Gleanings from the Past #88

Fortune Fortune, they say, doth give too much to many; But yet she never gave enough to any. — John Harington, 1600, quoted in The London Quarterly Review, January 1865 Behind every successful fortune there is a crime. — Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969 Writing Novels A man who is not born with the novel-writing […]

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An Einstein Legend

Legend has it that an apple falling from a tree and then subsequently hitting Isaac Newton on the head is said to have provided Newton the idea of the gravitational force. This is a well-known and often told legend in physics. There is a lesser-known legend that explains Einstein’s discovery of his theory of the […]

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Quotable #88: Free Will

“Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg but my will, not even Zeus himself can overpower.”  — Epictetus, The Discourses of Epictetus, with the Encheridion and Fragments (1877 edition), tr. by George Long, c. 2nd century “A horse that is hitched with others to a wagon is not free not […]

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Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

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Pun of the Weak: Lesson Learned

An entomologist strapped an insect trap to the back of a farmer’s horse. After the horse had been out in the pasture a few days, the entomologist went back to check the trap. To his sorrow, he found that a strolling roan gathers no moths.  

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An Easy Sequence?

Can you name the number that would complete this peculiar eight-term sequence? 19, 5, 17, 21, 5, 14, 3, ? Solution This is supposed to be an easy sequence but you won’t be able to solve it if you only try to find some sort of mathematical patterns, which is a common mistake made by […]

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Gleanings from the Past #87

Geometry and Poetry Geometry seems to stand for all that is practical, poetry for all that is visionary, but in the kingdom of the imagination you will find them close akin, and they should go together as a precious heritage to every youth. — Florence Milner, School Review, 1898 Epitaph on Richard Adlam In the romantic village […]

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When Edmund Spenser Showed His Poem to Elizabeth I

Eminent poet Edmund Spenser (1552/1553 – 1599) lived during the Elizabethan era. His most famous work is The Faerie Queene, an epic poem with an allegorical theme in praise of the Tudor dynasty and Queen Elizabeth I. The unique verse form (at the time) used in this work was invented by Spenser, which would later be […]

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Of Beauty and Truth

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (left), Karl Heinrich Schellbach (right) Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770 – 1831), a notable German philosopher, once remarked, “Who does not know the works of the ancients dies without knowing beauty.” German mathematician Karl Heinrich Schellbach (1805 – 1892) responded, “Who does not know the works of mathematicians and scientists dies without knowing […]

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Quotable #87: Cost of Living

“Air is still free, but it costs more and more to breathe it.” — Evan Esar “We’ve confused the cost of lifestyle with the cost of living. We’ve lost our perspective.” — Tim Costello “The high cost of living isn’t so bad if you don’t have to pay for it.” — Don Marquis “Whatever the […]

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