purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
That's a headline from the Telegraph.

I feel there is definitely a double-meaning there.

Thanks to my history teacher, I am broadly Ricardian in the comfy sense that involves having only the most tenuous grasp of the evidence and no real investment in an opinion I didn't exactly personally form. I love me a good conspiracy theory though, and as conspiracy theories go, believing Richard III was wronged seems fairly harmless.

I'm mildly bemused by the level of interest the discovery of his remains seem to have raised though. Does having his actual body contribute much of anything to our understanding of the people or politics of the time?


Sep. 21st, 2009 07:27 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
While cycling to the station this morning (past the detritus on the Curry Mile which showed all the hallmarks of having hosted a large street party where many soft drinks were consumed - not to mention a lot of Kansas Fried Chicken*) I was taken aback to find the University portion of Oxford Road dominated by posters for St. Theresa's Relics which, it would appear, are on tour and can be seen at the Catholic Chaplaincy next weekend.

Despite being an atheist and having been raised by atheists, I surprised myself to discover a strong streak of disapproval of relics in particular and anything that smacked of show-biz when related to religion in general. I'm trying to decide if this is some heretofore undiscovered conditioning sneaked in by my Methodist grandparents or just that Martin Luther and the 95 theses nailed to the church door in Wittenberg cast a long shadow over the UK education system.

* Manchester appears to have a large number of Fried Chicken establishments whose names begin with K. Very few of them are actually Kentucky Fried Chicken.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (genealogy)
Everyone is terribly coy about the subject. Wikipedia, for instance, just says it ended.

I've found one web site which attributes the end to the reduced population but that doesn't really make sense to me. The small-holding population of Ireland was dependent on the potato as its one crop and the blight, as I understand it, was pretty pervasive especially in any damp season (which are not uncommon in Ireland).

So it seems to me you need a diversification of the basic diet, possibly to other varieties of potato or some other change in farming practices that limits the spread of the blight. Or, you need sufficient population decrease that potato fields are widely enough apart that the blight has difficultly spreading - even assuming a 20% decrease in the population (based on census records which most historians seem to agree are inaccurate) that seems unlikely to me. Or some sort of mutation in the potato, or the disease, or climate change (given the blight was worse in damp years)?

Or am I misunderstanding how the blight works? I mean it came back consistently four years out of five, only letting up in one dry season so it seems pretty pervasive to me, not the sort of thing that burns itself out?

Anyone have any idea how the famine ended?


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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