“Asia, like Europe, was flat and sparse”

That’s it? That’s really it? Two whole continents written off in seven (dare I say it?) sparse words. From “The Road to Katmandu” by Patrick Marnham and first published in 1971. He’s describing the transition from Europe to Asia in Turkey but even so the words seem a little strong. My recollection may not be the finest but I recall rolling countryside with waving crops and wild flowers by the roadside. The urban sprawl that is greater Istanbul isn’t very attractive but outside the city the countryside seems pleasant enough. Maybe it was all very different back then.


Great (but obscure) quotations #1

Today is the 97th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian born mathematician Paul Halmos. Aside from his work as a mathematician, he also contributed hugely to developing the communication of mathematics, a topic close to my heart.

But my favourite quotation from Halmos is this:

“Applied mathematics will always need pure mathematics just as anteaters will always need ants.”

As an engineer, I’m well behind that one.