The fact that [angle] trisection is impossible is common knowledge, but the reason it's impossible — the content of the proof — is not so widely known. Many authors mention it but few explain it. Even Underwood Dudley's splendid send-up of mathematical cranks, A Budget of Trisections, does not go through the proof step by step.
The origin and history of the proof are also somewhat shadowy. There is a lesson here for those who seek immortality by solving some trophy problem in mathematics. Trisection had been near the top of the most-wanted list for two millennia, and yet the author of the first published proof of impossibility has not earned a place in the pantheon.
That author was the French mathematician Pierre Laurent Wantzel (1814-1848), who is hardly a household name, even in mathematical households. His proof appeared in 1837. As far as I know, it has never been reprinted and has never been published in English translation. (...) Many citations of the paper give the wrong volume number, suggesting that even some of those who refer to the proof have not read it. And to pile on one further indignity, the paper itself gets the author's name wrong: He is listed as "M. L. Wantzel."
In Foolproof on the American Scientist web site, Jan/Feb 2007.
Space ... is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
In "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (1979).
From the first part of the trilogy that became a quintet.
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
In The Observer (also 1979).
And an alternative Yorkshire pragmatist's view.
I have nothing against undertakers personally. It's just that I wouldn't want one to bury my sister.
Attributed to Jessica Mitford, in "Saturday Review" (1st Feb. 1964).
I placed this quote against the Ron Cobb cartoon that shows a funeral home salesman explaining to a bemused customer the purpose of stereo headphones in a deluxe casket: "Muzak".
The world so quickly readjusts itself after any loss, that the return of the departed would nearly always throw it, even the circle most interested, into confusion.
In "Backlog Studies".
And this one? Well those time-travel stories that reveal all the spectators at the crucifixion being disguised, miniature video camera-toting tourists from the future, perhaps?