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Archive for the 'history' Category

A Natural History of Beer (Book Review)

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

A Natural History of Beer book cover

One of the most interesting books that I’ve read about beer in the last few years has been A Natural History of Beer by Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall. Rob DeSalle is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Biology and its program for microbial research and Ian Tattersall is curator emeritus, AMNH Division of Anthropology. A small 256 page hardcover published in 2019 by Yale University Press. The authors draw on a wide variety of academic disciplines to discuss the history, science, sociology and physiology of beer.

I’ve been meaning to get around to reading this particular book for most of the last year. And I’m a little hard pressed to find the words to describe this one because I’m not a fan of book reviews that merely repeat content. No, I’m going to have to tell you how it is. There was a lot of information packed into the pages of this enjoyable, if challenging, read. This wasn’t a breeze of a read, but I found it a lovely book that sat on our coffee table for a month while I whittled away at the content.

This is an almost textbook discussion about biology and chemistry for the most part. And anthropology, archeology, sociology, history, law and culture. The story of beer reaches from the ancient world through to modern times; it touches our lives socially and culturally (and probably always has performed that role); beer makes us jump for joy and cry with unfettered release; it allows respite from the complexity of that burden that humans carry – the ability to predict the future consequences of our actions and the awareness of our mortality.

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Newton and the Counterfeiter (Book Review)

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Newton and the Counterfeiter book cover

We all know the old Isaac Newton (1643-1727) story about the apple falling from the tree and his epiphany about gravity. Only it was more of a process over years to discover and prove the case for a mathematical explanation of the World, the Universe and all That. Newton, first and foremost, in his early 20s was at the forefront of mathematical thinking in Europe. He was, this book suggests, the greatest mathematician of his time. He authored the PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). He sought to explain God into the Universe, but never did. A man of thought and philosophy, not of people. In his entire eight decades of existence only one other human being was sought, for a while, for human companionship. That was Isaac Newton. But what about after his mathematical elevation into history?

The Royal Mint. From 1696 Issac Newton became the Warden of the Royal Mint in the Tower of London, becoming Master of the Royal Mint in 1699. This book, Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson, is set in the time of Newton’s position as Warden of the Royal Mint and his quest to solve the clipping problem in England’s currency. Clipping was the practice of snipping small bits off the side of English coins that devalued their worth on a weight-for-value basis. This silver was remelted and made into fake currency. At this point the estimation was that around 10 per cent of England’s currency was fake.

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My Father & a Friend Smoking Tobacco (circa 1950)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

My father was a working man. He left school at the end of Grade 6 to help support his large impoverished family and I have a lot of respect for that. This photograph was scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my paternal grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). My father is the guy on the right with a cigarette and I’m not sure who the other guy was to him or why my grandmother made this photograph. The date would have been very close to 1950.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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