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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 11/27/15 -- Vol. 34, No. 22, Whole Number 1886
Table of Contents
Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films, Lectures, etc. (NJ):
December 10: DISTRICT 9 (film), EMBASSYTOWN by China Mieville (novel), Middletown (NJ) Public Library, 5:30PM December 17: THE MAN WHO COUNTED by Malba Tahan, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM January 28: "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster and "The Martian Way" by Isaac Asimov (both in SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME 2B), Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM February 25: OUR MAN IN HAVANA by Graham Greene, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM March 24: HARD LANDING by Algis Budrys, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM April 28: LOST HORIZON by James Hilton, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM May 26: "E for Effort" by T. L. Sherred and "Earthman, Come Home" by James Blish (both in SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME 2B), Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM Speculative Fiction Lectures (at the Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, sponsored by the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers) (subject to change): December: no lecture Northern New Jersey events are listed at: http://www.sfsnnj.com/news.html
Time Goes Backward On Planet of the Apes (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
One thing I have to say for the "Planet of the Apes" reboot. It is respectful of the traditions of the original series. In that series, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES came before BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Now we all knew that in the natural order of things that if there was no conquest there would no longer be a need for a battle. In the new series THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES came before THE DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. The dawn should come before the rise. [-mrl]
My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for December (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
[Note: all times given are Eastern Standard Time.]
I once posed a trivia question for my friends. Can you name a sports film other than ROCKY that won the Best Picture Academy Award? Not many people could name it, but the answer is BEN-HUR (1959). Some of my friends insisted that BEN-HUR does not count as a sports film. I was told it is only a small part of the film. I put on the movie with a stopwatch and more than sixty minutes of the film is chariot race, preparation for the chariot race, aftermath of the chariot race, people talking about the chariot race, etc. etc. etc. There are noted sports films that do not have that much about sports. If you look at the poster of the film it depicts the titanic racetrack, a team of horses running on the track, and a confused charioteer driving even more confused horses clockwise--the wrong direction--around the track. One horse is looking wistfully in the direction he was meant to go.
But what I wanted to point out is that TCM is not just running BEN-HUR (1959). They are also showing the original 1925 film. One would think that with the huge budget that the 1959 film had that it would have the more spectacular chariot race. There is no good measure for the degree of spectacle, but a lot of people are convinced they did better in 1925. But at what a price! I learn from Kevin Hagopian at Pennsylvania State University that in the shooting over one hundred horses were killed. One stunt man was killed and Ramon Navarro who was playing Ben-Hur was himself nearly killed. Those were the days really took filmmaking seriously. One of the extras working on the film was William Wyler who went on to direct the 1959 version.
See: http://tinyurl.com/void-ben-hur-25-notes> Hopefully the ASPCA would not let this kind of atrocity happen these days. The 1925 film will be shown Monday, December 21, at 12:00 AM (midnight between Sunday and Monday). The remake will be shown Wednesday, December 23, at 6:30 AM.
If you are looking for something a little unusual, TCM will show Louis Malle's BLACK MOON (1975). I have no recollection of ever having seen it, but writer/director Louis Malle has done some really excellent films like ATLANTIC CITY. BLACK MOON is a sci-fi fantasy about a future war between men and women. A girl hides in a farmhouse and finds she has gone from one strange world to another. [Sunday, December 20, 4:15 AM]
Oh, and on Tuesday, December 29, from 6:30 AM to 8 PM TCM will be doing another tribute to the great Ray Harryhausen.
