October 22nd, 2007

The blockage in the system has obviously cleared

3 books arrived today...
Halting Stoat by The Hon. Charles St. John Ross
One To Nine, the inner life of numbers by Andrew Hodges
Information and Secrecy - Vannevar Bush, Ultra and The Other Memex by Colin Burke (with a forward by Michael Buckland, the guy who wrote the book about Goldberg and bizarrely with a receipt sent separately).

Which to read first? The last of these has chapters with titles such as 'Disorganising for war. The comparator fails, again' which obviously endears it to me, as a keen student of failology, but I already have a non-fiction book on the go, so maybe I shall read, in the second person, of evil polyamorous cyber-stoats.

Something else they didn't really foreground in history at school

" Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

From the US Treaty With Tripoli http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/treaty_tripoli.html

See also Wikipedia.

"Article 11 has been a point of contention regarding the proper interpretation of the doctrine of separation of church and state. Supporters of the separation of church and state contend that this article is significant in that it confirms that the government of the United States was specifically intended to be religiously neutral. Supporters of the "Christian Nation" theory dispute this, arguing that the article in the treaty carries little or no significance.

Official records show that after President John Adams sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification in May 1797, the entire treaty was read aloud on the Senate floor, including the famous words in Article 11, and copies were printed for every Senator. A committee considered the treaty and recommended ratification, and the treaty was ratified by a unanimous vote of all 23 Senators. The treaty was reprinted in full in three newspapers, two in Philadelphia and one in New York City. There is no record of any public outcry or complaint in subsequent editions of the papers."

(actually the main things we seemed to do at interminable length in school history were the crusades, the unification of England and Russia, mainly I suspect because of Catherine The Great and the horse).

Still.. I think this one is worth repeating. I am indebted to the later Robert Anton Wilson for bringing this one to my attention.