01 September 2006

Things that make me giggle.

My Wife does math.

For the purposes of demonstrating precisely how ridiculous a piece of historical hyperbole is, Jen figures out how many people you have to kill to soak Jerusalem in blood.

Couple points her commenters forgot.

1)If you assume that the Crusaders killed EVERYONE in town, the majority of the people would have been killed in their homes. Most civilians would be hiding out behind locked doors, praying that the sack would not last too long. So you can't assume that everyone was in the streets and arbitrarily reduce the square footage covered in blood.

2)Not only does blood clot, but it dries. If left in thin layers (such as blood spattering usually creates) then it will not form into a pool, but a stain.

3)Few people bleed out completely unless hung in such a way that their injuries are at the bottom.

4) De Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, from which the quote was taken, was written a few years after the fact as a piece of war propaganda sponsored by Bohemund I of Antioch. It's anonymous author was criticized by people writing at the same time. Guibert of Nogent wrote his Dei gesta per Francos (1108) based on it, saying the original "frequently left the reader stunned with its insipid vacuity." The bit about riding through streets up to the knees in blood is a bit of lurid imagery intended to motivate follow-on Crusaders, not a literal description. There is not a serious historian who believes anything of the sort happened.

On a totally different note:

The TSA's Permitted and Prohibited Items List. The astute reader will note that 4 oz. of Personal Lubricant is permitted. So it's OK, folks. If you want to join the Mile High Club, the TSA will not stand in your way.

3 Comments:

Anonymous cmad said...

Doing math is always a Good Thing.

However, to find out how bad the spill of just a little liquid can look, a visit to the men's room might provide more insight.

Hmmm.

Thinking about it ...
In this case, doing math instead is a particularly good thing.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Tim Covington said...

Looking at the TSA list, most people I know could do serious damage with the allowed items. Of course, they could also do serious damage without the allowed items too.
To be honest, unless they stop the terrorists from getting on the plane, they will not be able to stop them from hurting people. But, we must not use any for of profiling, it would be wrong. (Nevermind the fact that it works for El-al (sp? the Israeli airline).

11:48 PM  
Anonymous cmad said...

All links to the mathematics exercise seem blocked, so the comment goes here.

Thinking, as a physicist, not a mathematician, how people could report that they, or their horses, were wading in blood,
I was looking at a picture of some third-hand Islamic architecture some 5 miles from here.
This is a pool of some 1 meter deep water.

How many peoples' blood would you have to dilute in such a pool before it appears quite red?

Are pools of water quite common in the architecture of parks and palaces inspired by Islamic architecture??

Are the pools shallower in places
(like, ankle deep) where water is more scarce???

What was the source of Jerusalem's water supply around 1000 AD (why did David have a city built at this particular location, anyway)????

If besieged, would you make your last stand close to your water supply?????

This leads to kind of interesting historical, if not exactly mathematical, questions.

10:02 PM  

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