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March 09, 2005


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Oh, thank goodness. I was steeling myself up to writing a post on Bott periodicity. Now that can wait.

Bernard Guerrero

"what this blog needs is more military/diplomatic history."

'Bout time....

Bernard Guerrero

Though I have to support Carlos' next choice.


Actually it is interesting to look at the earlier relations between Romanians and Russia.

Around 1800s, the Romanian elite considered Russia as the best political partner: the only other local choices were Ottomans and Austrians, none of which was acceptable (the Austrians imposed a very tough regime to Transylvania).

However, after the Russo-Turkish war, the Russians decided to take a piece of Moldavia for themselves. It was then that the Romanian Russophilia began to disappear. A Russian diplomat said that "we may have won the land of three counties for now, but we have lost the friendship of a people forever".

Afterward, the Romanian elite looked Westward and found the French -- the French influence was tremendous in every aspect of Romanian life: culture, politics, administration.

However, there were also many people with pro-German views: during the 1848 revolution in Wallachia, it was proposed that Romanian countries join a "Greater Germany", which would have the territories from the North Sea to the Black Sea, but the Turkish Army intervened and the revolution failed.

The last pieces of affinity with the Russians were lost after the 1877-78 War (the Independence War of Romania), when Russia ignored those treaties with Romania made before the War.

The dislike of Russians was later augmented by the Soviet occupation and imposing of Communism ("davi ceas")


...and yet, the Moldavians still vote the Russian Communists. :-)


Dear Mr. Guerrero:

Support Carlos' choice of topics? You must be kidding!

The Mars images from his provided link were very provocative and interesting...and yet, as you scroll down, you run into paragraphs toward the end like this:


You'll see here that a representation of Cn is just the same as a vector space with n different anticommuting ways to "rotate vector by 90 degrees", and that this is the same as a real inner product space equipped with a map from the n-sphere into its rotation group, with the property that the north pole of the n-sphere gets mapped to the identity, and each great circle through the north pole gives some action of the circle as rotations. Using this, and stuff about Clifford algebras, and some Morse theory, Milnor gives a beautiful proof that

8(SO()) ~ SO()

or in English: the 8-fold loop space of the infinite-dimensional rotation group is homotopy equivalent to the infinite-dimensional rotation group!

The thing I really like, though, is that Milnor relates the forgetful functors I was talking about to the process of "looping" the rotation group. That's what these maps from spheres into the rotation group are all about... but I want to really explain it all someday!


Now what is really wrong about the above paragraphs? (not suggesting that I understood a word of it...lol)

But there is some glarring error...can you spot it?

Yes, it is the use of two, not one, but actually two exclamation points!

Someone is excited about this...and more power to them, I say, but I didn't understand any of it.

Ahh, my limited educuation.

Best wishes, (and nobody be playin' with those equations tonight, hear?)

Best Wishes,


Bernard Guerrero

"or in English: the 8-fold loop space of the infinite-dimensional rotation group is homotopy equivalent to the infinite-dimensional rotation group!"



I can't believe readers of HDTD are more interested in algebraic topology than they are in the history of Romania.

(Traveller, it's neat stuff, and I only half-understand it myself. Bernard, shame on you. Still, it's a challenge...)

Doug, you should have titled this: "Jockey Clubs: threat or menace?"

Bernard Guerrero

Actually, I thought Doug's stuff was great. But that one sentence there is just comical.


Dear Carlos:

I was just funnin' 'ya.

Of course what Doug wrote was wonderful...but History I understand, history I read all the time and I was going to respond with someting on the shanniagans with Romania at the Paris peace talks in 1919.

But what fun is that?

This kind of Algerba is not something I see every day...or ever for that matter....lol

It was interesting. This is probably cutting edge, damned if I know.

I admire people that do things that I can't do. Actually, I live not far from the hallowed halls of Cal-Tech and often I will here a Starbucks coffee conversation involving....things that I don't have a clue about, (and never could).

