Posts made in October, 2010


I’m in.

My plan is to re-write my 2007 NaNoWriMo-winning novel from the ground up, now that I am so much closer to actually knowing what I’m doing.

My goal is 1k words per weekday, and 4k words per weekend-day (with Nov 25 & 26–off from work–counting as weekend days).…

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Sargonic Mathematics 103

The biggest pitfall in studying ancient mathematics is subconsciously superimposing anachronistic views on the ancient way of thought. For example, the Sumerians had two different concepts that would both today be called ‘addition’, and for different concepts that we would lump as multiplication.…

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Sargonic Mathematics 102

I found a reference to the preceding problem in the book A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical Texts, in appendix 6 on page 405. This problem statement is referred to as tablet DPA 37. It states:

There is a curious error in DPA 37.

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Off to the races

The short piece I wrote at VP is now making the rounds. I ended up making quite a few changes based on some excellent feedback: new title, new POV, new focus, and entirely new first act. I’ve never been good at revision, so I take this as a sign that I might have actually learned something.…

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Sargonic Mathematics 101

I was intrigued by this description of Sumerian mathematics in the Sargonic (Akkadian) era.

Here’s a typical problem:

3600 + 5×60 nindan minus 1 ‘seed-cubit’ is the side of a square. Find the area.

And the answer, as every schoolchild knows, is:

2 šar-gal, 2 šar-u, 4 bur-u, 9 bur 5 1/8 iku, 5 1/2 sar 1 gin 2/3 še

Are you smarter than a Sumerian 5th grader?…

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Micah Joel

Purveyor of things geeky