User talk:David J Wilson

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... mi ritrovai per una selva oscura. )


Galileo Galilei[edit]

Pls see Wikipedia:Featured article review/Galileo Galilei for discussion of citation. Thanks, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:13, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Further to the above, I've added to that debate, saying here why I think your link to another article's footnote is a bad idea. Carcharoth 16:40, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm not taking an immediate position regarding the referencing problems, I personally prefer the {{cite web |title= |url= |accessdate=}} style and that I am rather familiar with. I just introduced another ref, not quite in any normal format as I see it as a temporary solution. Please read my comment and invitation about that new reference in a new subsection on the Galilei talk page (see link to it in Galileo Galilei edit history). — SomeHuman 26 Aug2007 13:34 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. I think the web citation method you prefer is fine, as was the citation template you used for the Sobel reference earlier. The "consistency" I was referring to in my note on your talk page had nothing to do with choice of templates, but merely with the location of the full citations for printed sources. Most of these are given in the References section, with merely a brief Harvard-style citation in the (foot) Notes section. However there are still a few full citations to printed sources which aren't listed at all in the References section (currently in footnotes numbers 10, 20 and 21). I plan to transfer these, and any others which might appear, to the References section, and leave only a Harvard-style reference in the foontnote. For citations to web sources, however, I'm not sure this would be worth the bother, even if I knew how to construct Harvard-style citations for them.
David Wilson 16:46, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I might have introduced another problem to solve: I just added an editor's (my) footnote followed with a reference (together now 8). Also a more conventional reference (now 9). You might better have a look at those. I also noticed that the indexes list still contains a few authors by forename lastname, whereas the prevailing style is lastname, forename. Shouldn't this within one article be done in a consistent way (even if some templates might not do so)? — SomeHuman 28 Aug2007 01:07 (UTC)


Hi David. ragesoss has brought up some specific concerns at the review: Wikipedia:Featured article review/Galileo Galilei. I was wondering if you planned to work on it some more and whether you found the objections actionable. Let us know. Cheers, Marskell 08:44, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


See the Talk page of the Galileo article.
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:20, September 10, 2007


In a comment on the Galileo Galilei talk page I wrote:

... Edward Rosen, who tried to track down the source of this quotation, was unable to find any earlier instance of it than the one in Chapter VI of Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy ...

This is incorrect—my memory unfortunately let me down. I appear to have confabulated an inaccurate recollection out of two pieces of information I obtained while reading an article of Rosen's. The two pieces of information were that Bertrand Russell had attributed the quotation under discussion to Calvin without citing any source, and that Rosen had been unable to find the supposed quotation in any of Calvin's works. On reconsulting Rosen's article I find that he did, however, track the quotation back, via Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, to A History of Interpretation by Frederic William Farrar, who also cited no source. Rosen found that another source referred to by White, The final philosophy, by a Dr Shields, contained a criticism of Calvin's views on cosmology, and cited Calvin's Commentary on Genesis as the source of a different quotation. White appears to have simply presumed that Farrar's quotation would be found in the same place without bothering to check.

David Wilson (talk · cont) 13:33, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Comment on Haldane's dilemma talk page[edit]

In response to a comment of mine on the Haldane's dilemma talk page, WalterR wrote:

Concerning Haldane's Dilemma, David (J) Wilson is more careful than most of the Internet commentators, and that is much appreciated. However, he is overly silent concerning this condemnable Wikipedia article which seeks to obscure Haldane's Dilemma from public view. Also, he has not identified any errors in ReMine's work, (more precisely, Wilson's only attempt is rebuffed by ReMine, see ReMine's footnote #4).

According to the Wikipedia guidelines, comments should only be posted to an article's talk page if their purpose is to suggest or discuss ways in which the article might be improved. Since this response to WalterR's above comments doesn't fall into this category I have posted it here. If anyone wishes to add further comments, please do so here rather than on the Haldane's dilemma talk page.

WalterR offers some positive and some negative feedback, which is welcome, and for which I thank him. However, unless these items of feedback relate to some specific contributions of mine to the Haldane's dilemma article or its talk page, I believe it's inappropriate to post them to the latter, so I would appreciate it if in future he would post any such feedback he has to my own talk page instead.

Although it seems unlikely to me, it's possible that WalterR's criticism had the legitimate purpose of encouraging me to rejoin the discussion on Haldane's dilemma talk page because he believes I might make a valuable contribution to improving the article itself. However, I currently have no further constructive suggestions that I wish to contribute to the discussion. I shall not be rejoining it until I do.

WalterR also makes some comments about an article of mine posted to another forum, and a web page of Mr Walter ReMine's which presents a rebuttal of it. This Wikipedia policy document makes it quite clear that its pages should not be used as a general discussion forum or a vehicle for advocacy of editors' own views. It would therefore be entirely out of place for me to criticise, advocate or discuss any of the claims and counterclaims made in these articles on the pages of Wikipedia, so I do not intend to get drawn into doing so.

David Wilson (talk · cont) 23:28, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Here and elsewhere, your comments about Haldane's Dilemma are more careful and productive than most other Internet commentators. So yes, I do encourage your discussion anytime, as it is almost always a big improvement over that of your comrades. I mean that as a compliment.
The current Wikipedia article is a scandal. It documents a commonplace phenomenon (a phenomenon that exists on Haldane's Dilemma, and numerous other issues too, from the fossil record, to vestigial organs, to genetics, to embryology). That is, evolutionists allow confusion and error to thrive, so long as it favors evolution. Otherwise, they aggressively attack those. This disparity is condemnable and a sign of ill-health in the scientific community. The Wikipedia article is a good example of it. I hope that does not represent your behavior. WalterR 13:15, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Re: Question about Kaukab ali Mirza's book on Ja'far al Sadiq[edit]

Hi and thanks for your concern. Unfortunately, I do not have Ali Mirza's book, so I'm not quite sure where to find the original French thesis. However, I did look around for any possible French references to Strasbourg regarding al-Sadiq, and I found the following reference from the Encyclopedia of Religion article on al-Sadiq:

  • Fahd, T. "Ḡāʿfar al-Ṣādiq et la tradition scientifique arabe." In Le Shiʿisme Imāmite Colloque de Strasbourg 6–9 mai 1968, edited by T. Fahd, pp. 132–142. Paris, 1970.

I'm not sure if this is the thesis, but maybe you could loko into it and see if this is it?

As for the reference to "Light and Disease" in The Minister, I got that reference and the quote from IslamOnline. I couldn't really find the The Minister publication on the internet, which is why I also included the IslamOnline article with a cf. in brackets to indicate the source where I got that reference from. If you cannot find the publication either, maybe we could e-mail IslamOnline?

Regards, Jagged 85 (talk) 15:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Nicoulaus Copernicus[edit]

Hi, sorry, I didn't realize that is you so I reverted it assuming it is a vandalism. Happy editing. ≈Tulkolahten≈≈talk≈ 16:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia vs. Vatican newspaper[edit]

Your would almost certainly be very interested in Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Newsroom/Suggestions#Vatican claims Italian scientists used out-of-context Wikipedia quote to attack Pope, which falls on some facts you've documented in the Galileo article recently. Thanks.--Pharos (talk) 11:04, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

David, I wrote up a draft for the Signpost: User:Ragesoss/Pope. Since I relied heavily on the digging you did, I'd like to add you to the byline, if you're happy with the story. Also, any suggestions on improving or correcting it would be greatly appreciated.--ragesoss (talk) 01:49, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Great. I might not have time to return to it before publication time, so please just make whatever changes you see fit.--ragesoss (talk) 14:51, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
It would be great if you could look over the recent changes I've made to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-02-11/Pope. Thanks.--Pharos (talk) 22:46, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Reconstruction for Richwierd (talk) 23:43, 7 July 2008 (UTC) in Religious attitudes to heliocentrism[edit]

Thanks for the help.

I like the reconstruction. I am just starting and am learning by studying those who seem to do well. I have no formal computer training (As you likely would have guessed). If you get a chance I would like some specific critique on my efforts. I know it is allot to ask but I would like to run my next effort by you before I post it. Would you be able to do that?

I have a wide variety of interests and a lifetime of personal interest in learning. My favorite book as a child was our old encyclopedia, (I thought the US had only 48 states until the 3rd grade). Wikipedia is just my style.

And Thanks for the reminder to sign my edits. I should remember better now. Richwierd (talk) 23:43, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Since the time I have available to devote to Wikipedia activities is both limited and variable I am unwilling to make any promises about vetting any of your future efforts. I do have some comments I should like to make on your proposed edit to the heliocentrism article, but I have not yet found the time to put them together. In my opinion, if you are uncertain about how any of your future proposed edits might be received, your best course of action would be to first propose them on the talk page of the article which you wish to edit. That way, editors whose expertise on the subject matter of the article is very likely to be much greater than mine will also have a chance to comment on it. Nevertheless, if you have any specific questions on the technicalities of editing, or on Wikipedia policies, I will be happy to give you my opinion, though I might not always be able to do so promptly, and I am by no means an expert in either of these areas.
There are many experienced editors who are willing act as mentors to newer editors as part of Wikipedia's Adopt-a-User programme. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please see page at the immediately preceding link. For one-off problems you can also ask for editor assistance, either on the talk pages of editors who have explicitly offered to provide assistance with particular types of problems, or by posting a request directly on the request for assistance page.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:00, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Again. Exactly the help I needed. Richwierd (talk) 19:05, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Thomas Settle and Stillman Drake[edit]

On the Galileo Galilei talk page Logicus wrote:

"I never knew anybody took Settle seriously."

