse, has left his comfy burrow and set off, in the grand style of old-fashioned adventures, to make his way in the world. The first creature he meets is a snake who soothingly assures Indy that he doesn’t need that thorn he picked up as a weapon. “I’m here to help you,” smiles sneaky-snaky Gub. And that gives you a pretty good introduction…

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Monday Miscellany

Here’s a small collection of stuff I’ve picked up or thoughts I’ve thunk during the last week. This might become a regular feature. Or not. 🙂 An astute observer dropped this into the comments on a census post this morning: “Don’t Trust the Census.” Maybe you knew that so-called “confidential” census data was used to round up Japanese-Americans during World War II. Did you know that General Sherman — he of the unpunished “civil” war crimes — used census data in his genocidal march to the sea? The virtues of adversity. I mentioned the heroic Sister Kenny in my recent…

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Even kaleidoscope artists are freeing themselves

I’m on a couple of listservs for kaleidoscope builders and collectors. Yes, every tiny interest group has a list these days. In fact, the kaleidoscope world even has its own membership society, which holds regular conventions. As you might guess, it’s been hard times for kaleidoscopes the last few years, as it has for arts and luxuries in general, so the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society has cut its conventions from annual to bi-annual. One of those rare conventions is coming up and people on the lists are talking about whether they’ll be there or not. “Or not” seems to be a…

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A question for you: Movies about inspirational people

Somebody asked me yesterday whether I still write movie reviews for the print version of Backwoods Home. Officially, I do (Dave willing). But as a practical matter, I ran out of family-friendly, English-language films of interest to a rural audience a long time ago. P.T., the person who asked the question, hoped I would review biopix of inspiring people — particularly women. Thought that was a great idea. With two reservations. First, most recent biopix (aside from often being about dissolute folk who wouldn’t be welcome on many backwoods homesteads) are just giant mess-blobs. Take movies like “Ray” and “La…

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New level of search privacy

Dr. Katherine Albrecht — who is as beautiful as she is intelligent and (I can personally testify) as kind as she is gorgeous* announces via YouTube a new level of search-engine privacy to debut this [now LAST] Thursday. The search engine she represents, StartPage (aka IXQuick in Europe), already bills itself as the world’s most privacy-respecting. This week it adds a proxy service to, “… revolutionize the way people surf the web by allowing completely anonymous access to virtually any page on the web. … We are upping the ante by allowing users to privately visit the websites they find…

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More on the census and GPS tagging

In today’s earlier post on the census, I mentioned that, starting last year, census workers have been sent out to record the GPS coordinates of every residence in the U.S. Some people were surprised by that. So here are a pair of backgrounders. The first is totally mainstream — an NPR article from 2006 extolling the planned GPS program and mentioning its potentially “life-saving” virtues. (Although it does note, too, that private companies and others would sure like to get their hands on all that juicy data.) The second is a more recent, more speculative, and more alarmist piece from…

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The census and the death of civil society

One more reason to resist the census, courtesy of that great thinker and great lady, Wendy McElroy. One way in which civil society breaks down — and social engineering ascends — is by making individuals turn against each other so that the peaceful activities of my neighbor are seen as harmful to me. Most of the current arguments for participation in the American census are based on the idea that my desire for privacy damages society. How? Last year one of my acquaintances was thrilled to get a job doing preliminary census work (e.g. GPS tagging other people’s homes). She…

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Money and “The perfect is the enemy of the good”

The other day, I noodled about that famous Voltaire quote. While googling the phrase, I came across series of 14 articles on the Get Rich Slowly site. (The ninth article in the series is “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.”) Since avoiding unnecessary debt and financial dependency are among the basics of living free, I thought I’d toss the series to you for a read. It’s filled with solid advice even if you don’t aim to get rich, slowly, quickly, or any other way. In fact, the last article in the series is “It’s more important to be…

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