6:30 AM IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) 8:00 AM 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) 9:45 AM VALLEY OF GWANGI, THE (1969) 11:30 AM ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966) 1:15 PM MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961) 3:00 PM EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956) 4:30 PM 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, THE (1958) 6:15 PM JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)
Now I usually pick what I think is the best film of the month. That would probably be a repeat of something I have recommended in the past. Instead, let's say that near the top is the film that introduced a lot of film fans to Martin Scorsese. It is MEAN STREETS (1973). Scorsese co-wrote the script and directed this film strongly inspired by the people he grew up with. [Tuesday, December 22, 3:30 AM]
The Law of Unintended Consequences (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
Mark related a story he heard on a podcast recently. Sellers on amazon.com in general want to be sure they stay competitive with other people selling the same items, yet do not want to under-price their items. So they use an "automatic repricer"--a program that automatically checks what the other vendors are selling your items for and adjusts your price accordingly. When two vendors each have a repricer, and each says to make his price the lowest, unless one sets a floor to his price, they will both end up at $0.01.
But how do you explain the opposite phenomenon? That is, someone noticed that they was a biology book with two vendors listed by both at something like $23,000,000. I don't care *how* good the book is, that seems a tad high.
One seller (call him Adam) wants to have the lowest price, so he tells his repricer to set his price at 0.99830 of the lowest price. The other seller (call him Bob) thinks his rating and reputation will attract buyers, so he tells his repricer to set his price at 1.27059 of the lowest price.
So let's assume Adam and Bob have started by each pricing the book at $10. Adam's repricer comes along and resets his price to $9.98. Then Bob's repricer resets his price to $12.68. In the next cycle, Adam's price goes to $12.66, and Bob's goes to $16.09. Cycle #3 has Adam at $16.06 and Bob at $20.41. You can see where this is going; after 62 iterations both are somewhere about $24,000,000.
Which goes to prove that no matter how good individual plans are, combining them can have unexpected consequences.
CIBOLA BURN by James S.A. Corey (copyright 2014, Orbit, $17.00, 611pp, ISBN 978-0-316-33468-6) (excerpt from the Duel Fish Codices: a book review by Joe Karpierz):
The Expanse franchise--and make no mistake, it is a franchise--keeps rolling right along. Originally based on a video game, the Expanse now encompasses five novels (as I write this) with another four coming, several shorter pieces of fiction, and as most people know, an upcoming television series on the SyFy channel.
The train just keeps right on rolling, and I think deservedly so. There's a quote from George R.R. Martin on the front cover that says "Interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written." While that's true, I think the statement could be modified to read "...the way it used to be written". I think a lot of us who have been reading science fiction for a very long time have lost the sense of wonder--probably due to age and becoming jaded more than anything else--and are glomming on to the Expanse as a return to their youth and what turned them on to the field in the first place. And while science fiction writing today is far superior and much more literary than what it was back in its infancy, it's good to go back to the kind of story that we grew up with. But the difference between the Expanse and stuff from the good old days is, in my opinion, the quality of writing. The Expanse is proof that you can have space opera adventure that is well written and that can stand up to the rest of the field.
CIBOLA BURN is the fourth novel in the series, and the first to take place outside the Solar System. The events of ABADDON'S GATE have, well, opened the gates to distant space and the thousands of new worlds that promise a new life for folks trying to start over. The novel takes place on one of these planets. Independent settlers have reached New Terra, and are starting new lives there. Royal Charter Energy, however, is the U.N. sanctioned settler of that planet, and a shuttle is getting ready to land. The settlers blow up the landing pad, taking the shuttle and the lives of several people on it, including that of the assigned planetary governor, with it. And thus, the conflict central to the novel, is set up. The settlers think the planet is rightfully theirs--they got there first and have been setting up their colony. RCE is sanctioned by the government back home, and so it legally claims the planet as theirs.
RCE and its security people view the settlers as terrorists, since many of RCE folks were killed in the shuttle explosion, and use a heavy hand in trying to take control of the planet. The settlers just want to live their lives in peace, but can't since RCE's security goon, Murtry does not hesitate to kill any settler who gets out of line. Things have gotten so out of control that the U.N. sends in a mediator.
What, you were wondering how James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante fit in to this? You mean you can't picture Holden as a mediator? That's all right, no one else can either.
Things don't start well when Holden meets the assembled group for the first time, and it really goes downhill from there. Tensions and violence escalate as neither side will give ground. And then things get worse. While all this action has been occurring, what has been relegated to the background--and maybe even forgotten--is the fact that the race that created the protomolecule (you remember the protomolecule, don't you?), the very race that closed the gates in an attempt to stop the race that was killing them from spreading throughout the galaxy, has a role in this story.
