What was the B side to the Pretty Things ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’?

In my wildest dreams, I imagine being in a quiz show. Chasing the big prize on the final question, I’m thrown a curly one: What was the B side to the Pretty Things 1965 hit ‘Don’t Bring Me Down‘? As the host sits back with a supercilious smug, I look her in the eye and fire back ‘We’ll Be Together’. The million is mine. Continue reading

A special book: Incarceration

I’ve edited thousands of documents (reports, articles, chapters, books, letters, theses, etc.) over the years, probably comprising millions of words. I enjoy it. There’s a great sense of pride and accomplishment in reworking text, spotting errors and typos that others have missed (e.g. see My greatest contribution to Monash University), and offering rewriting suggestions that are welcomed by an author (not always the case, of course). A recent editing task has been one of the most fulfilling and worthy efforts I’ve ever undertaken – Incarceration: My Five Years as a Political Prisoner in Iran. Continue reading

Fermat’s fiendishly difficult problem

Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665)

It was a famous unsolved maths problem that had stood for hundreds of years – Fermat’s Last Theorem (FLT) – then along came Andrew Wiles, who solved it in 1994. That’s the beginning and end of it really, though the details of the efforts to solve it provide a fascinating tale. The main reason is that FLT is a seemingly simple problem, easily understood by anyone with a cursory understanding of high school maths. Continue reading