Tag Archives: not food

Randall Munroe’s New “What If” Book

New book!

For the second time in a fairly short span, I’m going to push a book at you that is mostly unrelated to cooking, or eating, or politics. I don’t know if you are all aware of Randall Munroe, author of the geeky-chic, totally amazing, thoughtful, incisive, and hilarious XKCD web comic. But if you’re not, you should be. And you should know that he’s writing a book!

Grown-ups, by Randall Munroe

From XKCD, not What If? But the joy of this particular strip expresses some how how I feel about Randall Munroe writing a book.

It’s not an XKCD book, exactly. It is based on his equally thoughtful blog, “What If?” in which he provides serious scientific answers — mostly based in physics — to all kinds of crazy questions that readers send him. My favorite from way back in the blog’s early days is called “Everybody Jump,” and it answers the pressing question: What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?

At any rate, the book is called What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. And you can click on the title to pre-order. Or, if you prefer, Mr. Munroe has some links to where else you can get it over on his website.

Bilingual, Illustrated Tao Te Ching

Not strictly cooking related, but I wanted to point you all in the direction of this edition of the Tao Te ChingPhilip Ivanhoe’s translation — the version that I teach — is a favorite.  But this translation by Gia-Fu Feng looks very promising.  And it comes (in Amazon’s words) with over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao.  I don’t quite know from expressing the vast spirit of the Tao.  But based on what I’ve seen, the photographs are beautiful, and the book may well be worth it just for them.

Massachusetts’ Experiment in Open Debates

The Open Debate Process

So — Massachusetts’ fifth congressional district is throwing a special election.

This in itself isn’t news. Earlier this year, Ed Markey, who had long represented Eastern Massachusetts in the House of Representatives, was elected to the Senate to fill the seat that John Kerry vacated when he was appointed Secretary of State. By law, Governor Deval Patrick has one hundred sixty days to line up a replacement. And so, on December 10, folks in Middlesex, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties will come out, cast votes, and send someone new to the least popular institution in the United States.

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News, Updates, and Miscellany

Good news! And some reminders, too.

The big item of interest — the thing that has driven me to metablogging — is that Elizabeth, author of the Bread and Honey blog and sometime guest blogger here, has agreed to become a regular Twice Cooked contributor. Which means that, beginning in the next couple of weeks, you’ll see her name pop up in the author field somewhat more regularly, unaccompanied by the italicized mini-biography that ordinarily prefaces posts by folks who are not me.

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A View From The Big Easy

A View From the Big Easy

So this happened: I was away at the meetings of the American Folklore Society — in New Orleans, of all places — and well-sheltered from the storm. But Sarah was here in Philadelphia. And from my relative proximity, I had ample opportunity to worry — to imagine her ambling about a heath, blustering, with only […]

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Supporting the Creative Commons

A couple of months ago, I diverged a bit from the light chatter you’ve come to expect here at Twice Cooked to promote a cause — Kiva.org. I contended, as I recall, that as long as I have this tiny soapbox of a web site, and as long as I have (at least some) regular […]

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We’ll Be Right Back, After These Brief Messages …

We'll be right back, after these brief messages

This seems to have become my week off from blogging.  I didn’t intend it.  I just sort of got busy with other things, and haven’t had a whole lot of time to cook or to write.  So I’m going with it. But worry not.  Twice Cooked will be back very soon with lots of new […]

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Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

In addition to grilling asparagus this holiday weekend, and watching Joe Biden deliver some of the most honest, admirable Memorial Day remarks of which I am aware (more on this later — maybe), I had the opportunity to get out of the house and peep about Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. For those who don’t know, […]

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Microlending at Kiva.org

I posted this elsewhere online a couple of weeks ago. But it occurs to me that I ought to mention it here too. Kiva.org — the microlending website — is offering a special while-supplies-last promotion where, if you sign up for an account and start making loans, they’ll give you an extra $25.00 to get […]

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Salem Witch Trials Memorial


I can imagine you all in my mind’s eye — right now, as I write — tapping your collective foot and looking at your collective timepiece, sighing a collective sigh, and proclaiming in a huff: he’s late!. I can also imagine that you haven’t noticed. Not. At. All. Either way, it’s true. I am late […]

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