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Hi Everyone,

Dead Reckonings has a new home at http://www.deadreckonings.com. I moved my blog to improve site performance and to maintain the latest version of WordPress. This will also for a time reduce the tedium of deleting spam comments that every blog owner experiences. (Believe it or not, the WordPress software has caught well over half a million spam comments to my blog overall, and I’ve manually deleted many that got through).

This present site will be retained for some time to support legacy bookmarks and links, but commenting has been turned off here.  Please have a look at the new site and let me know what you think! I will be posting new material again on the new site very soon (!).

I’m very proud of the feedback and support from readers of my blog, a fantastic group of very knowledgeable people. I have learned a lot of marvelous things from you since I started this blog back in 2007. I know that no one here is aware of the amount of interaction I have had with people through this blog, the friendships that have developed, and the extensive collaborations on nomogram designs that have occurred almost continuously. This has made the process of moving the blog so worthwhile. I look forward to continuing the conversation.


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Modern NomogramsI want to announce that my fellow collaborators in nomography, Joe Marasco and Leif Roschier, and I have a new website called Modern Nomograms to offer posters of new nomograms that we hope will interest people. Our initial posters are nomograms for calculating results from Bayes’ Theorem as described in the next post here, but we expect more will follow.

This project does not in any way affect the content here—essays will continue to be written as usual on lost arts in the mathematical sciences, including nomography. This is simply an outlet to provide an option for nomograms in poster form.

[Please visit the new home for Dead Reckonings: http://www.deadreckonings.com]

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You are invited to participate in a new forum established to share ideas and information related to lost art in the mathematical sciences. If you have feedback related to a specific essay or its user comments, please continue to provide comments at the end of the post. Otherwise, for general comments or suggestions for future essays, and in fact for wide-ranging discussions on erstwhile discoveries in mathematics and science, please feel free to post entries on the forum here, specifically on the discussion board for this blog. I will be posting essays here as I always have, and I’m still soliciting guest essays for this blog—the forum is simply a separate but related enterprise that involves more people and opens up more topics.

[Please visit the new home for Dead Reckonings: http://www.deadreckonings.com]

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Plans Unfolding Printout (2 sided)In a clear breach of this blog’s charter, I’d like to announce the release of free software I developed for creating convenient, pocket-sized paper organizers. Using LaTeX as a typesetting engine, a high quality PDF file is generated of 16 mini-pages, which is then printed on both sides of a sheet of letter or A4 paper and folded to create a small booklet that can fit in your pocket. The Windows interface directly supports several types of standard pages (List, Text, Calendars, Contacts, etc.) and maintains all user data between sessions. It also provides page types not seen in conventional organizers, such as a Vigenere Cipher page for on-the-go encrypted text and an Astronomy page with a calculated planisphere of current star/planet/moon locations along with other astronomical data. Beyond this, custom user-designed pages can be easily written in LaTeX script and shared in the Plans Unfolding forum and galleries. For more information, please visit the Plans Unfolding home page here. Now back to the subject at hand—thanks for your indulgence.

[Please visit the new home for Dead Reckonings: http://www.deadreckonings.com]

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Analemma[Please visit the new home for Dead Reckonings: http://www.deadreckonings.com]

This journal attempts to capture my occasional encounters with the technically elegant but nearly forgotten in the mathematical sciences—artistically creative works that strike me as particularly brilliant. These can be small, clever things (say, an algorithm for calculating roots), or they can be ingenious technical inventions of more general application, basically anything that makes me think ‘Wow, that’s neat!’ Think of pendulum clock escapements; of beautiful precision sundials, astrolabes and other antique scientific instruments; of music theory and instrument design; of early, desperate attempts to calculate logarithms and trigonometric values; of stereo photography and linkage mechanisms; of difference engines, trinary arithmetic and slide rules; of old map projections and vacuum tube op-amps.

Posts here are brief or not-so-brief essays of unusual things of this nature that I read or hear about, supplemented with references and some amount of research I typically do on these topics. Any longer papers that emerge (particularly on mental calculation and antique scientific instruments) will be placed in my main website area http://www.myreckonings.com. To avoid printing difficulties with this wide format, there will be a link to a PDF version at the end of each entry.

Comments on the posts are appreciated! A forum has also been added for discussing anything related to lost art in the mathematical sciences at http://www.myreckonings.com/forum. Also, feel free to use the Contact link to send me general comments or any ideas (or text!) for new topics.

Ron Doerfler

(The figure above is from Oronce Fine’s Second Book of Solar Horology, translated with interpretation by Peter Drinkwater)

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