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What Alfred Russel Wallace Really Thought About Darwin

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the great-beard-on-that-one dept.

Science 79

Calopteryx writes "The correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace has gone online for the first time. New Scientist has opened a wormhole between the 21st and 19th centuries and has 'interviewed' the great man."

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Is a blog format possible (4, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 2 years ago | (#42705925)

Semi-offtopic, but is there any blog software capable of publishing entries with dates prior to 1900? If someone wanted to publish something like a diary with dates marked accurately in a blog format, can that be done? It seems that this would be an interesting medium, at least in concept, to present items of historical relevance.

Re:Is a blog format possible (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42705943)

No. No digital representation of a date can represent values before 1900, nor is it even mathematically possible.

Re:Is a blog format possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706021)

No. No digital representation of a date can represent values before 1900, nor is it even mathematically possible.

Really? Are you sure about that? Not mathmatically possible? I guess negative numbers don't exist in your realm.

Re:Is a blog format possible (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706031)

Whatever buddy, it doesn't really matter.

It's all in the past now.

Re:Is a blog format possible (2)

inamorty (1227366) | about 2 years ago | (#42706541)

No. No digital representation of a date can represent values before 1900, nor is it even mathematically possible.

Really? Are you sure about that? Not mathmatically possible? I guess negative numbers don't exist in your realm.

<david_attenborough_voice>A spectacular example of a Whoosh in the wild! Let's be careful not to disturb it</david_attenborough_voice>

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#42707027)

Offtopic: what was so wrong with David Attenborough that they had to replace his narration of Planet Earth with Sigourney Weaver? I'm not complaining as she has a lovely voice (her description of dancing in Wall-E sends a shiver down my spine), but I can't imagine why the programme makers didn't think Sir David would sit well with Americans.

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Cito (1725214) | about 2 years ago | (#42709155)

They also bastardized the series Home amazing series and I pirated the David Attenborough version off http://kat.ph/ [kat.ph] cause the only version they played in the states was narrated by the idiotic Oprah Winfrey and sounded like shit.

They should have left it alone, but for some reason most all David's older work and many newer works are redubbed in the U.S. which is just a travesty.

And another reason I pirate to get the original unedited content

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42709303)

Nothing. In fact, many Americans (such as myself) went out of their way to get the David Peterborough version. The Weaver version is what was available locally in stores. I find his narration much easier to listen to for extended periods of time.

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42709395)

In fact, many Americans (such as myself) went out of their way to get the David Peterborough version.

Without much success, I'll bet.

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 2 years ago | (#42709991)

Fuck it. I was going to post a witty remark, but nothing worked, so I think I'll just go with "it's [b]Attenborough[/b] fuckwit" (that's to the GP post).

Sorry about "fuckwit".

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 2 years ago | (#42710003)

I should know bb tags don't work here...

sorry.

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 years ago | (#42713523)

With a number like that, you can't even manage a <b> tag? You've got premature Alzheimer's sonny, time for your meds!

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42711017)

Didn't your mother ever tell you to say nothing if you've nothing nice to say? Mine didn't; she just told me to use the preview.
She never called me a fuckwit, though mothers aren't really supposed to do that.

Re:Is a blog format possible (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42709725)

No. No digital representation of a date can represent values before 1900, nor is it even mathematically possible.

Really? Are you sure about that? Not mathmatically possible? I guess negative numbers don't exist in your realm.

<david_attenborough_voice>A spectacular example of a Whoosh in the wild! Let's be careful not to disturb it</david_attenborough_voice>

The original comment was tongue-in-cheek. But most computer date representation systems are prospective from modern zero date.

For example, Unix time was originally coded as elapsed whole seconds since midnight January 01, 1970 and represented time as an UNSIGNED 32-bit integer. Such systems still exist and will roll over on 2038. More modern timekeeping systems use 64-bit integers to represent time and date. I'm not sure whether they interpret them as unsigned or signed. If they interpret them as signed, there is certainly an opportunity to represent dates before 1970 and I can think of no reason not to do so since a 63-bit second count will not have a rollover problem in the next 292 billion years. I'm personally comfortable with putting the problem off that long if it also gets me a nice representation of the day on which I was born, which is before the Unix epoch.

