Update 6

700 posts in, it’s time for more updates.

In keeping with my personal tradition, every hundred posts I include a short update on the state of the blog, plus any news on old posts.

1. New friends

The last few months have been the busiest in this blog’s history, primarily because the post election of the doge was picked up by the influential paid newsletter The Browser, and from there to Hacker News. If you came here from one of those sources, welcome and thanks for reading!

An old post on military skateboarding was picked up on the Today I Learned subreddit, and that was cool. This blog and TIL share a passion for intriguing ephemera, although they tend to go wide and I tend to go (comparatively) deep.

I (virtually) met another New Zealand blogger with a passion for the obscure and interesting. If you enjoy the Generalist Academy I think you’ll also appreciate Content Catnip – a great place for a “meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.”

2. Updates

Gilligan’s Grace – From Robbie A. on the Facebook comments, the children’s nursery rhyme is known as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in the States but “Incy Wincy Spider” in the UK and Australasia. The original rhyme, from 1910, is actually “Blooming Bloody Spider.”

Return to the fold – The folding protein problem described in this post from March has a new challenger: AlphaFold. This AI doesn’t solve the problem entirely, and because the internal workings of AlphaFold are not publicly available there’s a limit to what we can learn from it, but it’s nevertheless an important step forward in this branch of biological science.

Medieval sleep – I came across an interesting discussion on Reddit about just how much the Medieval biphasic sleep pattern applied to other pre-Industrial Revolution contexts.

Christmas cannibals (part 1) – Reader Martijn van der Ven noted a very 2020 development: “Comedian Youp van ‘t Hek appeared on a Dutch satirical TV show this month to revisit Flappie. He did a parody text on the song, now called Wappie. Again set during the Christmas days, but now in 2020. This parody focuses not on a rabbit or a little boy, but on someone who ignores all the COVID restrictions (“because he would not get Corona”). This time the song ends on Boxing Day when the titular character Wappie develops a cough and ends up hospitalised. So far I do not think any full English translations of the lyric have been made available, but the parody can be watched on YouTube in its entirety:

3. Moby-Dick

In the last few posts, the total word count of this site surpassed that of the Herman Melville novel Moby-Dick. This site has fewer detailed descriptions of the whaling industry than Melville’s, but on the plus side we do have more readers: in the author’s lifetime, he only ever sold 3,200 copies of Moby-Dick.

Take that, Melville.

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