Saturday, April 21, 2012


On 27 June 2010, I asked for help identifying a particular piece of music. Today I managed to find out — well, because there's an app for that! The song turns out to be Mac Thornhill's 1988 Who's Gonna Ease The Pressure:

I was able to understand a little better the words in some of the tune's remixes: What I took to be "who's gonna be the best of..." is actually "who's gonna ease the pressure of...". Why, of course! I'm still hoping to resolve a couple of SAUNZ in my lyric transcription.

Friday, April 20, 2012


845534401, 83565065201, 829144019201, 834854554601, 854516148301, 866422665701, 878554044001, 889419071111, 890750408711, 891079866601, ...

Each of these is a prime equal to a multiple of its reversal plus-or-minus a prime smaller than itself in exactly 8 ways (A182239). For example:

845534401 = 104435548 *  3 + 532227757
          = 104435548 *  5 + 323356661
          = 104435548 *  6 + 218921113
          = 104435548 *  8 +  10050017
          = 104435548 *  9 -  94385531
          = 104435548 * 11 - 303256627
          = 104435548 * 14 - 616563271
          = 104435548 * 15 - 720998819

All ten of our numbers begin with an 8. What will be the first term that does not?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Galway, England

My father-in-law, John Edward Powers, likes to play up his Irish roots, even though his mother's parents were both born in France, his father's mother, Agnes Sullivan, born in Toronto ON, and his father's father, David Edward Powers, born in Sandy Creek NY. Agnes Sullivan's parents may have come from northern Ireland but David Edward Powers' parents were from county-unknown. So the genealogically-minded members of the Powers clan were excited, last year, to find David Edward's uncle, Michael Powers. At the time, I asked John if he knew anything about his Irish roots. A new priest at his church had asked him the same thing and John had to admit that he did not know. But in the following days he thought about it and a word came to him (from, hopefully, his parents/grandparents and not some movie that got stuck in his mind). The word was Connemara.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Marlene Frost shared with me her discovery of an obituary for Michael Powers that mentioned his place of birth: Galway, Ireland. Yesterday, I found another one that (sort-of) confirmed the location. We're making progress!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Say it ain't so

"They say that in 7.6 billion years our sun will balloon up to a size larger than the Earth's orbit, thus vaporizing the planet."
"In about 7.6 billion years."
"Man! That's a relief. I thought you said '7.6 million years'."

Overheard at the check-out of the supermarket this morning, in the context of 'why worry, be happy', a simplified variant of the preceding old joke: "They say, we're all gonna be dead in a million years."

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A Female Lothario.

   An Irish girl named McCormick, residing in Hamilton, Canada as a servant has been guilty of a series of very strange acts. In her capacity as servant she would with a very art-address ascertain the feelings of almost every lady relative to the tender passion, telling them that Mr. —, a dry goods clerk, or a lawyer, &c. was desperately in love with them, and that he would contrive to see them on a certain night. When the night appointed came, the young gentleman would come, in the shape of Miss McCormick in male apparel. In three different cases was the question popped, and accepted; in one the wedding garment made. This fun was tried once too often, and the gay creature was locked up in jail.

Scientific American: New York, January 9, 1847.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, there are a handful of online references to this story. The original appeared in the 26 December 1846 Hamilton Spectator. In January 1847, any number of other newspapers reprinted it, including, on January 11, the Hagerstown Torch Light and the Monday morning New York Herald.  Dan Akeson (who suggests that no copies of the original Hamilton Spectator story exist) published, in 1990, a book on Eliza McCormick making the outrageous claim that she transgendered herself into nineteenth-century Tory backbencher, John White.