NTP uses the same epoch date as Unix but uses the top 32 bits as seconds and the lower 32 bits as fractional seconds. It thus cannot uniquely represent dates before 1970 or after 2038.

Windows uses some different time representation systems but they suffer from similar deficiencies.

And with all that, supposing you do use a system that can represent negative numbers, you don't have to go that far back before you run into other problems. The first is what to do about leap-seconds. I'd say that once you go back before the adoption of atomic time standards, you should count days as being 86400 seconds long by definition of the ante-atomic second. That gets you back to the next problem date, which is adoption time zones synchronized to Greenwich Time or local adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. Depending on where you are, either may have happened before the other. Greenwich synchronization adds an error of up to several hours depending on location. Gregorian calendar adoption caused a slip of several days to the calendar; the later the adoption, the more days of slip. And that gets you back, at best, to 1582 A.D. Computer representation of the date is thus a very messy business back to 1582, subject to the vagaries and religion of the country under consideration. (Protestant and Orthodox countries tended to hold out against the tide of popery and non-Christian countries weren't interested in any kind of Roman dates.)

And that gets us on the Julian Calendar, which is usable back to it its introduction in 45 BC. But it was only used in the Roman Empire and its historical descendants including Christendom. That's as far as the West goes. You can then switch locally to the Jewish calendar, which represents dates back to 3670 or so BCE. But it has lot of slop in it. It's a lunisolar calendar so precise date synchronization with any modern system depends on precise knowledge of historic (and prehistoric) lunar phase with respect to the Earth's prehistoric rate of rotation. Also, the cycles were determined by observation in ancient times and we don't know whether they were always observed on the right day with respect to the lunar phase because some months would have started on a cloudy day, preventing official observation. And though that calendar can represent dates back 5773 years from today, it may not have been in use that long.

In the East, e.g. China, they had their own calendar system and the first opportunity to align it to a Western system was fairly recent. The Chinese system is lunisolar, similar to the Hebrew system, so it has the same kind of imprecision. What's worse, people recorded regnal years of the Emperors (or worse, some local potentate) and you have to know when each monarch took the throne to figure when things happened. And that only gets you back to 862 or so. Before that, people generally didn't write down what year things happened at all.

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

fvbommel (795367) | about 2 years ago | (#42714057)

The original comment was tongue-in-cheek. But most computer date representation systems are prospective from modern zero date.

For example, Unix time was originally coded as elapsed whole seconds since midnight January 01, 1970 and represented time as an UNSIGNED 32-bit integer. Such systems still exist and will roll over on 2038.

Actually, unsigned 32-bit integers won't overflow until about 2106 or so [google.com] . It's the signed ones [google.com] that overflow in 2038.

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42722493)

You are correct, and that means Unix dates can represent dates back to 1902.

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42709165)

There are no negative dates. That's the whole reason we did the BC scale (positive numbers!!!) You can't go back in time.
Stupid anonymous coward...

Correct. (2)

neoshroom (324937) | about 2 years ago | (#42706487)

You are absolutely correct. It is also a little known fact that all the days between Saturday and Sunday were lost sometime before 1900 and so we are left with only 7 of the original 9 days of the week. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to wake up on Uranday or Nepturday on a sunny day a year before the year 1900.

Re:Correct. (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#42706915)

I'm betting you would find it steamy when you went outside. People went outside all the time back then, unlike now.

What has the internet done to us?!

Re:Correct. (3, Funny)

TarPitt (217247) | about 2 years ago | (#42707573)

We gained color as compensation for the missing days, under the Law of Conservation of Colors/Days:

[reoiv.com] http://www.reoiv.com/images/random/dadbandwandcolour.jpg [reoiv.com]

Little known fact that Wallace lived in a black and white world

Y1.9K teams took care of this moron.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42709953)

Moron...

this was solved by the vast Y1.9K Cobol programming teams deployed to take care of this

Re:Is a blog format possible (2)

DavidD_CA (750156) | about 2 years ago | (#42706053)

It would be really interesting to see, say, the diary of Anne Frank posted in a blog format -- verbatim, possibly with historical photos added.

Or the scientific journals of Darwin.

