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[personal profile] mirrorshard
Twice recently, I've been researching something and come across a stray reference to something from another research project altogether.

As I was reading through Hunter's history of papermaking, a footnote directed me to Närrische Weissheit und Weise Narrheit: oder Ein Hundert so Politische als Physicalische, Mechanische,und Mercantilische Concepten und Propositionen, by Johann Joachim Becher (1682). This is, indeed, the same Becher who wrote (in Physica Subterranea, pub. 1703) something that used to delight me during my undergraduate years:
The chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasure among smoke and vapour, soot and flame, poisons and poverty: yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly, that would I die if I would change places with the Persian king.

The second is the great cannon Zam-Zammah, in Lahore, mentioned in Khushwant Singh's History of the Sikhs, and which I first encountered in the opening scene of Kim twenty years ago. It amuses me that the name has since become a slang term for a penis.
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