Thoughts, Ideas, Observations
Created by John Bedell


Commonplace Book
On the Dead
China Journal
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Whilton Diptych

From the Commonplace Book

I abhor the dull routine of existence.  I crave for mental exaltation.

--Sherlock Holmes

Recent Additions

Hammars Stone

The Body in the Mound

The editor's newly self-published archaeological mystery, for sale as a kindle download and a print-on-demand paperback.

The White Mughals

Review of a wonderful book about the British in India around 1800, combining romance with historical rigor in a grand way.

A Dance with Dragons

Review of the latest installment in George R.R. Martin's epic Song of Ice and Fire, with thoughts on the whole gigantic project.

Francis Fukuyama's "The Future of History"

Fukuyama once famously proclaimed the end of history. Does he now think history is coming back?

Faith, Error, and the Death Penalty

The cases of Troy Davis and Cameron Todd Willingham show the grave danger posed by prosecutors, judges, and citizens who refuse to face the possibility that they have been very, very wrong. (September, 2011)

Editor's Favorites

Baal Hamon and the Unitarian List of Suggestions

Religion, reason, and sacrifice.

Torture and the Truth

You can see how little truth will come out of "Enhanced Interrogation" by considering the witch trials of the European Renaissance.

Piracy and Life

Meditation on 17th-century piracy as resistance to savage inequality, and how it illustrates the profligate madness of life.

Night Train to Lisbon

Review of a fascinating philosophical novel by Pascal Mercier.

Battersea ShieldInside the Prophet's Hat

The editor ponders his own approach to the world in the light of a story about the prophet of the Ghost Dance.

Taking Anarchism Seriously

Can it be done? I tried.

Science Enchants the World

Knowing more about the archaeology, geology and biology of a small stream valley only makes it more beautiful.