Blog Profile / The Edge of the American West

Filed Under:History / US History
Posts on Regator:493
Posts / Week:1.7
Archived Since:April 9, 2010

Blog Post Archive


Montgomery County weather alert included the following: If you must drive, please use extreme caution and allow plenty of breaking distance as pavement conditions remain unfavorable. Yes.

The Man In The Arena

Teddy Roosevelt, 1910: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose...Show More Summary

Niall Ferguson, Redux

I would like to offer translations of parts of Niall Ferguson’s recent blog post. This: In any case, our 2010 letter did not make a prediction about inflation. What we said was: The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment. Show More Summary

Everything Was New Once

A random tweet My toddler does not understand that all media isn't on demand. He has always been able to get any song/show any time on any gadget. — Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) December 2, 2013 led to a snarky response on my part: My [daughter/son] has always been able to [insert cool new technology ten years ago]. Show More Summary


My beloved ordered a new phone last night, including the chance to inscribe something on its back. The choice wasn’t completely unlimited, however: This, of course, led to 10 minutes of trying different, NSFW things, and some giggling (or dignified chuckling on my part). Yes, we are ten years old.

Fun with Numbers

Shorter Jonathan Haber: If I just make numerical assumptions as favorable as possible, I can get a MOOC class completion rate up to 48%: Using the number Coursera sent him of “Total Registered Students” (i.e., the number of people who hit the Enroll button) as a denominator does indeed give you a completion percentage of 5 percent. Show More Summary

Snatching The Victuals From The Table, Or, The Munich Of The Middle East

Piece of Paper “The German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.” Winston Churchill, October 5, 1938. Bret Stephens, at the Wall Street Journal, writes a…well…basically loses his mind: After World War II the U.S. Show More Summary

Wait, What? You Can’t Have Poor People Doing This!

Sebastian Thrun, he of the MOOC evangelism: The way Fast Company has it, Thrun chucks those San Jose State students under the self-driving Google car faster than he chugs up a hill on his custom-made road bike, leaving a panting MaxShow More Summary


The New York Times surveyed 7000 college freshman on their knowledge of history and geography. They did not know that much: The students have but a faint idea of the geographical formation of this country. They place Portland, Ore on the Mississippi River, and St. Show More Summary

Parental Interference

Jill Silos-Rooney talks about the “The Problem We’re Afraid To Name:” parental interference in schools. In recent years, I’ve had to deal with parents much more frequently than I ever imagined I would have to as a college professor.Show More Summary

The Greek Chorus Of Junk Mail

Random excerpts from the junk mail I’ve received today: Barack Obama May Be Finished Friday! Hang A Bunch is a 6-in-1 hanger that creates up to 600% more space in your closet. Organize your tops, jeans, dresses, and more;Donating-a-car...Show More Summary

War To End All Wars

As a followup to yesterday’s post, I went and searched on “war to end all wars” in Google Ngrams. The result was somewhat surprising: The usage of “war to end all wars,” which I had usually taken to refer to the Great War, and (at least...Show More Summary

The Great War, Changing Names

The war of 1914-1918 has been known by two main names after it ended: the Great War, and World War I. This is what it looks like as the name changed, abruptly in 1939-41: A small thing, but interesting.

Inner Lincoln

(Guest post! David Fitzpatrick is back, with more words of wisdom) I am a military historian by training though my graduate coursework at the University of Michigan included a heavy dose of American history. Because I teach at a community college, however, my teaching load is heavy on the “bread and butter” U.S. Show More Summary

11 am on 11/11/18

Old men and women in corners, With tears falling fast on their cheeks Robert Graves, “Armistice Day, 1918?

Mi·nu·ti·ae – The Small, Precise, Or Trivial Details Of Something

Unskewed Things Michael Kinsley remarks on in his review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: Big words; excrement; umbrage politics; jargon; campaign journalists; trivial reporting; professional consultants; vomit; gaffes; horse-race reporting. Show More Summary

There Are More Ligaments In Heaven And Earth, Horatio, Than Are Dreamt Of In Your Philosophy

Especially in the knee: Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have provided the first full anatomical description of a previously enigmatic ligament in the human knee. The ligament appears to play an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Show More Summary


Obama’s reelection team thought about replacing Biden on the ticket with Hillary: President Obama’s top aides secretly considered replacing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2012 ticket, undertaking extensive focus-group sessions and polling in late 2011 when Mr. Show More Summary

Do Not Read Each Other’s Mail

Henry Stimson David Kurtz, writing for Talking Points Memo, quotes Dianne Feinstein: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declares: “Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country...Show More Summary

Smallpox for Syphilis And A Disease To Be Named Later

Treatment of a Syphilitic Couple with Mercury Balm, 15th Century The Europeans brought smallpox with them, and the Americans gave them syphilis. Or so it appears: A study published in 2011 has systematically compared these European skeletons, using rigorous criteria for bone diagnosis and dating. Show More Summary

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