Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Dr Who: Self-Delusion Takes You Away

The recent Dr Who episode "It Takes You Away" (season 11, episode 9) is, at some points, rather touching.  I still prefer "Demons of the Punjab" (the best of the season so far, in my view) but this one is pretty good.

So I've been looking at some reviews to see what others make of it.  On the A.V. Club, Caroline Siede writes:
"The episode leaves it up to the viewer to decide why Erik didn’t try to bring Hanne to the parallel universe to begin with. You could charitably say he didn’t want to risk her life or uncharitably say he wanted to live like a carefree newlywed."
The choice of possible explanations is not so binary or stark, of course.  

It seems quite likely to me that Erik half-suspected or half-feared that Trina was an illusion and that Hanne, though physically blind, might see through it.  As indeed she did.

What I like about that explanation is that it allows for Erik's willingness to be deluded, his complicity in self-delusion.  This is surely a very common human failing, even among people who are otherwise well-meaning and intelligent.*   

Another alternative explanation (which is ultimately less satisfying because it involves more speculation) is that Erik might have told himself that he would bring Hanne over and/or bring Trina back eventually, without ever acknowledging and confronting the depth and intensity of his desire to remain in the Solitract universe with Trina.  This would again be self-delusion, but in the form of wishful thinking, buttressed by a bit of wilful blindness.  A weasel word like eventually, without any timeframe attached or any accountability, would allow Erik to deceive himself about what he is doing and why.  He could potentially spend the rest of his life with Trina, always assuring hmself of his perfectly good intention to do the right thing by Hanne eventually (but never today).

I suppose both of these could be seen as manifestations of a deeper fear on Erik's part: The fear that bringing in Hanne will cause him to lose Trina.  But it's a fear he wouldn't have if he didn't know, deep down in his heart of heats, that Trina was really dead.

~ ~ ~

FN * And if Erik had a perhaps subconscious suspicion or fear that Trina might be an illusion, might not that anxiety have found an outlet or release in his own elaborately constructed illusion for Hanne?  It's not decisive, but I would note that although the illusions differ in their sophistication, both the Solitract and Erik use them in the same way (i.e., to manipulate and control others).

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Vowel Change (Ablaut) Reduplicatives

More inspiration from the Holmes article in A Wilderness of Dragons. Holmes speculates that "great green dragon" might reflect the language rules or syntax of Tolkien's innate "native language" (or I-language).

Of particular interest is his third point, concerning phonology.  He says "there is a self-evident internal logic to the order of vowels that has nothing to do with the rules of E-language or any other cradle-tongue a child may learn" (149).  He suggests the vowel changes of a green great dragon "produce a charming sequence: there, down, and back again," progressing from  mid-central a, to high-front green, to mid-front great, to low-front dra, to mid-back/central -gon.

To me, this also raises the question of whether the vowel change reduplicative pattern found in "green great" (long E followed by long A) is common in English.  I couldn't think of any examples off-hand (the first ones that came to mind were flim-flam, dilly-dally, and ooh! ah! oh!), so I scouted around and found a list of vowel change reduplicatives compiled on Daily Writing Tips.

Their list only includes one long vowel sound, in see-saw.  Breaking it down, they came up with

  • short i - short a (11 examples):
    • chit-chat, dilly-dally, flim-flam, knick-knack, mish-mash, pitter-patter, riff-raff, riprap, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, zigzag; see also splish splash (visualthesaurus.com), big bad (bbc.com), jibber-jabber (proedit.com)
  • short i - short o (4 examples):
    • clip clop, flip-flop, hip-hop, tick tock; see also tip-top (thoughtco.com)
  • short i - aw (3 examples):
    • criss-cross, ding-dong, ping pong; see also sing-song (viviancook.uk)

  • long E - aw (1 example):
    • see-saw; see also hee-haw (me), geepie-gawpie (viviancook.uk)
To this one might add:
  • short i - long A:
    • ship-shape (Brian Wasko)
  • short i - ah:
    • wishy-washy (Brian Wasko)
  • short i - schwa - short a:
    • bric-a-brac
  • oo - ah - long O:
    • ooh! ah! oh!
  • shot u - long O:
    • hunky-dory (Rastall via Preuszová)
  • long E - long E - long I - long O:
    • eeny, meeny, miny, mo (Preuszová):
As Visual Thesaurus observes: "Of the many reduplications of this type, a striking number show a tell-tale pattern: the vowel in the first component is "short i," or what phonologists and IPA-aficionados call /ɪ/."

