Recent posts

Notes on West’s Textual Criticism

February 18, 2019

Random thoughts from M.L. West’s Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique. In one section West surveys “Various causes of textual discrepancy.” Notably, although many a “textual discrepancy” is an error, West is careful to allow for other types of variations and different causes. Under the category “semi-conscious and unconscious changes” West… Read more

Ghosts and the Society for Psychical Research

January 18, 2019

Sometime in the mid 1770s the German scholar Georg Christoph Lichtenberg predicted with a certain degree of optimism: Our world will yet become so intricate that it will be as ridiculous to believe in a god as it is nowadays to believe in ghosts.[1] Although Lichtenberg investigated electrical phenomena and… Read more

Pre-Modern High Tech

January 8, 2019

Last month the Washington Post ran a short article by Erin Blakemore on medieval scientific instruments, “Think smartphones are astonishing? Discover the ‘high tech’ devices of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.” It was a little light on details, but nicely highlighted Epact, an on-line collection of pre-modern scientific instruments.… Read more

Want to learn what an astrolabe is?
Want to learn how to operate one?
Download my introduction to the history and use of the astrolabe:
An Introduction to the Astrolabe