Links from the last week

(Abbreviated because a lot of traveling meant I did less reading – you can always follow me on Twitter for life as it happens.)

1. New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did

Around A.D. 79, Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote in his Naturalis Historia that concrete structures in harbors, exposed to the constant assault of the saltwater waves, become “a single stone mass, impregnable to the waves and every day stronger.”

And it’s true (for Roman concrete)… how about that.

2. I pray to be a “mystic patriot”; I hope you do too.

Your semi-regular reminder that somehow, a century ago, G.K. Chesterton knew everything our modern age would need to hear and wrote it all down.

One must somehow find a way of loving the world without trusting it; somehow one must love the world without being worldly.

3. Alistair Roberts on gender-as-given v. gender-as-performance

Just a Twitter thread, sorry, you’ll have to keep scrolling down.  Generally though, if you don’t read Alistair’s blog, perhaps you should.

4. DNR confirms cougar sighting in Clinton County

Mainly a local story for me but – whoa, there is at least one cougar in mid-Michigan.  The article implies there haven’t been cougars here for a century.  Where did it come from?

This week brought to you by fireworks over Lansing, Michigan last night.

DSC00242.jpg

G.K. Chesterton on the difficulty in defending a philosophy

What follows is a great quotation from chapter VI of Orthodoxy.  Every time I want to share it with someone I cannot find it, concisely, anywhere on the internet.  Therefore I am putting it here!

It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it. But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, “Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?” he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, “Why, there is that bookcase . . . and the coals in the coal-scuttle . . . and pianos . . . and policemen.” The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.

There is, therefore, about all complete conviction a kind of huge helplessness.

The book is highly recommended.