BOB'S BITS

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 09 Feb 2020, 07:19

Dead right P. Eleanor is still remembered fondly in the US, more than her husband I think.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 09 Feb 2020, 12:46

"For God's sake give it up. Fear it no less than the sensual passion." Farkas Bolyai, in 1825, entreating his son János not to try to prove Euclid's Fifth Postulate.

I liked plane geometry, partly because I could picture it, partly because it seemed to be based on unchallengeable (and, I thought, unambiguous) axioms and postulates. Among the basic principles of ‘my’ geometry was Euclid’s Fifth Postulate, explained to me (in 10th grade geometry) as saying that parallel lines will never meet. Perfectly sensible: and if you ignore curvatures in space and time, unexceptionable. But now I find that the Fifth Postulate doesn’t say that at all, but rather something too complicated for me to picture; something that only implies or requires that parallel lines would not or cannot meet. My disturbing discovery owes to reading about the Hungarian mathematician Farkas Bolyai, born on February 9, 1775. He was raised a Calvinist, and I think remained one, but he turned away from theology to study mathematics (at Jena and then Gottingen). He might have done better to stick with Calvin, for at Gottingen he met Carl Frederick Gauss (1777-1855), a fellow student (and a genius) who interested Bolyai in the Fifth Postulate. And a lot else, too, so like Gauss but with much less success Bolyai set about to change mathematics forever. But he was obsessed with finding a proof for the Fifth Postulate. And like so many mathematicians before him (and, apparently, even more since), he failed. So the Fifth Postulate, which to me (when first I heard it, in its simpler form, in Belford Walker’s 10th-grade geometry class) seemed painfully obvious, simply defies proof. It certainly defied Bolyai, who didn’t react well to his failure. Towards the end of his life, he told his mathematician son János (1802-1860) that trying to prove the postulate had destroyed his “health, peace of mind, and happiness.” It appears that János took the advice and worked (very fruitfully) on other mathematical problems, problems which he found solvable and which I cannot picture. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 10 Feb 2020, 12:28

"Strumming my pain with his fingers, Singing my life with his words . . ." first lines from Killing Me Softly With His Song, sung by Roberta Flack.

Roberta Flack suffered a stroke in 2016, then aged 79, but went on with her singing. There were not many performances, but she was on stage often enough to maintain her schedule of one voice lesson a week. Only Ms. Flack didn’t call them ‘lessons.’ They were “exercises,” important for keeping an old lady’s singing muscles in the required shape for such “old hits” as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” Those two still stand, I think, as the only consecutive Grammy winners (1973 and 1974) by a single artist. Of course the life span of pop compositions isn’t great. Last night, Paulette and I were among a packed audience enraptured by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (composed in 1824, nearly 200 years ago), and I doubt if they’ll still be playing “Killing Me Softly” in 2170. But if you heard her sing that song when you were young and just in love (or, indeed, just out of love), you’d remember it. And Roberta Flack’s career went on for a long time, reuniting old fans and finding new ones, especially in jazz. She was born in Black Mountain, NC, on February 10, 1937. She kept her mom’s (Irene Flack) surname although her dad (Laron LeRoy) headed the family until his death in 1957. By that time Roberta had already graduated with honors from Howard University (in voice and music education), with much experience in music of all sorts. She’d directed (and sung in) a production of Aida at Howard, and she began a career in music teaching in DC middle schools and (in piano) at home. She also performed, here and there, and mainly in classical music, until her music teacher (not the same one as in 2016) convinced her she had a future in pop and jazz. And that was it. First she was a sensation in Washington night clubs, then (as those of us of a certain age all know) in popular recordings, and then for quite a long while in jazz, and not only in clubs but also in great halls all around the country. Her last performance that I know about was in 2018 for the Jazz Foundation of America, just a month after she had to be rushed to the hospital after she’d collapsed, in performance, at the famed Apollo Theatre. She’s still alive, a rich old lady, and I hope well cared for at a nursing home in New York City. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 4200
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 10 Feb 2020, 14:17

The first time ever saw your face would be the 'soppy' one on my desert island disc list. :smile:
I don't think many people know that it was written by Ewan MacColl, father of the late Kirstie MacColl, and perhaps better known for his strident left wing output.

The First time Ever I Saw Your face

My favourite of his is Ballad of John Axon "He was an engine driver at Edgeley loco shed". If you've got an hour to spare, you could do worse than listen to it. I think Uncle Bob would approve - he even has a Jamaican fireman singing a calypso. :smile:

I don't think you could get a bigger contrast between the two works.
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 11 Feb 2020, 12:38

"Divine Providence has a mission for her children to fulfill." Lydia Maria Child, 1843.

