Simplified map of London

This map came from here. And so did the following comments:

  1. “I live in London and this map is fairly accurate. The Very Rich area would be Pimlico, maybe Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, the West End, Primrose Hill, maybe Hampstead. London has other wealthy areas but what differentiates these from those is that these areas have always been wealthy, rather than Johhny come lately areas that have been gentrified.”
  2. “General rules of thumb: in a city the wealthier neighborhoods tend to be upwind, upriver, and uphill. Occasionally extreme geographic constraints will override those rules. In the case of London, the Thames was horribly polluted and smelly in the first half of the 18th century (look up “The Great Stink”). My guess is that the “Very Rich” area would be the westernmost part of London in 1850, and that the “Losers” area west of there developed after the Thames was cleaned up. (I should line up some historical maps of London to the above map to see.)”
  3. “It just goes to show you. It takes a lot of losers to support a few rich folks.”
  4. “Have you seen the houses in Richmond or Hampstead? They don’t look like looser houses to me… There was actually an article in Time Out which mapped the London Boundary in relation to were the first Harvester eatery is located. So, were Harvester starts London stops. That is a clever way to show social divide within a city.”

Sistema Numérico dos Babilônicos

A civilização babilônia substituiu a civilização suméria por volta do ano 2000 a.C.

Os babilônicos eram um povo semita que invadiu a Mesopotâmia, derrotando os sumérios, estabelecendo sua capital na Babilônia.

As civilizações antigas da Mesopotâmia são comumente chamadas de babilônicas, apesar da cidade de Babilônia não ter sido o centro de cultura do vale Mesopotâmico.

Aos babilônios se deve a invenção do sistema posicional. Com apenas dois símbolos (um para a unidade e um para a dezena dezenas)podiam representar qualquer número, por maior que fosse, por repetição e mudança de posição. Este é o mesmo princípio de nosso sistema numeral.

Assim a numeração dos babilônios era escrita da seguinte forma:

A civilização babilônica substituir a suméria e a Acádia, e como se pode notar,  os babilônios herdaram idéias dos sumérios e dos acádios para formas o seu próprio sistema numérico.

Até então, nem o sistema numérico dos Sumérios e nem o dos acádios era posicional. Já o sistema criado pelos babilônios era um sistema posicional, o que se tornou uma grande realização. O estabelecimento da ordem posicional para os símbolos numéricos foi a maior realização matemática dos babilônios.

Embora o sistema babilônico fosse um sistema posicional de base 60, teve alguns vestígios do sistema de base 10 dentro dele. Isto porque os 59 números que compõem esse sistema são formados por um símbolo para a unidade e um para a dezena.

Um, dois e muitos

Provavelmente os números 1 e 2 foram os primeiros a serem inventados. Levando em consideração que a mente humana é capaz de reconhecer rapidamente, dentre muitos objetos, uma quantidade de um ou de dois. Assim sendo, fica fácil imaginar que foram estes os primeiros algarismos a serem inventados.

O número 1 tem o sentido do Eu, do pessoal, do inteiro e nas representações numérica aparecia como um traço vertical indicando o homem em posição ereta. O número 1 tem o sentido do masculino, levando em consideração a primeira criação de Deus ser do sexo masculino. Assim sendo, supomos que foi relativamente fácil e lógica a criação do sinal “1”, ou seja, do número 1 para representar a unidade.

O número 2 nos dá o sentido da existência do outro, do feminino na dualidade masculino/feminino. O número 2 também é símbolo de oposição, de ambigüidade, de divisão, de rivalidade, de conflito e de antagonismo. Mas, também pode representar a união. O  número 2 manifesta-se em tudo o que tem dupla face, como por exemplo: a vida e a morte, o sim e o não, o falso e o verdadeiro, o bem e o mal…

Antes dos algarismos serem idealizados, o homem primitivo já possuía a idéia do plural, mas a extensão da sua visão só cobria até a quantidade igual a 2. Para este indivíduo, ter três unidades de algo representava ter VÁRIAS unidades, já que só se conhecia até a segunda.


A Reading from ‘The Hand of Glory’ The Antidote—classic poetry for modern life

The Hand of Glory
By Richard Harris Barham

On the lone bleak moor,
At the midnight hour,
Beneath the Gallows Tree,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!
And the Moon that night
With a gray, cold light
Each baleful object tips;
One half of her form
Is seen through the storm,
The other half ‘s hid in Eclipse!
And the cold Wind howls,
And the Thunder growls,
And the Lightning is broad and bright;
And altogether
It’s very bad weather,
And an unpleasant sort of a night!
“Now mount who list,
And close by the wrist
Sever me quickly the Dead Man’s fist!
Now climb who dare
Where he swings in air,
And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man’s hair!”

As a festival of fright and laughter, Halloween is our annual celebration of the Romantic spirit. Fear takes us on a journey into a higher reality; laughter brings us back to earth with a bump. The combination of the two means we can open and close our eyes to the beyond, without being blinded by its glare.

