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If friends and students of Truth wish to reassess their views, they might stop depending on Gage’s report as if it were reliable, and depend instead on the reports of the speech that were published at the time, especially the fullest one, in the Bugle. If not as dramatic as Gage’s report, the Bugle report is terse, portrays Truth as speaking in a folksy style that rings true, attributes to her some of the provocative ideas that Gage’s report attributed to her, and is much more likely to be authentic:

One of the most unique and interesting speeches of the Convention was made by Sojourner Truth, an emancipated slave. It is impossible to transfer to paper, or convey any adequate idea of the effect it produced upon the audience. Those only can appreciate it who saw her powerful form, her whole-souled, earnest gesture, and listened to her strong and truthful tones. She came forward to the platform and addressing the President said with great simplicity:

May I say a few words? Receiving an affirmative answer, she proceeded; I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights [sic]. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now.

As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint and a man a quart — why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much — for we won’t take more than our pint’ll hold.

The poor men seem to be all in confusion and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have women’s rights give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.

I can’t read, but I can hear. I have heard the Bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept — and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and woman who bore him. Man, where is your part?

But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, and he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.

Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. New York University Press, 1993. p. 81–82. “[sic]” in original.

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I have been curious about picking up a Raspberry Pi one board computer.

They are the standard hardware for nodes on the Toronto Mesh network, so with a suitable USB radio transceiver I could use it in small areas as a bridge to their network via the IPv6 Hyperboria network.

I could also use it to run Linux-based software-defined radio (SDR) software in combination with my USB radio receiver dongle. I could set up software to locate digital signals and then decode those which are not encrypted, or use it as a portable radio scanning rig.

At the same time, there seems to be awesome game emulation software which can be run on a Pi. With two USB-interface SNES-style controllers, I am told it has enough processing power to make a great SNES emulator.

I don’t have a screen with an HDMI input, so it might be worth getting a small portable display to use with the system. One neat idea would be to make the whole thing capable of running on its own batteries.

To start with, I will try to get a working setup that runs with the Pi and the display plugged into the wall. If it seems useful enough to be made portable, I’ll start thinking of battery hardware and case and transportation options for the whole system.

The hardware to get started will be about $100 plus the cost of the display. ToMesh has an installation party later this week where they will install the operating system and software stack necessary to use your Pi as a node.

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Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) is a DinB homolog that belongs to the recently described Y-family of DNA polymerases, which are best characterized by their low-fidelity synthesis on undamaged DNA templates and propensity to traverse normally replication-blocking lesions.

By Bathsheba

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[Frances] Gage‘s report, gradually becoming well known, wove myths about [Sojourner] Truth, myths that helped build up Truth into a heroic figure. Nevertheless, we must ask whether the frequent uncritical use of Gage’s report in recent years has led to misleading interpretations not only about Truth and her place in history, but also about early black-white relations at large.

When we compare Gage’s 1863 report of Truth’s speech with available records written in 1851 soon after the event, the comparison suggests that we should heed Gage’s own warning that she had “given but a faint sketch” of Truth’s speech. The comparison suggests that, unless evidence to the contrary shows up, important parts Gage’s report regarding the atmosphere of the convention, the contents of Truth’s speech, and the effect of the speech on the convention should be considered false. The comparison suggests that Gage, the poet, intended to present the symbolic truth of Truth’s words more than the literal truth; that Gage, the novelist, imagining that Harriet Beecher Stowe was looking over her shoulder, felt pressed to make Truth’s story more compelling than it was; that Gage, the passionate advocate of blacks’ and women’s rights, embellished her report to strengthen the causes she favored, imposing her own ideas and expression on what Truth said. Disappointing as it may be, the comparison makes it unlikely that Truth asked the thrilling question, “Ar’n’t I a woman?“, the principal words by which Truth is known today.

If we depend on contemporary accounts as more likely than Gage’s to be reliable, then we perceive that when Sojourner Truth began to speak, there were no signs of panic, no hissing, no mobbish opponents whom she could overcome. Then we find that Truth’s words, unadorned, if less dramatic and smooth than Gage wanted them to be, did not make her the one star of the convention, as Gage indicates, but nevertheless made her impressive.

When Truth’s biographers, following Gage, say that she turned the convention around from opposing to favouring women’s rights, we have to suspect that they may be telling us more what Gage wanted us to believe than what really happened. When recent writers on women’s and blacks’ history claim that white women advocating women’s rights were hostile to black women’s participation in the women’s movement, and they base their claims especially on Gage’s account of the supposed hostility to Truth at Akron, we have to wonder whether they are distorting history. Unless evidence to the contrary turns up, we have to regard Gage’s account of Truth’s asking the “Ar’n’t I a woman?” question as folklore, like the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It may be suitable for telling to children, but not for serious understanding of Sojourner Truth and her times.

Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. New York University Press, 1993. p. 80–81

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This term’s first big batch of grading — essays for my Canadian politics course — is due no later than Monday evening. Please wish me fortitude in getting through the last three dozen.

I believe basically everyone finds grading stressful and tedious. It invalidates my ordinary procrastination flowchart, since it is always possible to devote time to long-term projects or self-care activities instead of reminding people that essays need to have a thesis, or tabulating grades in Excel and U of T’s poorly implemented online portal.

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