Archive for the ‘Scottish Culture’ Category

And while we’re at it…


Algebra is ane o the maist basic brainches o mathematics. Tho it isna aesie defined, it is chairacterised bi the uiss o seembols tae represent some operations, an o letters tae represent nummers or ither elements.


Algebra can be spleet up intae thir fields:

  • Basic algebra studies the parteiculars o an operations on naitural nummers, integers, raitional an rael nummers, an hou a bodie can solve equations wi variables.
  • Linear algebra is a theory o vector spaces, pairt o it bein the theory o linear equation an o matrices. Ideas an methods frae linear algebra can be uised in monie sindrie brainches o mathematics. For exemplar, the chief ettle o the study o functional analysis is infinite vector spaces.
  • Abstract algebra studies algebraic structurs like groups, rings an bodies that generalises concepts frae basic algebra.


Algebra, like coontin an geometry, is ane o the auldest brainches o mathematics. The name comes frae a beuk bi the Arabian mathemateecian Al-Khwarizmi cried Kitab al-jabr wa al-muqabalah (“The beuk o summary anent calculatin bi transposeition an reduction”).

Algebra wis cleckit for tae help solve equations. The solutions o linear an quadratic equations wis aareadies kent lang syne. In the 16t century Italian mathemateecians fund solutions tae cubic an quartic equations. In 1799 Gauss shawed that “ilka algebraic equation o degree n, haes n ruits (solutions), rael or imaginar”.

At the stairt o the 19t century Niels Abel an Evariste Galois pruived that the solutions o equations o degree bigger nor 4 canna be expressed uisin coeffeicients o the equation an algebraic operations juist—that is, the’r nae generalisation o the quadratic, cubic or quartic formulae tae heicher degrees.

See forby

  • Expression
  • Equation
  • Determinant
  • Group
  • Field
  • Matrix
  • Ring
  • Space
  • Structur
  • Variable

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Saint Andrew’s Day is on its way!

The radio is telling me that it is  Friday week until St. Andrew’s Day.  I’ve been planning for a while, but it looks as if the menu is going to be the same as last year:

Salad:Lanark Blue and Walnut Salad

Soup: Cullen Skink

Main Course:

* the Medley of Roasted Roots
* Venison Medallions in Cumberland Sauce,

* Orkney Fudge Cheesecake

Shock and Awe!

The SNP has announced that it would allow for sme sex unions to become legal in Scotland!

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament have confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue, indicating the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

I have to admit that this is pretty shocking news since Scotland has been fairly religious in the past with the National Covenant and not celebrating Christmas until fairly recently.  This is the same stock that the US religious right hail, although we could say the Northern Irish or Welsh try to be religious in the religiousity department.

I’d like to think this signifies that there may be hope for the US to get its shit together, but that may be too much to ask for.

Robbie Burns–The Slave’s Lament

This poem came up during last night’s celebration. There was discussion about Scotland’s part in the slave trade and that Burns almost worked in a plantation. Burns probably have supported the occupation movement since he was for the underdog and downtrodden. Doggone mentioned the the Selkirk grace in her comment to the previous post, which was our opening grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Anyway, this poem came up and I thought I would add it to my commonplace book and put it out there for others to appreciate:

The Slave’s Lament


It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthral,
For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O.

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,
Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,
In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

Wild Dancer commented:

recommend christine Kydd’s version on youtube (on The Complete Songs of Robert Burns: Volume 1) and for the history see the scottish archives listing

Getting ready for guests

Whilst listening to Get it On With Bryan Burnett on BBC Radio Scotland.

He’s hosting a Burns’ Night celebration on the radio.  They are piping in the Haggis, and I have yet to finish the tatties ‘n neeps and boil the cabbage.

But they started at 18.10, and our guests have just arrived!

Gardners Sauce for Haggis

OK, what is a better way to commemorate Burns’ Night than mentioning haggis?

In this case, Gardeners Sauce for Haggis which was made by Edinburgh Preserves who decided to stop making the stuff for some odd reason. I’m not sure why since it was really good.

And Edinburgh Preserves is still in business, which I found out whilst walking in my local market.  I believe they still use the name Gardeners as well.

For all of those who want to buy this sauce and have been trying to buy this sauce, you may want to contact Edinburgh Preserves to say that it was a mistake to take this product off the market.

While you are at it, you may want to sample some of Edinburgh Preserves other products.

Tikkun Olam?

I have to admit to liking Capercaillie’s La paella grande:

No more kicking up
And digging up
A hole in this world
We’re going to live it up
And fill it up
This hole in the world…

Tikkun olam (Hebrew: תיקון עולם‎) is a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world.” In Judaism, the concept of tikkun olam originated in the early rabbinic period. The concept has been given new meanings in the Kabbalah of the medieval period and further connotations in modern Judaism.

Lurianic Kabbalah has also been used to explain the role of prayer and ritual action in tikkun olam. According to this vision of the world, God contracted part of God’s self into vessels of light to create the world. These vessels shattered and their shards became sparks of light trapped within the material of creation. Prayer, especially contemplation of various aspects of the divinity (sephirot), releases these sparks and allows them to reunite with God’s essence.

The physical world is connected to spiritual realms above, and these spiritual realms in turn influence the physical world.

For some Jews, the phrase tikkun olam means that Jews are not only responsible for creating a model society among themselves but also are responsible for the welfare of the society at large. This responsibility may be understood in religious, social or political terms and there are many different opinions about how religion, society, and politics interplay.

Anyway, the world’s a mess and seriously needs to be fixed.  This song just reminds me of what I would like to see happen.