For me, the perfect Halloween poem comes from “The Ingoldsby Legends,” a wonderful hodgepodge of verse and tall tales written by a bored country cleric in 19th century England. At the time, the book was a huge hit, going through a number of editions, before lapsing into obscurity.

I only heard of it from a passing reference in Rider Haggard’s adventure classic “King’s Solomon’s Mines.” Opening up a second-hand copy, I was plunged headlong into the rollicking yarn, “The Hand of Glory.”

The legend of the hand of glory states that if you light a dead man’s hand the smoke will paralyze all those who inhale the fumes. This grisly candle features in the Hammer film, “The Wicker Man,” and even appears in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” where it is one of the uncanny objects in the Dark Arts shop Borgin & Burkes, visited by Draco Malfoy in the nefarious Knockturn Alley.

The poem begins by setting the scene, where all the classic elements of horror are present and correct. We are on the “lone bleak moor,” where we can almost hear the gnashing of the wind. It is, unsurprisingly, midnight—and a hanged man swings from the gallows. Three murderers have come for his bloodless hand. If we’re searching for a spine-tingling tale, what more could we ask for?

Half-eclipsed, the moon casts its “gray, cold light” on the dismal landscape. As the “wind howls” and the “thunder growls” the passage seems to build towards a vision of complete nightmare. And when we reach the word “altogether,” we expect a revelation of unimaginable and unmentionable evil.

Instead, the speaker adds, “It’s very bad weather,” as if reading the weather forecast! Terror turns into nothing more than tutting disapproval and the contrast evokes shrieks of laughter rather than fear. This technique of pulling the rug from underneath our feet is repeated throughout the poem, as if the speaker is struggling to keep a straight face.

Now we hear the voice of one of the murderers coming through the storm. He challenges those who “list” (meaning “listen”) “to sever the dead man’s wrist.” The use of triple rhyme gives his words a marvelous swing and ring, and the final line, “And pluck me five locks of the dead man’s hair” rounds off the passage with tremendous, lip-smacking relish. Who could resist the temptation to say the words aloud in a suitably sinister voice?

The poem goes to describe how the murderers meet the local witch, whose most grotesque feature seems to be her bad taste in hats. They all go off to Tappington Hall, burn the Hand of Glory and burst in. Upstairs, an old miser is counting his money and is suddenly frozen in place. The murderers kill him and take his treasure—and we are treated to a ghoulish description of the gore-drenched corpse, “carotid and jugular both cut through!”

However, in the morning, the man’s little pug dog tracks the murderers down “with his little pug nose,” sniffing out the fat goose feast they are enjoying at the local inn. At the end, the fiends are hanged, and the witch is carried off by the Grim Reaper himself. The poem concludes on perhaps the funniest moment of all, when the speaker drolly describes this tallest of tales as “this truest of stories.”

This is poetry proud to be purple and just made to be performed. So if you can, look up the whole poem online and print it out. Light a candle, dim the lights and share with your family and friends on Halloween. There will be fright and laughter galore.

The Reverend Richard Harris Barham (1788–1845) was a curate in the Church of England. The “Ingoldsby Legends” was originally published under the pseudonym Thomas Ingoldsby.

Christopher Nield is a poet living in London.

US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a convenient way of measuring and comparing the size of national economies. Annual GDP represents the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a year. Put differently:

GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + (exports – imports)

Although the economies of countries like China and India are growing at an incredible rate, the US remains the nation with the highest GDP in the world – and by far: US GDP is projected to be $13,22 trillion (or $13.220 billion) in 2007, according to this source. That’s almost as much as the economies of the next four (Japan, Germany, China, UK) combined.

The creator of this map has had the interesting idea to break down that gigantic US GDP into the GDPs of individual states, and compare those to other countries’ GDP. What follows, is this slightly misleading map – misleading, because the economies both of the US states and of the countries they are compared with are not weighted for their respective populations.

Pakistan, for example, has a GDP that’s slightly higher than Israel’s – but Pakistan has a population of about 170 million, while Israel is only 7 million people strong. The US states those economies are compared with (Arkansas and Oregon, respectively) are much closer to each other in population: 2,7 million and 3,4 million.