I can think that this is very cool and still not understand it at all. I can recognize its importance.

Though I wouldn't want to make it a steady diet...lol

Be Good,


Jussi Jalonen

Since the quoted paragraph from Mannerheim's memoirs was originally provided by me, I should perhaps note that it wasn't from the official English translation, but instead rather freely translated by me from the Finnish version. I did some abridgement, but otherwise it's still quite accurate.

For what it's worth, Mannerheim also directed harsh criticism against his colleagues in the Russian army. One of the examples is the incident on January 2nd, 1917, when general Krymov ordered his Russian division to leave the front at Putna, declaring that he had simply "lost confidence" in the Romanian command, and would instead march his division to join the nearest Russian army group. As a result, the left flank of Mannerheim's division was left unguarded, and there were no available reserves to fill the gap. The Germans exploited the situation and immediately penetrated the defences of the Russian and Romanian forces. Mannerheim was, quite understandably, furious, and accused Krymov, "this general staff officer" [1] of a "gross violation" of the "laws of waging war".

In addition, Mannerheim also gave credit to the stamina and fortitude of an individual Romanian soldier - one of his favourite anecdotes was the story of a crippled Romanian officer who had saved his HQ from encirclement. He also publicly stood up and defended his Romanian comrades-in-arms against the accusations made by the commander of the 4th Russian Army at a dinner party in Kishinev. Unlike most Russians, Mannerheim also had no trouble working with Romanian officers such as colonel Sturdza, "a brave and excellent tactician", who had served under Mannerheim in the defence of Putna in November 1916.


[1] As a field commander, Mannerheim held a principal contempt against all general staff officers; he considered them "theoreticians".


Hi All,
My name is Ludmila and I am (very sorry for that) a Russian. Just want to let you know that we were educated in Soviet Union that Romanians are our best friends (almost "brothers" and "sisters"). When I came to Canada I was trying to communicate with Romanians accordingly, but was getting back all possible accusations. I was in love with wonderful Romanian man but we broke up because "we are enemy" and he could not stop himself from telling me how bad we (Russians) are. It 's so heartbreaking.
The life of "common" people in different countries is almost the same - same problems, same believes. We can not be responsible for "political games" of our governments in different periods of human history. Why should we?
Are we so stupid?

Best regards



Ludmila, Romanians have a long history of betrayal by the Russians, therefore I believe that their use of caution and hate is quite justified. Not only were Romanian lands completely looted, and people robbed when the Russian army pulled out all during the 1800's, in more recent times, at some subconcious level Romanians blame Russians for communism (though they did vote for it themselves). Even so, I find the whole "enemy" thing a bit of an exageration, I don't think Romanians (who by all accounts are not more than farmers) could really consider Russians that badly.

Marian Soare

Here we have a little amateur history forum.

Some corrections: the Romanians did not vote for the communists, the elections in 1946 were grossly rigged. In what concerns “by all accounts are not more than farmers” I would like, the courageous Zaman, be a little more specific, maybe some references to those “all accounts”. Some “farmers” also made the US constitution.

In what concerns the Romanian lack of love for Russians. I would say that is not the Russians themselves that we do not like. I found myself that I can get along pretty well with individual Russians or Ukrainians. The Russian literature and music is highly appreciated by all Romanians that I know (as well as some Russian movies). It is the other things that Russia offered to this word that we like less, and I would say we where just collateral victims, the main victims being the Russians themselves.


Actually, the people who wrote the US Constitution were of the upper class, Jefferson himself a slave owner. By farmers I meant that they are not a conquering people. They don't have any real ambition to expand, which hurts and will continue to hurt them economically throughout Romania's existence (likely to be an indefinite period). I know you can't deny this, and I'm also quite sure you are Romanian yourself, and as all people, tend to defend your homeland. And yes, you have me beaten when you say the elections were faked, as here even if the Romanians had revolted, the Soviet Union would have probably silenced them. On a side note, people are pawns in their government's games because the people themselves trust governments with power.

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