At Penn, history majors with a certain GPA (in history) were allowed to take graduate-level lecture courses, and my first was Charles Rosenberg’s survey of US history, 1790-1840. It was a marathon, made so by Rosenberg’s mammoth reading assignments. Luckily, one required text lightened all loads, Alice Felt Tyler’s Freedom’s Ferment: Phases of American Social History to 1860 (1944). It’s there, I think, that I first ran into Lydia Maria Child, a completely fermented agent of all sorts of social reform. Or so my memory serves, though on review I find that Tyler only gives Child three mentions, and then only in the book’s sole chapter on women’s rights. But Child would have been perfect for Tyler’s long argument, that the ‘ferment’ of democracy exploded old notions about the way things ought to be and substituted the new idea that all things might, and should, be made better. Lydia Maria Child was born Lydia Maria Francis in Medford, MA, on February 11, 1802. Maria (her preferred name) was well educated, notably by her elder brother, a Unitarian minister and classicist who (clearly) believed that women were capable of learning Greek and who also commended Lydia for her first novel, Hobomok (1824), even though it turned on a 17th-century marriage between an English woman and a native American. Native rights would be one of Maria Child’s first (and last) causes, but there would be many others in an active life of authorship and troublemaking that lasted until 1880. In this she was aided by her husband David Child (1794-1874). Together, the two crusaded against multiple social ills (notably slavery) and for multiple social reforms (notably women’s rights). On the latter, Child conceded that she might not live to see women vote, but she would “rap on the ballot box.” Child’s many friendships included Margaret Fuller, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and the remarkable Peabody sisters (and, I suspect, Mary’s and Sophia’s husbands, Horace Mann and Nathaniel Hawthorne). Child’s religion was Emersonian (on which issue she wrote a 3-volume study in 1855). And I must mention also that she wrote the poem “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Altogether, Lydia Maria Child was a fascinating figure, and in my view a missed opportunity for Professor Tyler’s otherwise remarkable and entertaining book on the healthiest of democratic fevers. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 12 Feb 2020, 13:25

"A little of what you fancy does you good." Marie Lloyd.

Although it’s available on stream, I’ve never watched “The Great British Bake-Off,” and don’t intend to, but its apparent dependence on sexual innuendo marks it out, like Frankie Howerd’s immortal “Up Pompeii” as a survival of a venerable British music-hall tradition. Note also the many ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ sketches on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” The mistress of the innuendo (and the mistress of the music hall) was Marie Lloyd, born in east-end London as Matilda Alice Victoria Wood on February 11, 1870. The girl had talent, and was performing at age 12. At 14, she adopted the name of Marie Lloyd and very soon was popular enough to be near or at the top of most playbills and pulling down as much as £100 weekly, a tidy sum (£12,000 in today’s £££) even if it wouldn’t have been enough for the great Queen’s daughters, the Princesses Alice and Victoria—whose names Matilda dropped when she became Marie. By all accounts—and there are many—Marie Lloyd performed brilliantly, twanging the heart strings of quite a few gentlemen with her songs, her costumes and her monologue patter, admirers as diverse as Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and P. G. Wodehouse. But the double entendre was a Marie Lloyd trademark, and not only in her monologues, as you might realize from song titles like “She’d Never Had Her Ticket Punched Before.” But only if you have that kind of mind: as Marie Lloyd saw it, innuendo is in the ear of the hearer. There is a story, legendary I think, that when she was brought up before the London County Council (in an investigation of music-hall bawdiness) she sang “Come into the Garden, Maud,” her gestures lacing Lord Tennyson’s romantic poem with enough “innuendo” to make her point pike-staff plain. She sang, too, about poverty and domestic violence, crosses which too many Victorian and Edwardian women carried throughout their lives. Marie Lloyd—once she became Marie Lloyd—never suffered poverty, but in three bad marriages and one bad affair she suffered plenty of violence, fell prey to alcohol, and died of both at age 52, after collapsing at the Alhambra Theatre, a tragic end with no innuendos. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
plaques
Donor
Posts: 4314
Joined: 23 May 2013, 22:09

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by plaques » 12 Feb 2020, 13:38

In my time it was George Formby 'With my little ukulele in my hand' and 'With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock' that got him banned from the BBC.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 13 Feb 2020, 03:16

I remember it well P! (And voyeurism in 'When I'm Cleaning Windows'.)
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 13 Feb 2020, 13:04

"Before you came things were just what they were// the road precisely a road, the horizon fixed, // the limit of what could be seen." Faiz Ahmed Faiz, "Before You Came." A love poem.

