Tag Archives: TED

X: The known Origin of an Unknown Factor

This is a short, fun and informative TED talk by Terry Moore about the origin of the symbol ‘x’ as the representation of the unknown (or variable) in algebra. Reminding us, thus, that it is through its use in mathematics that we took the ‘x’ to commonly mean ‘an unspecified or unknown thing or person’ in our (use of) life.

I thought, this mention on the Oxford Dictionary was also interesting:

“the introduction of xy, and z as symbols of unknown quantities is due to Descartes (Géométrie, 1637), who took z as the first unknown and then proceeded backwards in the alphabet”

Oxford Online Dictionary definition, under its dictionary entry for ‘x’ as a noun.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The travels of knowledge

William Noel (curator, rare book scholar) makes this fascinating talk on TED about the recent discoveries lying under a byzantine manuscript. As we quickly understand from his speech, in the past it was quite common to re-use paper in order to make new manuscripts. In a byzantine manuscript which was re-discovered in 1906, its then owner found that on some pages, underneath the Christian prayers and illustrations, there was earlier text from… Archimedes! This manuscript was bought at the end of the 20th century by an, obviously wealthy, man whose ambition was to discover, preserve and share this barely surviving treasure.

So the travels of these binded pages in the millenia could be quickly described as various sheets of paper that carry ancient Greek texts by Archimedes and Hypereides, as well as Roman commentary on Aristotle, that manage to survive through the centuries to be reused (written over) and binded  into a prayer manuscript during the Byzantine times. In the 21st century this damaged by now book comes into the hands of scientists and scholars who photograph, x-ray, analyze, read through the layers and share the underlying ancient precious texts with the world through the website: Archimedes Palimpsest

William Noel: Revealing the lost codex of Archimedes

It is so beautiful hearing about a contemporary individual who buys a treasure not to store it away but to fund its conservation and its data distribution.

It is also beautiful to hear about such diverse people making up a team and use old & new technologies to bring to light parts of the archeology of human thought, knowledge and wit.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

TED 2008 Talk by Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion

TED is one of my favourite platforms / sites out there. I always try to be updated with its events and event uploads and most of the times I am amazed by the people, ideas and material there is! Creative minds from all sorts of walks of life and fields communicate their creative thinking, they get attention and hopefully further their funding options, while we get to have “shining eyes” out of excitement and wonder. TED has become super trendy and popular these days, but there are older talks that might get ‘lost’ on TED’s always expanding video bank. So I thought of sharing today a talk I love from Benjamin Zander, an orchestra conductor, that gave a presentatiom at TED 2008, on music and passion.

Zander uses this talk to communicate his sense of fulfillment when he shares his love of classical music and of empowering people.

At some point during his talk he says:

‘The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound, he depends of his power on his ability to make other people powerful…. I realised that my job is to awaken possibility to other people”

You know if you are doing it “if other people’s eyes are shining.”

Because the question is, “Who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining?”

A fun and beautiful talk. Enjoy it!

TED 2008 talk: Benjamin Zander on music and passion

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: