Histories of science tend to cast “old theory holdouts” as uncouth, backward, prejudiced, and stinky nitwits. If you don’t immediately jump on the shiny new science bandwagon you’re on the wrong side of history and doomed to a legacy of ridicule and disdain. Mind you, these just so histories fail to mention that most new … Continue reading Sympathy for Ptolemaic Epicyclers

# Category: History

# How Many Authenticated Ancient Mathematical Artifacts are Known?

“How many authenticated ancient mathematical artifacts are known?” I recently asked myself this question while researching the history of mathematical proof. Ultimately, all historical theories must answer to the evidence. For mathematics, this means studying surviving parchment documents, cuneiform tablets, bamboo strips, bone markings, Stella inscriptions, calculating boards, and other objects, that inform our mathematical … Continue reading How Many Authenticated Ancient Mathematical Artifacts are Known?

# On Eponymous Erasure

While slumming on the Internet I came across a woman complaining. Imagine my astonishment! The lady1, let’s call her Karen, had an esoteric complaint, it was: The Pythagorean Theorem was known long before his birth. Calling the theorem “Pythagorean” is a form of erasure. Oh my! Apparently, attributing a well-known mathematical result to a person … Continue reading On Eponymous Erasure

# Don’t be a Weenie Launch Cassini

Future generations will remember Bill Clinton for two things, not having sex with that woman and authorizing the launch of Cassini. I was working in Dallas Texas in the months before Cassini's launch. It was 1997 and the Internet was just beginning to disrupt everyday life. Google was morphing from a thesis to a company … Continue reading Don’t be a Weenie Launch Cassini

# Fifty Years of Nauseating Kennedy Nostalgia

It’s been fifty years since Michelle, a fifth grade childhood friend, interrupted me on the playground of Naples elementary and told me that ”President Kennedy has been shot.” The news did not impress me. I naively rooted for Kennedy in the 1960 election. Yes, I was suckered, but I was in the second grade! I … Continue reading Fifty Years of Nauseating Kennedy Nostalgia

# JHS with the DHTMLX Grid

Grids are the most important GUI user object. It's hard to think of a user-friendly data munching application that doesn't have a grid beating at its heart. Consequently, any serious GUI interface contender must support grids. My previous post showed how to use MathJax with JHS. MathJax is an impressive and important JavaScript library; it … Continue reading JHS with the DHTMLX Grid

# Blurb: Nick Lomb’s Transit of Venus

Nick Lomb’s Transit of Venus 1631 to the Present is the best illustrated astronomy book for general readers since Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer’s The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. Everything about Lomb’s book from its eye seizing cover, rarely seen historic photographs and charming well researched commentary is first class. Transit is the type of work … Continue reading Blurb: Nick Lomb’s Transit of Venus

# 1421: The Crank History of Gavin Menzies

Click here for a PDF version of this post. Crank history is big business and it's getting bigger. For reasons that infuriate skeptics there is a never-ending parade of pseudo-historians spouting rubbish that is eagerly devoured by a credulous pig ignorant public. Gavin Menzies' ludicrous tome, 1421: The Year China Discovered America, (also titled 1421: … Continue reading 1421: The Crank History of Gavin Menzies

# Open Source Hilbert for the Kindle

David Hilbert While searching for free Kindle books I found Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg offers free Kindle books but they also have something better! Would you believe LaTeX source code for some mathematical classics. The best book I've found so far is an English translation of David Hilbert's Foundations of Geometry. Hilbert's Foundations exposed some … Continue reading Open Source Hilbert for the Kindle

# The UN Space Treaty is Holding Us Back!

Apollo Earthrise 2011 marks the 42’nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. 42 idiot infested years have passed since that glorious day and nothing that has happened since comes within a nautical league of matching it. My vile boomer generation has downplayed the significance of space exploration for decades. I remember getting a shrill … Continue reading The UN Space Treaty is Holding Us Back!