And yet, wile a per capita GDP might give a good indication of the average wealth of citizens, a ranking of the economies on this map does serve two interesting purposes: it shows the size of US states’ economies relative to each other (California is the biggest, Wyoming the smallest), and it links those sizes with foreign economies (which are therefore also ranked: Mexico’s and Russia’s economies are about equal size, Ireland’s is twice as big as New Zealand’s). Here’s a run-down of the 50 states, plus DC:

  1. California, it is often said, would be the world’s sixth- or seventh-largest economy if it was a separate country. Actually, that would be the eighth, according to this map, as France (with a GDP of $2,15 trillion) is #8 on the aforementioned list.
  2. Texas’ economy is significantly smaller, exactly half of California’s, as its GDP compares to that of Canada (#10, $1,08 trillion).
  3. Florida also does well, with its GDP comparable to Asian tiger South Korea’s (#13 at $786 billion).
  4. Illinois – Mexico (GDP #14 at $741 billion)
  5. New Jersey – Russia (GDP #15 at $733 billion)
  6. Ohio – Australia (GDP #16 at $645 billion)
  7. New York – Brazil (GDP #17 at $621 billion)
  8. Pennsylvania – Netherlands (GDP #18 at $613 billion)
  9. Georgia – Switzerland (GDP #19 at $387 billion)
  10. North Carolina – Sweden (GDP #20 at $371 billion)
  11. Massachusetts – Belgium (GDP #21 at $368 billion)
  12. Washington – Turkey (GDP #22 at $358 billion)
  13. Virginia – Austria (GDP #24 at $309 billion)
  14. Tennessee – Saudi Arabia (GDP #25 at $286 billion)
  15. Missouri – Poland (GDP #26 at $265 billion)
  16. Louisiana – Indonesia (GDP #27 at $264 billion)
  17. Minnesota – Norway (GDP #28 at $262 billion)
  18. Indiana – Denmark (GDP #29 at $256 billion)
  19. Connecticut – Greece (GDP #30 at $222 billion)
  20. Michigan – Argentina (GDP #31 at $210 billion)
  21. Nevada – Ireland (GDP #32 at $203 billion)
  22. Wisconsin – South Africa (GDP #33 at $200 billion)
  23. Arizona – Thailand (GDP #34 at $197 billion)
  24. Colorado – Finland (GDP #35 at $196 billion)
  25. Alabama – Iran (GDP #36 at $195 billion)
  26. Maryland – Hong Kong (#37 at $187 billion GDP)
  27. Kentucky – Portugal (GDP #38 at $177 billion)
  28. Iowa – Venezuela (GDP #39 at $148 billion)
  29. Kansas – Malaysia (GDP #40 at $132 billion)
  30. Arkansas – Pakistan (GDP #41 at $124 billion)
  31. Oregon – Israel (GDP #42 at $122 billion)
  32. South Carolina – Singapore (GDP #43 at $121 billion)
  33. Nebraska – Czech Republic (GDP #44 at $119 billion)
  34. New Mexico – Hungary (GDP #45 at $113 billion)
  35. Mississippi – Chile (GDP #48 at $100 billion)
  36. DC – New Zealand (#49 at $99 billion GDP)
  37. Oklahoma – Philippines (GDP #50 at $98 billion)
  38. West Virginia – Algeria (GDP #51 at $92 billion)
  39. Hawaii – Nigeria (GDP #53 at $83 billion)
  40. Idaho – Ukraine (GDP #54 at $81 billion)
  41. Delaware – Romania (#55 at $79 billion GDP)
  42. Utah – Peru (GDP #56 at $76 billion)
  43. New Hampshire – Bangladesh (GDP #57 at $69 billion)
  44. Maine – Morocco (GDP #59 at $57 billion)
  45. Rhode Island – Vietnam (GDP #61 at $48 billion)
  46. South Dakota – Croatia (GDP #66 at $37 billion)
  47. Montana – Tunisia (GDP #69 at $33 billion)
  48. North Dakota – Ecuador (GDP #70 at $32 billion)
  49. Alaska – Belarus (GDP #73 at $29 billion)
  50. Vermont – Dominican Republic (GDP #81 at $20 billion)
  51. Wyoming – Uzbekistan (GDP #101 at $11 billion)

This map was suggested by Morgan via, and can be found here. Please note that the GDP data used for this comparison are not necessarily the same as those used in compiling the original map.

(this very cool post has come from this very cool blog)

O açúcar – Ferreira Gullar

O branco açúcar que adoçará meu café
nesta manhã de Ipanema
não foi produzido por mim
nem surgiu dentro do açucareiro por milagre.
Vejo-o puro
e afável ao paladar
como beijo de moça, água
na pele, flor
que se dissolve na boca. Mas este açúcar
não foi feito por mim.

Este açúcar veio
da mercearia da esquina e tampouco o fez o Oliveira, dono da mercearia.
Este açúcar veio
de uma usina de açúcar em Pernambuco
ou no Estado do Rio
e tampouco o fez o dono da usina.

Este açúcar era cana
e veio dos canaviais extensos
que não nascem por acaso
no regaço do vale.

Em lugares distantes, onde não há hospital
nem escola,
homens que não sabem ler e morrem de fome
aos 27 anos
plantaram e colheram a cana
que viraria açúcar.

Em usinas escuras,
homens de vida amarga
e dura
produziram este açúcar
branco e puro
com que adoço meu café esta manhã em Ipanema.