Subsection Arrr: Did pirates really have Codes?

Several authors, including an economics professor, are pretty sure they did. Even the snooty-booty New Yorker has noticed, although New York is far more famous for “corporate pirates” who would have been useful to their high-seas counterparts only as ballast or sharkbait. (BTW, many thanks to Keith Nagel, author of highly useful patent-perusal program IPDiscover, … Continue reading

For US Independence Day: Thanks, Haudenosaunee

This is a Haudenosaunee wampum belt. The Haudenosaunee (“Longhouse Builders,” aka the Six Nations of the Iroquois* Confederacy) used wampum (beads carved from the purple-and-white-striped shell of a quahog clam) for many purposes. Wampum belts weren’t for holding an individual’s trousers up, but for memorializing important agreements, metaphorically minimizing potentially uncomfortable exposure for whole groups, … Continue reading