Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday Morning Meander - just a dash of this and that

Just browsing this morning, looking through my blog list. I enjoy its diversity.

Over on Geocurrents, The Geography of Happiness—According to Twitter reminded me of Winton Bates. The post reports on an attempt to measure relative happiness across the US through a statistical analysis of happy and sad words included in tweets. As an aside, I don't go to Geocurrents as often as I used to because of download problems. It's a very hungry blog that can crash my system.

Randy McDonald is a Canadian blogger with eclectic interests but a special focus on demography. He has a particular focus on the impact of falling birthrates and the consequent aging of populations. I don't always agree with his economic analysis, but he certainly educates me. As examples, consider these recent pieces on Bulgaria (Three notes on historical patterns of migration from Bulgaria) and Portugal (The Great Portuguese Hollowing Out). They are relevant to a current thread in my own thinking, the choice that Australia made to again become an open migrant country. I say again, because at the end of the Second World War Australia had ceased to be a migrant society; over 90% of the popPersecution_of_witchesulation was locally born.

The idea of sorcery or witchcraft is deeply embedded in most human societies. In Europe, the number of known trials that ended in execution is reported as 12,000. The number killed was certainly higher.

In 1735, the British Parliament passed an Act under which penalties for the practice of witchcraft were replaced by penalties for the pretence of witchcraft. A person who claimed to have the power to call up spirits, or foretell the future, or cast spells, or discover the whereabouts of stolen goods, was to be punished as a vagrant and a con artist, subject to fines and imprisonment.

This change reflected the arrival of a more sceptical age.  Yet the allure of witchcraft lingered in the public imagination. After all,John William Waterhouse Magic Circle 1886 who could forget the three witches in Macbeth?

Macbeth's witches retained the evil element. However, by the nineteenth century a more romanticised even erotic view appeared,  captured in this 1886  painting, Magic Circle, by English artist John William Waterhouse.  Yet the old versions were still there.

The form taken varies from society to society. Very ancient traditions still survive in this current age. I mention this now because of a story by Jenny Hayward-Jones on the Lowy Institute blog, Violence: PNG's women face a crisis. I missed the case she refers too.

Changing direction, Helen's post on ART and ARCHTECTURE, mainly Why did Breaker Morant and Daisy Bates marry???? reintroduced me to Daisy Bates. I read the post and its comments first, and then visited the Wikipedia article on her. Dear oh dear, that woman had a messy private life.

I'm not being in any way censorious, just curious. If the dates are correct, marrying one man in February 1885, a second in June 1885, all the while still being technically married to Morant strikes me as complicated!  

I don't think that I have actually mentioned the US Ploughshares blog before. Its the blog of the Ploughshares Literary Magazine and, as you might have guessed, it's all about writing. If you are interested in writing, it's worth a look.

Well, I'm out of time this morning. I must put this meander aside and move onto other things.

No comments: