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12:34 AM
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Q: What book involved forging one of the United States' founding documents?

AnonymousAskerA few details of this book that I remember include: A specific type of parchment was purchased to forge either the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. This parchment was old enough to fool carbon dating. A man urgently needed money for a bus ticket and traded his expensive watch for tha...

 
 
5 hours later…
5:47 AM
Another one of my idle curiosity questions: is there a need for locking this old question on Meta calling for nominations for the pro tempore election, even after it's closed as duplicate?
 
 
4 hours later…
9:21 AM
@Brahadeesh As far as I know, keeping that question locked also prevents voting, while marking it as a duplicate doesn't.
Two and a half weeks before the end of the Tale of Genji topic challenge and I'm still waiting for my copy of the book to arrive. It's been seven weeks now since I ordered it.
 
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Q: What manuscript or manuscripts was the first printed edition of the Tale of Genji based on?

TsundokuThe original manuscript of the 11th-century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji has been lost. According to the Wikipedia article Textual tradition of The Tale of Genji, "the number of manuscript copies of it is very large". Already by the 13th century there were many variations between the manuscri...

 
 
1 hour later…
10:26 AM
@Tsundoku Ah, okay. So it’s like preserving a snapshot of the post and the nominations, as well as the votes on them.
 
@Brahadeesh That's how I see it. It's a bit unfortunate that you can't have a historical lock without adding the statement that the question is "off-topic", which is not the case there.
 
 
2 hours later…
12:19 PM
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Q: Short story : angels show their animal creations to God

LeaGI've already post this question on the Sci.Fi / Fantasy S.E but no one can give me an answer. I am looking for a short story I studied in high school (6 to 8 years ago), but the story itself would be way older. It was the story of God, creating the world with his angels. They showed him a lot of ...

 
 
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2:24 PM
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Q: What does this sentence from Carrie mean?

TomDot ComIn the Part I of Carrie, Stephen King writes: And when she talks of Carrie White her face takes on an odd pinched look that is more like Lovecraft out of Arkham than Kerouac out of Southern Cal. Other than an understanding of the relation between the locations stated, real or otherwise, and the...

 
 
1 hour later…
3:38 PM
"I make terrible science puns, but only periodically." (someone in their high school yearbook)
 
I'd like to set aside some time for literature puns, but I'm all booked up.
 
4:01 PM
Literature puns are not exactly a novel idea.
 
 
3 hours later…
Have to resist the temptation to star all of these messages :P
@Randal'Thor I had to read each quote some five times before I got the puns. Too clever!
 
I linked to the illustrations just in case the context would help :-)
 
Oh they were illustrations? I didn't click them yet, hang on
Hehe, the dog one becomes clear with the image, but the carrying one is still subtle. :D
 
:-D
It's a great little book.
Somewhere in the "flight of fancy" genre with Alice in Wonderland.
 
Regarding the Jules Verne question, if the OP doesn't edit to improve in a week or so, would it be alright if I post their second question as a new one, and edit the original to keep only "What are all the works of Jules Verne etc."? Since there's a nice answer that would be a shame to lose...
@Randal'Thor I love Alice in Wonderland. I'll put The Phantom Tollbooth on my reading list :)
 
6:56 PM
@Brahadeesh Oh, I just now saw it's been closed. Yeah, that seems reasonable to me.
 
Super
 
Alice in Wonderland is outdone, IMO, by its less famous sequel.
 
Through the Looking Glass!
 
Yep!
Come to think of it, those stories could be a great source of questions for this site, many of them answerable with the help of Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice.
So much of the wackiness can actually be analysed in one way or another.
 
Wait, the same Martin Gardner who had the column in Scientific American?
 
6:59 PM
 
And wrote popular math books, puzzles, popularized math for the layperson
:O
 
I assume you also know that Lewis Carroll was actually a mathematician called Charles Dodgson.
 
Today is a good day :D
 
So the areas of interest overlap.
 
@Randal'Thor Yes, that I knew :) Ludwig was his middlename, if I remember my trivia correctly.
Although, I was too young to note any mathematics in the Alice books, if any were there... I should probably read them again now to find out!
 
7:03 PM
@Brahadeesh Lutwidge, I think. Close enough :-)
Hence Lutwidge -> Lewis and Charles -> Carroll.
 
Oh! :O
 
My favourite mathematical fact about him is that he devised a beautifully symmetric way of calculating the determinant of a 3x3 matrix, which I also discovered independently when I first learned about matrices and determinants.
 
No way, what is this, tell me more
 
Turns out that if you take each 2x2 corner of a 3x3 matrix and calculate its determinant, then write those four determinants as a new 2x2 matrix and calculate its determinant, then divide by the centre number of the original matrix, you get the determinant of the original 3x3 matrix.
In mathematics, Dodgson condensation is a method of computing the determinants of square matrices. It is named for its inventor, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known by his pseudonym, as Lewis Carroll, the popular author). The method in the case of an n × n matrix is to construct an (n − 1) × (n − 1) matrix, an (n − 2) × (n − 2), and so on, finishing with a 1 × 1 matrix, which has one entry, the determinant of the original matrix. == General method == This algorithm can be described in the following four steps: Let A be the given n × n matrix. Arrange A so that no zeros occur in its interior...
And I just learned now how it extends to nxn matrices. Always meant to look into that one day.
 
@Randal'Thor This is ridiculous. And so beautiful.
And you actually discovered it yourself, too, that must have been thrilling :D
 
7:13 PM
Yeah! The extension of the determinant concept from 2x2 to 3x3 always seemed a little weird to me - even though it is of course symmetric and doesn't depend which row or column you choose, it doesn't look symmetric - so I was trying to find a more "natural" way to extend that concept.
And I remembered an Alice question that's been on my list for a while, so went ahead and posted it.
 
That's true, the extension of the determinant to 3x3 matrices is row/column agnostic but it's not what you'd call symmetric. This is really cool!
@Randal'Thor Hmmm, just saw that (and upvoted). There was a time when my sister and I would challenge ourselves to recite by heart every poem in both Alice books. Of course, I was no match for her, ever. :) Seeing as I can't recall any of the Looking Glass poems, let alone the fish references, I think it's high time I revisit the books :)
 
At one point I knew Carroll's "You are old, Father William" by heart. Still got bits of it memorised now, but not the whole thing.
> You are old, Father William, the young man said,
> And your hair has become very white,
> And yet you incessantly stand on your head,
> Do you think, at your age, it is right?
>
> [one line]
> I feared it would damage the brain,
> But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
> Why, I do it again and again!
I can remember that much, and a couple of stray lines from later: "In my youth, said the sage, as he shook his grey locks" and "And argued each case with my wife".
 
Never fails to make me chortle :D
It ends with Father William saying "Or I'll kick you downstairs", I think
 
Yes! "I have answered three questions, and that is enough - be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!"
Eight verses altogether? Four questions, four replies.
 
Probably! Or there may be five, but no more.
The Walrus and the Carpenter was our favorite
 
7:25 PM
Like much of Carroll's nonsense poetry, this was a parody (actually a case of whatever word it is you're looking for in your question!) of some existing poetry: in this case, a Victorian poem about an old priest giving serious life advice to a young man, which of course now is much less well-known than Carroll's parody of it.
 
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Q: Why so many poems about fish in Through The Looking-Glass?

Rand al'ThorLewis Carroll's famous flight of fantasy Through the Looking-Glass, a sequel to the even more famous Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, contains a lot of nonsense poetry, much of which relates to fish. As I recall, the same is true of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland too, but it's in Through the L...

 
May I include that example in my question? :)
 
There's the original. A didactic poem by no less than Robert Southey!
@Brahadeesh Of course :-)
 
7:51 PM
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Q: Is a fish "Alive with breath" or "Alive without breath"?

BrahadeeshJ. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit contains many lovely riddles, posed in-universe by Gollum and Bilbo to each other. Most of them are original compositions by Tolkien himself, as he explained in one of his letters. One of these is the "fish-riddle", asked by Gollum, which goes as follows: Alive with...

 
I apologize in advance for asking what might be the silliest wording-choice question ever to do with the master wordsmith J. R. R. Tolkien. — Brahadeesh 9 mins ago
 
Hmm. Should we create a tag?
Or is it more of an encyclopedia than literature?
 
The first volume, at least, feels more like a compilation than an encyclopedia.
Taken as a whole (all 15 volumes or so), it's definitely an encyclopedia though.
I'm not sure about creating the tag... Do we keep tags for questions about individual encyclopedia?
 
8:10 PM
I'm not sure either. It's potentially more a Childcraft question than a Tolkien question, if the answer is simply that they goofed. But I guess your question is a bit broader than that, asking about reproductions of this riddle in general.
Could do with a tag though :-)
 
8:35 PM
@Randal'Thor Done :)
 

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