I’ve been reading David S. Kidder and Noah Oppenheim’s The Intellectual Devotional these past few weeks. It’s a 365-day devotional (a devotional in the bible sense is scripture reduced to 365 days of mini-lessons to make for easy daily reading) for knowledge in seven fields: philosophy, visual arts, music, history, science, religion and literature. I’m now reading the American History version of it.

Did you know that ‘cotton gin’ is not actually a gin? The ‘gin’ is short for ‘engine’. The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney, revolutionised the production of cotton and the cotton mill powered by rapids/water falls aka hydro powered, invented by Samuel Slater, revolutionised the textile business in America, with consequences that included the increased and prolonged use of slavery in the South, among other things.

It’s interesting to read American history now that I’m living here. We studied very VERY little of it back home in Malaysia. For instance, did you know that Pocahontas didn’t really end up with John Smith but a John Rolfe? And that Ben Franklin signed all three key documents that established America, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris and the American Constitution? And that John Hancock (which was to me just a word for ‘signature’ and the insurance company of the same name) was one of the patriot leaders of the American Revolution?

I can literally feel my brain growing. How will you be able to tolerate me now? 😉

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