Gleanings From The Past #2


A Peculiar Anagram

The following anagram, on the well-known bibliographer, William Oldys, may claim a place among the first productions of this class. It was by Oldys himself, and was found by his executors in one of his MSS.

w. o.

In word and WILL I AM a friend to you;
And one friend OLD IS worth an hundred new.

The Babbler, Vol. 1, 1822

An Age-Old Tradition

The keen eye of W. B. Ransom (Tufts College) discovered in the public press a tale of a calculating machine company that “offered $1000 to anyone who could square a circle, double a cube, or trisect one angle of a triangle by using only a straight-edge and compass.” A fellow in Mathematics sues the company, claiming that he has squared the circle. The judge rules that he hasn’t done it. Well, well, well! Here we go again! This seems just like old times. We could give one word of advice to the company, and that is to specify that the straight-edge shall be unmarked. Also let the angle to be trisected be an arbitrary angle. Then the company may rest comfortably in the knowledge that it has been proved that no one of the three constructions can be done. And how we wish that would become generally known.

Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 1, 1948 


Someday I shall succeed, I really believe; but it is a weary game. After just a year of pegging a way. Behold!


– H. G. Wells, Correspondents of H. G. Wells, 1888

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

One thought on “Gleanings From The Past #2

What's On Your Mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s