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Jan. 27th, 2012

Footnotes to Chapter 1: The Chapter That Changed The World

  1. Though we refer to it as ``The White House'', contemporaries more often called it ``The Mauve House'', from a confused belief that William Henry Perkin's research into aniline dyes required broder public support. We have edited quotations to this uniform usage as it spoils all those nice old quotes if they read the way old-fashioned people talked.
  2. The War of 1806 (1806-03) is the same conflict in which the world lost Budapest, which was not seen again until we were moving to a new apartment in 1999 and found it in a box of videotapes a friend lent us. Before the city or the videotapes could be returned we lost them again, and that's just too bad, because our friend is starting to think we'll never get around to watching them and references say there were some good coffee shops there.
  3. Though polonium is named for Marie Curie's homeland of Poland, people with other homelands may use it, provided the correct imposts are paid.
  4. To simplify the narrative we have made all references to this party as the Pro Antes, but contemporaries also called them as the Anti Antes, noting how many of them were sisters to someone's parents. Other contemporaries called them as the Ante Pros, apparently as a sarcastic rejoinder to their general existence and habit of sighing too much on mentions of Australia, leading to a division between references to them as Pros, Antis, and Antes, which mainly divided the critical scholarship in the mid-20th century. This division lingers in how conferences on the same subject must be split along strictly terminological lines. A 1958 council trying to find a universally acceptable name resulted only in naming Alexander V as Pope.
  5. In his official capacity. In his unofficial capacity he was described as a glass jar holding 16 fluid ounces (12 incorrect ounces), and according to Jenny Lind's memoirs this was ``about right, once you talked to him''.
  6. We have standardized spelling and punctuation in quotes from the Pro Antes, however stupid and wrong their arguments were. In the audio book version we have had the reader add frequent ``duh'' or ``dur'' syllables to emphasize how stupid everybody was being in this time, unlike today.
  7. N Ladislaus, J V V Haughton-Neapli, ``Measurements of reaction times in rats given surprise quizzes about calculating the date of Easter'', Journal of Ibid 2 (8A) 2105-118, 2009 [Retracted but too good treat as wrong]. Particularly interesting is the number of rats who calculated dates for the Orthodox Easter instead.
  8. Cf op cit (qv tnx hd-4040 as reported in the Senate).
  9. The runners-up for birth place were Meaver Glare, Massachusetts; Pillowbrook, Long Island; Vendue, Maryland; Kittling, Labrador; and Philadelphia.
  10. St John's the city in Nova Scotia should not be confused with St John's the wort, but they are always getting one another's mail, and have a solid friendship based on exchanging completely different pre-approved credit card offers.
  11. The factling, also known as the exactling, is the information-age analogue to the changeling: it is a mysterious, often-malevolent spirit which takes the place of an ordinary or ``correct'' fact and by its presence destroys the logical soundness of a developing argument, reducing the discussion to a general higgledy-piggledy. This is an ancient and well-known bit of electronic folklore, with recorded mentions of it dating as far back as Wednesday, January 25.
  12. Get it?
  13. Despite his contributions, Kenneth Mallow felt his real legacy would be his talent at connect-the-dots puzzles solved while blindfolded. He insisted the random scribbles, often on the walls, were because of saboteurs stealing his correct and ``beautiful'' pictures between his finishing and taking off his blindfold. At a famous demonstration before the French Academy of Science Propser-René Blondlot showed Mallow had no pencil.
  14. This was the original route of the river Thames, connecting the Peloponnesians to Buffalo, New York, before it was purchased by British industrialists and relocated in 1863 to its present location above the Thames subway tunnels.

Trivia: All 1,350 feet of the Tower Subway under the Thames was dug within the year 1869. Source: Engineering In History, Richard Shelton Kirby, Sidney Withington, Arthur Burr Darling, Frederick Gridley Kilgour.

Currently Reading: A History Of The Kennedy Space Center, Kenneth Lipartito, Orville R Butler.

PS: The First Tail, and my experiment in writing shorter pieces explodes already.

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