Tuesday, 15 June 2010

cuppy! it's been ages!

Hasn't it? Never mind. This is from the Frederick the Great chapter of The Decline and Fall of Practically Everyone ('Finally Frederick William threw up his arms and exclaimed, "Fritz is a flute player and a poet!" By and large this has been the verdict of history.'):
Frederick also did something for what was then believed to be learning. He appointed Monsieur Maupertuis president of the Academy of Sciences at Berlin. Monsieur Maupertuis had once visited Lapland to measure the length of a degree of the meridian in order to demonstrated the flattening of the earth at the poles. As a result of this journey he somehow got the idea that he, personally, had flattened the earth at the poles.

At Mollwitz, Maupertuis climbed a tree to see the battle more clearly, and was captured and taken to Vienna. Only twelve superior minds could understand Maupertuis. And they weren't at all sure.
And, from William the Conqueror's chapter:
The Bayeux Tapestry is accepted as an authority on many details of life and the fine points of history in the eleventh century. For instance, the horses in those days had green legs, blue bodies, yellow manes, and red heads, while the people were all double-jointed and quite different from what we generally think of as human beings. There are 620 men and women in the tapestry and 370 other animals.*

* I don't know who the people were who made the thing, but I know plenty of people just like them.

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