CIBOLA BURN is certainly a planetary colonization adventure story. It's also a study of human perseverance and struggle, and, eventually, of cooperation and compromise in the face of planetary disaster. It's also a story of romance, of family, and of caring people. We've never seen Jim Holden in this light before, trying to be a peacemaker rather than a rabble rouser--and he handles it really well. The rest of the crew of the Rocinante, while not banished to the background, do not play as big a role in this story as they have in the previous three books. But they are there, and they make important contributions. And let's not forget Miller. I'll leave the reader to figure out what's going on with Miller.
CIBOLA BURN is another worthy entry in the Expanse universe, and I'm told that the next novel, NEMESIS GAMES, is even better. I'm looking forward to seeing what Corey has in store for us there. [-jak]
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes (copyright 1966 Daniel Keyes, 1998 Recorded Books LLC, 8 hours 58 minutes, narrated by Jeff Woodman) (excerpt from the Duel Fish Codices: an audiobook review by Joe Karpierz):
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, by Daniel Keyes, is one of the acknowledged classics of the science fiction field. First published as a short story in 1959, Keyes expanded it to a novel which was published in 1966. The short story won the 1960 Hugo Award in the Short Fiction category, while the novel won the Nebula Award for Best Novel, along with Samuel R. Delany's BABEL-17. The 1968 movie CHARLY, based on the novel won Cliff Robertson the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Charlie Gordon. It is taught in schools all over the country; indeed, my son and I were talking about it the other day and he informed me that he had to read it in school.
My first encounter with the story was the movie CHARLY. I have almost no recollection of the movie, other than a vague memory of feeling very sad at the end. I know there is a paperback copy of FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON somewhere in the room of our house that holds our paperback collection, but I have no memory of reading it. When I was rummaging through my audiobook downloads on my iPod and spotted the audiobook of it, I decided it was time to give it a listen.
Charlie Gordon is a mentally disabled adult. He has an IQ of 68, and works at a job in a bakery which his uncle got for him so he wouldn't have to live in a mental institution. Several days a week he goes to night classes in order to learn to read and write. Charlie is eager to learn to read and write. He has a deep thirst for knowledge, but of course his condition prevents him from attaining the knowledge he seeks. Two researchers, Doctors Nemur and Strauss, have developed an experimental surgery that appears to dramatically increase the intelligence of lab animals. One such animal, the titular mouse Algernon, has given the researchers great confidence that the surgery could work on human beings. Based on Charlie's teacher Alice Kinnian's recommendation, they select Charlie as their human subject. His drive for knowledge has won him the spot over other more intelligent but disabled students.
The gist of the rest of the story, as almost everyone knows, is that Charlie's IQ skyrockets in a short period of time. He loses his job at the bakery because his coworkers are afraid of him. He learns multiple languages, composes music, becomes an expert in multiple sciences, and becomes more intelligent than Nemur and Strauss. Gordon has a relationship with Alice, but soon he becomes too intelligent for her; more accurately, she is beneath him. The relationship ends. Eventually, Gordon embarks upon research which results in him discovering a flaw in the experiment. Soon after that discovery Algernon's behavior becomes erratic and violent, and he eventually dies.
It is emphatically not a spoiler to say that Gordon himself begins deteriorating, losing his high IQ, vast intelligence, and the ability to read and write. He reverts to the way he was before the surgery and eventually goes to an institution where a place had been prepared for him. He leaves a note asking that whoever is reading it please place flowers on Algernon's grave.
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON is a truly powerful, emotional, and gut wrenching story of one man's rise and fall. It is told in the form of progress reports, which Charlie makes at the request of Nemur and Strauss as a way of documenting everything that occurs to him. It is masterfully done. Narrator Jeff Woodman does an excellent job of taking us from the "retarded" Charlie through the genius Charlie and all the way back down again. The rhythm of speech, the vocabulary, the tone of voice, all document what is going on with Charlie from start to finish. When I finally got to the end, thoroughly knowing exactly what was coming, I certainly was sad and was very nearly teary-eyed as I was driving in to work.