ProEdit suggests: "In linguistic terms, you could say that a high vowel comes before a low vowel. The i sound is considered a high vowel because of the location of the tongue relative to the mouth in American speech. The a and o sounds are low vowels."

In her 2017 Bachelor Thesis, Preuszová refers to these vowel change reduplicatives as "ablaut reduplicatives – a group which consists of reduplicatives with alternated vowel."

"Green Great Dragon": Mapping the Great Colors

I'm partway through the first of two essays in A Wilderness of Dragons about Tolkien's early encounter with culturally mandated adjective order.  In "'A Green Great Dragon' and J. R. R. Tolkien's 'Native Language,'" John R. Holmes looks for usage patterns of green great vs great green in various databases, and (thus far) seems to conclude that Mabel Tolkien was correct.

But of course this got me thinking about how green great/great green stacks up against other color choices.  So I played around with google Ngrams to see which combinations were most popular over time.  In the process, I noticed that the first Ngram phrase is always in blue, the second is always in red, etc.  So for synergy, I decided to list the colors in an order that coordinated with the thing described, i.e. the blue line would show data for blue great/great blue.

Predictably, the great [color] formula was much more common than the [color] great formula.

But I was more interested in which colors are more "popular" in the great [color] formula.  Of the five colors considered, great red has historically been most popular, followed most nearly by great blue.

great [color] in 1700-1800 (red, blue, green, orange, violet)

Then, around 1970, great red declined as great blue ascended.  And now great blue has taken the lead.

great [color] in 1800-2000 (blue+, red-, green, orange, violet)

For what it's worth, I can think of phrases such as "great blue marble" (referring to Earth) which I associate with the 1970s/1980s, and a song that began "Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts..."  Of course, google has some other suggestions, in the following order:

  • great blue (omitting two instances of "great blues"):
    • ...heron, 
    • ...hole belize, 
    • ...heron facts, 
    • ...lobelia, 
    • ...whale, 
    • ...north, 
    • ...heron habitat, 
    • ...heron diet.
  • great red
    • ...spot, 
    • ...wine,
    • ...dragon
    • ...dxd, 
    • ...spot definition, 
    • ...elekk, 
    • ...sox players, 
    • ...sox pitchers, 
    • ...dragon bible
    • ...shark.
  • great green
    • ...cleaning, 
    • ...wall, 
    • ...macaw, 
    • ...gobs
    • ...wall africa, 
    • ...bush cricket, 
    • ...supermarket, 
    • ...arkleseizure, 
    • ...cleaning reviews, 
    • ...wall china.

There were relatively few instances of [color] great in 1700-1800 -- each appeared only once, except for violet great, which did not appear at all -- so I'll just show the diagram from 1800-2000:

[color] great in 1800-2000 (green+, blue-, red, orange, violet)

Here, it is interesting that blue great was by far the most popular of these unpopular formulations of the phrase, though with green great spiking now and then.  But after 1980, green great took over.  I can't help wondering if that might reflect the rise of Tolkien scholarship, and specifically discussion of his story about his childhood story about the "green great dragon."

For those who are curious, here are close-ups of the 1970-2000 period:

Bonus "Rainbow-Plus" Edition
(not color coordinated)

Finally, just for kicks, here's the rainbow plus black, white, gold, and silver.  Turns out great white and great black take the lead -- though I would assume the name "great white shark" probably skews the results a bit.  Here's what google suggests for those two:
  • great white (omitting one instance of "great white sharks"):
    • ...shark, 
    • ...fleet, 
    • ...buffalo, 
    • ...band, 
    • ...shark attack, 
    • ...north, 
    • ...way, 
    • ...shark facts, 
    • ...shark cape cod.
  • great black
    • ...hawk, 
    • ...wasp, 
    • ...hawk marine, 
    • ...hawk portland maine, 
    • ...backed gull, 
    • ...wasp sting, 
    • ...movies, 
    • ...swamp, 
    • ...wasp nest, 
    • ...shark.

great [color], rainbow-plus, in 1800-2000

[color] great, rainbow-plus, in 1800-2000

close-up of [color] great, rainbow-plus, in 1800-1900

Ngram searches (for ease of cutting and pasting):
  • great blue,great red,great green,great orange,great violet
  • blue great,red great,green great,orange great,violet great
  • great red,great orange,great yellow,great green, great blue,great indigo,great white,great black,great silver,great gold
  • red great,orange great,yellow great,green great,blue great,indigo great,white great,black great,silver great,gold great

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Misunderestimating Each Other

I often think of Sam's mistrust of Gollum, and how this may have helped spike the last feeble, fitful possibility of metanoia.  That works against the good guys in the short term, at least; though Gollum's free-fall allows the quest to be accomplished.

