Jon Carroll has interesting tidbits in his column today. I take some of them and place them here. They are from his readers so if you missed Jon Carroll's column today, you may not know:
Jon Carroll speaks.
Speaking of pedantry, as we sort of were, there's this e-mail from Jack Abad: "I thought that you might be interested in this note I got out of The College Mathematics Journal issue of March 2007. The Minnesota Star Tribune on January 1, 2007 had a quiz with this question. 'Name the U.S. states that are rectangles.' Their answer was 'None. (Wyoming and Colorado are parallelograms.)'
"TCMJ printed a comment from a reader, Richard Syverson. 'This answer appears to assume a projection of the earth's surface onto a plane. In the Mercator projection, lines of latitude and longitude are perpendicular to one another, so Colorado and Wyoming are indeed rectangles. In some other projections, however, such as the Lambert conformal projection, the lines of longitude converge, and so the states' eastern and western boundaries are not parallel. Hence, their shapes are not parallelograms but trapezoids.' "
From Craig Ladwig of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation: "John Keegan, the British military historian, tells us that it was the practice of the early Roman armies (the successful ones) to pull winning commanders from the field, the logic being that although a general always knew why he was defeated he might be confused about why he was victorious."
From someone who signed his name only as Ron: "President Lincoln once spoke mercifully of the Confederates to a visitor. The visitor, full of patriotism, objected. He said harshly, 'We must destroy the Confederates. They are our enemies.' Lincoln said mildly, 'And do we not destroy our enemies when we make them our friends?' "