Futility Closet
Futility Closet
Nov 30, 2020
321-The Calculating Boy
Play • 33 min

George Parker Bidder was born with a surprising gift: He could do complex arithmetic in his head. His feats of calculation would earn for him a university education, a distinguished career in engineering, and fame throughout 19th-century England. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe his remarkable ability and the stunning displays he made with it.

We'll also try to dodge some foul balls and puzzle over a leaky ship.

Intro:

John Clem joined the Union Army at age 10.

Actress Tippi Hedren kept an African lion as a house pet in the 1970s.

Sources for our feature on George Bidder:

E.F. Clark, George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy, 1983.

Steven Bradley Smith, The Great Mental Calculators: The Psychology, Methods, and Lives of Calculating Prodigies, Past and Present, 1983.

Frank D. Mitchell, Mathematical Prodigies, 1907.

Henry Budd Howell, A Foundational Study in the Pedagogy of Arithmetic, 1914.

A.W. Skempton and Mike Chrimes, A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830, 2002.

George Eyre Evans, Midland Churches: A History of the Congregations on the Roll of the Midland Christian Union, 1899.

David Singmaster, "George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy by E.F. Clark," Mathematical Gazette 71:457 (October 1987), 252-254.

Antony Anderson, "Fairgrounds to Railways With Numbers," New Scientist 100:1385 (Nov. 24, 1983), 581.

Frank D. Mitchell, "Mathematical Prodigies," American Journal of Psychology 18:1 (January 1907), 61-143.

Richard A. Proctor, "Calculating Boys," Belgravia Magazine 38:152 (June 1879), 450-470.

Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games," Scientific American 216:4 (April 1967), 116-123.

"A Short Account of George Bidder, the Celebrated Mental Calculator: With a Variety of the Most Difficult Questions, Proposed to Him at the Principal Towns in the Kingdom, and His Surprising Rapid Answers, Etc.," pamphlet, 1821.

Louis McCreery, "Mathematical Prodigies," Mathematics News Letter 7:7/8 (April-May 1933), 4-12.

"Memoirs of Deceased Members," Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 57 (1878-1879), Part III, 294.

"George Parker Bidder," Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. 2, 1903.

"Calculating Boys," Strand 10 (1895), 277-280.

"Bidder, George Parker," Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911.

H.T. Wood, "Bidder, George Parker," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004.

Listener mail:

Todd S. Purdum, "His Best Years Past, Veteran in Debt Sells Oscar He Won," New York Times, Aug. 7, 1992.

"In Financial Straits, Actor Sells '46 Oscar," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 7, 1992.

"Harold Russell Selling 'Best Years of Our Lives' Oscar," Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1992.

Heathcliff Rothman, "I'd Really Like to Thank My Pal at the Auction House," New York Times, Feb. 12, 2006.

Stephen Ceasar, "You Can't Put a Price on Oscar: Even Heirs of Winners Are Bound by Rules Against Selling the Statue," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25, 2016.

"Orson Welles' Citizen Kane Oscar Auctioned in US," BBC News, Dec. 21, 2011.

Allen St. John, "Does Japanese Baseball Have the Answer for MLB's Dangerous Foul Ball Problem?", Forbes, Sept. 30, 2017.

"Foul Balls in Japanese Baseball," Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, HBO, April 20, 2016.

"A Look at Some Extended Protective Nettings in the KBO and NPB," Fan Interference, Feb, 2, 2016.

Andrew W. Lehren and Michelle Tak, "Every Major League Baseball Team Will Expand Netting to Protect Fans From Foul Balls," NBC News, Dec. 11, 2019.

Bill Shaikin, "A Lawsuit Could Make Baseball Teams Liable for Foul Balls That Injure Fans," Los Angeles Times, Feb 20, 2020.

This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jon Jerome.

You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss.

Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website.

Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

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Quiz Quiz Bang Bang Trivia
David and Annie Flora, Trivia Hosts
Ep 95: General Trivia
On Today's Trivia Podcast Episode Our 2nd trivia episode of 2021 comes with 20 new questions: The regulations for which sporting ball is that it must weigh no more than 1.62 ounces or 45.9 grams? How should steak tartare be cooked? Which Actress has been nominated for Oscars the most with 7 nominations without ever winning? Where is “Brokeback Mountain” in the film Brokeback Mountain? What is the largest country with one time zone? “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” is a well-known phrase from what collection of 282 laws? At which fashion magazine did Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port intern on The Hills? Music Hot Swing, Fast Talkin, Bass Walker, Dances and Dames, Ambush by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Don't forget to follow us on social media for more trivia at home: Patreon - patreon.com/quizbang - Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Check out our fun extras for patrons and help us keep this podcast going. We appreciate any level of support! Website - quizbangpod.com Check out our website, it will have all the links for social media that you need and while you're there, why not go to the contact us page and submit a question! Facebook - @quizbangpodcast - we post episode links and silly lego pictures to go with our trivia questions. Enjoy the silly picture and give your best guess, we will respond to your answer the next day to give everyone a chance to guess. Instagram - Quiz Quiz Bang Bang (quizquizbangbang), we post silly lego pictures to go with our trivia questions. Enjoy the silly picture and give your best guess, we will respond to your answer the next day to give everyone a chance to guess. Twitter - @quizbangpod We want to start a fun community for our fellow trivia lovers. If you hear/think of a fun or challenging trivia question, post it to our twitter feed and we will repost it so everyone can take a stab it. Come for the trivia - stay for the trivia. Ko-Fi - ko-fi.com/quizbangpod - Keep that sweet caffeine running through our body with a Ko-Fi, power us through a late night of fact checking and editing!
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The Delta Flyers
The Delta Flyers
Innocence
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