But I forget that Gollum, in his turn, underestimates Sam, which works to the good guys' advantage:
Not expecting even this simple trick from Sam, Gollum fell over with Sam on top, and he received the weight of the sturdy hobbit in his stomach. (726)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Tom Bombadil and the Cunning Questions

Back in August, I listened to a Tolkien Professor podcast discussing Tom Bombadil's interactions with Frodo and the Ring. What particularly struck me was the word cunning to describe Bombadil's questioning of Frodo, since Bombadil can come across as almost simple in his seeming superficiality, singing about his own clothing as he does. Here's the passage:
Indeed so much did Tom know, and so cunning was his questioning, that Frodo found himself telling him more about Bilbo and his own hopes and fears than he had told before even to Gandalf. Tom wagged his head up and down, and there was a glint in his eyes when he heard of the Riders. ‘Show me the precious Ring!’ he said suddenly in the midst of the story: and Frodo, to his own astonishment, drew out the chain from his pocket, and unfastening the Ring handed it at once to Tom.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 132). Mariner Books. Kindle Edition.[FN1]  Even within this passage, of course, the idea of Bombadil's questioning being somehow "cunning" seems to contrast with his almost childish reaction -- head-wagging -- to Frodo's divulging of "more about Bilbo and his own hopes and fears."  Now that I focus on this point, I realize it would be most natural in a story for grown-ups to say "Tom nodded" (or possibly "Tom nodded in agreement" or "nodded enthusiastically") rather than describing the physical motion.  That is, specifying that Bombadil "wagged his head up and down" necessarily comes across as more juvenile than saying "he wagged his head in agreement" or "he nodded."[FN2]  So the word "cunning" stands out strangely even within the context of this single passage.

Why and how is Bombadil's questioning cunning?  In what sense is Tolkien using this word here?  It certainly does not seem to follow what the OED terms its "prevailing modern sense" (5a):
In bad sense: Skilful in compassing one's ends by covert means; clever in circumventing; crafty, artful, guileful, sly. 

So we can eliminate 5a for that reason; I don't think we are cued to think Bombadil's purposes are in any way nefarious or suspect.  Technically, since it's his questioning that is cunning (rather than Bombadil himself), I suppose we should focus on 1b and 5b, which are "transf. Of things," and possibly 2b, which is "transf." {"Transf." = "Transferred sense"}[FN3]
1b. transf. Of things: Characterized by or full of knowledge or learning, learned. ?1520—1630 
2b. transf. Showing skill or expertness; skilfully contrived or executed; skilful, ingenious. 1423—1842 
5b. Of things: Showing or characterized by craftiness; crafty. 1590—1872

1b would probably be a bit redundant here ("so much did Tom know, and so cunning was his questioning").  So I'm thinking 2b or 5b, perhaps more 2b.

If it is primarily skilfulness that Bombadil is showing in his questioning (and perhaps especially his skill in eliciting information that has eluded Gandalf), might that not culminate in his skilful order ‘Show me the precious Ring!’ -- which Frodo finds himself unexpectedly and unquestioningly obeying?