Also semi-off-topic: I once wandered into an IRC channel and found the entire cast of Hamlet (as bots) going line by line through the script complete with /me-style actions.

Re:Is a blog format possible (3, Informative)

pointybits (818856) | about 2 years ago | (#42706237)

It's been done for Samuel Pepys: http://www.pepysdiary.com/ [pepysdiary.com]

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#42706387)

Nah, those dates in the past are the *titles* of the articles not the date they would supposedly have been posted in the blog.

old dates in URLs (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#42710071)

The post URLs have old dates, such as http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/01/26/ [pepysdiary.com] - it doesn't say "really posted on 2003/01/26", not that I can see anywhere.

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706653)

And will we use a certain ball point pen to write Anne's diary, which had not been invented until the late 1940's. Enjoy your fiction.

enough of the neo-Nazi conspiracy theories (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#42710011)

Slashdot could use a -1 Go Back To Stormfront mod

Re:Is a blog format possible (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42706483)

64 bit date formats in OpenVMS go back to 1858 IIRC.

Re:Is a blog format possible (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 years ago | (#42706637)

From this openvms faq [hoffmanlabs.com] :
The modified Julian date adopted by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) for satellite tracking is Julian Day 2400000.5, which turns out to be midnight on November 17, 1858.

Re:Is a blog format possible (2)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 2 years ago | (#42706983)

I don't see why not. For instance, WordPress posts use MySQL DATETIME fields, which allow dates as far back as 0000-00-00. If you want your post to appear as being from 1531, go right ahead.

Now, WordPress automatically sets the post date and AFAIK you'd have to resort to database manipulation to change it but if there isn't already a plugin that handles this it would be easy to write one.

Re:Is a blog format possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42707049)

Semi-offtopic, but is there any blog software capable of publishing entries with dates prior to 1900? If someone wanted to publish something like a diary with dates marked accurately in a blog format, can that be done? It seems that this would be an interesting medium, at least in concept, to present items of historical relevance.

Drupal supports custom content types with custom fields (CCK module). You could create a content type of "historical log" (as opposed to a "blog", "story", or "page") and create a new field called "entry date" for the original publication date. If it won't support a pre-current era date format, then you can reassign it to use a plain text format to accept the input.

The you can use the Views module to create a custom presentation of the content to not display the current/post date, but only show the entry date you created.
http://drupal.org/documentation/modules/cck
http://drupal.org/project/views

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 years ago | (#42711675)

Or a reprint of such horror classics as Frankenstein or Dracula? I believe both were written as a collection or journals.

Re:Is a blog format possible (1)

blancolioni (147353) | about 2 years ago | (#42714301)

Coming in late, but you might like http://www.pepysdiary.com/ [pepysdiary.com]

A wormhole into a can of worms? (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#42706003)

A wormhole into a can of worms? I doubt it. Wallace has never critized Darwin publicly as far as I know, and I doubt in secrecy either. Did Victorian English ever use blunt language in writing? I don't really know but I suspect they didn't. I some of the summaries to the scanned pages and find it hard to believe there was ever

Yes, Wallace is our too little sung hero. He is not unsung (e.g. http://wallacefund.info/song-about-alfred-russel-wallace [wallacefund.info] , http://wallacefund.info/mr-darwin-mr-wallace-mr-matthew-song-mr-haines [wallacefund.info] ) and I've raised many a toast to his memory!

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42706077)

One result of Wallace's early travels has been a modern controversy about his nationality. Since Wallace was born in Monmouthshire, some sources have considered him to be Welsh.[7] However some historians have questioned this because neither of his parents was Welsh, his family only briefly lived in Monmouthshire, the Welsh people Wallace knew in his childhood considered him to be English, and because Wallace himself consistently referred to himself as English rather than Welsh (even when writing about his time in Wales). One Wallace scholar has stated that because of these facts the most reasonable interpretation was that he was an Englishman born in Wales.[8]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Russel_Wallace [wikipedia.org]

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706105)

Wikipedia calls him diplomatically a "Welsh-born British naturalist". :)

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706401)

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

As a matter of law he'd have to be able to show descent from the Electress Sophia, and of course there would have to be no one available with a better claim. And he'd have to not be dead. Nationality and place of birth shouldn't have any bearing on the issue.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706425)

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

As a matter of law he'd have to be able to show descent from the Electress Sophia, and of course there would have to be no one available with a better claim. And he'd have to not be dead. Nationality and place of birth shouldn't have any bearing on the issue.

