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From Abbé to Abbaye

When Rose de Freycinet’s mother opened her school for young ladies in 1803, she did so with the aid of a loan of 500 francs from the Abbé Sicard. When, fourteen years later, the school closed, she found a retirement refuge in the Abbaye aux Bois. Abbé to Abbaye, surely there must be some link between the two? If so, it is hard to find.

The Imperial geophysicists

In the Preface to the report in the Imperial Geophysical Experimental Survey in Australia in the late 1920s and early 1930s, a few unforgettable names were listed. Attached to the survey was ‘J. M. Rayner, of the New South Wales  Department of Mines’, and moving to the lower echelons, the Electrical Section had a field assistant called R. F. Thyer, while designated as a Temporary Assistant was one N.H Fisher.

Atlas Shrugged – the sequel

Ayn Rand was a great one for setting up ‘straw man’ imagined futures, as a way of showing how terrible things would be if her precepts were not followed.  It seems fair enough, therefore, to play that same game with her imagined future, as presented in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and imagine what would have happened next.

More thoughts on some letters

On Page 34 of Volume 1 of the Historique, the six-volume narrative section of Louis de Freycinet’s Voyage autour du Monde, he described a visit to a church service in Rio de Janeiro. His description is almost identical to that provided by his wife, in a letter to her mother that survives today only in a manuscript copy. This provides some constraints on hypotheses as to when the copy might have been made.

In Memoriam – Hugh Davies

It is not given to many people to be recognised as the most important figure in the geological history of an entire country, but Hugh Davies, who died on April 26 this year, had that distinction.

Rand and the motorist

In its desperate search for straws from which to fashion an election platform, the UK government has turned to the motorists, hoping against hope that they will gather votes from the people who see global conspiracies everywhere. They would have had Ayn Rand on their side