Before and since independence, Pakistan has lurched between a secular, modernizing identity and Islamic tribalism. In that, lawyers and jurists have been makers of the country’s secular identity, and it was into just such a family that Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born on February 13, 1911. His father was a leading barrister, a sometime servant of the British raj, and an advocate of Islam as a secular, state-building tradition. Faiz was educated in this tradition, first in Arabic and Islam, and then in English literature. Along the way, he became a Marxist and an increasingly militant advocate of independence, and this drew him together with the equally remarkable Alice George (1915-2003). Alice and her elder sister Christobel, bookseller’s daughters, were born in London where they made connections with radical nationalists from South Asia, became communists, and actually went out to the subcontinent to support the independence movement. There they both married Pakistani intellectuals. Alice, for her part, became Alys Faiz in 1941, and she and Faiz Ahmed Faiz devoted the rest of their lives to the cause of creating, in Pakistan, a secularist, socialist, and egalitarian society. Accordingly their lives were made up of contrasting episodes of prison, exile, and prosperity. Both served their vision of Pakistan as journalists, newspaper editors, and poets—Faiz’s Urdu language poetry made him a potential winner of the Nobel Prize. Faiz and Alys also shared periods of exile, with especially lengthy stays (as asylum seekers) in London and Beirut. In short, they both lived dangerously, and it’s suggested that on more than one occasion they owed their lives to their essentially moderate personalities and to the fact that their wide circles of friends included people from most Pakistani factions. In the process they raised two daughters who today occupy important places in Pakistani business. Their nephew, Christobel’s son Salman Taseer, was a businessman and a secularist in politics. He was governor of the Punjab when he was assassinated by the Taliban in January 2011. Taseer’s sons are both eminent lawyers, known especially for their campaign against the country’s blasphemy law. It’s a family thing. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 14 Feb 2020, 12:59

'You have taught me to distinguish and then you leave me miserable." 'Vanessa' to Jonathan Swift, ca. 1714.

It’s St. Valentine’s Day, and you should exchange at least cards with your best friend or, if you’re lucky, your true love. And if you know anyone named Vanessa, you might send her a card too, or a flower, in honor of the very first “Vanessa.” The name is a coinage of Jonathan Swift’s, conferred by him on Esther Van Homrigh. It was a compound of her nickname, ‘Hessy,’ and the Dutch ‘van.’ We don’t know Esther’s, or Vanessa’s, exact birthday, but she was born in 1688, and she did love Jonathan Swift, so let’s give her February 14, 1688. Her father accompanied William of Orange in his successful invasion of Britain and became King William’s master of stores in Dublin and, on his own ticket, one of Dublin’s richest merchants. Swift and Vanessa met by chance at Dunstable, at an inn on the post road to London, in December 1707. The 19-year old was good company (family friends included Gottfried Leibniz and Alexander Pope) but Swift especially remembered her (at that Dunstable inn) spilling her coffee. In their subsequent correspondence it may be that ‘having coffee’ was a code phrase for sexual intercourse. Maybe. Some Swift biographers believe he was impotent, and several of Vanessa’s letters do suggest some frustration. But Leo Damrosch, in his brilliant and entertaining Swift biography (2014), argues otherwise. Certainly the two met often, many times in a room in Vanessa’s house that Swift called “the Sluttery” (“the most agreeable Chamber in the World,” he told her) but equally certainly it was also (or primarily?) a pedagogical relationship, Swift the teacher, Vanessa the pupil. Whatever it was, it was memorialized by Swift in his Cadenus and Vanessa (‘Cadenas’ was a latinate pun-anagram on Swift’s position as dean of Dublin’s Anglican cathedral), which he wrote in 1712 and published in 1726, three years after Vanessa’s death. But in 1707 Swift already had a (maybe?) lover, another young Esther (Esther Johnson), upon whom he had bestowed a different poetic name (“Stella,” not a Swift coinage). Swift ended things with Vanessa in 1722. Already ill and now broken-hearted, she died. Whatever Vanessa’s relationship with Swift, hers is a sad story that needs a valentine. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 15 Feb 2020, 13:51

"The biblical account of the sixth day should read, he gave them speech, and they became souls." Alfred North Whitehead, 1933.

I cannot begin to understand the contributions to mathematics of Alfred North Whitehead. The most important of these was the Principia Mathematica (3 vols., 1910-13), the outcome of his collaboration with his student, Bertrand Russell. As a courtesy to people like me, and because he believed mathematics to be important and accessible, Whitehead produced at about the same time an Introduction to Mathematics, which one day I might attempt. Alfred North Whitehead was born in County Kent on February 15, 1861, into a thoroughly Anglican and gently scholarly family. His father was a clergyman and the headmaster of the private school his grandfather had founded, but because Alfred was frail and shy, he was educated at home before being sent off to Sherborne School. There he blossomed intellectually, athletically, and socially (the last two were remarkable changes) and went off to Cambridge identified as a student of great promise. This was fulfilled in mathematics, and he was kept on at Trinity College as a fellow in mathematics. There in 1891 he married Evelyn Wade, the light of his life in many ways, and perhaps because of her toyed with the notion of converting to Catholicism. At about the same time as his marriage, however, he met (as college tutor) Bertrand Russell, was convinced of Russell’s genius, and by 1900 had begun a collaboration through which the two men hoped to establish a new logical basis for the higher mathematics, indeed to prove that all mathematics is founded upon, proceeds from, formal logic. After the Principia, Whitehead turned to public service (the training of teachers of mathematics). He defended Russell’s pacifism in WWI, even though he could not share it and although his own younger son had been killed in battle. Russell later reflected that Whitehead had shown him far more tolerance than he, Russell, could ever return. But Whitehead was a gentle man. From the 1920s he became increasingly interested in a systematic metaphysics, as difficult to grasp as the Principia: a profound mix of science, mathematics, philosophy, and a theology that involved a non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, but discoverable God. Whitehead died in 1947, still teaching, at Harvard. At his direction, there was no funeral. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 16 Feb 2020, 13:15

"The Brilliant Sorcery of England's 7-Circle Roundabout," article title in Wired magazine, August 2016.

“Two nations separated by a common language.” That witticism about the UK and the USA is attributed to George Bernard Shaw although he could have filched it from an Oscar Wilde story. Whatever its origin, it’s true (try the words ‘rubber’ or ‘dust’), but a deeper chasm exists in motoring. Brits’ driving (and also parking!!) on the wrong side and their lesser incivility are parts of it, but the contrasts are best drawn by considering the roundabout (British) and traffic circle (American). These admirable junctions generally remove the need for traffic lights and produce a steady flow even at peak load. Or they do in Britain. In the US, not so much. That’s because there are a great many more roundabouts in the UK, and it owes also to the civility factor. But in Britain the roundabout revolution belonged especially to Frank Blackmore, born on February 16, 1916, in Algeria where his missionary father ran an eye hospital. Blackmore was educated in Algeria and (in civil engineering) in France, but was in Britain by 1939. During the war, he flew Wellington bombers, and survived; he continued in the RAF until 1959, when he took up his prewar job of traffic engineering, now for the UK’s Road Research Laboratory. There he developed a missionary zeal for the roundabout. His children remember vacation trips interrupted by their father’s taking pictures of all sorts of junctions, pictures which later (with explanatory diagrams and prose) served Blackmore’s quest for more (or better) roundabouts. By 1970 he’d won many battles, not only adding new roundabouts but redesigning old ones, modifying traffic rules, and creating new designs like ‘mini’ roundabouts, now quite common. His signature creation was a 5-road junction roundabout at Swindon, in Wiltshire, really six peripheral ‘minis’ around a large central circle. This was disliked by motorists, who called it The Magic Roundabout (a sarcasm, also the name of a popular children’s program). But it’s now been replicated in at least four other places and, statistically, has proven to improve safety. Whether this is because of its design or because it intimidates British motorists into states of super-civility has yet to be settled. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 4200
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 16 Feb 2020, 13:51

Stanley wrote:
16 Feb 2020, 13:15
but a deeper chasm exists in motoring. Brits’ driving (and also parking!!) on the wrong side
No - we're right and you're wrong. especially in UK. :smile: Tell them at 'RAF' Croughton.

Roundabouts may have been good a long time ago - the East Lancs road (A580) for example, but they have largely been removed from the part of the A1 road that I use, where increased traffic resulted in a ten minute delay at each one. No hold ups at all now.
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 17 Feb 2020, 12:25

"I had not imagined it would be necessary to give a name to such a simple device." Rene Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope.

Like many scientific coinages, the word “stethoscope” is a compound of ancient Greek and means simply ‘(to) look at the chest.’ Its minter was also the inventor of the device itself, and he might have done better to use “stethakuo” (‘to listen to the chest’), but let’s not quibble. The stethoscope, announced to the world in 1819, became almost overnight and has remained perhaps the most universal, and basic, diagnostic tool in medicine. We owe the thing, and the word, to René Laënnec, born in Quimper, Brittany, on February 17, 1781. He was tutored in medicine by a paternal uncle, who was on the medical faculty at Nantes, and then went to Paris for further study. By all accounts, Laënnec proved himself a brilliant student, practitioner, and innovator in several fields. There’s a suggestion that, early on, his career was held back by his devotion to Catholicism, but his faith also focused him on clinical treatment, especially of the poor and of wounded soldiers (of which Napoleonic France had a surplus). He worked with the wounded at the Saltpêtrière, but it was at the Necker Hospital that Laënnec developed the stethoscope. The original was like a musical instrument, a hollow tube of wood that served to gather in and amplify sounds from within the patient’s chest. Such monaural diagnoses were not new (indeed, they were quite ancient), but before Laënnec physicians had listened directly, laying their ear on the chest, and his device not only improved their hearing but also enabled a degree of modesty for the patient and distance for the diagnostician. Before he died in 1826 (of a tuberculosis which he himself diagnosed) Laënnec made several other important medical advances (generally diagnostic, including for metastatic melanoma, pleurisy, cirrhosis, and emphysema), but his marvellous stethoscope is probably the reason there are, today, Laënnec Hospitals and Rues de Laënnec in many French towns and cities, including in Quimper and Nantes. The French are pretty good at that sort of memorialization. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 18 Feb 2020, 12:56

"You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong.” Count Allesandro Volta.