Still, I had a few problems with the book. In the previous paragraph I put quotes around the word retarded. I do realize this book is the product of its time, so it must be given some leeway, but terms like retarded and moron, used to medically describe Charlie's condition, grated on me a bit. They weren't considered insulting back in the day, and of course they are now, and it shows how much a product of my time that I am that even though, given the context of the time of the novel the terms should be acceptable, they weren't to me.
The maturation and growth of Charlie Gordon is shown in a series of recovered memories, which first start with him realizing his "friends" at the bakery were really making fun of him all along. We see his strained relationship with his parents--and their strained relationship with each other as they try to come to terms with raising a mentally handicapped individual--how he was treated on the playground, how his early interactions with women were, in a term, messed up, because of the way his mother treated him.
These are all terrific storytelling elements, but it felt like they went on and on and on to the point where when it was evident that another memory flashback was coming, I cringed and hoped it would be over quickly. In fact, if this book has a flaw, it's that it seems padded. I never read the original short story, but I'm guessing that it benefitted from being expanded, but maybe not into a full length novel.
Having said all that, FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON is a wonderful story of a man growing up too slow, then too fast, and then losing it all when he finally had it. It's a roller coaster worth riding. [-jak]
Wine Clubs (letter of comment by Kevin R):
In response to Mark's comments on the TCM Wine Club in the 11/20/15 issue of the MT VOID, Kevin R writes:
LOST WEEKEND, THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES and LEAVING LAS VEGAS call for such vintages as the always dependable Night Train, the delightful "Mad Dog", Mogen David 20/20, and the insouciant Ripple.
The obvious spin-off is a Theater Candy Club. They can send out overpriced versions of Jordan Almonds, Jujubes and Raisinettes. I fear they might try to sell the ersatz "butter" concession stands spray on the popcorn. *>shudder<*
The Dollar Tree stores in my area have nice selections of boxed candy such as Goobers, Raisinettes and Sno-Cap Nonpariels that stand in for movie theater boxed candy nicely. [-kr]
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE Television Show (letter of comment by Gary McGath):
In response to Evelyn's comments on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in the 11/20/15 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:
[Evelyn writes,] "And of course the whole premise that this force can choose to refuse jobs makes one wonder what exactly their status is." [-ecl]
There could be a spinoff, "Mission: Undesirable," about the jobs that they have to find someone else to do. [-gmg]
Subtitles (letters of comment by Peter Trei, Kevin R, and Paul Dormer):
In response to Mark's comments on subtitles in the 11/20/15 issue of the MT VOID, Peter Trei writes:
I spent part of the 1960s and 1970s growing up in Europe. Depending on country size and budget, American TV and movies were either dubbed, or subtitled. So I had it the other way around--I could understand the language, and check the subtitles for accuracy. But visibility was rarely a problem--in most cases, it was white letters on a solid black bar, as wide as the text. The extreme case was Belgium, with two major official languages, Flemish and French. Movies would have up to four lines of subtitles, two in each language, occupying the bottom quarter of the screen, with gaps between the lines. Dubbing sometimes got a little weird too--I remember a French dub of a John Wayne movie, with the voice actor doing his very best to imitate the Duke's drawl. It didn't work. [-pt]
Kevin R responds:
I was watching NBC-TV's BLINDSPOT* in real time the other night. The FBI agents had captured an undercover Russian agent, and were interrogating her, in a room painted in that institutional white/beige that allows the characters to stand out in sharp relief from the background. At one point, the main character decided to try to engage the prisoner by questioning her in Russian. Subtitles were used, colored yellow and superimposed, in the same shot, on the white walls, a black sweater and a light colored shirt. Before I could get my eyes to focus on the text, it had disappeared from the screen. I don't have a DVR or any "instant replay" tech with my rudimentary cable hookup, so I missed it, and had to depend on the context.