If he were descended from Sophia (which he almost certainly wasn't) then he'd be British under the Sophia Naturalisation Act of 1705 (assuming he was a protestant, which seems likely). English isn't a nationality now and wasn't then.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42710039)

So if I am from England, which nationality am I?

Fuck slashdot is the retard capital of the internet.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42710553)

So if I am from England, which nationality am I?

British.

If you are from England then I have a hard time believing you didn't know that.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706655)

an extra confusion is the fact that Monmouthshire was often counted as part of England at that point.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42712365)

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

Well, no, cause he's dead.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#42712769)

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

Well, no, cause he's dead.

But wouldn't that make him an excellent king? Being dead, he can't become involved in any scandal, all his words can be re-interpreted as people wish, and all his misdeeds can be excused as fair for his time. It works for American Founding Fathers, so why not the King of England?

Even better would be a completely fictional person, a royal version of a virtual idol if you will. Almost all we get to see of real royals is already fiction generated by PR machines, so why not go all the way and remove the last icky bits of flesh and blood that sometimes shine through? Heck, with AI advancing as it does, it wouldn't take long to get to the point where people could chat with their virtual king over the Internet.

Take it a few steps further and we can replace the entire government with a bunch of AI programs holding public discussions with one another, thus letting lobbyists to write the laws in peace without the meddling of inefficient middlemen.

dead royalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42713235)

My 6-year-old daughter, after thinking about it a bit, thought they should recruit some dead people, and stuff them, to use as royalty. She thought this would make more sense as then they would not have to worry about interference with their privacy...

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (1)

Elky Elk (1179921) | about 2 years ago | (#42714039)

Well, No. Because he's not German.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#42714753)

I guess the real question is, could he become king of England?

As there is no such title, no he couldn't.

The current Queens' title is Queen of Great Britain [wikipedia.org] . And Wales is part of Great Britain (like Scotland).

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42714891)

So - the title is up for grabs? I need to check into getting it for myself! I'm sure that Aunt Sophie would approve!

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706619)

"Did Victorian English ever use blunt language in writing?"

Of course they did. Otherwise words like "cad", "fop", and "dandy" wouldn't exist in their traditional sense in the English language. There's quite the collection of blunt insults that were used in the 19th century that have fallen out of fashion. Well, or in some cases, been re-tasked as words with slightly different meaning or as unfortunate acronyms.

Anyway, both Darwin and Wallace were gentlemen enough to write and publish a paper together about their ideas rather than scoop each other, Wallace defended Darwin's ideas about evolution (and vice-versa), and in later life Darwin worked to arrange a small pension for Wallace. The feelings couldn't have been bad between them, although like any two friends they probably said bad things from time-to-time.

Re:A wormhole into a can of worms? (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#42707009)

Did Victorian English ever use blunt language in writing?

Of course they did. And you can bet that Elizabethan-era English certainly had its own share of insulting terms, though admittedly the term "expletives" wouldn't nearly cover all of the insults (they did better than the "Yo Mama!" joke.) http://www.renfaire.com/Language/insults.html [renfaire.com] is one site that gives a rather nice explanation about the sorts of terms used and occasionally why they might not be used any longer.

A bit exaggerated claims to a 2nd post? (3, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#42706103)

Been a while since I read an essay on "Origin", but as I recall Darwin was sitting on his works for quite a while. It was only after he learned that someone else was working on what he'd already accomplished that he decided to publish. Much like the way Newton had to be goaded into publishing the Principia.

Re:A bit exaggerated claims to a 2nd post? (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42706241)

It's not that Darwin was lazy, it was that the religious environment was such that one risked being fired for ticking off the religious establishments. It wasn't quite as bad as Galileo, but the same kind of forces.

Thus, he wanted the publication to be as water-tight as possible before releasing it; and that's one of the reasons why the work, for the most part, stands the test of time.

