[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 
> double
>  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 
> contained.
>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...."
>Seqfan Mailing list - http://list.seqfan.eu/

More information about the SeqFan mailing list