Linkfest 2022-02-11: OG Conan

Voidpunk: The Original Conan Stories of Robert E. Howard

The three illustrated volumes of Conan the Barbarian [Amazon link] published by Random House were my literary introduction to both Conan and Howard’s work in general. I highly recommend these volumes. I mentioned these in another Linkfest three years ago.

Here’s a beautiful passage from Howard himself, as quoted by Patrice Louinet in his introduction:

In writing these yarns I’ve always felt less as creating them than as if I were simply chronicling his adventures as he told them to me. That’s why they skip about so much, without following a regular order. The average adventurer, telling tales of a wild life at random, seldom follows any ordered plan, but narrates episodes widely separated by space and years, as they occur to him.

This Twitter thread looks at the decline of the quality of Google search results in the last decade. My past observation is that everybody really useful has been compartmented off into other parts of the organization, and Alphabet just milks Google Search for revenue. If this keeps up, eventually they will get taken by a competitor, but market dominance takes a while to erode.

Pillar Catholic: The Circus Priest

The Pillar interviews a priest who ministers to circus performers, something the Catholic Church has done for 100 years in the United States.

A Twitter thread on the mountain Cherokees who fought for the Confederacy.

If you know where to look Twitter can be one of the best sources of fascinating tidbits of history.

With Both Hands: Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium

Some really fundamental results in science are really simple. But that isn’t quite the same as easy to understand.

Jabba from Forgotten Ruin, mini created by Mitch Greathouse

What might the Heroine’s Journey look like in literature?

Heroine’s Journey has 3 parts:
-transgression of important rule -> descent into Chaos
-quest for knowledge (not power), and performing tasks that create order
-rescue back to the world, or self-sacrifice

I haven’t yet read the follow-up stories to C. L. Moore’s “Black God’s Kiss”, but I would be interested to see if they follow this sequence. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away [Amazon link] absolutely follows this sequence.

The Long View: The Demoralization of Society From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values

Educated people in England and America around the year 1900 believed in social progress because they had experienced it. In England, where our statistics are best, crime and illegitimacy rates at the time Queen Victoria died in 1901 had fallen by about half from their mid-nineteenth century high. Public drunkenness became rare and alcoholism ceased to be an accepted fact of private life. Literacy became nearly universal, sanitation and diet improved at every level of society. People put great effort into staying clean, and governments built infrastructure that enormously increased the availability of water to common people. Wages nearly doubled in a generation. The entire adult male population was enfranchised. Married women gained control over their own property. All this happened while large towns became sprawling cities and severe financial panics periodically shook the economy.