moocow coming down along the road
Received as a gift from Nik on arrival: a copy of the quite out-of-print children's book The Cat and the Devil, which is by James Joyce in the sense that it's taken from a letter Joyce wrote to his grandson. It was published in 1964 and never reprinted, so far as I know, though someone actually translated it into Spanish at some point. (File under: Devil; Emotions.) My particular copy did some time in the library of William and Mary College. Possibly it's too anecdotal and off-the-cuff to work as a sellable children's book, but I am nonetheless charmed. In the interest of Joyce scholarship everywhere, I have archived the (very short) text here.
Heyho, new prime number algorithm! (The paper itself is archived here in PDF, but it won't get you far unless you're handily familiar with number theory, which it turns out I'm not. Nevertheless it looks like a beautiful little algorithm at only 13 lines, and it takes only nine pages to explain.) Also, Steve reports that the speed of light may no longer be a constant. If it's true, this may well be excellent news—the article claims that it "debunks" Einstein, but it's only in the sense that Einstein debunked Newton. As Newton's cosmos is a special case of Einstein's, essentially valid so long as you're not traveling near lightspeed, so Einstein's cosmos would turn out to be a special case of this new one, essentially valid so long as you're not staring at quasars all the damn time. Huge theoretical implications, of course, but we need huge theoretical implications if we're ever to resolve that incompatibility between relativity and quantum theory. Onward!