Sankt Nikolaus Brought an Early Present

Without any doubt, our local Texas Santa Claus was coached by Ms. Patrizia M., who, only last year, successfully trained one of the Costa Rican Santas to deliver Lebkuchen and Dominosteine with only the slightest delay (see post: Ho Ho Ho – sólo un poco tarde! January 12, 2012). This year, Santa brought food for thought, shipped with the kind support of the Royal Mail. Santa has some high & mighty connections, let me tell you. Or maybe it is Ms. M., who has the IN
Inside the Royal Mail, I found a wonderful volume of adventure, discovery, speculation, and mathematics, all rolled into the eternal philosophy of how to approach living one’s life.
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I’m very much looking forward to reading this book. Its description alone made me smile both in remembrance and in anticipation. Alexander von Humboldt was my father’s favorite ‘science guy’, he called Humboldt the last renaissance man. And I attended an Alexander-von-Humboldt-Gymnasium for my last three years of high school. Gauss, on the other hand, is memorable to every photographer, who has ever manipulated a digital image by applying Gaussian blur, and elderly navy people might remember the term degaussing for the attempt to minimize ships’ magnetic signature in the event of torpedo attacks. I also anticipate a fun reading experience because among my favorite books is another, similar volume, to which one might apply the above words: … a balancing act between loneliness and love, absurdity and greatness, failure and success. Those words could very well also describe Dava Sobel’s “Longitude” about John Harrison (1693 – 1776), the lowly watchmaker, who against all expectations, solved the conundrum of ships lost at sea. My father would’ve loved that one, too, I think. Equally, my new book reminds me a little of another one of my dear favorites, Umberto Eco’s “L’isola del giorno prima”. Mi dispache, carissima Patrizia, so che odio il anziano professore  😀
Mille Grazie (comunque) !!!

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