Well, according to Michael Segre, in The Cambridge Companion to Galileo (p.405), Settle's "nice short article is among the most quoted in Galilean studies." Of course this doesn't mean that everyone who has quoted his article can be assumed to have "taken him seriously", but I have yet to find a single counterexample. Examples of scholars who did most definitely take him seriously include Segre himself, Stillman Drake (Galileo at Work, p.xviii; Galileo Studies, p.238; Galileo: Pioneer Scientist, pp.11–12; Isis, 64 (1973), p.291, cited by Segre as an article in which Drake refers to Settle's work as a "refutation" of Koyré's claims on the matter), Michael Sharratt (Galileo: Decisive Innovator, p.200), Jürgen Renn (Galileo in Context, p.19), and Stephen Mason (History of Science, 40 (2002), p.378).

" ... if Settle succeeded, then why did Drake so ludicrously end up with Galileo singing a song to keep time as the ball clickety-clacked over the increasingly spaced sleepers on the inclined gutter, having given up on the water-tank timer devised in antiquity ?"

The question presumes as fact a supposition (Drake's allegedly having "given up on the water-tank timer") which is flatly contradicted by overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Drake in fact remained a constant and unequivocal supporter of Settle's work from the earliest of the above cited works (Galileo at Work, 1978) to the latest (Galileo: Pioneer Scientist, 1990), published just 3 years before his death.

Drake's hypothesis on the use of musical rhythms to equalise time intervals was proposed to explain how Galileo might have carried out a different experiment from the one reproduced by Settle, so there is nothing at all inconsistent in his continuing both to support Settle's work and to promote his own hypothesis at the same time. The experiment described by Galileo in the Discorsi, and reproduced by Settle, was designed to measure the times taken for a ball to travel various fixed, prescribed distances down an inclined plane. Drake, on the other hand, was trying to explain data from Galileo's unpublished working notes which appear to have come from an experiment designed to measure the distances travelled by a ball down an inclined plane during fixed, prescribed time intervals.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:45, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

To forestall any possible misunderstanding which my comments above and on the Galileo Galilei talk page might give rise to, I should note that Settle's experiment shows only that Galileo, using materials and techniques available to him, could have obtained the accuracy he claimed in the experiment he describes—and Settle didn't assert any more than that. Whether Galileo actually did perform the experiment and achieve the stated level of accuracy is a separate question. While most Galileo scholars now appear to accept that he did in fact perform such experiments, they still disagree over how successful they actually were, how accurate Galileo's published accounts of them were, and how much importance he attached to them.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:56, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much indeed for all this interesting criticism and correction, on which I shall comment in detail asap. But immediately, especially in view of your 7 August comments, what now is the proposition about Galileo's experimental practice and its quality, if any, that you wish to state in the article, and with what justifying source ? Surely not just the current claim any longer ? --Logicus (talk) 14:48, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I had given no consideration to what text might be used to replace that which you have proposed to delete, because I had thought that simply deleting it would have been reasonable. However, on reading the subsequent paragraph I now see that a considerable amount of work would have to be expended in appropriately modifying that if the preceding text were simply deleted. So it would probably be better to come up with a suitable replacement instead. I have found a sentence in Sharratt's book, Galileo: Decisive Innovator, which I believe can be adapted to provide a suitable NPOV replacement. I will propose it on the article's talk page. —David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Washington Irving and Columbus[edit]

Many thanks for your comments / "dubious comments" on the Myth of the Flat Earth. I have copied out your material and the pages from the 1861 text and will look at it in detail tonight or tomorrow night, along with my notes. I read the 1837 edition pretty thoroughly and did not note the comments on the shape of the earth, and I am very suprised to see them there now (in the 1861 edition). Perhaps I did miss them.

Or perhaps Irving re-wrote the section. Anyway, it is obvious that the later/final edition(s) would have more influence, so I will rewrite the section I added to reflect the final version. Give me a day or so and then see if you agree. Ron B. Thomson (talk) 21:34, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your acknowlegement, and for reminding me of the possibility that the text may have changed betweem editions. I should have thought of that.
Earlier today I consulted a few books on Columbus in a local University library, and found that John Noble Wilford, in The Mysterious History of Columbus (1991, p.88) cites Irving as having said that the "rotundity of the earth was as yet a matter of speculation". This text doesn't appear anywhere in the on-line edition I cited, and Wilford gives 1828 as the date of Irving's book. So, unless he is being careless, his quotation comes from the first edition. Of course it might not have come from Irving's account of the Salamanca meeting, since I don't recall Wilford's saying that it did.
If you get arond to checking any of the earlier editions, please let me know what you find. If Irving did make significant changes to the text I should make appropriate modifications to my proposed replacement for the description currently given in the Myth of the Flat Earth article.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 16:19, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


You beat me to it. Good job. - Eldereft (cont.) 12:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

User:Jobe 87[edit]

No, that userpage is written in a very poor Italian, it is an evident automatic translation from English ("I enjoy -> godo" is a very sick translation, as is "favourite -> favorito"). I'll deal with this. --Angelo (talk) 22:20, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Flat Earth[edit]

Oops, didn't see your comment. I'll respond over there.--Cúchullain t/c 00:55, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Hapsala and 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict[edit]

David J Wilson, Thank you for your efforts. Because you so kindly took the time to begin to scratch under the surface, I have further elaborated on the WQA page, especially in the Comment on Comment, plus added info section. I hope you have time to look at it and perhaps even revise or extend your remarks and maybe even participate in helping with some corrective action for the identified problems. I will wait a bit before deciding on replying to your other comments so you have a chance to incorporate the new info. Thanks again, Doright (talk) 09:46, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Just Curious[edit]

Sometime back you got deeply involved in Carnatic Music article and made microscopic observations and comments. All of a sudden you stopped commenting after an editor got blocked with conflict of interest acts by an Admin who was involved in framing a community-ban. As a reader wikipedia articles I would like to know your purpose of hopping into a topic deeply then hopping out living the issue orphan. Did you stop since your mission got accomplished?- Vagabond from a multi-user system. (talk) 08:11, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure I would describe my involvement with the Carnatic Music article as "deep". I was drawn to a discussion on the talk page by the request for comment on Carnatic music posted early last September. The whole point of a request for comment on an aritcle is to try and resolve disputes by eliciting the help of previously uninvolved editors. Since one of the disputing editors had cited a couple of three sources in support of material he wanted to include in the article, it seemed to me that one of the obvious steps to take in attempting to resolve the dispute was to check those sources and post my findings to the discussion, which is what I did. This was the entire extent of my involvement with the article itself. Since my only "mission" was to provide whatever assistance I could to resolve the dispute, I took no further part in it once I had done so.[1] So I guess it would be fair to say that I stopped because my "mission got accomplished". However I'm not entirely aware of what the final outcome of the dispute was.
In one respect your comment is inaccurate. Apart from three minor edits to correct typos, my final contribution to the Carnatic Music talk page was dated 12:42 last September 7th (UTC). This was before, not after, a proposal to impose a community ban on one of the participants in the dispute was posted to the Aministrator's Incidents Noticeboard (at 11:07 on September 8th (UTC)—see footnote below[1]). The editor concerned made several further contributions to the talk page on Carnatic Music after I had already withdrawn from the discussion, and, as I understand it, he was blocked some time later because he allegedly failed to respect the community ban which had been imposed on him.
1. I did, however, subsequently post a comment to the Administrator's Incidents Noticeboard report which later proposed a community ban on one of the participants in the discussion because of his allegedly disruptive behaviour, and I supported the second of two remedies proposed.
After going through your sporadic participation in Carnatic Music and this detailed response, I need to first appreciate that you are an highly analytical editor. Wish you had continued in Carnatic Music to follow-up on your comments which has inadvertently gave provision to frame a community ban by 'Ncm' that was executed successfully due to unethical involvement of Admin Guy. As I read, what happened after community ban is a chain reaction of hasty decisions by possibly Admin friends of Guy. Wish you had responded to (IF needed wording in the Ugabhoga section that was deleted with vandalism act( by User talk:Ncmvocalist can be modified. Thanks Naadapriya (talk) 17:12, 7 September 2008 (UTC)) before participating in community ban. Though I am NOT lobbying here to bring back the blocked editor, wish you revisit your recommendation to remove the section 'Ugabogha' that was introduced by several editors who appeared to have quit editing CM due to 'ownership' bullied by 'Ncm' with the help of Admin friends and language buddies. I am just a reader of wikipedia who is trying to motivate students to use it productively. We are trying to make wikipedia a better environment for all. (talk) 16:34, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment. However, I'm afraid I am currently unwilling to engage in any further discussions on this matter and have no intention of doing so.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 11:57, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Looks like you are expert in verifying the references. Please check (here), your 'ban acquaintance Ncmvocalist' who is enjoying the freedom bestowed by community-ban team is adding other encyclopedia data and news reports as reliable references. Your judgment may help. (talk) 08:44, 13 February 2009 (UTC
You participated in a discussion leading to a framed-ban by Ncmvocalist then you have dumped the article. Where will Wikipedia end if editors hop-in and hop-out on articles that they have no genie interest. It leads to believe building PR is the motivation. (talk) 20:00, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


