Counting on Fingers

From the preface to Calculus Made Easy, by Silvanus P. Thompson:



I frequently rail against stupid people who can’t–or don’t– count who nevertheless listen to even stupider (though often clever in their stupidity) Mass Media Podpeople, politicians *spit* and Academia Nut Fruitcakes who wittingly or not misuse statistics or other fudge numbers to make a phony point. But. I realized the other day when looking at some numbers that I’d forgotten–through long disuse–the reasons why the statistical formulae I mentally referred to in order to argue with the numbers worked the way they did. After all, understanding the “why” of such things rests on some calculus I’ve not used much, if at all, for about 40 years.

So, in my spare time (ha!) methought myself to drag out an old calculus text and have at it. But. *sigh* I am considerably stupider than I was 40 years ago, and so I tracked down Calculus Made Easy, by Silvanus P. Thompson. While I’ll order and read the revised version from, the 1914 version is the one I recall browsing through briefly more than 40 years ago, and reading it on Scribus isn’t terribly limiting. Perhaps, in conjunction with a beer or two a day, a little exercise for what Hercule Poirot called “the little grey cells” will stave off my growing mental decay a wee tad.

Anywho, it ought to be fun.

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