I'm thinking now of Alas Not Me's post "'I could not take it from him' -- The peril of seizing the Ring," because Bombadil with his cunning questions not only gets Frodo to disclose information that he'd not provided to Gandalf, but he also gets Frodo to hand over the Ring without a thought or murmur or protest.  That is, the transfer of custody does not seem to be with Frodo's conscious volition or consent; he finds himself doing it "to his own astonishment."  Significantly, this does not break Frodo's mind.   Here's the comment I made on Alas Not Me's post:
Is Gandalf really saying that anyone taking the Ring by force from Frodo would necessarily cause Frodo's mind to break?  
Surely he could be referring to himself here, without generalizing. After all, Gandalf is not just anyone to Frodo; he is a trusted friend and advisor, immeasurably wiser and stronger, who has hitherto acted as if the free will of lesser folks were worth his respect. For Gandalf in particular to take the Ring from Frodo by force might have a very different effect than, for example, ruffians like Sharkey's men or a fellow sufferer like Gollum taking it from him. 
And that gets me to wondering if Gandalf is hinting rather strongly that the "force" he could and would exert on Frodo to obtain the Ring from him against Frodo's will would be more than physical. Indeed, it might not be physical at all, but a more or less direct attack on Frodo's will. If so, it'd be much more likely to break Frodo's mind than Gollum's merely physical attack. 
I'm thinking these differences between Gandalf and Tom Bombadil may be significant -- they apparently exercise power quite differently, with quite different effects on mortals.

And another point of comparison between Gandalf and Tom Bombadil, which coincidentally also came up in conversation with Alas Not Me, may also be of interest if we are trying to understand something about the kinds of beings they are.  That is, Tom Bombadil can see a hobbit who is wearing the Ring, quite easily.  But Gandalf cannot, as shown in these two passages from The Hobbit[FN4]:
1. “And here’s the burglar!” said Bilbo stepping down into the middle of them, and slipping off the ring. 
Bless me, how they jumped! Then they shouted with surprise and delight. Gandalf was as astonished as any of them, but probably more pleased than all the others. He called to Balin and told him what he thought of a look-out man who let people walk right into them like that without warning. 
2. “What voice is it that speaks among the stones?” said the man halting and peering about him not far from where Bilbo sat. 
Then Bilbo remembered his ring! “Well I’m blessed!” said he. “This invisibility has its drawbacks after all. Otherwise I suppose I might have spent a warm and comfortable night in bed!” 
“It’s me, Bilbo Baggins, companion of Thorin!” he cried, hurriedly taking off the ring. 
“It is well that I have found you!” said the man striding forward. “You are needed and we have looked for you long. You would have been numbered among the dead, who are many, if Gandalf the wizard had not said that your voice was last heard in this place. I have been sent to look here for the last time. Are you much hurt?” 

To be continued...


[FN1] Since I'd never particularly noticed Tolkien's use of the word before, I ran a word search in LotR and found 33 matches -- I may look into that more another time.

[FN2] One sees this style in the Junie B. Jones books, where no one ever "frowns" or "grins" - they "make a frown" or "make a grin."  That faux-juvenile phrasing irritated me immensely.

[FN3] The eliminated definitions are:
†1a. Possessing knowledge or learning, learned; versed in (†of) a subject. Obsolete. c1325—1667
 2a. Possessing practical knowledge or skill; able, skilful, expert, dexterous, clever. (Formerly the prevailing sense; now only a literary archaism.) 1382—1843
 †3. spec. Possessing magical knowledge or skill: in cunning mancunning woman, a fortune-teller, conjurer, ‘wise man’, ‘wise woman’, wizard or witch. (Also hyphened cunning-man.) Obsolete (or dialect) 1594—1807
 4. Possessing keen intelligence, wit, or insight; knowing, clever. 1671—1856

The OED provides the following etymology:

Original type *cunnende, present participle of CAN v.1 (infinitive Old English cunnan, Middle English cunnenconnen), in its earlier sense ‘to know’; hence originally = ‘knowing’. Not found in Old English, but in regular use from 14th cent. both in the northern form cunnand, and the midl. and southern cunningconnyng. The derivative conandscipe occurs in Cursor Mundi, Cotton MS.

[FN4] Now, Gandalf in The Hobbit is not necessarily as wise and powerful as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings -- he seems to be more Man than Maia.  But it's generally more interesting if we assume he is the same character and being in both stories.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Why Let Tolkien's Letters Have the Last Word?

