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Understanding the Voynich Manuscript #2

Understanding the Voynich Manuscript #2 An i for an i ? Not nymphs: women! There are...

Understanding The Voynich Manuscript #1

Understanding the Voynich Manuscript #1 Tom, Dick and Harry explain a statistical method. ...

The Voynich Manuscript - Speech Notes for a Presentation?

The Voynich Manuscript - Speech Notes for a Presentation? What is this image for, what...

Sing a Song of Politics

Sing a Song of PoliticsI was testing my memory, trying to remember things that I learned way back...

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Patrick LockerbyRSS Feed of this column.

Retired engineer, 73 years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics. Interested in every human endeavour except the scrooge... Read More »

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This blog is not about music, unless it be the 'music of the spheres'.


It is a sad fact that, throughout recorded history, many books have been irretrievably lost. In many cases, had these books survived, they may have given some insight into the life and character of their authors. Such is the case with all but one of the books of the geometer Hipparchus.

If people think of ancient geometers at all, they usually think of Euclid or Pythagorus. If they think of ancient astronomers at all, they usually think of Plato or Ptolemy. Poor Hipparchus! What did he ever do to deserve such obscurity?

The climate change skeptic asks - 'Given that the climate changes over millenia due to powerful natural forces, how could humans possibly contribute any significant effect to climate change, given our brief existence in geological time?'

I shall try to answer that question with examples from engineering which show how short-term pulse events can significantly affect long-term cyclic events.

The Influence of Short-Term Events on Long-Term Events.
Random Noise

Random Noise

Mar 13 2009 | comment(s)

Tinfoil News A British government spokespersonality has today issued an official denial of the government's intention to ban the wearing of tinfoil hats. This was in response to rumours following the announcement of a new brain-scanning method. Samba Effect on Global Climate Change Reportage Today, biased imperialist capitalist distortions in the media affected the perceptions of millions of readers as to the realities of global climate change and the need for urgent action. Compare XinhuaNet with
Scientific Hedging

A favourite theme in disaster movies is the political figure who tries to keep the local population from being alerted to some impending catastrophe.  Usually, the political figure tries to impede the publication of findings by one or more scientists.  In real life, it is more commonly the scientists themselves who create a barrier that stands between them and non-scientists. That barrier, the 'hedge' is a linguistic device.
I am continually amazed and amused by the wonderful metaphors and similes generated by users of the English language. The phrase "Are you talking to me or chewing a brick?" is a 'hard-man' phrase, contrastive with 'wet-lettuce' phraseology. But after reading this week's New Scientist, I shall never view 'chewing a brick' in quite the same light again.

Edit:
For people who may be asking what does 'chewing a brick' actually mean ?  -
"I think, therefore I am." - Descartes. Are you impressed by this deep and meaningful insight into the human condition? Descartes also wrote, in his Discourse: "... philosophy affords the means of discoursing with an appearance of truth on all matters, and commands the admiration of the more simple." Now, did Descartes come up with "I think, therefore I am." before, or after pushing his tongue firmly into his cheek? In my first blog entry I mentioned the truth values (plural) of a sentence. What are the truth values of "I think, therefore I am."? Before even attempting to answer that question, the rational philosopher is required to explain the meaning of 'truth'. What is truth?