Thursday, March 19, 2009

TeX interviews

Here's a collection of engaging interviews with luminaries of the TeX world from the past 20 or so years. Steve Peter, my old colleague at Wolfram Research, and Art Ogawa, who once slept on my couch while passing through Effingham, are featured along with many others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Farnham's library

Robert Heinlein on books:

The last books in the world - so it seemed. He felt sudden grief that abstract knowledge of deaths of millions had not given him. Somehow, the burning of millions of books felt more brutally obscene than the killing of people. All men must die, it was their single common heritage. But a book need never die and should not be killed; books were the immortal part of man. Book burners - to rape a defenseless friendly book. Books had always been his best friends. In a hundred public libraries they had taught him. From a thousand newsstands they had warmed his loneliness. He suddenly felt that if he had not been able to save some books, it would hardly be worthwhile to live.

Here's the list of books Heinlein had Hubert Farnham put in his 1950s bomb shelter:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • "Che" Guevera's War of the Guerillas
  • "Yank" Leivy's manual on resistance fighting
  • Griffith's Translation of Mao Tse-tung's On Guerilla Warfare
  • Tom Wintringham's New Ways of War
  • the new TR on special operations
  • The Boy Scout Handbook
  • Eshbach's Mechanical Engineering
  • The Radio Repairman's Guide
  • Outdoor Life's Hunting and Fishing
  • Edible Fungi and How to Know Them
  • Home Life in the Colonial Days
  • Your Log Cabin
  • Chimneys and Fireplaces
  • The Hobo's Cook Book
  • Medicine Without a Doctor
  • Five Acres and Independence
  • Russian Self-Taught
  • English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries
  • The Complete Herbalist
  • the survival manuals of the Navy Bureau of Weapons
  • The Air Force's Survival Techniques
  • The Practical Carpenter
  • The Oxford Book of English Verse
  • A Treasury of American Poetry
  • Hoyle's Book of Games
  • Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy
  • a different Burton's Thousand Nights and a Night
  • the good old Odyssey with the Wyeth illustrations
  • Kipling's Collected Verse and his Just So Stories
  • a one-volume Shakespeare
  • the Book of Common Prayer
  • the Bible
  • Mathematical Recreations and Essays
  • Thus Spake Zarathustra
  • T. S. Eliot's The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
  • Robert Frost's Verse
  • Men Against the Sea

Theodore Dalrymple, complete