Since you seem to be getting harassed as well, thought you might want to know of this. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:43, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi! You might be interested in the discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Formalizing_community_ban (located in the same thread), which relates to the now de-facto banned User:Naadapriya. This proposal, if enacted, would supersede the previous remedy, so all users who provided input at the previous relevant discussion are being notified. Cheers, Ncmvocalist (talk) 11:07, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


Regarding this, you should really read this. FYI. Cheers! - CobaltBlueTony™ talk 18:52, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. I had actually read the WQA discussion, which is what led me eventually to leave notes on BillCJ's and the IP's talk pages. I was originally considering adding my twopenceworth to the discussion at WQA, but by the time I had done sufficient digging to make what I would have considered a worthwhile contribution, the horse had been well and truly battered to a pulp, so there was little point in my thrashing it any further.
Nevertheless, since the IP had actually twice broken the 3-revert rule, your warning against edit warring on its talk page didn't seem to me to be either sufficiently clear or sufficiently strong. I therefore added a new section, which I hope will get the message across.
However, it does take two to edit war, and since BillCJ had also violated the 3-revert rule, I believe it would have been inappropriate for me to warn only the IP about it. Still, I would welcome any advice on how I might have worded either of the warnings more tactfully, or otherwise improved my handling of the matter.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 20:00, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

work on aircraft specs template[edit]

Personally i find the template code decidedly obtuse so I'm more than impressed that you can do anyghing with it. Do you have any advice on how I should tackle the issue I have with displaying mixed powerplant and afterburner thrust? I followed your example by working in the template sandbox but although I got close, i still had formatting issues and a redundant "}}" appearing in the test render. If you have any pointers that would be much apprciated, thank you GraemeLeggett (talk) 06:09, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

yes, your new coding seems to work on my sandbox here - op F.155 aircraft with afterburning jets and B-36 with mixed prop/jets. I'll drop a couple more on in a while. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:17, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Generalized force[edit]

Hi David:

I was interested in your discussion of Lagrangian centrifugal force. It seems that there are various Lagrangians possible for a system, for example, a Lagrangian for a rotating system of coordinates and a Lagrangian for a stationary system. It seems likely that the generalized forces vary with the choice. In particular, it seems likely that centrifugal forces come up in one form and not in another. For example, in a rotating frame the centrifugal force shows up as a potential and therefore is part of the generalized forces. Do you know anything about this? Got any references? Brews ohare (talk) 02:33, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I have partly replied on the Centrifugal force talk page. Here is a more comprehensive reply.
"It seems that there are various Lagrangians possible for a system, for example, a Lagrangian for a rotating system of coordinates and a Lagrangian for a stationary system. ... "
Yes, of course the Lagrangian will depend on what system of generalised coordinates you choose (even for a single coordinate system the Lagrangian is not unique, as some of the cited references point out). Nevertheless, the Lagrangian and its corresponding generalised forces are not completely arbitrary, and in all the cited references on general mechanics I have checked, including Taylor's Classical Mechanics (as well as D.E.Rutherford's Classical Mechanics, the one other text I am acquainted with), the general procedure given for setting up Lagrange's equations in whatever system of generalised coordinates you might choose is the same—at least for systems with holonomic constraints (which is the only class of systems for which a general procedure can be given, according to Goldstein, p.56 (in English 2nd edition), and Bhatia, p.14). According to this general procedure, the quantity appearing on the right side of Lagrange's equation corresponding to a generalised coordinate  , in the form I have written it in my comment on the Centrifugal force talk page, is defined by:
where are the forces acting on the system, and is the location of the point at which the action of the force is applied (Goldstein, p.22 (Spanish)(p.19 in Engish 2nd edition), Hildebrand, p.154, Bhatia, p.23, Taylor, p.247ff).
The quantities defined by the above equation are what Goldstein (p.20), Hildebrand (p.154) and Bhatia (p.23) call "generalised forces". Taylor, on the other hand (p.241) defines the generalised force to be , rather than simply as the other sources do.
"In particular, it seems likely that centrifugal forces come up in one form and not in another. ...
That is certainly true. It is not in question that Lagrange's equations of motion in polar coordinates contain a term corresponding to a centrifugal force, whereas if you confine yourself to cartesian coordinates relative to an inertial reference frame, then Lagrange's equations are identical to Newton's, and contain no terms corresponding to any pseudoforces. My contention however, is that even when Lagrange's equations do contain a term corresponding to centrifugal force it is usually not amongst those terms which most of the cited sources define to be generalised forces, and does not even arise from them.
" ... For example, in a rotating frame the centrifugal force shows up as a potential and therefore is part of the generalized forces."
No, this is a non-sequitur. What you appear to be suggesting here is that when the generalised coordinates are taken to be relative to a rotating reference frame, then the centrifugal force must be included as one of the apppearing in the above equation for  . While one can do this, it is certainly not necessary, and none of the cited references actually ever do it. Taylor's book, in fact, quite explicitly disallows the use of pseduoforces on page 241 where it says " ... we must nevertheless be careful that, when we first write down the Lagrangian  , we do so in an inertial frame." It's not quite so clear to me whether the authors of any of the other sources would exclude the use of pseudoforces in this way, but the fact remains that when they actually describe the general procedure for setting up Lagrange's equations, the forces which all of them (except possibly Rutherford's Classical Mechanics) prescribe for use in their definitions of the are proper forces, not pseudoforces. Rutherford seems to treat pseudoforces much the same as any other forces, so presumably he would allow them to be used in setting up Lagrange's equations, although he doesn't say so explicitly.
Non-inertial reference frames are accommodated quite happily within the standard procedures described in all the texts by allowing the coordinate transformation to depend explicitly on time. As an illustration, I have applied this standard procedure to the problem of a single body moving in a central force field and provided the details below. Note that the generalised forces in the resulting Lagrange equations for the problem are and  , the same as for the problem with non-rotating axes, and do not include the centrifugal force.
For the purposes of comparison I have also treated the same problem using the approach you are apparently suggesting above. The details can also be found below. Note that to end up with the correct equations one has to fudge the expression for kinetic energy. The expression one has to use is the one that would be kinetic energy if the coordinate system were inertial, but, strictly speaking, is not in fact true kinetic energy because the system is not, in fact, inertial.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:15, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Lagrangian mechanics in a rotating reference frame[edit]

Consider the (2-dimensional) problem of a body moving in a central force field when the generalised coordinates are polar coordinates in a coordinate system whose origin is at the centre of attraction and whose polar axis rotates so that the angle it makes with respect to the axis of an inertial Cartesian coordinate system is . The relation between the cartesian coordinates and the generalised coordinates is given by:

In generalised coordinates, the kinetic energy, , of the system is given by:

where is the angular velocity of the rotation. If the potential for the central force is , then the generalised forces corresponding to and are , and , respectively. Lagrange's equations for the problem are:


Or, after substituting for :

, and

The terms in these equations containing or its derivatives (after dividing the common factor out from the second equation) are components of the various pseudoforces occurring in the rotating reference frame—namely, and are the radial components of the Coriolis and centrifugal forces respectively, while and are the tangential components of the Coriolis and Euler forces, respectively. The tangential component of the centrifugal force, and the radial component of the Euler force are both zero.

One feature of the equations which might appear puzzling at first sight is the appearance of the term   which would also appear to be a centrifugal force. This can be explained by the fact that is the angular velocity of the body about the origin. Thus, is the centrifugal force in a reference frame on whose polar axis the moving body is located. Unless this will not be the same as the rotating reference frame originally chosen.

But the angular displacement, , of the polar axis from the axis of the inertial system could be any arbitrary function of time. If we choose it so as to make the coordinate of the body remain always zero (i.e. the coordinate system rotates so that the body always remains on the polar axis), then it follows from the last of the above equations that has to remain constant— with , say, for some constant . Substituting this in the preceding equation gives:


essentially the same equation obtained when a non-rotating polar coordinate system is used.

Note that in this derivation, the centrifugal, Coriolis and Euler forces arise from the kinetic energy terms, and , on the left side of Lagrange's equations, and are not part of the generalised forces.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:15, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

The same, by pretending that the rotating system is inertial[edit]

The equations of motion in a non-inertial coordinate system can be put into the same form as Newton's equations by introducing the four standard pseudoforces and pretending that they are proper forces. One can then apply the formalism of Lagrangian mechanics to the resulting system to obtain the same equations as above. Taking the same rotating reference frame as above, the "kinetic energy", , is now given by:

and the pseudoforces are:

     — Centrifugal force
     — Coriolis force
     — Euler force,

where is a unit vector in the appropriate direction, perpendicular to the plane in which the body is moving. Since the origin of the coordinate system is not accelerating relative to an inertial frame, the fourth pseudoforce is identically zero. For any force, , the components of the corresponding generalised force for the generalised coordinates and are and respectively. Using the identities and , we therefore find that the components of the "generalised forces" corresponding to the coordinate are  ,  , and for the central, centrifugal and Coriolis forces respectively (and zero for the Euler force), and its components corresponding to the coordinate are and for the Coriolis and Euler forces respectively (and zero for the central and centrifugal forces). Thus, the Lagrange equations for this formulation are:

, and

—that is, essentially the same equation as before, but with the terms corresponding to the pseudoforces transferred to the other side.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:15, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

The Coriolis Force[edit]

David W., You made an interesting point when you amended the proportionately of the centrifugal force to the square of the angular speed. Ultimately, both the centrifugal force and the Coriolis force can be reduced to the same mathematical expression v×H, where H is the circulation. They differ however in the manner in which they can be subsequently expanded. The Coriolis force adopts the relationship H = 2ω that is associated with rigid body rotation, and the velocity term is radial so it cannot be expanded to v = rω. Hence the Coriolis force takes the form 2v×ω. With centrifugal force, the velocity is transverse and so we can write v = rω. We cannot use the rigid body rotation equation for this mode of motion, and so the centrifugal force becomes rω^2.

