Editorial note. Due to an editing error last week’s chart included the number “1”, representing the number of deep-space spacewalks (as opposed to moonwalks) during Apollo 15. Although that statistic had been considered, the intention was to instead present the number of parachutes which failed to open during the (safe) splashdown. I regret the mistake and include the corrected chart here. Thank you for your understanding.
Reference: European History 1648 to 1789, R M Rayner.
When I speak of the buffet having an all-cheese table I should be more precise. I mean that the offerings on top of the table are all cheese. Many kinds of cheese, of many cheese genres. But the table itself is not made of cheese. The table is made of table. Oh, there are also some small plates, which are made out of the same stuff as large plates, just not so much of them. I apologize for any confusion on this point up through now.
So the other day I mentioned the English sport of competitively dancing while the opposing team throws a beer-soaked rag at you and I supported that by linking to Wikipedia’s entry about the English sport of competitively dancing while the opposing team throws a beer-soaked rag at you. There I figured the matter rested, since England has all sorts of things to do and they will include things like hitting each other on purpose. Also I swear I saw this show where there was a football match that had gone on at a public school for over a century now without either team scoring or being expected to score, but I can’t find the reference now and for all I know somebody’s gone and scored.
Anyway, my love came across this and figured that can’t possibly be. And then went and actually read the article and came to the conclusion that it didn’t make any sense, and the more you looked at it the less sense it made. And read the citations, all of which made very little sense and the less the more you looked at them. And the comments, which in the least sensible thing of all, don’t make the reader despair of the concept of humanity.
So there we have it. The whole thing looks to be a hoax, more or less. At least, it started out as a prank perpetrated for the comedy show It’s A Square World and it’s sort of stumbled on from there. I should have known, since the whole of England is pretty much a prank that got going so successfully that sometime around when they pulled the “Parliament of Bats” and nobody called them on it they realized they were stuck holding an actual country. I suppose dancing while the opposing team throws a beer-soaked rag at you isn’t likely to have such far-reaching global implications. Still, I feel a fool for not going and actually checking and I can only thank my love for showing where I was fooled. It was called the Parliament of Bats because attendees weren’t allowed to take their swords in with them, not because they were small flying mammals, which is all the more shame.
Another Blog, Meanwhile Index
New pen day! It’s new pen day! Everybody has new pens and they’re feeling so good that even thought we called off work early the index was up something or other, who cares, it’s new pen day and everything can be all right with the world!
But the Star Trek web forum I keep prowling around has been down for “some backups” for the past fifteen hours. I’m sane, still, but it’s tough going. How am I supposed to carry on without cracking jokes about how even the guy who played the helmsman on Star Trek: Enterprise doesn’t remember the helmsman on Star Trek: Enterprise? Or telling fans of Deep Space Nine that nobody cares how its first two seasons were better than Next Generation‘s, they were still boring? It’s important to my identity that I pass my spare time being all cranky about a bunch of TV shows I insist I like. But I’ve got some very important thoughts about whether the Genesis Torpedo could even in principle reshape a star and they have to be shared with people who are wrong.
In this column recently we erroneously quoted Michigan state Senator Carl Levin as saying, “a mapping for a manifold M is structurally stable if any perturbation is topologically conjugate to , where is a function such that is close to and that the first r derivatives of are also close to the respective derivatives of ”. State Senators are notoriously shy, reclusive, almost mythological creatures and it was not our intention to embarrass one by printing his name where anyone might see it. We apologize for the error.