A Nineteenth Century Moment!

Is it just us here at the Thoreau You Don't Know or does it feel as if we are having a Nineteenth Century Moment? Thoreau, by the way, was critiquing farming methods when he wrote Walden. At the time, farms were growing less for local customers and more for people out of town, which he thought was a bad idea. (On the other hand, he exported pencils, until German competitors caused him to shift to graphite.) Anyway, look here:

Above is the photo from a recent Times report, below a photo seen on your number one Victorian clothing web site.

But wait--why stop?

Wildlife Patterns

From the Journal Human Nature, via Eric Etheridge's wordblog, The Thoreau You Don't Know notes this wildlife research:
This study investigated the use of mobile telephones by males and females in a public bar frequented by professional people. We found that, unlike women, men who possess mobile telephones more often publicly display them, and that these displays were related to the number of men in a social group, but not the number of women. This result was not due simply to a greater number of males who have telephones: we found an increase with male social group size in the proportion of available telephones that were on display. Similarly, there was a positive relationship between the number of visible telephones and the ratio of males to females. Our results further show that the increased display of telephones in groups with more males is not due to the ostensive function of these devices (i.e., the making and receiving of calls), although single males tended to use their phones more. We interpret these results within the framework of male-male competition, with males in larger group sizes functioning in an increasingly competitive environment. This competitive environment is suggested to be akin to a lek mating system in which males aggregate and actively display their qualities to females who assess males on a number of dimensions. We suggest that mobile telephones might be used by males as an indicator of their status and wealth (sensu �cultural ornaments�).

Photo Library of Congress


Click here for a bottle neck story that includes this line: "Researchers say there was a thirty percent drop in traffic congestion last year, the likely result of higher gas prices and higher unemployment." The story is about bottlenecks, not bottleneck slide guitar playing, seen below:


In the Times today, the mayor's plan to cut out traffic from Times Square is leaked, as is this from Thoreau's Journal, 1857:
... in the distant woods or fields, in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related, and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer. I come home to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home. I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are, grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every day about half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it.

Go feet (Photo NYPL.)