Social Distancing Will Not Save Us, But Expanding Testing Will

I’ve been doing some math. Currently, a coronavirus test kit costs either $36 or $51, with the official CDC version being cheaper than the ones produced by private firms. There are, at current estimate, 330,457,064 people in the US. This comes to between $11,916,095,436 and $16,881,135,201 for testing everyone, or roughly $12 billion to $17 billion. A friend who works in forensic labs tells me that the actual cost of manufacturing and administering the test is probably closer to $15-$20. At $20 per test, this brings the cost of testing everyone down to $6,620,053,020. At $15 per kit, $4,965,039,765 for a single round, or about $10 billion for two rounds. (Two rounds would allow for recoveries, margin of error, and potential exposure after the first test has been run.)

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Adventures in Robes de Cour

The crew that I often do costumed outings with got very into BBC’s Versailles not too long ago, and I found myself making a Louis XIV outfit to go with Ann and Francesca’s Phillipe D’Orleans and the Chevalier de Lorraine, respectively. Kati, another friend, wanted to join us as Liselotte, and so naturally she asked me for patterning help on the dress.

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Riffs on Taisho Clothing: Rural Workwear in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Recently I binged the first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The Japanese title can be roughly translated as “Demon Destroying Blade”, so for those who are familiar with anime genres, this is obviously a shonen, or boys’ series. (Beware of spoilers for the first half of season 1.) Continue reading

When Does a War Begin?

An international war generally is said to begin when one country declares war on another. For instance, the Seven Years’ War, known in the US as the French and Indian War, began when France and its colonies declared war on England and its colonies in 1756. But their rationale for doing so was that two years earlier, a young hotheaded lieutenant colonel with the English provincial forces had attacked a French diplomatic party in disputed territory– in effect, the English had committed an act of war, and the French declaration was merely a formal recognition of the two years of fighting that had preceeded it. So do we say that the war began in 1756 with the formal declaration, or in 1754, with the act that began the conflict? When would a Frenchman of the 1750s or ’60s have said the war began? Would an Englishman of the same period give the same answer? Continue reading

Reinterpreting Sex and Gender in Talmudic Discourse and Jewish Tradition

(This article also appeared in issue 3 of Transvestia.)

This is not a scholarly article. It was supposed to be– most things I write are. But my background on this particular subject is less scholarly and more philosophical. I know less of the hard facts of the case, and more of the inner emotional workings, of the need for a certain interpretation.

I am speaking of gender, and specifically gender within Judaism. An ethnoreligion with a strong attachment to rules, categories, and organization, it stands to reason that we would have more than two categories in our tradition to reflect the variety of humanity, and we do, but they don’t quite mesh with the modern understanding of sex and gender diversity. Continue reading

On Plus Size Stays (part 2 of 2)


In the year and change since I wrote part 1, I’ve refined my method of pattern derivation, and learned a lot about the ways that fabric, torsos, and boning can interact. I’ve also spent untold hours pouring over my scans and images of these and other stays to find any details that might have been missed, and had other people look at them as well (many thanks to the 18th century sewing groups on FB). I now think there’s a decent chance that the Christina stays were worn by a man. Continue reading