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Showing posts from February, 2016

Seen on the way to work

Yesterday was gorgeous here in San Francisco!


Fun and Games with Art History and The Stars are Too High

So, this is cool!  As I've mentioned here before[1], the painting shown below depicts the namesake of Agnew Hunter Bahnson Jr., (author of The Stars are Too High).  I've also mentioned that Agnew's cousin, Dr. Henry T. Bahnson, is named after their shared grandfather that Dr. Agnew, depicted in the painting below, operated on.  I've even mentioned that Dr. Bahnson worked with Dr. Blalock who originated the life-saving blue-baby surgical technique along with Dr. Vivien Thomas.  Now, here's the cool new stuff!  A movie, "Stomething the Lord Made", that treated the relationship between Dr. Blalock, and his surgical assistant Dr. Thomas was produced by HBO.  In the scene immediately before the portrayal of Dr's Blalock, and Tomas' groundbreaking surgical technique, the aforementioned, painting appears in the background.  As I said, you already knew that Bahnson worked with Blalock, but did you also know that Bahnson traveled with Dr. Blalock as his s…

“The Stars are Too High” and Gravity Waves

Rumor has it that LIGO is finally going to announce the discovery of gravity waves on Thursday!  The author of “The Stars are Too High”, Agnew Hunter Bahnson Jr. helped to fund one of the first general relativity conferences where the existence of gravity waves was discussed.  In 1957 at the Chapel Hill conference.  Not all the physicists present considered gravity waves to be a possible physical reality.  Details were hashed out outside of conference sessions, and the physicists, while not reaching a consensus, were able to easily share ideas  by the simple expediency of being in the same location.  
All of this was made possible by Bahnson.  Reaching out Bryce DeWitt after reading his Gravitation Research Foundations prize-winning essay, Bahnson proposed that DeWitt head up an academic institute for the study of gravitation.  Bryce was at first inclined to decline, but accepted after speaking with his mentor John Archibald Wheeler, (originator of the term Black Hole), who implored h…

The Stars are Too High: Original Owners

I've recently started reading Agnew Hunter Bahnson Jr.'s "The Stars are Too High".  Given the history of physics research I've done regarding Bahnson, I can't believe I haven't read it before, but I'm reading it now.  My copy arrived a few days back, and even though I'm only about a fifth of the way through the book, it's been very intriguing!

First off, I seem to have come into possession of a copy that was owned by two different sci-fi fanzine editors, one of whom became a published sci-fi author.  The name Tim Eklund by itself wouldn't have meant much, but when coupled with the name on the opposite side of the book's opening, Hank Lutrell, it began to come into focus.  Hank turns up immediately as the editor of a fanzine.  In the context of fanzines, I quickly found a link that indicated that Tim Eklund was more formally known as Gordon Eklund.  I haven't been able to confirm this is the case yet, but in any event, I learned so…

Making a Microsoft Word Outline Numbered

Just a quick note, because I'll forget, and these instructions were impossible for me to find online.  If you've got an outline in Word that you'd like to add heading numbering to, there are only two simple steps to follow.
1.  Click on any heading in your outline. 2.  Click the toolbar button shown in the picture!
That's it!  If you find a bajillion longish instruction sets like I did, ignore them!  That's right future me, ignore them! :)

Remember the New Math? Blame it on Sputnik!

Remember when "The New Math" had us all learning set theory in elementary school?  I hated set theory, and had no idea why we were learning it.  This week, years, (ahem, many), year later, I found out what it was all about: Sputnik!  While researching a book in the--as it turns out--aptly named New Mathematical Library, I found the historical link.

The NML was a series of books commissioned by the School Math Study Group (SMSG).  A quick dive into Wikipedia turned up the interesting fact that the SMSG was formed after Sputnik flew over.  The US decided we were going to need far more scientists and engineers than we had available.  The solution to the problem back then made logical sense: increase the number of math literate students available.  Hence, the SMSG gave us the NML, a series of excellent books that: "make available to high school students short expository books on various topics not usually covered in the high school curriculum", and the New Math.  If …