Musings

Nerves, Remakeries, and a Very Cold Case

This is a link round-up of articles I ran across that look interesting. The first one is actually related to why I do link round-ups… and it’s not just because I’m too tired to think straight by the time I get home at night!

Derek Lowe’s column is one of my daily reads, but I really love his point on this topic – it’s good for us to take the time to read a lot and to read outside of the narrow subjects we studied/work on.

One thing, though, that goes unspoken in such discussions is that the person doing the reading has to have the energy, the time, and the mental organization and memory to make this work. These variables are not independent – if you are organized enough and energetic enough to read deeply in the literature, you probably already have many of the qualities needed to succeed in research, and that can’t then be put down to just your reading habits. But organization and making time for things is not some innate skill – they’re learned, and they can be practiced. The flip side is that if you work on being able to keep up with interesting literature, you’ll be acquiring habits and skills that will help you in the rest of your research, even if you don’t come across something that solves some huge problem in it.

So what on earth, are you wondering, is a remakery?

Well, basically it’s a repair shop, where you learn how to repair everyday items. I like the idea, very much. I think that everyone should know how to do things. I’m not sure this is a perfect solution, but it’s very interesting, and I want to find something like it for my kids to learn skills from. As well as coaxing the First Reader into teaching them things like soldering.

Some mysteries will never be solved…

Archaeologists know howdunnit, but there’s never going to be a ‘who’ or a ‘why’ with a 5500 year-old corpse.  On the other hand, it makes for so many stories that could be spun off into what exactly happened to cruelly end a young man’s life. As a writer, it’s intriguing.

Nerve Gas Assassination?

Also as a writer, not to mention my professional interest, this caught my eye. The assassination of a dictator’s half brother by two women using a very nasty nerve agent reads like something straight out of a thriller. Not mentioned in this article is that the women were struck down by it, as well, making them very ill but not killing them. What a risk to take! I can’t help but think they didn’t know what the consequences to their persons would be when they were given this assignment.

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