Friday, February 05, 2016

Babylonians used geometrical methods, 350-50 BCE

"Ancient Babylonian astronomers calculated Jupiter’s position from the area under a time-velocity graph" / Mathieu Ossendrijver

Science  29 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 482-484
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8085


The idea of computing a body’s 
displacement as an area in time-velocity space is usually traced back to 14th-century Europe. I show that in four ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablets, Jupiter’s displacement along the ecliptic is computed as the area of a trapezoidal figure obtained by drawing its daily displacement against time. This interpretation is prompted by a newly discovered tablet on which the same computation is presented in an equivalent arithmetical formulation. The tablets date from 350 to 50 BCE. The trapezoid procedures offer the first evidence for the use of geometrical methods in Babylonian mathematical astronomy, which was thus far viewed as operating exclusively with arithmetical concepts.

BBC Report

Sophisticated geometry - the branch of mathematics that deals with shapes - was being used at least 1,400 years earlier than previously thought, a study suggests.
Research shows that the Ancient Babylonians were using geometrical calculations to track Jupiter across the night sky.
Previously, the origins of this technique had been traced to the 14th Century.
The new study is published in Science.
Its author, Prof Mathieu Ossendrijver, from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, said: "I wasn't expecting this. It is completely fundamental to physics, and all branches of science use this method."

For the rest of the BBC report, see:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Primitive Man

Greater lack of cultural values than that found in the inner life of some strata of our modern population is hardly to be found anywhere.

-- Franz Boas, The Mind of Primitive Man (2ed, 1938), p.198.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cranial surgery on Bhoja

Bhojadeva Bhiṣajām

The king cleansed his head at a tank, but a baby goldfish (śaphara-śāvaḥ) got into his skull.  Physicans couldn't cure the pain, so the king prepared to die, and banished all the physicians from the kingdom, throwing their medicines into the river.
Indra told the Aśvins about this, and they went to the king's court, disguised as brahmans.  They make the king unconscious with moha-cūrṇa and took his skull out and put it in a skull-shaped basin.  They removed the fish and threw them into a dish.  They reassembled his skull with glue, and woke him up with a reviving medicine (sañjīvanī) and showed him the fish.

Saradaprosad Vidyabhusan (ed.) भोज-प्रबन्धः श्रीबल्लाल विरचितः The Bhoj-Prabandha of Sree Ballal (With English Translation) (Calcutta: Auddy & Co., 1926), pp. 222-228. 

The Bhojaprabandha Ballāladeva of Benares, apparently 16th century (so not toe be confused with Ballālasena the father of Lakṣmaṇaṇasena). See also the tr. by Louis Gray in the AOS series, New Haven, 1950.
From the भोजप्रबन्धः बल्लालसेनेन विरचितम् 

मनीषिणः सन्ति न ते हितैषिणो
हितैषिणः सन्ति न ते मनीषिणः |
सुहृच्च विद्वानपि दुर्लभो नृणां |
यथौषधं स्वादु हितञ्च दुर्लभम् ||५८||

Wisdom is knowledge together with goodness. -- S. Wujastyk

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Linux Mint swapfile

Getting the swap file working in Linux Mint.  Using LVM

sudo /sbin/mkswap /dev/mapper/foobar [e.g., mint--vg-swap_1]
sudo swapon -a

Monday, December 07, 2015

Brandolini's Law

The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Research funding in Canada

Funding sources

See also

Friday, January 23, 2015

Canada tops the list of yoga interest worldwide

According to Google's metrics on search trends, the keyword "yoga" is searched for more in Canada than in any other country in the world.  And within Canada, the top "yoga" locations are Vancouver and then Calgary.