Gleanings From The Past #29

passage of time

Image: DeviantArt

Effects of Time

So little do we accustom ourselves to consider the effects of time, that things necessary and certain often surprise us like unexpected contingencies. We leave the beauty in her bloom, and, after an absence of twenty years, wonder, at our return, to find her faded. We meet those whom we left children, and can scarcely persuade ourselves to treat them as men. The traveller visits in age those countries through which he rambled in his youth, and hopes for merriment at the old place. The man of business, wearied with unsatisfactory prosperity, retires to the town of his nativity, and expects to play away the last years with the companions of his childhood, and recover youth in the fields where he once was young.

— Samuel Johnson, Idler, No. 43, February 10, 1759

Names and Numbers

Pythagorean philosophers […] maintained that of two combatants, he would conquer, the sum of the numbers expressed by the characters of whose names exceeded the sum of those expressed by the other. It was upon this principle that they explained the relative prowess and fate of the heroes in Homer, Πατροκλος, Ἑκτορ and Αχιλλευς*, the sum of the numbers in whose names are 861, 1225, and 1276 respectively.

— George Peacock, “Arithmetic”, Encyclopedia of Pure Mathematics, 1847

*Patroclus, Hector and Achilles

A Cool Curiosity

One of the natural curiosities of Hernando County, Florida, is an immense live-oak, situated near Brooksville, which seven feet from the ground measures thirty-five and one half feet in circumference; from this height to the top it has but two large limbs spreading out, and at the top measures eighty yards across. On one side of this singular work of nature is a small orifice from which issues a continual stream of cold air, showing some subterranean connection that is unaffected by what is going on above ground. No matter whether the wind blows east, west, north, or south, there is a constant current of cold air from this mysterious cavity.

The Chatham Record, January 24, 1884

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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

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