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“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers”*…

 

The Athenian Oracle – a sort of 17th-century version of Quora – had its roots in The Athenian Mercury, a magazine published twice a week in London between 1690 and 1697. Its Editor-in-Chief John Dunton had come upon the idea of having an advice column in the magazine, giving the readers a chance to send in their questions which would then be answered by a group of experts. This group, called The Athenian Society, consisted of a Dr Norris, the mathematician Richard Sault, the clergyman and author Samuel Wesley, as well as Dunton himself. The questions received by the society covered everything from natural sciences and philosophy to literature and religion, and in 1703, they were collected and published as The Athenian Oracle. Questions range from why horses neigh or how dew is produced, to asking if there is a cure for stammering, as well as philosophical questions on what happiness is – or what death is. Some of the questions were written by women, resulting in a spin-off called The Ladies’ Mercury which was published for four weeks in 1693 and was the first periodical specifically aimed for women.

All will be answered– page through “The Athenian Oracle (1820).”

* Voltaire

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As we celebrate certitude, we might recall that it was on this date in 1717 that, as the announcement of the event had it:

A catalogue of curious and valuable books, belonging to the late reverend & learned, Mr. Ebenezer Pemberton, consisting of divinity, philosophy, history, poetry, &c. Generally well bound, to be sold by auction, at the Crown Coffee-House in Boston, the second day of July 1717. Beginning at three a clock afternoon, and so, de die in diem, until the whole be sold. Also a valuable collection of pamphlets will then be exposed to sale. The books may be viewed from the 25th day of June, until the day of sale, at the house of the late Reverend Mr. Pemberton, where attendance will be given.

… the first book auction held in America.  The proceeds helped educate the recently-departed Mr. Pemberton’s son, also named Ebenezer, who went on to become a celebrated minister whose sermons were widely circulated in print.

Ebenezer Sr.

source

 

Written by LW

July 2, 2016 at 1:01 am

Owning a piece of the past: an investment option for our times?…

source: Bonhams

As one passes the first anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers, one might be wondering where (beyond one’s mattress) one should be parking what’s left of one’s resources.

As Wired.com reports, the auctioneers Bonhams have an idea:  natural history artifacts.  The 42 items to be gaveled in a sale to held in Las Vegas on October 3 range from a fossilized fish, estimated to go for about $1,000, to a 66 million-year-old T-Rex skeleton (above), one of the best ever found– and estimated to fetch as much as $8 million.  Other highlights include the largest shark jaw ever found, a giant pig skull, and the skeleton of a duck-billed dinosaur.

Collectables, of course, have an uneven history as investments…  but then, how’s that stock portfolio doing this last year or so?

As we rethink our portfolios (and the arrangement of our living rooms), we might recall that it was on this date in 1949 that Warner. Bros. introduced the Road Runner in the cartoon short “Fast and Furry-ous.”  Created by Michael Maltese and the incomparable Chuck Jones, The Road Runner’s “beep, beep” (like the sounds of most other Warner Bros. cartoon characters) was voiced by Mel Blanc.

The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote make their debut

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