I watch on a 32" set, which is several years old, and I sit about 15' away from the screen. My distance vision is good enough to not have to use glasses when I drive, but I need them for reading and close work. So, I usually don't wear them while watching TV. I expect I need to get my eyes checked to see if I could use some bi- or tri-focals. If I knew I was going to read sub-titles, I might have been prepared with glasses at the ready.
Shows that spring subtitles on you when you aren't expecting to see them seem to do a lousy job. I'm sure what strikes me as tiny type size wouldn't have bothered me 40 years ago, though. I also have trouble with some graphics on sports programming, specifically the score bugs shoved in the corner of the screen. They make me reach for glasses. Crawls and newstickers on the bottom of a screen I can usually make out unaided, as they will have a uniform background color.
Subs are in the 3rd segment. Watching on my laptop, with my reading glasses, I can follow them, but the yellow text on alternating bright and dark backgrounds is still annoying. [-kr]
Paul Dormer replies:
I'm not sure I'd want to sit that far away from a 32-inch screen, and my optician tells my distance vision does not require correction.
Then again, I have an HD set and for that they recommend sitting about 2-3 times the screen size away. I have a 40-inch (1m) screen and sit about 2.5m away from it. [-pd]
The Marching Morons (letter of comment by Kerr Mudd-John):
In response to Evelyn's comments on "The Marching Morons" in the 11/13/15 issue of the MT VOID, Kerr Mudd-John writes:
This might be where DNA got his idea for the 'B' ark from. http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Golgafrincham. [-kmj]
Candidates (letter of comment by Jim Susky):
In response to Evelyn's comments on Presidential candidates in the 11/06/15 issue of the MT VOID, Jim Susky writes:
I read with interest Evelyn's (probably ironic) 2015NOV06 plea for Presidential candidates who are rational--that is, scientifically informed (if only marginally so), and understand the impracticality of certain extreme immigration policy prescriptions. So far, not a high bar. She also wants "candidates who recognize what the Constitution says"--perhaps a slightly higher bar.
Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders would seem to qualify, and perhaps Governor Bush. Senator Rand Paul, as an ophthalmologist (and therefore at least a technician if not a scientist) may well be scientifically informed. My impression is that he has the most respect for the Constitution of all the known candidates (see GOP Debate #1 where he bludgeoned Christie about 4th Amendment and prohibited searches and seizures). He also seems to have addressed specifically and in writing the Federal Deficit--my own single-biggest-issue--proposing to balance it within five years.
I'll digress for a moment and blow the dust off Gregory Benford's 2004 proposal to implement a $20-billion Fresnel lens at the L1 Earth-Sun LaGrange point, which would diffract about 1/2% to 1% of Sol's radiation from the Earth. This speaks to the idea that what to do about Climate Change is by far more important that what one believes about it.
Such a project has several advantages:
1) It is reversible, possibly even adjustable.
2) It is cheap--at least two orders of magnitude cheaper than CO2 conservation/prohibition, seawall construction, and numerous other responses to the global warming trend.
3) It may even be the most politically feasible project addressing climate change--requiring one Nation's effort (ours, of course).
Kudos to Benford--if only he had a big enough checkbook to do it in secret.
I'll confess to a fantasy: In 2017, President Paul is presented with (to him) unacceptable budgets and tax bills. He vetoes both--tells the houses to try again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
(See his pounding of Rubio in GOP Debate #4 saying there is nothing conservative about spending a trillion dollars on the military without finding a way to pay for it.)
To my mind, federal fiscal sanity is the 800-pound gorilla in America. I listen too much to BBC radio. They made it quite clear this summer that Greece was on the edge of a nation-wide banking failure, which for poor and middle-class Greeks would make the current refugee crisis seem at least a little trivial. [-js]
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
I have two big book-buying/acquisition periods a year. The first is the week in the spring when Bryn Mawr and the East Brunswick Friends of the Library have their book sales. The other is Philcon weekend in November, when if the stars (and weekends) align, as they did this year, the Cherry Hill Friends of the Library have their book sale the same weekend.
