Tuesday, 29 January 2013

An Empty Library

Recently the collection at Gladstone's Library has been being re-organised. This provided an almost unique opportunity to see what a library looked like without its books.

Here a couple of pictures:


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

More fun on the Underground

Following my recent blog about what somebody is doing to the signs on the London Underground, my daughter sent me a link to the following game. One must look at the picture and find 75 London Underground and DLR stations represented. Don't rely on the picture below. That's just to get you interested. Follow the link to the interactive version at lookforlonger.com instead. That will tell you if your guesses are right or not as well as keep a tally of your score.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Dice

The word dice is a plural word. People often mistakenly use the word dice to refer to a single die. Hence the expression 'the die has been cast' (a phrase with an interesting history) and not 'the dice ...'. However, I came across this interesting object in Vienna in November 2005 (although it seems to have been made in China). Here we have a die-within-a-die. So, in a sense, there is something singular about it. So might this be 'a' dice?

NB On both dice, the one and the four are represented by red spots, whereas all the other numbers are represented by black spots. I afraid don't know why.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Barcode - 11

This is the eleventh barcode in the series and today is 11th January.

Marginalia55 in Dutch Post KIX.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Thinking God's thoughts after Him

I once heard the phrase "thinking God's thoughts after Him" attributed to Sir Isaac Newton (1642/3-1727) (who, of course, just turned 370 - or was it 369 - on Christmas Day). However, the phrase apparently really belongs to Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) - although I cannot verify this. (At least, that is the general consensus of opinion so far as I can ascertain. Not that conscensus counts for much.)

Stated more fully and in context, the quotation is:

"I was merely thinking God's thoughts after Him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of Nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God." (See, for example, Johannes Kepler at the New World Encyclopedia.)

Kepler is clearly summarising his life's work and what motivated him. This approaches scientific research in a way quite different to the one frequently adopted today. I recently had somebody openly admit to me that the main reason for having done his research was to amass the number of publications, successful grant applications, PhD students etc. necessary for progression up the academic career ladder. His was a purely self-centred desire for more academic kudos and more money (although, one must note, not vast amounts more (as he also bemoaned) - there is much more to be had in industry and commerce).

There is something both humble and grandiose about Kepler's stated approach but little apart from selfishness when it comes to the other.