What people forget when they quote from Tolkien's Letters, in no particular order:
  1. Each letter was written to a particular person, for a particular purpose.  So the statements may be true as far as they go, but they may not be the whole truth; they could be selected to create a particular impression.  There may be conscious or unconscious embellishments, shadings, or omissions, both large and small, as suited to the context and purpose of the communication.  (Hat tip: Dr. Verlyn Flieger; perhaps also cf. Emily Dickinson's "Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies")   
  2. Each letter was written at a particular time. Tolkien's memory of long-ago events (including his own writing process or intentions) is no more reliable than anyone else's.  See, e.g., John Rateliff's History of 'The Hobbit', where he painstakingly investigates the book's actual composition history and reaches a very different conclusion than the timeline Tolkien claimed.
  3. An author's intentions and explanations (even if 100% accurately recalled and explained in a later writing, untinged by any agenda) are not necessarily the best guide to interpretation of the text.  Or as Lewis put it : 
"It is the author who intends; the book means. The author's intention is that which, if it is realised, will in his eyes constitute success. [...] Meaning is a much more difficult term. [...] The nearest I have yet got to a definition is something like this: the meaning of a book is the series or system of emotions, reflections, and attitudes produced by reading it. [...] The ideally true or right 'meaning' would be that shared (in some measure) by the largest number of the best readers after repeated and careful readings over several generations, different periods, nationalities, moods, degrees of alertness, private pre-occupations, states of health, spirits and the like cancelling one another out when (this is an important reservation) they cannot be fused so as to enrich one another. [...] As for the many generations, [t]hese serve to enrich the perception of the meaning only so long as the cultural tradition is not lost. [...]  Of a book's meaning, in this sense, its author is not necessarily the best, and is never a perfect, judge."
(On Stories 139-40).

Lewis, C. S. “On Criticism.” On Stories, and Other Essays on Literature, edited by Walter Hooper, 1st ed, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982, pp. 127-41.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Golden Game Pieces: A Preview

Tonight, Prof. Carl Edlund Andersön drew a connection between the "gullnar tǫfllor / í grasi" (golden game-pieces in the grass) of Vǫluspá (N-K 61, CR 60, Hb 54) and a scene from chapter two of Prince Caspian.  He wasn't sure if anyone else had made the connection, so I did a quick google search to see what I could find.   

"The younger gods again shall meet
In Idavellir's pastures sweet,And tales shall tell of ancient doom,The Serpent and the fire and gloom,And that old King of Gods recallHis might and wisdom ere the fall.There marvelous shall again be foundCast in the grass upon the groundThe golden chess wherewith they playedWhen Asgard long ago was made,When all their courts were filled with goldIn the first merriment of old."J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Prophecy of the Sybil," from The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun.  This poem is amazingly reminiscent of The Last Battle (and those golden chess always make me think of the beginning of Prince Caspian), for both were drawing on Norse mythos and the Voluspa.
So at least one other person has made the connection between the Voluspa (via Tolkien's poem) and the Narnia tale, although I haven't looked for any serious scholarship on the issue.

And here is an edited and condensed version of the passage from Prince Caspian.  It's not clear whether Susan found the piece in grass, per se, but it might have been in among some weeds.
At the fifth journey they found the well, just outside, the hall, hidden in weeds, but clean and fresh and deep when they had cleared these away.  The remains of a  stone pavement rand half-way round it.  […]  When [Susan] came back [from getting another drink at the well] she was carrying something in her hand.  ‘Look,’ she said in rather a choking voice.  ‘I found it by the well.’  She handed it to Peter and sat down. […]  All now saw what it was — a little chess-knight, ordinary in size but extraordinarily heavy because it was made of pure gold; and the eyes in the horse’s head were two tiny little rubies — or rather one was, for the other had been knocked out.  ‘Why!’ said Lucy, ‘it’s exactly like one of the golden chessmen we used to play with when we were Kings and Queens at Cair Paravel.’

C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian, ch. 2

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Draken Harald Hårfagre

After some delays on the high seas due to high waves, the Draken came in to NYC on October 19.  Tipped off by Tom, I went down for a late lunch to check it out.

Not the Draken: Lady Liberty, a masted ship, and a helicopter

I wasn't entirely sure what to look for, but I thought this reddish square thing in the distance was probably not a storage silo. Especially as it seemed (albeit quite slowly) to be moving.

It was fun to watch it draw nearer and pass in front of the Statue of Liberty.

close-up of the red sail

Then on Sunday, we had tickets to go on board for a short tour (it's not a very large boat).

A crew of approx. 30 runs everything, far fewer than in Viking times.  There is no below-deck, but they have a tent set up for folks to sleep in bunk beds.  (Apparently in shifts, since they always have a certain number on duty.)
dragon-head prow from inside the boat
the planks overlap for flexibility; they're riveted with oil-soaked fabric between them for watertightness
Huginn or Muninn ... or possibly Roäc?
Apparently, they get additional carvings as they go; they let some artisans leave their mark.  Odin's footprint (a simple outline of a tall man's foot) may be new, for example.