Although we humans have known for a long time that electricity was a natural phenomenon (the Greeks and probably the Arabs used electric fish in medical treatments), we found it difficult to produce the stuff. The word itself (a coinage of 1600) comes originally from the Greek for amber, for it had long been known that rubbing amber produced a good static shock. But as far as I know you can’t light a room by rubbing amber, and it wasn’t until the invention of the voltaic battery that humans ‘made’ electricity run as a current. Its inventor was Allesandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, born in Como on February 18, 1745. At that time Como (now in northern Italy’s Lake District) was an outpost of the Hapsburg empire, and Volta was by birth a count (Conte) in the local Italian-speaking aristocracy. But he made himself into a scientific gentleman (a human sub-species of the Age of Enlightenment) and one who was particularly interested in static electricity, which (still in Como, as professor in its Royal School) he found, or improved, various ways of generating. In common with other such gentleman, Volta had many interests. He is for instance credited with the discovery, or naming, of methane. But after moving to the University of Pavia (in Milan) electricity occupied more of his time. He was entranced by Luigi Galvani’s work with the ‘electricity’ of frog muscles. However, convinced that Galvani’s explanation of the phenomenon was wrong, Volta conducted thought and laboratory experiments to prove that electricity could be produced and conducted chemically. Fairly quickly he produced his voltaic cell, using zinc and copper and a solution of sulfuric acid (or brine) as the electrolyte to produce a flow of (as we now say) electrons from the copper (positive) to the zinc (negative). After nearly 40 years at Milan, and many honors, Volta retired to his ancestral estate near Como and died there in 1827, leaving his family with an inheritance and us with his name, for we still use the ‘volt’ as a measure of electric current. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 4200
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 18 Feb 2020, 13:23

Stanley wrote:
18 Feb 2020, 12:56
for we still use the ‘volt’ as a measure of electric current. ©
I think Monsieur Ampere might disagree. :smile:

André-Marie Ampère, (born January 22, 1775, Lyon, France—died June 10, 1836, Marseille), French physicist who founded and named the science of electrodynamics, now known as electromagnetism. His name endures in everyday life in the ampere, the unit for measuring electric current.18 Jan 2020
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
PanBiker
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 10144
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 13:07
Location: Barnoldswick - In the West Riding of Yorkshire, always was, always will be.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by PanBiker » 18 Feb 2020, 14:18

Indeed, voltage is a potential, current is the rate of flow.

Volts that jolt, mills that kills. That's a small aide memoir for those who are inclined to mess with electricals. :extrawink: :biggrin2:
Ian

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 19 Feb 2020, 12:42

"The earliest signs of living things . . . entirely exclude the hypothesis of a transmutation from lower to higher grades of being." Sir Roderick Murchison, 1872.

Helping to map a canal in 1793, the humble surveyor William Smith (1769-1839) noticed that the earth underneath was layered, like “so many slices of bread and butter.” By 1815, Smith had improved that insight to make a geological map of Great Britain, the race was on to do the same for other countries, indeed for the world, and also to think about what it might mean. It helped to find coal seams, for instance, but it also suggested that the world must be unimaginably ancient; and the fossils found in most layers implied a similar chronology. So it was that a sufficient time frame was provided for Darwin’s (and Wallace’s) theory of evolution of species (1859). But by no means all these pioneer geologists came on board. Even Charles Lyell (Darwin’s tutor) had his doubts, and other eminent geologists never accepted Darwin’s theory of a natural history for the earth’s serried ranks of species. Among them was Roderick Impey Murchison, born to wealth in Ross-shire, Scotland, on February 19, 1792. As with others of his class, after an army career he took up a life of ridin’, huntin’, fishin’, and collectin’ his rents, when a scientific gentleman suggested that he take up something useful. And so Murchison became a geologist, and one with the time and money to spend on mapping the under-earth, an avocation that required travel, not to mention at least some diggin’. He was a good mapper, too, and he’s best known for mapping and naming several ages and layers, notably the Silurian (which he named after an ancient tribal people of the Welsh marches) and the Permian (after the Perm district in Russia). Murchison’s eminence and his generosity explain why his name has been affixed to natural features all over the world (and to a crater on the moon). But while, of rational necessity, Murchison accepted the idea of an ancient earth, he never abandoned belief in a creator God. Instead, he saw the Genesis story as a poetic frame for successive acts of creation and destruction, in landscape and in species. Among Roderick Murchison’s many memorials is a huge chunk of rock, presumably Permian and suitably inscribed, in the yard of School #9 in Perm, Russia. It was placed there in 2005, 134 years after Murchison’s death. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 20 Feb 2020, 13:34

