Categories
History

More fun with Ptolemy’s Ὁ Καρπός

Our premodern reader didn’t just add Latin glosses to his copy of Ptolemy’s Ὁ Καρπός, now and then he emended the Greek. For example, on the second aphorism the copiest wrote “τὴν κρεῖττον”. The reader seems to have been sufficiently bothered by this mistake that he wrote the correct article, “τὸ,” above the incorrect “τὴν.” […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

Doritos™ Alchemy

I recently stumbled across this spec Doritos™ commercial David Ward made a six years ago. Really well done adaptations of the alchemist motif. You gotta love the list of ingredients (also, not listed, Unicorn tears): Staff of Anubis Philosopher Stone Rubber Hammer Rubber Nails Moon Rock Salt Archimedes Screw Harpsichord Parachute Blank Bag of Holding […]

Categories
History

Struggling with Ptolemy’s Ὁ Καρπός

It is perversely reassuring to see that other people have had to labor to understand Ptolemy’s aphorisms.[1] Consequently, this 15th-century copy of Ptolemy’s Ὁ Καρπός (more widely known by its Latin title, Centiloquium) makes my day. Copied sometime in the latter half of the fifteenth century by a certain George Mediates, this manuscript was later […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

Jon Pace & the Latest Prime Number

In case you missed it, the world has a new largest prime number called M77232917: 46733318335923109998833558556111552125132110281771449579858233859356792348052117720748431109974020884962136809003804931724836 … and on and on and on for another 23,249,300 digits. That number is unimaginably large. It is so large that even analogies meant to help us wrap our minds around it are nearly unimaginable. Who can imagine a […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

The Use and Abuse of Isaac Newton

Bitcoin’s recent rise has prompted an ever growing number of people to misstate and otherwise abuse Newton’s laws of motions. Predictions of a Bitcoin crash typically invoke “Newton’s Law of Universal Gravity [which] states that what goes up must come down” or some version of that “law”. The whole Newton’s law of “what goes up […]

Categories
Quotation

Historians too are explorers

…we must be aware of a danger well known to explorers of both the micro- and the macrocosmic—that of confusing the thing observed with the mind of the observer, of constructing not a picture of external reality but simply a mirror of the thinker. Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (New York, 1968), 240

Categories
Historical Expertise

Chauncey Who?

Chauncey E. Sanders is anything but a common household name. However for many Evangelicals Sanders is rather well known for having established three tests that demonstrate the “historical reliability” of the Bible.[1] Sermons, religious websites, and other publications celebrate his three tests, often plagiarizing each other in a sort of intellectual incest.[2] More surprisingly, perhaps, […]

Categories
Quotation

Things, ca. 1927

Things are what we encounter, ideas are what we project. Leo Stein, The A-B-C of Aesthetics (NY, 1927), 44

Categories
Quotation

A Distorted Picture

Modern man has formed a curiously distorted picture of himself, by interpreting his early history in terms of his present interests in making machines and conquering nature. And then in turn he has justified his present concerns by calling his prehistoric self a tool-making animal, and assuming that the material instruments of production dominate all […]

Categories
Pulp Scholarship

Trust In Numbers

Given Ted Porter’s interest numbers and statistics, I would not be surprised if he wrote murder mysteries about gambling and money. The three wives was just icing on the murderous cake.