Recently in a Lagrangian reference, it was shown how centrifugal force is an i×i force whereas Coriolis force is an i×j force. Have you ever considered a j×k force? David Tombe (talk) 14:58, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Since the expressions "i x i force", "i x j force" and "j x k force" are not ones I can recall having ever come across before I'm afraid I'm unable to answer your question.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 08:45, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

David W., Never mind. That was only a curious aside. What I really wanted you to take note of was the fact that I stated that the v in the Coriolis force was purely radial. My opponents have been arguing that it can also be transverse. If they are correct, which I don't think that they are, that would mean that with the supposed radial Coriolis force, there would also exist a proportionality to ω^2 as in the case of centrifugal force. Have you any thoughts about that? David Tombe (talk) 19:17, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Since I find much of what you write completely incomprehensible, I will only say that it appears to me that your use of terminology departs radically from that used in any physics textbook I am acquainted with. As a consequence, I see no point in my commenting further, and I have no wish to do so.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 20:15, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

David W., I'm using standard textbook terminology. You made a correction on the Coriolis force page to the extent that the centrifugal force is proprtional to the square of the rate of rotation. This is a consequence of the fact that it is proportional to the square of two parallel velocities v^2, where v is the transverse velocity. In the case of the Coriolis force, according to the Lagrangian formulation, we are dealing with the product of two perpendicular velocities. That would be in line with one of these velocities being radial and the other being transverse (the latter being the one connected with the rotation). However, some textbooks allow for the first velocity term in the Coriolis force to be in any direction, hence leading to a radial Coriolis force in the special case when that velocity is transverse.

So my question to you is, do you have any comments to make on whether or not the Coriolis force is also proprtional to the square of the rate of rotation, as in the case of the centrifugal force? David Tombe (talk) 07:21, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

No. As I have already indicated, I am currently not willing to make any further comments on this matter.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 13:05, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

The anon IP server[edit]

David W., It's just to say thanks very much for going against the tide and pointing that out at ANI. Unfortunately, many people seem to automatically connect suspicion with guilt. Hence if somebody makes an accusation, or even an inuendo, it tends to be accepted automatically as evidence of guilt. That accusation looks really bad on a thread that was already a total farce of spurious allegations. It's time that alot of these guys were faced down. They cite a thread at wiki-physics project as evidence of original research, or crankery. Yet anybody who knows physics, knows fine well that the equation c^2 = 1/εμ is an empirical result first obtained in 1856 by Weber and Kohlrausch. Having had that pointed out by me, they then have the cheek to come to ANI and claim that they had all failed to coach me in real physics. And they all have total confidence that the non-physics readership will believe them absolutely as a matter of course as if there could be no possible doubt that they are the ones that are right. David Tombe (talk) 19:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Rømer and the speed of light[edit]

Ole Rømer - Obser. Primi Jovialium Parisiis - pp1+4.jpg
Ole Rømer - Obser. Primi Jovialium Parisiis - pp2-3.jpg

I notice you've started writing a new version of the section on Rømer and the speed of light, which is great. I've finally gotten around to reading Kirstine Meyer's and Cohen's explanations of the 22 minutes and I have to admit they are very convincing (this part of Cohen's account is essentially a summary of Meyer's).

In case you're interested I've uploaded scans of Rømer's manuscript on which Cohen's and Meyer's articles are basing much of their discussion of those 22 minutes. Hemmingsen 19:22, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Copernican heliocentrism[edit]

Thanks for sorting out the refs for me. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 13:14, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Discussion at Tycho Brahe[edit]


I've noticed your recent absence from Tycho Brahe and the associated talk page. I understand your reluctance to get involved in what can be a time-consuming debate, but since there has been some recent progress in cleaning up the article, your input would be welcome.

--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:36, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Italic for Commentariolus?[edit]

Hi David,

The general rule for titles, as I understand it, is that italic is used for longer, published works (e.g., books, periodicals, feature length films). Quotation marks are used for shorter works (e.g., articles in journals, essays shorter than a book, short films). See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles). "Commentariolus" is the name given an unsigned, unpublished, 6-page manuscript that Copernicus hand copied and sent or gave to a few friends and colleagues. Because it did not seem to me to fall into the italic category, I changed it from italic to quotation marks wherever I came across it. I see that you are changing it back to italic. Can we discuss? —Finell 00:10, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

My apologies. I wasn't aware of the distinction between the conventions used for titles of longer and shorter works, and I hadn't noticed that any of the quotation marks around "Commentariolus" had been inserted recently. I've now changed them all back (I think). Please feel free to do the same to any that I might have missed.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 01:09, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. No apology necessary. —Finell 01:37, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Answer to questions on Speed of light talk page[edit]

To answer some questions posed by editor Joe Kress on the Speed of light talk page, if:

  • n/d is a proper fraction (i.e. n < d ) with n and d relatively prime (i.e. the fraction is reduced to its "smallest terms");
  • d = 2a × 5b × c, with c not divisible by either 2 or 5;
  • p is the smallest positive integer such that 10p − 1 is divisible by c; and
  • m = Max( a, b ) (i.e. m is the largest non-negative integer exponent e for which either 2e or 5e divides d);


  • the ultimate period of the decimal expansion of n/d is p; and
  • the number of non-repeating digits preceding the periodic part of the expansion is at most exactly m. It will be equal to m for 90% of the values of the numerator n but will be smaller for the remaining 10%. It turns out that I made a mistake in my "deduction" of the preceding struck out statement. On further investigation, I find that the number of digits in the non-repeating initial part of the expansion will always be equal to m.


  • With the denominator d = 127, there will never be an initial non-repeating part of the decimal expansion, no matter what the numerator n is;
  • The ultimate period of the decimal expansion of n/100584, for any n < 100584 and relatively prime to 100584, will always be 42 because 42 is the smallest positive integer p such that 10p − 1 is divisible by 127 × 11 × 32 ( = 100584/23 ); and
  • The non-repeating inital segment of the decimal expansion of n/100584 (with n as above) will always have at most exactly 3 digits because 3 is the largest non-negative integer exponent e for which either 2e or 5e divides 100584.

Offhand, I don't know of any simpler way of determining whether the length of the initial non-repeating segment of a decimal expansion will be shorter than its theoretical maximum m than by actually calculating the first m + p digits of the expansion, where p is its pre-calculated ultimate period. This will always be enough, because we know that beyond the first m + p digits it must then repeat with period p.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 12:11, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Galileo Dialogue[edit]

Dear David,

I am a Researcher at Tiger Aspect Productions and I am working on an architectural history series for Channel 4 in the UK. I am searching for the image that you have posted on Wikipedia of Galileo's dialogue. The webpage states that the image is out of copyright. As we would like to use the image I have to take all the right legal routes so I was wondering where you sourced your copy of the image from?

It would be much appreciated if you could let me know as soon as possible. My email is

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,

Tom Cullum —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tccullum (talkcontribs) 12:48, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

RFC/U Logicus 2 (Draft)[edit]

I am drafting a Requests for comment/User conduct concerning the conduct of Logicus (talk · contribs · count · api · block log) since the abortive RfC of February 2007. Since you have been involved in the recent content RfC at Talk:Celestial spheres, I would appreciate it if you would look over the draft and see whether it seems appropriate, what revisions you would propose, or what you could add.

At the moment, parts of the RfC are little more than outline points and the desired outcome is totally undefined, but with cooperation perhaps something can be put together that could make it through the process.

I had hoped that this RfC would not need to be posted, given the recent closure of a content RfC on Logicus's edits. However, Logicus's recent comments suggest that I may have been too optimistic.

Feel free to either edit the draft or submit comments on its talk page. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:27, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for all that work. I will try to contribute, but the amount of time I have to spend on Wikipdia activities is limited and variable. My contributions tend to be somewhat haphazard as a consequence.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 10:29, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Understand the limited time; there doesn't seem to be an urgent rush at the moment.
--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 15:51, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I mentioned your name[edit]


You might want to know about this exchange with Logicus, where I dropped your name. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 17:50, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

RFC discussion of User:Logicus[edit]

A request for comments has been filed concerning the conduct of Logicus (talk · contribs). You are invited to comment on the discussion at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Logicus 2. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:33, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


Thanks for your help on the Logicus RfCs and AN. It's now been closed. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:29, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Clarify templates[edit]

The date syntax is: {{Clarify|any other arguments|date=February 2010}}, but if you leave the date off it will be added by a WP:BOT. (Note refers to [[1]].) Rich Farmbrough, 01:17, 6 February 2010 (UTC).