"One day, Kay came in and reported a difficulty." Dr. John Wheeler, quoted in 1982, recalling Katherine Way's 'nuclear moment,' circa 1938.

The story of the Manhattan Project and the creation of the first A-bomb was generally told about men, but for some time we have been learning that female scientists were involved. Among them one of the most important has been one of the most unsung, Katherine (‘Kay’) Way. She was born in a Pittsburgh suburb on February 20, 1903. She later said she might have become a housewife, but in 1915 her widowed father married a specialist physician who provided a different life model. Her undergraduate career was lengthened by suspected tuberculosis (she didn’t get her BS until 1932), but the interruptions helped her to change majors (to physics) and institutions (to Barnard College at Columbia). She did her graduate work in nuclear theory at North Carolina (PhD 1938), and it was in 1939 that she made one of her important contributions to the field, a paper about an experiment that went wrong, or more accurately left a gap (a loss in mass of a spinning nucleus) which she called a “nuclear moment.” Others would, very quickly, call it nuclear fission and give it a theory. During the war, Kay Way worked in several places, and indeed is credited with keeping lines of communication open between Chicago, Los Alamos, and what became the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She made important contributions to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor (“Chicago Pile 1,” 1942) and with a male colleague developed the Way-Wigner measure of nuclear decay. After the war, she played a leading role in the effort—by many nuclear scientists—to turn the world away from nuclear weaponry and towards peaceful uses, and was co-editor of a best-selling book whose title put the choice starkly enough, One World or None (1948). Way retired from Oak Ridge in 1968 to serve as an adjunct at Duke. Her last research publication came in 1982. Later, from her base in a Durham nursing home, Way created and led an organization devoted to providing better care and more varied lives for aging seniors, the Durham Seniors for Better Health. She died in 1995. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 21 Feb 2020, 13:42

Mapping the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Deville and his Cameras/.

If on an odd circumstance one were looking for information on the life of Dr. Édouard Gaston Deville, a good place to find it would be in the NASA database ADS, the ‘Astrophysics Data System.’ But what’s a French-Canadian land surveyor who died in 1924 doing there? It’s because Dr. Deville invented the modern system of making maps from photographs, maps that not only accurately depicted distance (the plane geometry of the earth) but also its vertical contours. In a pre-computer age, this was a task of monumental complexity, starting with his invention of a surveying camera and then of a way to synthesize hundreds, indeed thousands, of photographic perspectives. He tested his system by mapping the Canadian Rockies, a necessary location because it was before the airplane and thus before mobile aerial photography simplified the provision of height perspectives. Édouard Gaston Deville was born in France on February 21, 1849 and (at the French naval college) showed such a talent for mathematics and engineering that, on graduation, he was named commanding officer for the navy’s hydrographic surveys. He ‘retired’ in 1874 and moved to Québec. There in 1881 he married well (the daughter of the province’s premier), but it was probably his talent that in the same year landed him the job of Québec’s inspector of land surveys, and it had to be talent that made him, in 1885, the surveyor-general of all Canada. By the summer of 1886 he (and his crews) were carrying his theodolite cameras up and down mountain peaks, taking pictures from certain elevations, and moving on, up, and down until the mountainous regions of British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon were fully mapped, by photographs. Before that was completed, he’d published a book (1889) telling the world how to do it and become a founding member of the Canadian Royal Society. He mapped the prairies too, and continued as surveyor general until his death. Of course the technology has moved on since, but the next time you use Google Earth you might give a nod to Dr. Deville, his tripod-theodolite cameras, and his mountain-climbing crews. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 22 Feb 2020, 13:04

"It is not what you have, but what you give, that brings happiness." Olave, Lady Baden-Powell.

