Joe McClain

Joe McClain
  • Director of Research Communications
  • Archived Blogger

About Joe McClain

Ideation magazine—in print or on the web—is all about research and scholarship activity at the College of William and Mary. There was more activity going on than I knew about and I knew about more than I had time to investigate. Quite often I ran across an interesting little item that didn’t really merit a story, but would make a perfectly fine blog entry.
1,000 Giddy Arcana

I did recurring blog entries under a headline “1,000 Giddy Arcana.” I borrowed the concept from H.L. Mencken, who wrote about the advantages of his informal education as a young newspaperman on the streets of Baltimore, “getting earfuls and eyefuls of instruction in a hundred giddy arcana, none of them taught in schools.” I wanted to use the Mencken concept (adding an order of magnitude) to share some of the interesting and valuable bits of knowledge, information and maybe even wisdom that are a part of the instruction at this school.

Posts by Joe McClain

Getting it right

Writing about research for public consumption—and getting it right—involves a continual balancing act between accuracy and clarity. Accuracy versus clarity is at the heart

Who knew?

I learned just a few minutes ago that the official name for Rogers 100 is ISC 1127. Not that I ever expect to hear

1,000 Giddy Arcana*: Fruit flies have champagne tastes

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. But what fruit flies really like is champagne. That’s right—champagne.

Chromium-doped beryl…in seven letters

You may not have to be a chemist to solve this puzzle, but if would help if you have logged some serious lab time.

No cats were killed in the writing of this blog

To you, it may be a humble pontoon boat, but to the scientists involved, it’s a research vessel and deserving of a worthy scientific

1,000 Giddy Arcana*: Bond. Flemish bond.

In the beginning, there is the artifact. Interpretation of what historians refer to as “material culture” enables someone to draw inferences about the everyday

The real story on Thomas Jefferson

It must be book season. In today’s mail, I received a copy of Susan Kern’s new book, The Jeffersons at Shadwell. I’ve already written

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.

The calendar and thermometer both say “no, no” but the presence of students on campus is a sure sign that summer is over. Regina

Ladies and gentlemen, heeeere’s J.C.

I was walking down Jamestown Road on the Monday of Spring Break when a car swerved my way and came to a stop. Usually