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Book of General Ignorance

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827066.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:44 am Reply with quote

I've recently been given the Book of General Ignorance and, after reading almost 200 pages of fascinating and entertaining 'facts', have just started to wonder whether it's actually true, or just a book of comedy fiction. I'd be so disappointed if I learned that it's fiction!

827069.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:59 am Reply with quote

Comedy yes

827070.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:07 am Reply with quote

Oh! That's a shame. It had seemed so convincing! Aren't I gullible?!?!

827073.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:12 am Reply with quote

Most of it is true...ish.

827147.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:06 am Reply with quote

It is a well-researched book, Marenghi - most of it stands up to investigation, though a few errors have emerged since the time it was published. Welcome to the forums :-)

827187.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:00 am Reply with quote

It's also open to pedantic disagreements, but that's what makes some of the facts more Qi :)

827235.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:00 pm Reply with quote

I apologise for not welcoming you Marenghi. Efros is right the book does contain factual information (apart from some things to argue about) as well as the odd error.

827290.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:58 pm Reply with quote

Yes, but I suppose it makes it a bit more interesting, eh? I contacted some Scottish friends when I first started reading it to mock them about the Scottish things that aren't (supposedly) originally Scottish! More fool me!!! Still a wonderful book! I pick it up with the intention of doing a few pages - and I'm still with it half an hour later!

827322.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:58 pm Reply with quote

That is probably one of the best known little essays in the book - and it's all true. There's a lengthy discussion of it which begins at post 77630.

(Pauses to note that not only did Alexander Graham Bell not invent the telephone, but he had emigrated to Canada by the time he didn't do it. Double not-Scottish!)

827563.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:44 pm Reply with quote

Just a bit on Al-Khwarizmi, says this:

For our purposes, though, it is his Latin name--"Algoritmi"--that is most significant for the history of computing. It became synonymous for a new style of reasoning called an "algorithm." This denotes an intelligible step-by-step process devised to solve some mathematical problem. Thus, the connection between the concepts of calculation and mechanism is indelibly forged.

Perhaps it's a misunderstanding that he has any connection to logarithms...?


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