What is this Earthling’s Handbook, anyway?

Welcome to The Earthling’s Handbook. If you’re like most people (And I Think You Are) you’re probably wondering why it has this title.

Way back in 1995–the misty dawn of time, as far as the Web is concerned–two young lovers named ‘Becca and Daniel were up late raving about what they could do to make the world a better place. Among other things, they dreamed of tapping the amazing potential of HyperText Markup Language to create a helpful guide for people who find themselves living here on Earth (wherever their origins may be)–sort of like The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but just for Earth.

Circumstances involving higher education, employment, moving from The House of Everything to Villa Infinity, and appalling procrastination prevented The Earthling’s Handbook from being brought into existence until 1997.

For a decade, The Earthling’s Handbook had just a few pages because each page had to be set up with a lot of complex HTML and then uploaded to the Web. ‘Becca would write new articles, try to format and publish them herself, give up, and bat her eyelashes at Daniel, who would plan to try to maybe get around to it Real Soon Now. The typical page spent one to two years in development.

Meanwhile, blogs began washing up on the beaches of the Internet, and ‘Becca regarded them with the respect any sensible person would give to something called a “blog.” When recipients of her e-mails said, “I love your writing! You should be blogging!” she really felt rather insulted. She protested, “Who am I to post my diary in a public place? If I’m going to discuss things with the world in general, why not just do it in a public forum? I participate in several discussion boards; there’s no need for me to host one. I can defend myself in public. I don’t need to set up a semi-controlled environment in which people can discuss things with me but I’m the dominating presence, in charge of which parts of the discussion remain visible and who can participate. Ick. Too weird and too complicated!”

Finally, in 2007, Daniel set up some free blog software to enable ‘Becca to add articles to The Earthling’s Handbook quickly and easily. She soon learned to get along with it and published over 200 articles, mostly written during her lunch breaks at work. Still resistant to the idea of (ecch) “blogging,” she treated all these articles as chapters in an endlessly edited and interlinked book, and for a long time all articles were closed to comments.

The Earthling’s Handbook migrated to WordPress in 2011 after the previous blogging software, never quite satisfactory, made the editing of published articles impossible and began letting in a deluge of spam comments to those articles open to comments.

We have republished most of the original Handbook pages as WordPress articles (with publication dates set to their approximate original dates), and we have copied all the articles published in 2007-2011 over from the old site. Many of our internal links did not transfer correctly. After extensive tinkering with them, we think they’re all fixed, but if you find a broken one feel free to complain to ‘Becca, who loves to make stuff better.

All of our articles, no matter how old, are subject to editing at any time. ‘Becca makes frequent changes to correct facts or punctuation, add links, adjust phrasing, say things she forgot to mention in the first draft, etc.

Pay no attention to that blog software behind the curtain. This is not a blog. Thank you for understanding.

The Earthling’s Handbook is made available as a public service and accepts no advertising. However, WordPress sometimes places ads (by Google) on pages; we do not control these ads. Please let us know if you see an offensive or inappropriate ad displayed.

The Earthling’s Handbook no longer accepts “guest posts” from people who emerge out of the woodwork asking to contribute to the site. If you would like to contribute to The Earthling’s Handbook, make intelligent comments on the articles; you are welcome to include links to your own writing in your comments.

Opinions expressed in The Earthling’s Handbook are those of the authors only.

Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of facts stated in The Earthling’s Handbook, but we cannot make any guarantees regarding accuracy or fitness for any purpose. You use the contents of The Earthling’s Handbook at your own risk.

The Earthling’s Handbook is not authoritative or professional medical advice, legal advice, or encouragement to pursue any course of action, eat specific foods, break or obey any law, etc. You are entirely responsible for your own actions.

Please take care to choose a subject line that does not look like spam so that your message will not be deleted by accident. We look forward to hearing from you!