Sotto Voce.

"Qui plume a, guerre a." — Voltaire

Archive for the ‘Life the Universe and Everything’ Category

Why I Showed Up for Science —

I say “showed up” rather than “marched” because we arrived at the Ellipse by the Washington Monument early, around 9 am, and left shortly after noon, as the crowds were really starting to come in. As we joined the thin stream of departing early birds — soaked, cheerful, signs streaked with runny ink — we […]

Cap Bands —

I broke the cap band on the Majestic and thought I’d use my blunder as an opportunity to explain how manufacturers used to install bands on fountain pen caps. My production values continue to gradually improve. The better lighting and magnification are thanks to Cyclops the Lamp, and I now have a mic stand so […]

The Monsters are Due on Pennsylvania Avenue —

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. “For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of […]

Keyboards and the Future of Computers —

At Apple’s recent special event announcing its latest MacBook Pro lineup, SVP Phil Schiller introduced the new Touch Bar feature by explaining that it was designed to provide a dynamic and adaptive replacement for the row of physical function keys that has accompanied computer keyboards since the early 1970s. Why, he asked, should interface design […]

Get Thee to a Pennery —

My pen restoration hobby is off to a good start. The Wearever button-filler that I wrote about here and here is now in the hands of Mrs. Sotto Voce, who is trying out some blue inks she bought for it. At the suggestion of Joe Van Cleave, I’m going to start making some short videos […]

My New Hobby —

I’ve been looking for a new hobby, one that would hopefully meet several broad criteria. Ideally, this hobby would: Fit on the workbench in our shed; Involve many of my tools for plastic scale modeling; Be relatively inexpensive; Require precision work; and Relate to one of my existing hobbies or pastimes. Pretty soon I whittled […]