The lines of the boat are quite lovely.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival

I went up to NH for my mom's birthday, and we went to the local metropolis for a maritime folk festival.  It was a spectacular day.

We stopped in briefly to a cafe/bookstore called "Book & Bar," but we figured out before we ordered anything that there was to be poetry, rather than music, in that venue.  A pity, since I'd have liked to browse their collection...

The theme continues! (Yes, we ate there once)

We got a late start, so we saw just two acts, the Vox Hunters and the Johnson Girls.

The Vox Hunters are a duo from Rhode Island.  The fiddler had unfortunately been stung on the left hand by a bee earlier that morning -- he was icing it again after the close of their set -- but the show must go on, as they say.

The Vox Hunters at the John Paul Jones House

I found "Ocean Burial" particularly moving -- especially the line "It matters not, I've oft been told, where the body lies when the heart gets cold."

Loved this version of Yankee Doodle:

The Johnson Girls had a lovely blend of voices, and it was interesting to hear them tackle various traditional songs that offer a male perspective, as well as others that focus on the women left behind.

We also attended a sing-along in a somewhat unfortunately named bar ("Portsmouth Gaslight"), where there were a large number of musicians up front by the windows and a seemingly well-informed audience -- or perhaps I should say, an audience apparently well-versed in the lyrics of many maritime folk songs.

My brother and the girls met us at home in the later afternoon; my sister-in-law couldn't make it, but sent a delicious cake.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Oxford Day 2

This is the last of 12 posts about my 2018 UK Trip (Glasgow + West Highland Way + Oxford)
UK 2018 Trip Navigation: [First Post

I wasn't sure I had the right place when I arrived at Somerville College, given the sign forbidding "visitors" and saying the place is only open to (if I recall correctly) residents and guests. Was there perhaps a separate B&B building where they house members of the public?  But it turns out I was actually deemed a "guest" so that all worked out well.

The room was ye olde basic dormitory, with three guests sharing a bathroom down the hall.  The breakfast was a simple buffet in the cafeteria (again typical of dorms), but it was fun to eat it at the long tables overlooking the courtyard in wood-paneled dining room.

My only complaint about the accommodations was a little window on the courtyard that didn't latch properly; it rattled incessantly through the windy night.  (Though I was mildly relieved to realize it wasn't people upstairs banging away for hours on end.)
Somerville College courtyard

Mary Somerville

I tried a different route to the Bodleian for my second visit.  It took me through this little graveyard...

... where homeless people camp out.  In addition to the tents, there were liquor bottles strewn about.

Overall, I was surprised by the number of vagrants or panhandlers I saw in Oxford.

a cup of cappuccino while waiting for the Tolkien exhibit to open

more gargoyles

the forbidden courtyard of another college...

After the Tolkien exhibit, I went across the street to the Museum of the History of Science.

skull netsuke
("toggle securing a silk cord used to carry a purse
or other item when wearing traditional Japanese dress")

three skeleton netsuke

"Ingenious devices: Mathematicians and designers enjoyed the challenge
of arranging sundials on all sorts of surfaces and geometrical solids"
(here: octahedron and star)

sundial within a bowl (1810)

"the first commercially manufactured calculating machine" (France, 1820)

"The pinnacle of mechanical miniaturization was achieved by the fully-featured Curta calculator,
which performs multiplication and division as well as addition and subtraction."

"By effectively cutting up a long scale and arranging it on a cylinder,
greater precision could be achieved [than with a regular slide rule."

"Doubt that the sun doth move": Armillary Sphere, Italian?, c. 1580

Pocket Sundial - "An Elizabethan instrument is a very rare find, but it is also unusual that
we know the identity of the original owner."

Fit for a queen: Astrolabe for Elizabeth I
(London, 1559)

Mathematical aide-mémoire, English c. 1665
"This tiny silver medallion is a unique witness to
17th-century mathematical and commercial culture.
On this side it shows solutions to quadratic equations[.]
On the reverse is a table for calculations of interest."

Pottermania in Oxford!

I picked up a seaweed salad and some dosa on the way to the train station, then rode back up to Glasgow without incident.

Red and white roses say....

...welcome to Lancashire!

UK 2018 Trip Navigation: [First Post