Thanks for the tip. I don't have the foggiest idea now why I formatted the template that way.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 08:30, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
On second thoughts, after re-reading the documentation for the template {{DATE}}, it looks like I somehow managed to miswrite "date" for "subst" through some weird lapse of proper attention to detail. Here, on the same day, I did nearly manage to get the format right but mistyped ";" for ":".
David Wilson (talk · cont) 08:52, 6 February 2010 (UTC)


Hi David, thks and cheers. DVdm (talk) 21:58, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Wow. I didn't realize that templates were open for IP-vandalism as well. That was a nasty one. Cheers - DVdm (talk) 06:53, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
 Just to say that I put a note on Anonoslo (talk · contribs)'s user page to see the apology at {{ipuser|} as he got caught up in the same thing. —Syncategoremata (talk) 18:31, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Reliability of Covington 2007[edit]

Many thanks for your lovely discussion of Covington 2007 at Talk:Astronomy in medieval Islam#Reliability of Covington 2007. I hadn't realised quite how confused he was in his discussion of the Ṭūsī couple until you pointed it out. I'm just checking a couple of other sources on al-Zarqālī now, as there seems to be some debate about whether he thought that the orbit of Mercury was elliptic. My impression is that it wasn't: just more complex than that of the other planets (which I think is true already in Ptolemy). Once I've come to some conclusion on that, I'll go through and update all the historical claims about elliptic orbits.

By the way, now you've shown your grasp of such matters, I may be back to pester you in the future if I get stuck.

All the best and many thanks once more. —Syncategoremata (talk) 19:01, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind remarks. Reliable sources containing comprehensive details of exactly what al-Zarqali said about the shapes of the planets' orbits seem hard to come by. I have given a list of what I have so far found on Google books below. From what seem to me to be the more authoritative of these sources (Pedersen, North, and Singh & Kirmani) it would appear that he at least observed (correctly) that in the Ptolemaic theory the path traced by the centre of Mercury's epicycle (i.e. its deferent) is not a circle (like it is for all the other planets except the moon), but an "oval". The path is not an ellipse, so if he had stated that it was he would have been mistaken.
Calling this path an "orbit" of Mercury, as Singh & Kirmani do, is very misleading. In the Ptolemaic system the deferents of the inner planets—Mercury and Venus—are not translated and scaled approximate representations of their heliocentric orbits as they are for the outer planets. Rather, they're translated, reversed, and scaled approximate representations of the Earth's heliocentric orbit, or equivalently, scaled approximate representations of the Sun's geocentric orbit. Suggestions that this observation of al-Zarqali's constituted some sort of anticipation of Kepler's elliptical orbits therefore seem to me to be just plain silly.
"He [Arzachel] suggested the planets moved in ellipses, but his contemporaries with scientific intolerance declined to argue about a statement that was contrary to Ptolemy's conclusions in the Almagest.
"In about 1080, the Spaniard Arzachel (p.109) had suggested that the planets might move in ellipses rather than circles, but his conjecture had roused but little interest."
"The Arabian astronomer, Arzachel in 1080, noticed that of all the planets the motion of Mercury deviated most from a circle, and he supposed that its real orbit was some sort of oval".
"He [Peurbach] demonstrated that as a result of the Ptolemeaic theory, the epicycle centre of Mercury must move on an oval curve, which very much resembles an ellipse. Al-Zarqali knew this, but there is no proof that Peurbach relied on his treatise."
"Clearly it would be convenient if Mercury's second and third circular movements [in the Ptolemaic system] could be combinded. In fact they were combined into a single (oval) curve on an eleventh-century instrument designed and described by the Hispano-Moorish astronomer known as Arzachel."
"The importance of the Arabic text [of Arzachel's treatise] lies in its clarification of one of the most debated passages in medieval astronomy, for the graphic representation included in the Castilian translation ordered by Alfonso X (the Wise) the orbit of Mercury is not circular. On this basis it has been alleged that al-Zarqali anticipated Kepler in stating that orbits—the orbit of Mercury in this case—are elliptical. Although the Arabic text merely states that an orbit is baydi (oval), it shows that al-Zarqali treated Mercury in the same deductive way that Kepler dealt with Mars in his Astronomia nova.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:47, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
David, Thanks for the sources on al-Zarqali's so-called elliptical orbits. I gathered a few others a few years ago at Talk:History of astronomy/Common misconceptions#al-Zarqali's elliptical orbits.
I find it significant that the claims of an ellipse are by early/outdated authors like Ball, Jeans, and Ellard. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 15:12, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I had in fact already stumbled across it fairly recently, but I had forgotten where. It looks like Hartner's articles provide pretty much the definitive account of what al-Zarqali has said on the matter.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I've just got hold of a copy of Hartner's article too. There he shows that the curve in the Libros del Saber is "nothing but the curve resulting from Ptolemy's theory" (p. 120) and thus that al-Zarqālī has introduced no novelty into the the orbit of Mercury; his achievement is to have plotted the curve described by Ptolemy, which no one had previously done (or so it seems). The resulting curve is nearly identical to an ellipse but as David mention's, this curve is not Mercury's orbit in any case, but the locus of the centre of its epicycle.
A lot of authors do refer to this curve as an ellipse (even David King does so in passing in one of his articles in the 1980's) but in a diagram, it is indistinguishable from one. Interestingly this is mentioned as a common mistake by Dreyer in his 1906 book and discussed in some detail there on pp. 273–274 (where he comes to the same conclusion as Hartner), so this has all been established for a long time now.
So I think it's pretty clear that there was no theory involving elliptical orbits in any of the medieval Islamic authors (though there was some discussion of the possibility of innate principles of motion other than circular ones, for example). I'm just checking through some more sources on al-Zarqālī's works (and their use in the Toledan and Alfonsine tables), which I'll add to my user page, User:Syncategoremata/Elliptical_orbits. I'll look through the references David's found too, and then I'll update the relevant articles on Wikipedia.
All the best. —Syncategoremata (talk) 15:35, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I was reading through the sources David found, and noticed that Ball cites Moritiz Steinschneider's "Etudes sur Zarkali," Boncompagni's Bollettino di bibliografia e di storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche, 1887, 20:1-36. It would probably be worth checking Steinschneider to see what he has to say about the ellipse. I may get to it as time allows. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 15:46, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just to let you know that Steve McCluskey found the following source:

Julio Samsó and Honorino Mielgo, "Ibn al-Zarqālluh on Mercury," Journal for the History of Astronomy, 25 (1994): 292.

which confirmed your analysis, so I removed all the claims about elliptical orbits for both al-Zarqālī and Birūnī.

All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 08:00, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Misuse of sources[edit]

David, I wondered if you might take a look at the material at User:Syncategoremata/Misuse of sources, where I (and others) have collected examples of problematic edits by a particular editor. If you have anything to add to this sad collection, I would be very grateful to know. All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 07:55, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I see from the diffs that the editor concerned is one I have also come to have some concerns about. I have been collecting some links and diffs in one of my sandboxes with the view of adding my protest to those of other editors on the talk page of the editor in question. These are not particularly well organised at the moment, and they may be duplicates of ones you have already found, but please feel free to pirate them. One of them is the diff of the edit which added the text I have just removed from the article Astronomy in medieval Islam.
There is also this exchange: [2], [3], [4], concerning two atrocious sources, about which I voiced my concerns here, here and here. Although I tried to advise the editor concerned that the reference he cites should be the one he has actually consulted, and not the source it gives (unless he had actually consulted that other source), he seems to have ignored that advice, since in this recent edit (also appearing in my sandbox), he has given a direct quote which only appears in his proxy source and not in the one he actually cited.
It might also be worth checking who it was who readded the information about Ja'far al-Sadiq back into the Astronomy in medieval Islam after I had removed it for the reason I had explained on the talk page (the same as that given in more detail in one of the above links).
The same editor recently added a dubious revision of a claim about the Brotherhood of Purity to the article Astronomy in medieval Islam. He had previously removed the original claim in response to my criticism of it here. More details of the problems with the original claim can be found here.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:25, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Many thanks for that, David. I'll start going through all of that later today.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 09:39, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi David, I think it would be helpful if we all use the good format established by Syncats (see also User:Gun Powder Ma/Misuse of sources). We are trying to collect 5-10 problematic diffs each in the course of the last 12 months (I also add earlier ones about which I stumble). Depending on how may editors engage in the search, that would be 20/25 to 40/50 cases which I think is enough. Presenting the community even more, might be counter-productive, since we must keep in mind reading and understanding the science-tech stuff requires a great amount of time and concentration from the admin(s). However, I believe it is better that, say, 4 editors present 40 cases than 3 editors 50, since a broader participation of users will better reflect the concerns of the community. PS: Apart from that, it is only wise to store further diffs for a second round which, I believe, will still be necessary given that this is a case without precedence on WP. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 09:55, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── David, could you take a look at User:Syncategoremata/Draft and let me know any comments you might have? It's not finished, but I would like to get some feedback on whether people think the approach is appropriate.

I also wondered if you would be happy to add your name as an editor certifying the basis for the dispute?

