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New user in July, 2003. Don't like writing bios, but my hostility to the anonymous hit-and-run crew dictates showing that I have an identity.

Dragged into Wikipedia by Lord Peter Wimsey connections. Drawn, once here, into some history of science issues.


Lord Peter Wimsey stuff: The best thing there, IMHO, is on a non-Wimsey item: The Documents in the Case at

Oh, and one personal anecdote, because the things I do on Wikipedia remind me of it, and because The Child Is Father to the Man, and vice versa. Any normal child hates hearing about the cute things he did when he was little, and we normally carry that into adulthood. But this one, which I first heard when I was about 40, is different.

Time: the late 1940s
Place: Oakland; San Francisco; the Bay Bridge

When I was seven years old or so, my father worked on some large project that had him putting in weekend time at the investment banking house he then worked at. (Those were the halcyon days when a word association with "financial analyst" would most likely have produced "dull" rather than "fraud" or "obstruction of justice".) On a couple of Saturday mornings he took me along to his office in San Francisco in a sort of Take Your Son To Work operation, after which we went to lunch. And then to a book store, where I'd mess about in the remainders bin and the kids' books while he looked at the dusty old archives.

I never found a Cosmographia Universalis in the marked-down bin [Lord Peter allusion]; but on one of these trips I found a rather peculiar book on dinosaurs and various prehistoric things. As we got onto the Bay Bridge on the way home, I was reading away at it. And I said with annoyance, "Hey, this book is wrong!"

My father naturally asked, "What's wrong?"

"It shows an Allosaurus going into the water, and they hated the water." [Or something of the sort.]

"How do you know?"

"The book I got at the museum says so."

And he asked, "How do you know which one is right?"

We drove on in silence, through the tunnel through Yerba Buena Island, across the east span, past the stinking mud flats by the bay (now called wetlands and free of raw sewage), up Stanford Street, up 51st Street, and finally into Manila Avenue, half a block from home.

And then I asked, "How do you know?"

And here, below the line, are just some links that I've decided to stop forgetting.

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