Spenser, Valentine’s Day, and J. K. Rowling

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I’m here to report that, according to my Google Alert, Edmund Spenser was cited much less frequently than in years past. His name was used in the Juneau Empire (save yourself the click) to explain the origin of the line “roses are red, violets are blue.” Hogwarts Professor continues to explore the connection between Spenser and J. K. Rowling’s detective hero Cormoran Strike. Last, another Spenser professor has retired: Dr. Gwen Ladd Hackler of Southern Nazarene University.

That’s all for now.

Hot Housing

The U.S. population grew at an estimated rate of 0.1% between July 2020 and July 2021, according to the Census Bureau. But in Idaho, which topped the list of states whose population grew the fastest, residents increased by 2.9%.

The influx of new residents in the state, fueled largely by domestic migration, added pressure to home prices. Idaho’s median November listing price was 19% higher year over year, according to Realtor.com, more than double the national median.

In Idaho’s two largest metropolitan areas, Boise and Coeur D’Alene, listing prices grew 16% and 44%, respectively.


A Man Who is Saved Serves

Augustine of Hippo gives his two drachma on the etymology of the word servus, which means “slave” in Latin.

The origin of the Latin word for slave is supposed to be found in the circumstances that those who by the law of war were liable to be killed were sometimes preserved by their victors, and were hence called servants. (Servus, “a slave,” from servare, “to preserve.”)

One who is saved from execution becomes a servant. This fits in very well with Paul’s words about Christians being slaves to Christ. I wonder if Augustine had that connection in mind. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with the corresponding Greek word, doulos, which comes from a verb meaning “to bind.” The Latin servant is the saved one, the Greek servant is the bound one.


A Man Lists Things Learned

Tom Whitwell put together this list of 52 things he learned in 2019. Among them…

  • Each year humanity produces 1,000 times more transistors than grains of rice and wheat combined. [source]
  • Let’s say a bank receives an average of 5.8 customers every hour and takes an average of ten minutes to serve them. With a single teller, the average wait time for a customer will be five hours. But if you add a second teller, the average wait time goes down to about three minutes. [source]
  • People who live in “harbinger zip codes” are a reliable tracker of things that fail: products, house prices, political hopefuls… [source]

See Tom’s list for more head-scratchers.


A Man Should Not Be Surprised

Apparently, H. G. Wells was somehow responsible for Japan’s current constitution.

The founding document of the most technologically saturated society in the world was based on the work of a science-fiction author. In retrospect, yeah, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

via Adam Roberts