Just a Moment

Odd Words, Even Numbers devotes quite a few pages to the words of time.

Spare a moment also for the word moment, the dictionary definition of which is “a very short period of time”. As with so-called “Empty Numbers” discussed in Chapter 15, moment does not carry with it any indication of a specific interval of time. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a portion of time too brief to be taken into account.

But that was not always the case. Back in the Middle Ages before we had mechanical clocks, the Latin word momentum (from which we derive moment) indicated a specific period of time variously meaning a quarter of a minute (the Venerable Bede (d. 735)) or 1/40th of an hour (Byrhtferth (d. 1020)). There was little consistency because terms used to describe divisions of time varied in meaning according to the interval between sunrise and sunset on any day and so indicated differing intervals of time according to the season. This confusion continued until we arrived at our current system with terms which have a precise mathematical meaning such as the 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds which constitute each day.

Most of the Latin terms used in technical chronology then fell away. However, momentum managed to cling on as moment but with a less specific meaning much as have words like myriad – (now meaning a huge number or countless but originally meaning ten thousand) and decimate – (now, to kill or remove a large proportion but originally meaning to reduce by one tenth).

For more fasincating numerical facts, check out Odd Words, Even Numbers today!

By Ian Paterson
23 May 2017

Posted on 23rd May 2017 by Matthew H • Leave a comment

Publish in partnership with Thorogood

Unlike most publishers, we are genuinely interested in hearing from authors who have written or are planning to write a brilliant book.
As a review of our titles demonstrates, we cover a wide range of publishing – from business and professional books and reports, through works of reference to fiction.

The way publishing works these days is that the publisher and the author are more like partners than ever before, each investing in time and money to make the book a success in print and in digital formats.
Some of the other ways we can provide book production and publishing skills is shown in our section of the website headed Book Production Services.

One thing is clear, if you have a great idea for a book, or you have already written it, let us know!

Neil Thomas
Spring 2017

Posted on 31st March 2017 by Neil Thomas • Leave a comment

Think of a number…..

Numeracy is of huge importance and of fundamental concern in the overall skills shortage that the UK is suffering from and which damages the economy and the prospects of much of the population.

Odd Words, Even Numbers published at the end of 2016 by Thorogood takes the fear out of, and puts the fun back into, the whole area of numeracy.

What is particularly good in the approach taken, is that literacy and numeracy are not treated as separate issues and the way that words and numbers inter-relate is examined and explored in an entertaining and intriguing way.

This book ought to be part of the curriculum in all schools! Endlessly fascinating, every page is a lucky number!

Posted on 9th February 2017 by Neil Thomas • Leave a comment

A Business Go-Between?

The Go-Between was revived recently on television. The famous line, now a quotable quote, which starts it off is, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’

I think the same could be said of business. Why is this so?

It starts at school, where there is still precious little, if any in most cases, training for an adult life at work. Added to the deficiency in educating our youth to understand personal finances, it does mean that we are turning out citizens who have not been given valuable skills that could make a big difference to their lives.

We have been saying this for a long time. The gap between education and employment (including self-employment) is wide and needs to be bridged.

At last a few leading academics in schools are waking up to this problem and for example, Sam Price, the new Headmistress of Benenden in Kent wants to give her pupils an edge in the jobs market and has introduced a professional diploma to give students which will ‘adequately prepare our pupils for the world of work’.

The course will include accountancy, setting goals, presentation, setting up your own company, preparing a business plan and will cover people and interpersonal skills.

She recognises that A levels and degrees are no guarantee of employment or success and that these additional skills will help her pupils stand out.

Where do we come in?

Our Sixth Form MBA and our Working for Yourself (running a business, starting a company or being self-employed) books are the way to acquire the skills identified above, so that the world of work or of setting up your own business are foreign ‘countries’ no longer, whether that applies to your offspring or even, dare I say it, to yourself!

Neil Thomas

October 2015

Posted on 30th September 2015 by Neil Thomas • Leave a comment

Pole position

The latest book in the Speak the Culture series has been published. Speak the Culture: Poland‘s release is timely, coming only days before Poland plays host to its first major international football tournament, the Euro 2012 Championships.

The Euros will throw the spotlight on Poland and its co-host, Ukraine, for a month. The major cities will find themselves occupied by foreign fans; their central squares suddenly bathed in red (Spain, holders, begin in Gdańsk) or green (Ireland start in Poznań). England, mystifyingly, are camped in Kraków even though their group games are over the border in Ukraine.

Each and every visiting fan will be touched by Polish culture in some way. Some will eat pierogi (ravioli-like dumplings); others might step inside the 11th century crypt of Kraków’s Wawel Castle in search of shade; almost all, surely, will down a shot of Żubrówka vodka (famously flavoured with bison grass).

Hopefully, visitors and TV spectators alike will take the time to explore Polish culture in more depth. Poland’s art, literature, music and so on are woven intimately around the nation’s history. From the late 18th century through to the end of the 20th, Poland (at one time the strongest power in central Europe) was partitioned and occupied almost continually. Its authors, painters and playwrights kept the ‘nation’ alive through their work, bequeathing a rich legacy of culture that runs, linked, all the way from Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz to the punk bands that helped undermine Soviet rule in the 1980s.

Five Polish facts to get the half-time banter moving

  • Poland had its equivalent to Bob Dylan: singer/songwriter Czesław Niemen was the first artist in the Eastern Bloc to really question the ruling Soviet authorities. He remains an iconic figure in Poland.
  • In Russia they had Tolstoy; in Britain, it was Dickens. The Polish author who did most to shape the nation’s 19th century outlook was Henryk Sienkiewicz, best remembered for Potop (1886) (_The Deluge_), recalling the Swedish occupation of Poland in the 17th century.
  • In 1939 Warsaw had a population of 1.3 million. By 1945, at the war’s end, 422,000 remained in the city.
  • With his father in Mauthausen Concentration Camp and his mother in Auschwitz, as a young boy Roman Polanski (now an Oscar-winning filmmaker) lived wild in the Polish countryside.
  • Poland harbours the biggest statue of Christ in the world. At 167ft high, Pomnik Chrystusa Króla (Christ the King) in Świebodzin, western Poland, erected in 2010, is 42ft taller than Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.

Buy Speak the Culture: Poland here

Posted on 23rd May 2012 by Andrew • Leave a comment

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