I am available by email if you want to reply via that route. Many thanks and all the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 17:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

After re-reading through all the material on the conduct of an RFC/U, I'm not sure I would meet the qualifications needed to certify the basis for the dispute. The only problems I have raised with this editor's edits, either on his talk page, or the talk pages of the articles concerned, could all be considered either as having been resolved or—in the case of his readding material on the Brethen of Purity—not yet having developed into a dispute, because I have so far failed to followed the matter up. I am, however, perfectly willing to endorse the cause for concern.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 12:39, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for following up on this David (I can now take it off my list of material to remove). I've added a link to your comment on that editor's talk page to my summary of the issue. Alternatively, I could remove my summary and simply use yours. Please do as you wish there.
If you're looking for more problems with the Brethren of Purity articles, all the overenthusiastic material there on evolution is similarly contradicted by sources like Nasr.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 19:04, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Given the editor's reply to my objections to some of his edits on his talk page, I now feel comfortable adding my name as an editor certifying the basis for the dispute and have just done so.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 02:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
David, many thanks both for adding your objections to his talk page and also for adding your name to the draft. I woke up this morning to respond to his response to your objection, only to find that you had already done so, and in a much better way than I would have managed.
Just to say that some discussion is going via email, and that if you were to set up an email here, it would be good to have you involved in those discussions.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 08:50, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I have now enabled e-mail from other users in my preferences.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 12:09, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

RfC/U draft re: Jagged 85[edit]


Thought you should be aware of the Draft RfC/U concerning Jagged 85 at User:Syncategoremata/Draft. Hope you can find time to help.

Steve — SteveMcCluskey (talk) 02:08, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

OOPS; I see that Syncategoremata has already mentioned that above.

RFC discussion of User:Jagged 85[edit]

A request for comments has been filed concerning the conduct of Jagged 85 (talk · contribs). You are invited to comment on the discussion at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Jagged 85. -- Syncategoremata (talk) 17:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I've noticed that you spent the last two days analyzing edits. Unless you think they will be useful for further proceedings, it's absolutely already enough to warrant a check (in particular since I've pretty much already said it). Amalthea 16:21, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Most of the time I have spent putting together the SPI case has not been devoted to "analyzing edits" (though I have done a little of that) but in simply collecting the diffs of Jagged 85's edits necessary to establish a connection between him and the IP. While the diffs you provided for the IP's edits (and thank you very much for doing so) are certainly enough to demonstrate a likely connection to someone who is already familiar with Jagged 85's activities, I can't see how they could do so by themselves to anyone who isn't.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 05:56, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Alright, just wanted to make sure that you don't put too much work into that part. Cheers, Amalthea 07:18, 14 June 2010 (UTC)


Good job on the SPI draft, here's a couple of additional things to keep in mind. The IP is the suspected sockpuppet, Jagged here is the sockpuppeteer, not the sockpuppet. Also, the IP becomes active, after about a month of inactivity, within a few hours of the initiation of the RfC with this edit [5], not after the RfC as stated in the SPI draft. Thanks a lot for doing this, I was going to file one myself but seems like you beat me to it. Athenean (talk) 18:19, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for picking up those deficiencies and letting me know about them.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 05:56, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
As far as getting a checkuser, I think the evidence you have gathered is more than sufficient. For the SPI, that's all that's needed. The rest will come in handy later. Athenean (talk) 06:00, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I have now finished the draft. I'll hold off lodging it for a few more hours so other editors can have an opportunity to provide feedback.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 08:10, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Many thanks for your work in this sordid task David. A couple of comments:
  • You write of the RfC/U "in which many editors alleged that he been systematically misrepresenting sources"; it might be worth stressing there that Jagged agreed that he had done this.
  • The time period where the IP is editing both Eroge content and other content looks much more to my mind like someone not wanting to be seen editing "dubious" material. Note that during that period the IP also edits Timeline of thermodynamics (which Jagged has edited both before and after that time) and Jagged edits articles about anime characters (Jagged often edits on JRPG too; so the Eroge material is within his usual remit). Also of the articles edited during that period by the IP, the following have also been edited by Jagged at other times: Avenger (Fate/hollow ataraxia) and Bishōjo game. In other words, that sequence of edits looks (to my eyes) more like proof that this *is* Jagged's sockpuppet, rather than the reverse.
My only other comment is that it seems to be quite long for an SPI; perhaps the first paragraph might be shortened and the summary of the RfC/U agreement removed (and just quote the agreements as you discuss their violations?). The same might be true of the 'Possibility of other users editing from the IP' section, as I've mentioned above.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 11:42, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Great work in pulling this together. However, I agree with Syncat's analysis above. I suggest changing the following phrase "that someone other than Jagged 85 himself has may have been editing from that IP address."
The only thing I would add is to note that the CU must check for sleeper accounts and IPs. I wouldn't be surprised if he has some already. Athenean (talk) 04:46, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Hold on, I have something to say on the reciprocating machine, since this has been a core dispute between Jagged and me over a wide array of articles. I need some time to collect some diffs. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 10:57, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Added my view on the matter. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 11:43, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
GPM: I edited your addition to focus on the IP's behavior as a continuation of Jagged 85's practice in contravention of the agreement. Hope that's OK. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:12, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. :-) Gun Powder Ma (talk) 16:35, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Jagged_85 has written a partial reply on his talk page: User_talk:Jagged_85#Hello. In it he writes that 'I'd like to avoid a CheckUser investigation if possible.', and seems to say that he would prefer a ban over an investigation. Dialectric (talk) 21:36, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hi, I just came upon this following up on an unrelated fiasco at Forced conversion: a few days ago made edits that were very similar to Jagged 85's edits to the same page. Yesterday the IP edited another article Jagged 85 has edited periodically, History of calculus, before being blocked by zzuuzz as a proxy. If this is Jagged 85 it would have implications for the SPI.--Cúchullain t/c 17:52, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the ref; in the edit you mentioned to History of calculus,'s restored this earlier edit that had been made by Jagged 85. Looks like we have another address for the SPI. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:29, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Hack hack hack[edit]

David, I'm editing the hell out of your evidence submission in the draft SPI, particularly the lead. Please just revert me or re-edit as you feel appropriate, but I am concerned that the SPI is too long as it stands (and there is a backlog at SPI now) and that we need to just get this filed: it is up to the clerks and administrators whether they feel it is appropriate to run a check user, not us.
Once it has been filed and acted on, we can apply to AN/I if appropriate.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 15:12, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Well, I did a lot of editing but I'm not sure I shortened it much. Please use or discard as you wish.
All my best wishes. –Syncategoremata (talk) 15:40, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

User:David J Wilson/sandbox[edit]

Hey there David.
Do you think you could please kindly {{tlx}} the {{RFCU}} template located at User:David J Wilson/sandbox to prevent the page showing up at Category:SPI requests for pre-CheckUser review? I assume you are preparing the case for submission, so don't forget to remove the tlx if you do submit it! Thanks.
Kindest regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 13:39, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for letting me know of the problem and apologies for the inconvenience—I wasn't aware that the templates would affect other pages. I have now commented them out.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:48, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
No worries, that's excellent now. Thank you very much. Regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 16:44, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

GA reassessment[edit]

An article that you have been involved in editing, Astronomy in medieval Islam has been nominated for a good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments here . If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status will be removed from the article.

Science in the Middle Ages[edit]

Hello. You are invited to take part in the discussion on Science in the Middle Ages. The question is should we keep or remove the section on the Islamic world. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 08:28, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Shape of the Earth Merger Discussion[edit]

Your comments are welcome at the discussion of the merger proposals involving Flat Earth, Spherical Earth, and Shape of the Earth. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:13, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Talk:Nicolaus Copernicus[edit]

Thanks for cleaning up, and then figuring out, the mess at Talk:Nicolaus Copernicus. Do you think it would be possible to get more people who are interested in the history of astronomy to work on the Nicolaus Copernicus article? I think that the article's quality suffers because its editing has been dominated by Poland v. Germany partisans, who are primarily interested in making a "case" for the country of their choice.—Finell 01:29, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm not confident that anyone you might induce to work on the article would want to remain for very long once the battle over the nationality question flares up again—as I suspect it eventually will. Nevertheless, there does appear to be something of a lull in hostilities at the moment, and one of the staunchest champions of the German cause seems to have been banned indefinitely from engaging in discussions about Poles, Poland or entities whose Polishness is disputed, which would certainly include Copernicus. As far as I can tell, this ban is still in effect. It might therefore be worthwhile advertising for editors on the talk pages of the WikiProjects for which the article is considered important (viz. History of Science, Astronomy and Philosophy).
David Wilson (talk · cont) 01:13, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
I was not aware of that sanction. It would be good to make the most of the current peace. Could you encourage some editors with the right qualifications, or possibly the projects, to work on Nicolaus Copernicus? The topic deserves an FA. This article does not even approach GA, in my opinion. I have had very little time for Wikipedia lately, and I do not see that changing in the next few months. Thanks again.—Finell 09:41, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


Thanks David for your correction on the roman miles which I'm happy with. Sorry for the somewhat cross purposes exhibited in my posts - the reason was that just before Norloch posted I had changed the following section which had been claiming that Ptolemy's 180° estimate of Asia was correct and I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that his query was indirectly related to that. But I don't want to get into a further discussion with the newest contributor! Chris55 (talk) 13:00, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Invitation to comment on RFC regarding the stubbing (deletion) of the Mathematics in medieval Islam article[edit]

You are invited to comment on the content dispute regarding the stubbing of the Mathematics in medieval Islam article Thank You -Aquib (talk) 03:55, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Jagged 85 RFC/U and cleanup has been appealed to ArbCom[edit]

You are involved in a recently-filed request for arbitration. Please review the request at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Jagged 85 RFC/U and cleanup and, if you wish to do so, enter your statement and any other material you wish to submit to the Arbitration Committee. Additionally, the following resources may be of use—

Thanks, -Aquib (talk) 04:39, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Jagged 85 cleanup: article stubbing[edit]

Hello. You are invited to take part in this vote concerning the clean-up effort in connectuion with Jagged 85's RFC/U. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 11:40, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, David J Wilson. You have new messages at Jayen466's talk page.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