In my honors seminar this week (on colonial period religion) we’ve discussed areas of the occult—witchcraft, chiromancy, geomancy, etc.—and the question of whether they should be seen as ‘religious.’ It’s important to realize that such beliefs were not just delusions of the poor and unlettered, nor were they peculiar to ancient times. In my youth, in Grundy County, Iowa, I witnessed a geomancer at work (old Doc Apple, a local water witch), and family lore has it that (in the 1880s) a great-great aunt briefly employed a medium to converse with her (the aunt’s) dead friends. Among the eminent, Arthur Conan Doyle spent much time and money contacting his dead son, and another communicator across the ‘Great Divide’ was Olave, Lady Baden-Powell. Broken-hearted by her husband’s death (in 1941) she contacted him frequently, or tried to, until her own death in 1977. Lady Baden-Powell was born Olave St. Clair Soames on February 22, 1889, and spent an unhappy, lonely childhood with her emotionally distant parents, moving from one expensive rented estate property to another, educated (if at all) only by her German governess and in the arts of being a country girl: archery, riding, dinners, dancing. She did have older women friends, but rejected one of them on finding that she (Jean Graham) was having an affair with Olave’s father. Her purer country pursuits prepared Olave well for her meeting (while on an ocean voyage) General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 32 years her senior, falling in love with him, and marrying him (over their families’ objections) in 1912. Besides birthing their three children, Olave threw herself into Sir Robert’s work at the head of what was already a worldwide scouting movement, beginning with a trial by fire serving at scouting “huts” near the front lines in WWI. And she kept at it, too, until the end of her days, becoming a scouting icon in her own right, especially loved (and financially supported) by the American branches of the scouting movement. They found common cause with Olave’s conservative views on what qualities made a young person into a good scout. Whether they knew that their “Chief Guide” was also a necromancer is not clear. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 23 Feb 2020, 13:15

"Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight, And burnèd is Apollo's laurel-bough, That sometime grew within this learnèd man." Marlowe, The Tragicall History of Dr. Faustus.

Today we ascribe mysterious powers to the internet, for instance in politics and advertising, and perhaps it is so, in the hands of Russian bots or Silicon Valley children. But, truth or mythology (the two are not mutually exclusive), it’s not a new idea. The printing press was once a new technology, at least in the West, and was invested by some with mystical powers. A date sometimes given for Johannes Gutenberg’s first miracle, the ‘Gutenberg Bible,’ is February 23, 1455. It’s an arbitrary attribution. He’d been working on it for a long time, transferring his technical skills from gem cutting and metal working to the magical task of duplicating knowledge. And he worked in secrecy, too, and not just on the technical side. His banker was the Mainz goldsmith Johan Fust, impressed enough with Gutenberg’s work to lend him huge sums in 1450 and 1452, bind Gutenberg to secrecy; and then powerful enough to seize control of Gutenberg’s equipment, to produce Fust’s own (color-printed!!) psalter in 1457 and, incidentally, to reduce Gutenberg to a poverty from which he was rescued by a pension from the Archbishop of Mainz . Given all that skullduggery, fueled apparently by Fust’s greed, and the dramatic impact of the printing press on European culture, it’s not surprising that legendary tales arose, and perhaps not merely coincidence that among them was the Faustus myth. An early iteration, in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1570 edition), actually gives “Joan Faustus, a goldesmith” credit for the invention. Of course Foxe made “God him self . . . ordainer and disposer” of the print revolution. But the perfect, or I should say the opposite solution was to credit Satan with the whole thing, and (a very nice touch) to name Faustus’s besetting sin as his thirst for knowledge, the same fatal frailty as that of Adam’s Eve. After Gutenberg and Foxe, the mysterious powers of the new technology encouraged writers to overlap or even to identify “Johan Fust” the greedy goldsmith with “Dr. Faustus” the Devil’s plaything. Given our current fears of the internet, perhaps we should pardon them for their confusion. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 24 Feb 2020, 13:22

"Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could." Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1776.

The vulnerabilities of early modern women are best conceived by studying the lives of ordinary Mary, plain Jane, and poor Sarah. But the point can be forcefully illustrated by using a woman of wealth and standing. Such was Mary Eleanor Bowes, born on February 24, 1749, and the only child of George Bowes, MP, landowner and wealthy merchant. When he died in 1760 she was already on her way, well educated, precociously intelligent, and (except apparently for her large nose) quite beautiful into the bargain. And rich. Her mother moved the household to Grosvenor Square, London, and the marriage stakes began. At 18, after prolonged pre-nuptial negotiations, she married well, John Lyon, 9th earl of Strathmore. He was a nice enough man, and within six years she’d birthed five children (one of whom, if I’m not mistaken, was an ancestor of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, George VI’s queen consort), but the two were badly matched. She embarked on a series of affairs. Strathmore died in 1776, leaving her a reproachful letter and even richer than she had been at 18, and also suo jure Countess of Strathmore. She then (1777) married Andrew Stoney, a fortune-hunter who’d buried his first (wealthy) wife. When he found that Elizabeth had taken legal measures to protect her estate, he forced her to revoke the deed of trust, and for several years abused her terribly. Women’s rights even in such instances were limited; but in 1785 she fled the household and courageously filed for divorce. That might not have turned out well given her past affairs, but Stoney lost his nerve, had her abducted and held in really vile durance. She was rescued by local workingmen, and after her story was told Stoney and his henchmen were arrested and imprisoned. Her divorce then proceeded successfully (what else could the courts do?). She retrieved her inheritance and lived out her days quietly and comfortably, as befit an intelligent female person of good estate. In 1800 she was buried in Westminster Abbey, in her Bowes-Lyon wedding dress. Andrew Stoney, it is said, became the model for William Makepeace Thackeray’s scoundrel Barry Lyndon (1844), which was a far kinder fate than Stoney deserved. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 25 Feb 2020, 12:33

