Author 468 Posts
Josh Nicholas

Josh Nicholas

Clovelly rocks

Quick scribbles around the rock platforms in Clovelly.

A perishable (and imported) store of value

A perishable (and imported) store of value?

Perhaps the best idea of the crazy cost of spices can be formed by recalling that, in the eleventh century of our era, pepper, which today stands unguarded on every restaurant table and is scattered almost as freely as sand, was counted out corn by corn, and was certainly worth its weight in silver.
...Many states and towns kept their accounts in pepper as if it had been silver or gold. With pepper you could buy land, pay dowries, purchase the freedom of the city. Many princes assessed their taxes in weights of pepper. When, in the Middle Ages, you wished to describe a man as a bloated Croesus, you spoke of him as a ‘pepper sack’.

From Stefan Zweig’s book on Magellan.

Why representation matters

Mr Underwood took nearly 100,000 novels from 1800-2009 and an algorithm that apportions nouns, adjectives and verbs to specific characters. He found that women received about 50% of descriptions in 1800, but barely 30% by 1950 (see chart 2). This mirrored a similar fall in the share of novels by female authors. As writing became more lucrative, it veered away from the world of genteel ladies to that of grubby men. It was only after 1950 that female authorship and characterisation rebounded.

From an article in The Economist.