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The Unusual Times

Peculiar People

What Has The Explorer Charles Brewer-Carías Ever Done For Us? Part 2

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There are  twenty-eight species of reptile, scorpion, amphibian, insects and plants named after Charles Brewer-Carías.

Of these, one of the strangest is Hydrolutos breweri, a giant flightless cricket that lives partially underwater discovered in his expeditions to the world’s largest quartzite cave (which was also discovered by and named after Charles Brewer-Carías).

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Peculiar People

Charles Brewer-Carias: Part 3

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In the earlier tributes to Charles Brewer-Carías we looked at the concrete contributions that the great man has made (and continues to make) to many of the sciences, but his greatest achievement is a little more nebulous and arguably a great deal more important: by being a modern Renaissance Man he has reminded us all, that.....

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Peculiar People

En Garde! Unusual Moments of Duelling History

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Duelling was the noble and utterly daft ritual of fighting for one’s (or one’s loved-ones’) honour by entering into formalised, and often lethal, one-on-one combat. It is commonly thought that it was a strictly male pursuit, but female-versus-female contests (sometimes described as ‘petticoat duels’) did take place. In 1792, one Lady Almeria Braddock duelled Mrs Elphinstone in London’s Hyde Park. The cause of the disagreement was a difference of opinion as to Lady Braddock’s age.

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Peculiar People

A Dadaist Guide to Computers

Blog image of A Dadaist Guide to Computers: The Flames of Chance, a Digital Parlour Game and Mozart Playing Dice

Mozart enjoyed the occasional game of ‘Musikalisches Würfelspiel’ (musical dice-playing). In this game, sections of music are assigned a numeric value. Dice are thrown, and the numbers shown on the dice determine which sections are included in a new greater piece and in which order. This practice of harnessing chance to aid the creative process is know as aleatoricism (‘alea’ is the Latin word for dice-rolling games).

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