"Self-pity is the most destructive emotion . . . How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self." Millicent Fenwick.

Both sides of Millicent Fenwick’s family produced a plethora of notabilities. Her mother’s folks, the Stevenses, had run several shows in Hoboken, NJ, including the Stevens Institute of Technology; then her mother married a leading banker and diplomat and went down with the Lusitania in 1915. That diplomatic banker, Ogden Hammond, survived the Lusitania and had sprung from a line of Kentucky Unionists (his father was General Sherman’s chief of staff). So you’d expect Millicent Hammond Fenwick (born on February 25, 1910) to be unusual, and so she was, unusual enough to become (many say) the model for Garry Trudeau’s outspoken lady politico, Lacey Davenport, in his comic strip Doonesbury. That was an odd fate for a Republican, but then Millicent Fenwick was a liberal Republican, now a vanquished and vanished species. But she had a struggle to get there, despite her family wealth. In her youth she attended a bevy of leading colleges but always dropped out. Then she had an affair with a married man, Hugh Fenwick, and after his divorce married him, which caused a rift with her family. And then Hugh began playing around (with money and with other women). In 1945 they divorced and Millicent was left with three young kids and a pile of debts. With few proven professional skills, she began at Vogue as a model, then wrote picture captions, and rose through the ranks to write Vogue’s Book of Etiquette. Then, in 1952, her children grown, she inherited a goodly pile and set off on her own, on a political career unimaginable today in the Republican party, a leading advocate for black civil rights, defender of migrant agricultural workers (for a time she was known as “Outhouse Millie” because of her insistence on adequate toilet facilities in the fields), a consumer rights agitator and administrator. And a Republican. Elected to the US Congress in 1974, aged 64, Millicent quickly made news, and kept making it. Walter Cronkite called her the congress’s conscience, and she was: and an angry supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. Outhouse Millie died in 1992. Her wing of the GOP was already on life support, and hasn’t survived, but Millie’s memorial statue, a life-size bronze, arms open wide in welcome, chin up, smiling, stands outside her hometown’s train station. It’s always nattily attired in someone’s colorful scarf, just like Trudeau’s stylish heroine. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 57146
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 26 Feb 2020, 12:30

"Every public speaker likes his hearer to imagine his oratory as an unpremeditated gift of nature." Lionel Logue.

I have seen The King’s Speech (2010) twice and will see it again. Marvelous film that it is, one feels one could write up Lionel Logue’s life without further assistance, but even great biopics are not real life. Or are they? Lionel George Logue was born in Adelaide, Australia, on February 26, 1880. He was brought up a Christian Scientist, became interested in healing in general, spiritualism in particular. After several false starts found his métier in speech therapy. He had been teaching public speaking and giving elocution lessons at the Adelaide YMCA but found more satisfying success in helping shell-shocked victims of WWI recover their speech and find their balance. He, his wife Myrtle (they married in 1906), and their three sons moved to London, where with no qualifications other than experience he set up shop as a speech therapist in Harley Street. He enjoyed the work, was good at it, and true to his nature used the high fees he charged to wealthy clients to continue treating the poor, for low fees or none. Of course the Duke of York (who, as fate and Wallis Simpson would have it, would in 1936 become King George VI) was not a poor stammerer, but he did stammer, terribly, and even as the Prince of Wales’s younger brother he had to speak in public, too often. Logue’s somewhat clandestine relationship with his royal patient began in October 1926, and after a rocky start did (as the film makes out) become very close. After nearly three months of daily therapy sessions in 1926, it continued right up to, and after, the coronation. Under Logue’s guidance The King’s Speech was never eloquent, but through the abdication crisis, the Great Depression and another world war, it more than sufficed. Myrtle (“my girl,” Logue called her) died in 1945, George VI in 1952, and Logue himself in 1953. On George VI’s death, there was a touching correspondence between his queen and his therapist. Whether the movie’s best scene ever actually happened, when Myrtle Logue first discovers the queen in her dining room and the king in her parlor, I cannot say. But let’s say that it did. It’s worth a thousand words. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “General Miscellaneous Chat & Gossip”