The 3-Revert Rule[edit]

After having received your message, I will adhere to the 3-Revert Rule. However, that being said, the other editors have already broken it (i.e. Yk Yk Yk Yk). Whether these other said editors (i.e. Rangoon & Yk Yk Yk Yk) are two different people or one and the same, it is clear that their postings are erroneous and intentionally so. Apart from the fact that both individuals have continuously reverted the web page to its former incorrect self, both said individuals have also failed to refute my posted cites and authorities. I am a lawyer and I don't merely give an opinion on an encyclopedic website. What was presented by me is nothing more than factual information based on reliable and checkable cites and authorities. The other competing editors have provided nothing more than unsupported claims without the benefit of their own cites and authorities. And what was on the website that they reverted it to contains information that was not only wrong, but was proven wrong by the cites and authorities that I had provided. Indeed, after having checked the said editors information against the information provided by various official University websites from throughout the world, I have found that Rangoon11 & Yk Yk Yk's information was not confirmed by the said reliable citations that I have relied upon and used as references. As a consequence, one must conclude that these said editors known as Rangoon and Yk Yk Yk Yk have perpetuated erroneous information. The said editors Rangoon and Yk Yk Yk Yk, whether two separate individuals or one and the same person, appear to be intentional in their perpetuation of falsehood and this will not be tolerated. After having heard the founder of Wikipedia speak at the Berkman Law Center of Harvard University one early evening six years ago it is clear to me what the online encyclopedia is for. Wikipedia is for the dissemination of truth. And although Wikipedia, being a free online encyclopedia, can be edited by anyone on earth it must serve its purpose of disseminating accurate facts that can be checked against existing reliable sources of information. Failing that, it is nothing more than another blog or comment website. Two wrong editors perpetuating falsehood don't make a right!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thetruthnow2012 (talk) 21:31, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the 3-Revert Rule Warning[edit]

It hasn't escaped my attention that you failed to warn the other two editors, namely Rangoon11 and Yk Yk Yk, of their 4 or 5 edits per day violation of the rule. And I don't believe that you bothered to check up on what they claimed either. Moreover, it has already been noted on Rangoon11's own talk page that other University officials have already complained about him in his grossly inaccurate edits. My suggestion to you is to never take sides unless you have reliable factual foundation for doing so. Otherwise, you yourself may be accused of aiding and abetting the erroneous falsehoods perpetuated by Rangoon11 and Yk Yk Yk.

Thetruthnow2012 (talk) 23:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Please note that the 3-reversion rule applies to reversions, not edits. The rule says explicitly that "[a] series of consecutive saved revert edits by one user with no intervening edits by another user counts as one revert." I did not warn any other editor because as far as I could tell no other editor had either violated the 3-revert rule, or was in immediate danger of doing so. I will have more to say on this in the dispute resolution discussion.
David Wilson (talk · cont)
Update: On checking further back in the history of the article List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation I see that Rangoon11 does indeed appear to have violated the 3-revert rule on that article between 11:56 on July 3rd and 10:47 of July 4th, with 5 reverts during that period. I did not notice this when I previously checked the article's history because I only did a quick check of the preceding 24 hours. Within that period, at the time when I performed the check, Rangoon11 had only performed 2 reverts and was in no immediate danger of again violating the 3-revert rule.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:06, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Dispute Resolution Notice[edit]

I have entered you into the Dispute Resolution arena.

Thetruthnow2012 (talk) 07:09, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

History of Science Sidebar[edit]

Some time ago you objected to William M. Connelly's transformation of the HoS Sidebar to collapsible form. I subsequently argued in favor of this change. I'd appreciate your comments before I implement the change. Thanks --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:12, 28 July 2011 (UTC)


Your attempt to improve the Galileo article itself needs improvement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your feedback. It would be much more helpful, however, if you could provide some specific details about which edit of mine you're referring to, and how it could have been improved. Please do so on the article's talk page. Also please take heed of the many requests on your talk page to sign your comments. Not doing so is inconsiderate of other editors, and makes it much less likely that they will take your contributions seriously.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 12:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Who is or was William Wallace?[edit]

Hello David, Reference #2 @ Nicole Oresme made me curious who William Wallace was, but there are too many people by that name. It seems we don't have an article on him, do we? — Sebastian 08:40, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

No, that William Wallace isn't any of those on which a Wikipedia article has been written. He's a well-respected historian and philosopher of science who has specialised in the study of Galileo's early notebooks and the sources which influenced him. Here's a web page with a little more information about him.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:46, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! Have a happy new year! — Sebastian 23:05, 1 January 2012 (UTC)    (I may not be watching this page anymore. If you would like to continue the conversation, please do so here and let me know.)


Galileo's opponents have become jackasses in the Galileo article. This is from Banaticus and Isaac Azimov. I am not sure that the theory of relativity is being used. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

You get the dodo award[edit]

To really screw things up, takes a computer. And a missing tag. For more than 3 years your lack of a </cite> tag after putting in a <cite> tag, caused the entire rest of a talk page to come out in italics, like this. Which, if anybody noticed, nobody managed to fix. Finally, by process of elimination, I isolated the problem and fixed it: [6]. So watch it next time. SBHarris 02:12, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Sorry about that. Thank you for fixing the problem and letting me know about it.
If I had been aware of the problem I would have fixed it myself. The reason I didn't notice it is because I have never read that page with MS Explorer or any other browser which renders the text between <cite> and </cite> tags in italics. Neither Safari nor Firefox does so. For the same reason, I had trouble understanding what you meant by "like this" at the end of your third sentence until I realised that you had probably tried to italicise it—as in fact you had (sort of)—by enclosing it between <cite> and </cite> tags. Since I was using Safari when I read your comment the text wasn't actually rendered in italics.
I only discovered by accident about a year or so ago that MS Explorer renders the text between these tags in italics. This effectively makes them useless, and so I have stopped using them. Nevertheless, thank you for the reminder that certain html tags should be closed, and that not doing so can have unpredictable and unfortunate consequences.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 11:59, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks-- now I learned something. It's less of a wonder that nobody noticed the problem, now. To make it worse, I'm not using the latest version of IE, so even that might be fixed by now. Considering the way Wiki markup language chokes at unclosed <ref> tags, I wonder why it doesn't do the same for unpaired <cite> tags? Finding them now reminds me of the old days of programming, where you had to count up nested parens in FORTRAN by "hand" and the mighty computer never gave you any assistence (and in most cases never even gave you a clue that this was where the problem was, in your buggy program). SBHarris 22:20, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Elvis Presley[edit]

You should be aware of the fact that DocKino is head of a certain gang that polices the Elvis article. He frequently removes contributions by others he does not like, even if these additions and corrections make sense and are well sourced. See also these personal attacks by DocKino from 2010: [7] and the current discussion on the Elvis talk page. Onefortyone (talk) 13:58, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Dispute resolution survey[edit]

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Dispute Resolution – Survey Invite

Hello David J Wilson. I am currently conducting a study on the dispute resolution processes on the English Wikipedia, in the hope that the results will help improve these processes in the future. Whether you have used dispute resolution a little or a lot, now we need to know about your experience. The survey takes around five minutes, and the information you provide will not be shared with third parties other than to assist in analyzing the results of the survey. No personally identifiable information will be released.

Please click HERE to participate.
Many thanks in advance for your comments and thoughts.

You are receiving this invitation because you have had some activity in dispute resolution over the past year. For more information, please see the associated research page. Steven Zhang DR goes to Wikimania! 01:47, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Ptolemy - Regarding Undo Change[edit]

David, Hi. I was wondering why you undid my change on Ptolemy of information that was originally put there in error or as a deliberately untrue assertion (as in made-up information) by an earlier user? Regards... Stevenmitchell (talk) 16:26, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

No it isn't untrue, and I did do a little more than merely reverting your change. The information is in the reference cited, namely the article on Ptolemy in the online copy of the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. However the link given in the citation you removed pointed erroneously to the article on Theodore Meliteniotes in the same reference. Unfortunately, I accidentally saved my edit before finishing the more informative edit summary I was in the process of writing.
I have no objection to the speculation on Ptolemy's birthplace being removed completely from the lead (although it should probably appear somewhere in the article), but you really can't leave in something like his being "believed to have been born" in Ptolemais Hermiou without also mentioning the qualification that this is based on nothing more than a single 14th-century statement to that effect.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 20:15, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
P.S. I notice you have recently made another edit, which I also have some concerns about, to another article on my watchlist, Galileo Galilei. Apart from the fact that it was unsourced, the information you added was inserted immediately before a citation which in no way supports it.
In any case, that citation needs to be replaced with a better one. It is to a reference in Maurice Finocchiaro's translation of an outline of Galileo's theory of the tides which he wrote in 1616 for Cardinal Alessandro Orsini. But this reference doesn't refer to the idea that the motion of the moon causes the tides with the words "useless fiction" quoted in the article. It says that people ignorant of the "true causes" of the tides had "resorted to such useless chimeras as the motions of the moon and other fictions", and it doesn't mention Kepler at all. Galileo's criticism of Kepler for attributing the tides to the attraction of the moon occurs in his Dialogue, and that would be a much better reference.
As to Kepler's supposedly acquiring his ideas on the moon's causing the tides from an "astrological tradition", that certainly requires citation to a good scholarly source, even if his theory was presented in De fundamentis astrologiae certioribus. The correlation between the tides and the moon's motion is referred to by several classical writers outside of any "astrological tradition" (Posidonius, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, for example), and was even accepted by those—such as Pliny and Cicero—who were strongly opposed to astrological prognostication. David Cartwright's book on the history of tidal theories seems to imply that Kepler was the first to attribute the tides to a gravitational attraction between the moon and the earth. Earlier speculation attempting to explain the correlation apparently attributed it to things like the moon's pressing on the atmosphere (Seleucus of Seleucia), the rarefaction of water and air by its heating effect (Albumasar), or its lighting effect (Robert Grosseteste), or a magnetic attraction (William Gilbert).
David Wilson (talk · cont) 23:26, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Galileo and Oresme[edit]

David, the following are two different things:

1) The mathematical fact that if the second derivative of a variable X with respect to a variable Y (aka acceleration) is constant, then X will have a component that is proportional to the squared of Y. This is what Oresme found when applied to distance and time.