Blacklisted, not just "fired" (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42706249)

Correction, I should have said "blacklisted" instead of just "fired".

Isn't that term considered racist, though? Is there a P.C. replacement?

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42706287)

Isn't that term considered racist, though? Is there a P.C. replacement?

I have a feeling that I missed the joke, but there's nothing racist about the word "blacklisting" or "blacklisted."

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706699)

there's nothing racist about the word "blacklisting" or "blacklisted."

Agreed. Incorrectly perceived racism is no reason to be niggardly with your vocabulary.

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42706717)

You obviously missed the story about the government officials who were fired for being racist because they used the word "niggardly". Or the story about the City Councilman in Dallas (I believe) who demanded an apology from his fellow Councilman for the latter's use of the word "black-hole" to describe the city's budget deficit. Or for that matter the story of the student who was disciplined for racial harassment because he read a book about how the KKK was defeated in a street brawl while on his breaks while working as a janitor for the school.

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#42714833)

Isn't that term considered racist, though? Is there a P.C. replacement?

I have a feeling that I missed the joke, but there's nothing racist about the word "blacklisting" or "blacklisted."

It is possible to argue that any phrase which uses "black" in a negative way is potentially unhelpful in reinforcing stereotypes in such words as "blacklisted", or "blackballed" or the concept of "black hat" and "white hat" cowboys or hackers.

In much the same way calling someone "a sinister ginger cunt" may be perceived as offensive on several levels.

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706641)

I think the PC ralternative to "blacklisted" is "put on a list of color".

Re:Blacklisted, not just "fired" (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#42708993)

Correction, I should have said "blacklisted" instead of just "fired".

Isn't that term considered racist, though? Is there a P.C. replacement?

No, there is no P.C. replacement because blacklisting has nothing to do with race. From wWikipedia:
According to the Henry Holt Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins the word "blacklist" originated with a list England's King Charles II made of fifty-eight judges and court officers who sentenced his father, Charles I, to death in 1649. When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, thirteen of these executioners were put to death and twenty-five sentenced to life imprisonment, while others escaped.

Re:A bit exaggerated claims to a 2nd post? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#42708973)

It's not that Darwin was lazy, it was that the religious environment was such that one risked being fired for ticking off the religious establishments. It wasn't quite as bad as Galileo, but the same kind of forces.

Thus, he wanted the publication to be as water-tight as possible before releasing it; and that's one of the reasons why the work, for the most part, stands the test of time.

Except that is pure speculation. There is no evidence that Darwin delayed publishing because he was afraid of the religious establishments. Based on his other writings, one could construe that he was anything but afraid of the religious establishment.

Re:A bit exaggerated claims to a 2nd post? (1)

chienandalou (2637845) | about 2 years ago | (#42709805)

yes. I'm not an expert, but there was clearly some combination of physical and psychological illness, though there's nothing definitive on what. Even by the standards of gentleman scientists he was awfully slow, and you can argue that science was ill-served by his slowness.

And yeah, in mid-19th-century Britain you would be criticized by the religious establishment, but it's not like they could hurt him or deny him an audience. The dude was wealthy, and a near-recluse in any case.

Darwin was a great scientist and had virtues we should honor. But we're ill-advised to turn fragile mortals into heroes.

Try some facts next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42713159)

The "religious environment" of the day is something you clearly have no knowledge of...

Some denominations, like the unitarians, embraced Darwin's theory; most other religious people agreed or disagreed to some degree but there was no spooky anti-Darwin hollywood-style blacklist.

Next you will probably show more ignorance by claiming the Scopes Monkey Trial was of a poor, innocent young teacher who started teaching evolution and was then grabbed by a mob of torch-and-pitchfork wielding hillbillies who then tried him to decide if they'd burn him as a witch. The reality was that [a] the man was a willing participant in a scheme by legal activists to cause a lawsuit (lawyers with a cause searching for a client..... just like Roe v Wade) [b] the court case was embraced by many on both sides for the local publicity, and [c] evolution "lost" in the circus which was almost as much about newspapers and marketing as about science or law.