But before either Philcon or Cherry Hill, we go to the Cranbury Bookworm. It is almost right on the way, so it is really a no-brainer. The plan is simply: take all the science fiction we are getting rid of, sell what we can to the Bookworm, then take the rest to Philcon and put it out on the freebie table. We always take our payment at the Bookworm in store credit, so we do acquire books (and DVDs) there, but the goal is to take out a smaller *volume* of books than we leave there.
By the way, here's a tip I just discovered: the plastic bucket that Kirkland (Costco) laundry detergent comes in is almost perfect for carrying books. The size is such that it is a reasonable weight when filled, it has a good handle, and (of course) it is free. (Plus using it like this means not sending it to a landfill.). The only problems are rounded (rather than squared-off) edges and two "bumps" in the bottom (to strengthen it?).
This time was the first since the Bookworm changed/simplified its pricing policy. With rare exceptions, all hardbacks are $5, all trade paperbacks are $2, and all mass-market paperbacks are $1. DVDs are $2; television series are $5 a season. The days of the 50- and 60-cent science fiction paperbacks are gone, I guess. (Sob!) We ended up with a season of "West Wing", a season of "Seinfeld", the JEWISH STUDY BIBLE, a bilingual anthology CUENTAS: STORIES BY LATINOS (which includes several fantasy stories), and WHEN GENERAL GRANT EXPELLED THE JEWS by Jonathan D. Sarna.
Then it was on to the Cherry Hill Public Library for their semi-annual Friends of the Library sale. Their pricing is even better (for buyers, anyway) than the Bookworm: $2 for hardbacks and audiobooks, and $1 for paperbacks (any size). We got several math books, four Dean Koontz audiobooks, and a few "curiosities". For example, there was one math book titled "Calculus Refresher for Technical Men"! Well, okay, it was written in 1944, but in addition to being incredibly sexist, it sounds now like an incredibly awkward title. ("Calculus Refresher for Engineers", for example, sounds less awkward.) There was a big oversize Dover volume, THE FOSSIL BOOK: A RECORD OF PREHISTORIC LIFE, list price $29.95--for only $1. But even bigger, and just as interesting (though in a very different way) is THE HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION by Leon Trotsky, translated by Max Eastman.
We finally got to the Philcon hotel. By this time, our car was full of pails of books, boxes of books, bags of books, and loose books. Luckily it was reasonably warm and not raining, because it took a while to sort out what needed to come in and what needed to stay in the car.
We put about a hundred books and magazines out on the freebie table, but we also took some books. Again, we met our goal of taking fewer books than we left.
The best books I found there were *two* that were actually on my want list: SHE NAILED A STAKE THROUGH HIS HEAD: TALES OF BIBLICAL TERROR by Tim Lieder, and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson. (We had the first two in the Larsson trilogy.) Paolo Bacigalupi's THE WATER KNIFE was a close third.
The first book I found was INVENTING LEONARDO by A. Richard Turner. The last was Jorge Amado's TEREZA BATISTA, one of the Avon series that people often say defined magical realism. In between were a few others, including the "Martian" issue of POPULAR MECHANICS.
I even got books from the dealers room, because Mark gave me a birthday present of Ellen Datlow's anthology of horror stories related to the film business, THE CUTTING ROOM, and David Stuart Davies's SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE DEVIL'S PROMISE.
Of course when we got home and unpacked the suitcases, pails, boxes, and bags, it looked like our luggage had exploded all over the room, but that another story. (And I still had to sort the non-science fiction Bookworm rejects into Freecycle material, library donations, and various other categories. (The big advantage of Freecycle is that you don't have to cart the books to the library.)
Now that this is done, I get a respite until next March. [-ecl]
Mark Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Quote of the Week: Taking mathematics from the beginning of the world to the time of Newton, what he has done is much the better half. --Gottfried Leibniz, 1688Tweet
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