Richard Harter’s World
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August 2009

Letters to the editor, August 2009

This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for August 2009.

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From: Janet
Date: 1 August 2009
Subj: What is does it cost ryan s steakhouse pricing

What is does it cost ryan s steakhouse pricing? There are so many factors to consider. Would you be kind enough as to give me some pointers as what to look for or avoid? Please point me in the right direction. Thank you for your help.

Regards, Janet

Best you should check with Peter. He knows.
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From: Petrov
Date: 1 August 2009
Subj: What is does it cost ryan s steakhouse pricing

What is does it cost ryan s steakhouse pricing? Your insight into what would be the best way to proceed would be much appreciated. A little advice would go a long way right now.

Thank you so much.
Warmest Regards,

Best you should check with Janet. She knows.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 3 August 2009
Subj: Vicar missing, presumed 404

vicar.html is not in 2009.

It is now. I don’t quite know why it was missing. I think it has something to do with the shoddy reality they have in these parts. It keeps shedding.
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From: National Comic Book Clearing House
Date: 32 July 2009
Subj: You may have won!

Greetings, Richard Harter

Your may have been selected by the National Comic Book Clearing House as a ONE MILLION (yes, that’s 1,000,000) Lire winner. You have definitely won a prize. To claim your prize, fill in the enclosed purchase agreement for a time-shared condominium in scenic Yakutsk. Pay nothing down now if you have small children.


Hiram P. Snerdly of Backwater Falls, Michigan, says, “Yep, National Comic Book Clearing House is simply great. I claimed my prize and now I am a rich man. I’m glad I did it. I think everybody should.”

But, but, but, … I already have a time-shared condominium in scenic Yakutsk.
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From: Laura Parker
Date: 29 August 2009
Subj: Broken link on

My name is Laura, and I found your web page, while looking for resources for the women’s studies class I student taught this past semester. Your listing of resources was really helpful to me, and I thank you for putting it all together. As I was looking through the resources on the page, I came across the link to that appears to be broken, and I thought I should let you know about it. A page that may be a suitable replacement is if you just wanted to change the link. I’ve found this page useful and think it would be a good addition to your page. Thanks so much for taking the time to read over my e-mail, let me know if it was helpful to you!

Thank you very much for writing. The page you suggested appears to be an excellent replacement. The internet is an great resource. Unfortunately pages tend to come and go. I can give a reference to a book. It will be good until the last copy of that book vanishes, which may be decades or even millenia later. Websites and web pages have a shorter life time. Worse, their content is written on sand.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 28 July 2009
Subj: State of Discomprehension

Sometimes I read things without any attention to the content, looking only at the form. My method is almost totally unlike that of Dr. Flynn, who always understood what he was reading.

Thus I find that we (that is to say you) are suing the Sikhs.

This sentence appears in your collected writing, at

“The tool theory says that our present type of intelligence is a consequence of our suing tools and seeeks to account for our using tools.”
What will you gain from suing the Sikhs? A Triple Letter Score: seeeks.
Ingenious your interpretation may be, but it does not account for the form. The word, “seeeks”, must be a verb, given the grammatical structure of the sentence. (I assume that you will agree that all sentences in my prose are grammatically correct.) It is tools that are being sued.

I admit that I don’t recall precisely what “seeeks” means; indeed I don’t recall ever having seen the word before. None-the-less the word must be legitimate and have some meaning. I cannot admit to error in this matter. The only explanation that occurs to me is that it is a residue of some other reality. This is quite plausible; as you know my web site is the focus of a considerable amount of contamination from inter dimensional space-time travellers.

This seems likely given the presence in the article of detritus that looks like unsavory typoes. It was good of you not to mention them. I shall do my best to remove the suspect material.

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From: Nathan Childers
Date: 27 July 2009
Subj: Your review

Dear Richard,
I do feel that I must thank you for the kind words in your review of Dancing on the edge of forever. These days there are many who present themselves as reviewers. Some are passable, some are not. You are one of the exceptional ones.

Most reviewers have little to say beyond the obvious. You, however, have insights into my works that are quite remarkable. Whenever I begin to read one of your reviews I say to myself, “Nathan prepare to be surprised.” This time you have exceeded my expectations.

Thank you, sir. You are your usual gracious self.
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From: Chip Hitchcock
Date: 23 July 2009

I’m curious about “If the result does not have to be exact the asymptotic formula is indicated.” I recall working ~20 years ago with a formula involving multiple invocations of the square root of five, all of which resolved to rational numbers and a precise result when I worked it through; does this not work for larger numbers, or is it too complicated for large N, or are you referring to something else entirely?

You can indeed do that and it is a bright idea; like many bright ideas there is a catch. In this case the catch is that it’s more work to compute the Fibonacci numbers using the closed form solution. Essentially what happens is that you reproduce the integer recursion and do a lot of extra algebra.

The alternative is to compute F(n) by doing a multi-precision calculation of ((sqrt(5)+1)/2)**n, but this also is more work because of the number of significant places needed in the calculation.

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This page was last updated August 3, 2009.

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August 2009