Try a little more history reading (preferring original sources over teenage bloggers) ...... you just might find that it's far more interesting and nuanced and the people on ALL sides of some well-known events are much more interesting and comprehensible

Darwin's Delay Helped Wallace (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 2 years ago | (#42708929)

if it wasn't for Darwin's delay, Wallace would probably only be known now to a handful of specialists.

Misleading headline (2)

David Govett (2825317) | about 2 years ago | (#42706167)

Your headline is "What Alfred Russel Wallace Really Thought About Darwin," but there is no mention of this information in the article. One has to read 4000 letters to find it.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42706225)

Well - were you planning anything else for next month? Think of it, 28 days devoted to researching something you never really gave a damn about anyway. You'll only have to average ~143 letters per day, then you can go on about the business of your life in March.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42707589)

One has to read 4000 letters to find it.

One has to read the primary source and form an opinion. That's not a bad thing. It means you can form your own one.

Re:Misleading headline (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42707621)

OK, I did it for you!

So, to save you time:

I think it's a fair assessment of the situation to say that Wallace did not think very highly of Darwin. This is apparent in letter number 3024 where he quite clearly states that if "[he met] Darwin he ... would pop a cap in his arse(sic)."

 

The Wallace Award (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42706253)

The Wallace Award is for people who would get a Darwin Award, but are slighted full recognition for their achievement.

oh interview joseph mengale already (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 2 years ago | (#42706263)

at least it will be lively

Oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706299)

A wormhole in 19th century England? When this thing was established, was there a spindly-looking man driving a 200 bus or an old London police box into poor Alfred's kitchen?

Re:Oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706307)

And this "New Scientist" wouldn't happen to have been holding something resembling a screwdriver muttering something about the "polarity"?

Copyright of letters? (4, Interesting)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#42706603)

The metadata for some random entry I clicked on reads like:

LETTER (WCP1.1)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English.

Held by: Natural History Museum
Finding number: NHM WP1/1/1
Copyright owner: Copyright of the A. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny: 01/12/2011 - Catchpole, Caroline;

I'm curious about the copyright field. Aren't the letters supposed to be public domain? Since Wallaced died in 1913, which is well past the 50-75 years after death clause of most countries' copyright regimes, shouldn't the copyright on the letters have lapsed already?

IANAL but I'm assuming that the letters have already been "published" by virtue of their having been snail-mailed and read by a second party. It's not as if they're some long-lost manuscript that's been hidden in some author's dusty drawer, which can arguably be considered as unpublished.

Re:Copyright of letters? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#42706755)

I'm curious about the copyright field. Aren't the letters supposed to be public domain? Since Wallaced died in 1913, which is well past the 50-75 years after death clause of most countries' copyright regimes, shouldn't the copyright on the letters have lapsed already?

I know you can copyright a translation. Can you copyright a transcription? At least in the U.S. that seems unlikely to stand up in court because of the missing creative element, but it may well be that in other countries you can copyright such...

Re:Copyright of letters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42708911)

There's presumably also a lot of encoding and annotation work that has gone into the online edition. Perhaps that's what copyright is being claimed for.

Re:Copyright of letters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42713163)

I'm curious about the copyright field. Aren't the letters supposed to be public domain? Since Wallaced died in 1913, which is well past the 50-75 years after death clause of most countries' copyright regimes, shouldn't the copyright on the letters have lapsed already?

I don't know how things work in your parts of world, but in mine it works so that the first publisher of a previously unknown work whose copyright should have already lapsed gets a 25 year protection for the publication.

Re:Copyright of letters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42714141)

Exactly..if the letters were published in 1913, they'd be public domain..if they were just published recently, then they'll probably never fall out of copyright.

qhoMo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42706777)

demise. You don't ggod manners gave the BSD megs of ram runs taken over by BSDI more grandiose have the energy came a5 a complete since we made the

Giving credit where it's due. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42709993)

It's just another case of more powerful or higher class people taking the credit, when less wealthy or their underlings do the hard yards.
Other prominent examples are Ernst Chain's work on penicillin and Rosalind Franklin's work on DNA structure.

Seahawks (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about 2 years ago | (#42711919)

The correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace has gone online for the first time.

I just saw Doug Flutie talking to him on the sideline at the Pro Bowl. Who knew he was so versatile.

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