(Roughly) Daily

Boo! (It’s that time again…)

…from the always-amusing xkcd.  (The last panel? The Banach-Tarski Paradox:  explained here; illustrated here.  The “Axiom of Choice”– of which the the B-T Paradox is a case– is explained here.)

As we gird ourselves for the season of horrors, we might recall that it was on this date in 1483 that Tomás de Torquemada was appointed Inquisitor General of Spain (at the behest of Queen Isabella, whose confessor he had been).  Called “the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country, the honor of his order” by Spanish chronicler Sebastián de Olmedo, Torquemada was a key advocate for the Alhambra Decree (Ferdinand’s and Isabella’s expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492) and a zealous prosecutor of “crypto-Jews” and “crypto-Muslims.”  While the precise number of deaths on his watch is a matter of debate, there is a general agreement that, between 1480 and 1530, about 2000 people burned in the autos-de-fé of the Spanish Inquisition.



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