The Forgotten Little Stick

In the New York Times magazine feature, “Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories,” Sam Anderson pays homage to a writing instrument—invented in 16th century England—that doesn’t just enable us to write.

It’s more than that. It’s a “little wonder wand” that helps track the subtlest of motions of of hand.


Can Santa Be A Mushroom?

One reason I enjoy folklore and fairy tales is that they’re peppered with strange beings and fabulous beasts: unicorns, gnomes, goblins, pixies and elves.

​They also have enchanting flora, the most famous of which is the red-and-white toadstool mushroom, the home of the Smurfs. Known as Amanita muscaria (or fly agaric), it can be found in terrestrial forests.

But is it connected to a certain portly man in a red coat, trimmed with white fur? I didn’t think so. But some scholars believe that his trademark outfit could have derived from the colors of these magic shrooms.