2) An observation from an empirical experiment that in nature a falling body (that starts from rest), covers a distance that is proportional to the square of time elapsed. This is acquisition of knowledge by experimentation, and is quite different from mathematics.

You can take the experimental observation from 2), combine it with the mathematical result from 1) and say something like "Ah, in nature we have constant acceleration". That is what Newton actually did, and it was easy for him after he (co-)invented calculus. The greatness of Galileo was that he went to nature and performed an experiment to learn about nature, rather than sitting in his room and trying to "reason" how nature should work (like Aristotle).

I think that the article in its current state does not make the above important distinctions clear. It is an improvement over the past article with the removal of "not entirely original", so I probably won't try to change it anytime soon. If you feel you can clarify what Galileo accomplished that would be great.


JS (talk) 15:36, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Thank you, but I'm well aware of the distinction you have drawn, and that Galileo's work on motion went very much further than the isolated discoveries of Oresme's and de Soto's, and I'm puzzled that you (apparently) think that this is in any way called into question by the simple statement that Oresme had already discovered the time-square law for uniformly accelerated change in the 14th century. Such a statement in no way implies that Oresme went any further than that, or controverts the fact that Galileo did. But, in any case, to lessen the possibility that some readers might mistakenly draw such an inference, shortly after re-inserting the note about Oresme's discovery I added a footnote pointing out that he regarded the calculation as a purely intellectual exercise having no relevance to the description of any natural phenomena.
I agree that the article's coverage of Galileo's work on motion is inadequate. However, the extent to which Galileo's theoretical work depended on the results of experiment, and the relative importance he attached to the latter is still a very controversial issue. A comprehensive and balanced account of current authoritative scholarly opinion on this would require a more extensive consultation of the scholarly literature than I currently have time to undertake.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 13:57, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I certainly did not mean to imply that you were not aware of the distinction, and if that is how it came across I apologize. Rather it was directed to the the author of the phrase (that you deleted) "not entirely original". If not you or me, I hope someone else will find the time for a "comprehensive and balanced account of current authoritative scholarly opinion". Thanks, JS (talk) 04:31, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the footnote. JS (talk) 20:27, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Face-smile.svg Thank you[edit]

... for compiling the list of patrons for the Galileo infobox; a bit of research shows that your list is spot-on.  ~Eric: (talk) 00:22, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Comma as decimal Marker.[edit]

Stating English speaking people use only the period as the decimal marker is incorrect, South African use the comma. I've continued to use the comma despite living in the USA for 28 years. The National Institute for Standards & Technology in the USA at expresses a preference for neither, they do state a preference for thousand separators as being a space. Avi8tor (talk) 09:59, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Found the Strasbourg university thesis on Jafar Sadiq![edit]

I have recently got hold of the Arabic translation of the french thesis by Strasbourg University. The English translation of the thesis is more compressed, however, and omits references to the claims made. In case, you wish to download the English version, here is the link:

Anyway, at the end of the Arabic version one can find the references. The name of the French thesis is mentioned in page 449. The book can be found here:

Do not worry about the Arabic page numbers , just scroll to page 449 in the pdf.

Anyway, the last reference is this:

T. Fahd. Ga'far As - sdiq et la tradition scientifique Arabe, (Le Shicisem Imamite), Travaux du Centre d'etudes Suprieures spécialisé d'histoire des Régions.

Now it has probably been suggested earlier that the thesis is this one:

Fahd, Toufic, ed. Le Shi‘isme imamite, Colloque de Strasbourg 6-9 May 1968. Paris, 1970.

And I think it is not far-fetched that it is the one. I found in a journal entry by Alessandro Cancian a mention that there was indeed a meeting between the scholars mentioned in the book, including Henry Corbin, Musa Sadr, etc., in 1968 which is in line with what the book claims. This is the journal entry, go to p. 99,

The thesis or book seems to be cited in various articles and areas. Google the name and they can be found.

Now I have two issues with the book. One is that even though it is a translation of a french thesis, there is no mention at all for many of the claims, except a few. An example is that the book claims in the medicine section that Imam Jafar Sadiq posseses profound medical knowledge which turns out to be common knowledge at that time about the four humors. Even one of the claims in page 45 of the book is that sperm proceeds from every part of the body. The references to these claims at the bottom of the pages are Islamic Hadith books.

I suspect that the original thesis is merely an unbiased study of Shiism; however, the book then takess the French thesis along with other sources and sometimes no sources and mixes them in order to reach the conclusion that Jafar As-Sadiq had scientific foreknowledge of Oxygen, General Relativity, Matter and Anti Matter, and so on. This becomes obvious by examining the contents of the book.

Thank you for reading, Regards — Preceding unsigned comment added by Neotherios (talkcontribs) 01:46, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Mammal diversity and the mole.[edit]

THanks, I should get to this within 24 hrs. μηδείς (talk) 16:37, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Galileo Heliocentrism Recantation[edit]

Hey, on Galileo's talk page you mentioned you knew of a couple secondary sources regarding that controversial letter. Have you by any chance remembered the one you forgot? I intend on putting the quote back on Galileo's page after I get the commentary from those secondary sources.

Thanks! GarretKadeDupre (talk) 17:52, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

I have possibly identified the source I had forgotten. It might have been Michael White's Galileo Antichrist, which has this to say about Galileo's letter (p.237, 2007 Phoenix paperback edition):
"Some wishful thinkers would have us believe Galileo was converted at the last to the opinion of the Church, but this is very unlikely indeed; he was merely hitting back in the only way left to him. Such sarcasm represented the last bitter punches of a man (who knew he had been wronged) living out his final days."
If this was in fact the only source, then my recollection of its being "reliable" was a subsequent confabulation of my unreliable memory. It's several years since I read White's book, but I do quite clearly remember that I formed a very low opinion of its historical accuracy. Also, White himself is not a professional historian or an acknowledged expert on Galileo. He's a journalist and writer of popular books on various subjects.
I am now aware of some other ostensibly reliable secondary sources, which I intend to identify on the article's talk page when I can find the time.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 00:49, 20 November 2014 (UTC)


I agree that Michael White is not a reliable source on the history of science. He is now producing a flood of novels. See his official site. One of his novels includes Galileo as a character. Elizabeth also appears in the novel. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Denunciation of Galileo[edit]

Hi David, I enjoyed the scholarly discussion at talk:galileo galilei concerning the anonymous or nonanonynous denunciation dating from the 1620s. Your comments focused solely on the issue of authorship of this denunciation. Therefore I am a bit puzzled by your concluding comment "I would be inclined to be very cautious in citing any material from Redondi's book." This seems like a bit of a nonsequitur. Apparently you agreed with my follow-up comments concerning the critical acclaim for Redondi's book. The fact that he was criticized concerning his hypothesis that Grassi was behind the denunciation does not detract from the merit of the book as a whole. Can you clarify your position on this? Tkuvho (talk) 07:24, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Tkuvho is vague about Redondi's genius as a whole. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

ArbCom elections are now open![edit]

You appear to be eligible to vote in the current Arbitration Committee election. The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to enact binding solutions for disputes between editors, primarily related to serious behavioural issues that the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the ability to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail. If you wish to participate, you are welcome to review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. For the Election committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 16:21, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Edits to Ja'far al-Sadiq[edit]

Hi As I understand ,your efforts is removing the grammatical errors in the page. Your editing caused a little change in the concept of text that I try to correct it. Thanks for your help. Mahda133 (talk) 06:55, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for your edits. The grammar is still not correct, but at least it now seems clear what the error is that you are trying to correct.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 11:00, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

I appreciate your help. Mahda133 (talk) 13:04, 23 February 2016 (UTC)


I deleted a redundant comma from Christopher Columbus. Would you please explain why you undid my minor revision. Thanks. SAOTY (talk) 23:08, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Yes. Apologies for inadvertently omitting the edit summary—the delete and return keys on my IPad keyboard are next to each other and I managed to press the latter instead of the former, thus prematurely saving my edit without the intended summary. The comma you deleted was not redundant. In the sentence:
"Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas, having been preceded by the Vikinger expedition led by Leif Erikson in the 11th century,[3][4] but his voyages led to the first lasting European contact with the Americas, inaugurating a period of European exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted for several centuries."
the comma after "Americas" opens a parenthetical phrase, "having been preceded by the Vikinger expedition led by Leif Erikson in the 11th century", which must therefore be terminated by another comma.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 23:29, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

No worries, mate. SAOTY (talk) 23:44, 2 September 2016 (UTC)