[seqfan] Re: Poster mentioning OEIS
israel at math.ubc.ca
israel at math.ubc.ca
Wed Oct 5 20:42:24 CEST 2011
Usually when some knowledge is lost, we aren't quite sure what it was
(otherwise it wasn't really lost). The exception is when it wasn't lost
permanently, but reappears. A good example, perhaps, is the Archimedes
palimpsest (see <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes_Palimpsest>).
Robert Israel israel at math.ubc.ca
Department of Mathematics http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada
On Oct 5 2011, Richard Mathar wrote:
> Lots of question come into mind: i) The collector (that half of the
> hunter and gatherer spirit) is collecting
> items with a sense that the things may be useful in the future without
> knowing for sure at which point in time that might be. So where does
> the collection of food etc in preparation for the winter end (just
> foresight and care) and where does this the vague lookout to the future
> (note the stock market terminology) start?
>ii) Are there known cases where good storage of items or data could have
> prevented loss? I am not thinking of art items that are lost in war times
> or by fire in archives, but of knowledge (in sciences) that once
> existed and
> could -at least- have saved time and boosted civilization and economies?
> Is there in fact an anti-poster to what Wolfram shows?
> (There is perhaps the example of the iron curtain which lead to many
> discoveries on the two sides, simply by lack of communication...) So
> did one of Neil's ancestors in fact collect digits of Pi, say in some
> Greek temple, which did not make it through the Roman empire because
> their practical minds did not see any use for them in building bridges or
> fighting some Gallic folks? There are anecdotes of great minds who solved
> "famous" problems, say the 3-body problem of physics, but for most of
> these stories, these heroes have quickly figured out that they did not
> actually make progress.. so these pieces of history do not count, nor the
> destruction of the library of Alexandria of which we do not know what it
>Hagar the Horrible: "Let us remind the great achievements the medieval
>times brought to us: the compat axt, the two-edged swort, the double-headed
>spiked mace, the catapult...."
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