The Bicycle of Theseus and the Paradox of Identity

In the fall of 2003, I bought a new bicycle. I wore spandex and those practical (albeit a bit silly) cyclist’s shirts with pockets on the back for snacks. In the years that followed, I rode that bicycle a great deal. While my data are imprecise (my crazy data nerd spreadsheet has all the miles, …

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Water is For Fighting Over, out in paperback tomorrow

Publishing a book is a weird exercise in time shifting. Last fall, I was finishing Science be Dammed, the new Eric Kuhn-John Fleck book, while simultaneously working on a new afterward afterword to Water is for Fighting Over, out in paperback, well, tomorrow. My friends at Island Press helpfully reminded me this morning that it …

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20 years and 5,767 posts on, a thank you note to Inkstain readers

Thanks, y’all, for 20 years of stopping by to read stuff here. There’s a game we used to play back in the day called “googlewhack”. It involved searching for a two-word phrase that was unique – that had never before been catalogued in Google’s even-then-vast archive of humanity’s digital use of written language. We’d stick …

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On the occasion of Inkstain’s 20th birthday, defenestrating the old Town Lodge

.”Defenestration” is the word that stumped me, a linguistic failure that hung over my entire journalistic career. It was a challenge from the late Jim Timmermann, an offhand game in which we’d pick an odd word or phrase and be challenged to get it into the newspaper. A fenestration is, per the Oxford English Dictionary, …

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