Did he really say that?

The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes = GEORGE CARLIN...Stained glass, engraved glass, frosted glass–give me plain glass = JOHN FOWLES...Music is the mathematics of the gods = PYTHAGORAS...Nothing is more fluid than language = R.L.SWIHART

Friday, August 10, 2012

Babysitting Adventurers

What do you call it when someone is entrusted
for the temporary care of children?

Ms. Seamster did not ask a multiple choice question. It was a multiple answer question posed to select class reunion attendees–from the "Class of 19whatever"– on the campus of
the Lewis Carroll School of Logic (LCSoL).

In this scene from DREAMCHILD, the man in the middle of the boat was declared the "babysitter" but everyone looks thoroughly bored. The man in the middle is about to embark on a fairy tale to amuse the children in the boat.
The scene realistically portrays the actual moment of conception for what became ALICE IN WONDERLAND. The scene was set in 1862. The book would not be published until 1865...

Ms. Seamster then walked off the stage of the Duckworth Auditorium, named for the other man
in the boat but every LCSoL alum already knew that.

There were over one thousand people present.

Some of them were much more famous than either Lewis Carroll or Ian Holm,
the British actor portraying him but YOU might already know that.

The who's who of this film is explained here.

As for our most successful and most generous alumnus, go there.

The only specific thing that the gathered "Carrollians" needed to understand was this:
The babysitter was a mathematician.

Silence and darkness reigned during Seamster's absence. Her return was prefaced
by a relatively unknown portrait projected on a screen the size of a double-decker bus.

This is Edward Kasner, a Columbia University Math professor. Once upon a time–approximately 1938–he was doing some research and chanced upon a special number. The best reason we have been able to determine the utility of this number is based on this question:
What do you get when you add 1 to a number consisting of exactly one hundred 9's?
The answer consists of a 1 followed by one hundred zeroes.

Here is where history gets very fuzzy and there are almost as many stories about what then happened as there are zeroes in this "discovered number." However, we will accept the version from the Wall Street Journal. BUT WE MUST SET ONE CONDITION...

A chorus of young-sounding voices from the back of the auditorium responded in segments:
Whenever a non-guardian adult...has a nine-year old...in his/her custody
...That adult...is BABYSITTING!

Thank you
Kasner had been making repeated references to this "hundred zero" number during his Columbia lectures. But during a leisurely walk with a nine-year-old nephew, the math professor asked the youngster to name that number. "Goo-gol" replied the child.
Because Kasner was a great fan of Russian authors, he spellt the word exactly the way the child pronounced it: G-o-o-g-o-l. This name languished in mathematical circles for approximately eighty years.

She then pointed her finger emphatically at two men in the front row.
Mr. Page and Mr. Brin. Please tell us what you did with that name?

We put it through the looking glass!

The laughter was thunderous. Had they done exactly that, their company would have been called L-o-g-o-o-g

Immediately, their adjusted spelling of Professor Edward Kasner's number was flashed on the screen.

The laughter morphed into applause and became more thunderous. This was LCSoL code for "the rest is history...but it only happened because another babysitter was a mathematician."

This attendee from that reunion will now "offically" bestow LCSoL status on Bobby R. and rls.

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