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Remember when we first started to hear media stories about the ozone hole in the southern hemisphere? Often in the very same broadcast was a story about dangerously high levels of ozone in U.S. urban areas. Huh? I kept meaning to resolve this apparent dissonance through some research, when an NPR story asked and answered all my questions. Freed up a little brain space – I appreciated that.

Here are some areas I’ve been gnawing on. With any luck I’ll come across a conference or client that shares my curiosity.

One of the great pleasures of working at the University of Illinois was having stacks privileges in the library. I loved to locate a book and then browse the surrounding titles to see what related material might be available. That’s how I discovered the Ajivika religion and its ties to the Barabar Caves in Bihar, India; and, more recently, the Akhi brotherhood's traditions of hospitality in medieval Anatolia. Google just doesn’t cut it when you don’t yet know what you’re looking for.

Two puzzles I finally wrote up, starting at the UI library. I was looking into the fine print of the Emancipation Proclamation to determine exactly how many slaves were exempted (and therefore not freed) by its careful language. As near as I can figure, it was about 837,622 people. For details see:

And finally, for anyone who wonders why our calendar and time-keeping are so peculiar, check out: