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What you tell me the name of this place?

White dance, week night, raining, Alligator, Mississippi, long ways from home.

                                Eudora Welty, Powerhouse

 

I have no defense to make.

Whatever I have done in West Virginia, I have done it all over the United States,

and when I get out, I will do it again.

 

                                      Mother Jones, the Court-Martial

                                      Pratt, West Virginia, March 7, 1913

 

The line consists of an infinite number of points; the plane, of an infinite number of lines;

the volume, of an infinite number of planes; the hypervolume, of an infinite number of volumes…

No – this, more geometrico, is decidedly not the best way to begin my tale. To say that the story

is true is by now a convention of every fantastic tale; mine, nevertheless, is true.

                              Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Sand

 

There is no political system in which the spectacle of two men fighting each other is not a striking, if unintended,

image of the political impotence of most men (and women): You fight what’s nearest, what’s available, what’s

ready to fight you. And if you can, you do it for money.

Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing

 

"Then let me explain it to you with a very refined example. This may sound a little musty, but I remember reading

it in a book. Oda Nobunaga once hired a famous cook. The first time he ate something prepared by the cook, he

thought it tasted terrible, so he gave the cook a sound scolding. After that, the cook, who had been punished for

serving his finest dishes, would only make second and third-rate dishes, and he was always praised. Now, take

this cook – he might have been very shrewd as far as working for a living went, but as for working for his art, which

was cooking, why he was insincere; he was a degenerate cook."

“But if he hadn’t done that, he would have been fired. He couldn’t help it."

                                                     Soseki Natsume, Kokoro

 

Men are encouraged to hunt as well as they can, and the people rejoice when meat is brought in, but the correct

demeanor for the successful hunter is modesty and understatement. A /Xai/xai man named /Gaugo described it this way:

 

Say that a man has been hunting. He must not come home and announce like a braggart, “I have killed a big one

in the bush!” He must first sit down in silence until I or someone else comes up to his fire and asks, “What did

you see today?” He replies quietly, “Ah I’m no good for hunting. I saw nothing at all…maybe just a tiny one.”

Then I smile to myself because I now know he has killed something big.

                                                     Richard Borshay Lee, The !Kung San

 

Rutherford told Marsden, “See if you can get some effect of alpha particles directly reflected from a metal surface,”

expecting a negative result. After Marsden had been hard at it for awhile, he came to his mentor with a puzzling

observation: While most of the alphas passed straight through the thin film as expected, some were deflected at

large angles, and a few even bounced almost backwards off the target!

                                                     Dwight E. Neuenschwander, The Discovery of the Nucleus

 

"The thing is, I don't know what I'm going to do with the ball, and if I don't know, I'm quite sure the guy guarding me

doesn't know either."

                                                            Earl “The Pearl” Monroe

 

An engineer?  I had grown up among engineers, and I could remember the engineers of the twenties very well indeed:

their open shining intellects, their free and gentle humor, their agility and breadth of thought, the ease with which

they shifted from one engineering field to another, and, for that matter, from technology to social concerns and art.

Then, too, they personified good manners and delicacy of taste; well-bred speech that flowed evenly and was free

of uncultured words;  one of them might play a musical instrument, another dabble in painting; and their faces always

bore a spiritual imprint.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago vol. I

 

Trápani said to me, “Someone lent me your Carriego book, where you’re talking about hoodlums all the time.

Tell me, Borges, what in the world can you know about hoodlums?” He stared at me with a kind of wonder.

“I’ve done research,” I answered.

                                                            Jorge Luis Borges

 

Father Guido Sarducci’s Five Minute University (Youtube)

 

My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities.

And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.

                                        Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secretary

 

                                       

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       Harvey Diamond

Change Agent. Brand Ambassador.

 

 

Vita

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Professor 
Department of Mathematics 
West Virginia University 

Office  

410J, Armstrong Hall 
West Virginia University 
Morgantown, WV 26506 

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      diamond@math.wvu.edu