[lit-ideas] one of the

  • From: palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 May 2014 07:48:14 +0200

​fascinating fact is that people sweat years (in this case my colleague
Sterrett, from whom I learned much) to establish a few facts, propose a
view etc.
then masses of idiots "check" wikipedia..​


On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 12:16 AM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> My last post today!
>
> In a message dated 5/13/2014 3:00:24 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> rpaul@xxxxxxxx writes:
> Wittgenstein had no degree of any kind from  Manchester. He got his PhD
> from Cambridge, in 1929. He submitted the Tractatus  as his dissertation.
> His
> examiners were Russell and G.E.Moore. The story of the  proceedings is
> well-known, and Moore's report to the Cambridge authorities is a
>  classic...
>
> Indeed.
>
> Apparently, though, he did intend to pursue a  doctorate earlier in
> Manchester on ... kites. Or rather, he behaved in such a  way that he gave
> Wikipedia a reason to report, years later, at:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein
>
> that
>
> "[Witters] arrived at the Victoria University of Manchester in the
> spring of 1908 to do his doctorate,"
>
> -- full of plans for aeronautical projects, including designing and flying
> his own plane.
>
> Witters goes on to conduct (some sort of (as Wikipedia  thinks,
> erroneously, PhD-related) research into the behaviour of kites in the
>  upper
> atmosphere, experimenting at the Kite Flying Upper Atmosphere Station, not
>  far from
> Glossop.
>
> While a student at the Victoria University (named,  incidentally, after
> Queen Victoria), Witters also works on the design of a  propeller with
> small
> jet engines on the end of its blades. This he will  later patent in 1911
> and
> will earn him a research  studentship from the Victoria University in the
> autumn of 1908.
>
> While  working at the Kite Flying Upper Atmosphere Station, Witters lived
> at "The  Grouse [not Grice] Inn", a pub on the Derbyshire moors, which
> impressed him --  the Derbyshire moors.
>
> The name of the Inn, 'Grouse' is said to be  derived, like, incidentally,
> he surname 'Grice', from the Anglo-Norman "griais",  and is thus cognate
> with
> "grey" -- and ultimately, according to Brunetto Latini,  with 'Greece':
> Latini's reason: "porce que ele fu premiers trovee en Grece." On  top of
> that,
> it is entertaining to find that the Oxford Dictionary spends some  time
> evaluating the hypothesis that "grouse" was thought for a time to  be the
> singular form of the alleged plural, "grice".
>
> In May 17  1908, Witters wrote to his sister from the Grouse [not Grice]
> Inn, exulting the  glorious isolation. He added in a ps: "Yesterday, I
> began
> to build my own kite."  He failed to specify (alla Grice, "be as
> informative
> as is required") what  colour it was.
>
> The Wikipedia reference to the doctorate may be indeed vague and
> erroneous. Apparently, no formal course of study was organised, nor was a
>  supervisor
> privoded to oversee the research, which looks like a blessing to some
> students, who then feel 'entitled'.
>
> It was not expected, apparently, that Witters would work for a degree --
> and so Russell's later reference to 'the Austrian engineer' should best be
> regarded as a hyperbole (as a figure of speech).
>
> It was understood,  rather, that Witters would pursue his own line of
> research. Witters  designed (with the ulterior intention of later
> constructing) a
> full aircraft  engine Plans of his proposed engine survive, and show that
> Witters's idea was to  rotate the propeller by means of high-speed gases
> rushing from a combustion  chamber. The idea was perhaps flawed, or rather,
> impractical -- On the other  hand, all  his later philosophical ideas
> were, by
> contrast, _practical_.
>
> Witters's idea was however, indepedently and successfully  adopted, during
> the Second World War, in the design of some helicopters (which  fly 'like
> kites'*, or using the same principle that 'kites' use when flying.  Here
> Witters is referring to the _bird_ 'kite'.
> (Elanus caeruleus, Desfontaines, 1789).
>
> Surprising the faculty and students at Victoria, Witters had a  combustion
> chamber built especially for him by a local firm. He was so happy  when he
> received it that he immediately sent a telegram to his sister ("I  received
> the combustion chamber today." -- all his correspondence with his  sister
> survives in German. G. E. M. Anscombe was going to translate it to
>  English,
> but Geach saw that 'perhaps it [wasn't] philosophical enough",
>  implicating,
> "for you to waste your time _there_").
>
> While in Manchester,  Witters would often attend the concerts given by the
> Hallé orchestra, which  amused him.
>
> During his second year at 'the Victoria'' (as he referred to the
> institution), Witters concentrated on the DESIGN of a propeller. His work
>  on this
> was taken sufficiently seriously by the university for him to be elected
>  to a
> research studentship, and he went on to patent the thing as "Improvements
> on Propellers applicable to Aerial Machines" (Nov. 22 1910). On June 21
> 1911 Witters indeed left a complete specification, and the patent was
>  accepted
> on Aug. 17 1911.
>
> Now, while natural kites (Elanus caeruleus) allegedly evolve to display an
> ability to fly, natural men (homo sapiens) haven't. The reason is
> Darwinian.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Speranza
>
>
>
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