Archive for Vatican

¡cuida tu vestido y no hables tanto, Jorge!

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2022 by xi'an

“I have no way of telling whether [Putin’s] rage has been provoked»” Bergoglio wonders, «but I suspect it was maybe facilitated by the West’s attitude” [“Un’ira che non so dire se sia stata provocata — si interroga —, ma facilitata forse sì”]

“I don’t know if it is the right thing to supply the Ukrainian fighters” [” all’interrogativo se sia giusto rifornire gli ucraini”]

“What seems indisputable is that in that country both sides are trying out new weapons. [” La cosa chiara è che in quella terra si stanno provando le armi.” Corriere Della Sera, 22 Maggio 2022]

“This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths [sic] of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born (…) We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision.U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 24 June 2022

quick(er) calculations [book review]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2021 by xi'an

Upon my request, Oxford University Press sent me this book for review in CHANCE. With the extended title How to add, subtract, multiply, divide, square, and square root more swiftly. This short (173 pages) book is written by Trevor Davis Lipscombe, currently Director of the Catholic University of America Press (which are apparently not suited for his books, since his former Physics of Rugby got published by Nottingham University Press). The concept of the book is to list tricks and shortcuts to handle seemingly tough operations on a list of numbers. Illustrated by short anecdotes mostly related to religion, sports (including the Vatican cricket team!), and history, albeit not necessarily related with the computation at hand and not providing an in-depth coverage of calculation across the ages and the cultures. While the topic is rather dry, as illustrated by the section titles, e.g., “Multiply two numbers that differ by 2, 4, 6, or 20” or “Multiply or divide by 66 or 67, 666 or 667” (!), the exposition is somewhat facilitated by the (classics) culture of the author. (I have to confess I got lost by the date chapter, i.e., finding which day of the week was December 18, 1981, for instance. Especially by the concept of Doomsday which I thought was a special day of the year in the UK. Or in the USA.) Still, while recognising some simple decompositions I also used for additions and subtractions, and acknowledging the validity of the many tricks I had never though of, I wonder at the relevance of learning those dozens of approaches beyond maintaining a particular type of mental agility… Or preparing for party show-time. Especially for the operations that do not enjoy exact solutions, like dividing by √3 or multiplying by π… The book reminded me of a physics professor in Caen, Henri Eyraud, who used to approximate powers and roots faster than it took us to get a slide rule out of our bags! But Guesstimation, which I reviewed several years ago, seemed more far-reaching that Quick(er) calculations, in that I had tried to teach my kids (with limited success) how to reach the right order of magnitude of a quantity, but never insisted [beyond primary school] on quick mental calculations. (The Interlude V chapter connects with this idea.)

[Disclaimer about potential self-plagiarism: this post or an edited version should eventually appear in my Books Review section in CHANCE.]

%d bloggers like this: