back to article Beardy biologist's withering takedown of creationism fetches $564,500 at auction

A first-edition copy of history's most influential takedown of creationism has sold for $564,500 at auction, the highest amount yet for the tome. The handsome green leather-bound book – Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, of course – was among the library of American racehorse breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon, who …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    You can get On the Origin of Species for zilch as a Kindle book if you're with Prime.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Or even if you're not: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22764

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        I have had a Gutenberg download for some time, there is a huge amount of good reading on there.

        I used to rent a smallholding on Downe Bank, one of the places that Darwin used to walk and that he studied. There are a couple of plants that grow there and nowhere else in the World, it sparked my interest in wild flowers and plants, the diversity in such a small area is amazing.

        1. Chris 3

          Downe is worth a visit

          To tread the sand walk and look at the earthworm stone.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Did you know that they had to chamge the title of "Harry potter and the philosopher's stone" for the American market because the average American was too poorly educated to know what a philosopher was?!

    2. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Joke

      "You can get On the Origin of Species for zilch as a Kindle book if you're with Prime."

      Does it explain how your distant cousin is an Amazon Prime-ate?

      1. Bite my finger

        No it doesn't. That link is missing.

        1. Red Ted

          "No it doesn't. That link is missing broken."

          FIFY

    3. Youngone Silver badge

      Surely it's not out of copyright? He only died in 1882.

      Think of his great-grandchildren.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      It's almost as if people buy first editions for some reason other than the content.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

    in the eyes of far too many people. The choose to believe what ''sounds right'' to them and don't worry their heads with the notion of ''seeking evidence''.

    The unfortunate thing is that they have votes and apply the same method of ''gut'' over ''sense'' and thus elect people like Trump. Admittedly Trump, and the braying mob in the UK parliament, do not help as they shout evidence-less assertions at the media and seek to confuse everyone.

    It seems to me that there has been a huge row-back on the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment in recent years :-(

    1. STOP_FORTH

      Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

      I think we are now in the Age of Disenchantment.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

        Couldn't agree more. Just wondering: where did it all go wrong?!

        Especially in so-called sciences that end with "...studies", beliefs trump scientfic evidence.

        1. FozzyBear Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

          Especially in so-called sciences that end with "...studies"

          That's an easy one. Contrary to the belief of those that study and teach it. It is not a science.

          Personally studying these, in my opinion, is akin to studying fortune telling and reading tea leaves.

        2. Beau
          Holmes

          Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

          "Just wondering: where did it all go wrong?!"

          Simple, 'Bullshit Baffles Brains.' B.B.B.

          You only have to look at Donald or Boris to realise this is true.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

            Simple, 'Bullshit Baffles Brains.' B.B.B.

            That must be some modern, dumbed-down, TLA, version. The version I head as a lad was "Bluff and Bullshit Baffles Boffins".

            (Yes, "baffles", not "Baffle". I imagine that's because "Bluff and Bullshit" were treated as a single ... er ... rhetorical device.)

    2. sbt Silver badge
      Facepalm

      More than a century and a half later ...

      ... and there are still folks who deny this most beautiful of ideas, desperate to cling to all the guesswork in fables of past millenia. They must subconciously recognise the essential truth; ancient theologies are built on the same sand they warn of and are readily tumbled to the ground if any stone is removed.

      It's philosophical Jenga.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

      To be fair to the Victorians, they were both aware of and generally unfazed by the principle of evolutionary development. They knew of extinct species - Richard Owen who was, effectively, the instigator of the National History Museum coined the word "dinosaur" - and there was a tacit acceptance that individual species changed their form over time. The major stumbling block was the idea of one species turning into another, for which there really wasn't a lot of evidence before Darwin, and in particular that Man might have evolved from primitive apes. The debate about that predated Darwin's publication and Darwin avoided explicit reference to human descent in his book precisely because that debate was so controversial that he didn't want to detract from the main thrust of his argument. That didn't stop other people drawing their own conclusions, but on the whole the book was reasonably well received and not nearly as controversial as we like to think.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

        "To be fair to the Victorians, they were both aware of and generally unfazed by the principle of evolutionary development."

        Indeed. For a good example, look up the work of Darwin contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace ...

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

          Yes. Wallace developed a theory of evolution through competition and heritable characteristics very similar to Darwin's, more or less simultaneously, in his work in the Pacific islands. The "Wallace Line" was as good an example as the Galapagos finches.

          1. STOP_FORTH
            Boffin

            Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

            If you ever find yourself anywhere near Broadstone in Dorset, go and visit his grave. It has a most unusual headstone, the shadow of which is visible on Google Earth.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

              To be fair, most of the grave markers in that graveyard are visible from go ogle.

              On the other hand, a 7 foot stump does tend to stand out.

      2. STOP_FORTH

        Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

        He did write other books, one of which was about human evolution. Wisely, he split this out of The Origin(al) book.

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

        True. As early as 1868, Cardinal John Henry Newman was trying (not entirely convincingly, but still) to defend Darwin's theory (as applied to humans, even) as being perfectly compatible with scripture and church teaching.

        Neither the Anglican nor Catholic churches ever condemned Darwin's books or his theories. (Plenty of individuals did, but plenty others spoke up in their defence, so on balance - a wash.) The only people really offended were those who insisted every word of the Bible must be literally true, which is to say, fundamentalist churches that prize blind faith over reason.

        1. nagyeger

          Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

          I once read/heard somewhere [citation needed], that fundamentalism is a social phenomenon that only crops up when the consensus shifts and the more traditionalist part of any population finds itself under attack for still holding their cherished, 'obvious' and previously-considered-moderate views. They react with dismay, and seeing the 'obvious errors' in the reformer's views and the unfairness of the accusations against them, they publicly adopt a more extreme / shouty position to try to get their voice heard. I.e. it's a defence mechanism, and shouting at them / belittling them just convinces them that they're a threatened minority and guardians of the truth.

          By failing to listen to their just grievances with the status quo, you feed conspiracy theories and convince them that the other side are distorting the truth.

          Scientists (justly!) get all upset when famous people (often actors or worse, philosophers..) speak rubbish about the deep quantum physics behind crystals/homeopathy/ley-lines/torturing cats or when someone with a total misunderstanding of say, speciation talks about how it can't work.

          But for some reason some famous scientists think it's perfectly acceptable to go on prime-time TV/Radio slots to pontificate out of their rectal regions on theological issues with all the understanding of an attention-deficit 4 year old. And because they're famous scientists and the presenters are true-believers in the cult of the scientist, they're not challenged, and the conspiracy theorists jump up and down and say "See, see! All scientists are out to destroy truth, you can't trust them."

          Which makes it really hard to sit down and have a rational discussion with people about how that particular scientist can be dumb and stupid when it comes to talking pseudo-theology, but actually does have some God-given evidence to back up his ideas about how God made this universe he put us in; or about how their preacher might be excellent when it comes to applying Scripture to modern life, but he's falling into the trap of deism when he starts promoting the pseudo-science known as intelligent design, that the awesome transcendent God is bigger than that, and anyway screaming "blasphemer!" might feel good in the pride department but, it is not obeying the command to put to death pride, malice, etc. and nor is it being all things to all people to save some.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

            " they publicly adopt a more extreme / shouty position to try to get their voice heard. "

            Yup, it certainly explains the "backed into a corner" stance of some of the more extreme organisations out there.

            It also masks the fact that they ARE a tiny minority - and once the majority of the population realise that, they're quickly shoved off into a corner to fester. the problem is that the louder the shouty and bullying bits are, the greater the majority required to realise this (it's normally somewhere between 70-85% not buying into the shouty stuff and then realising that there are only actually a few nutters)

            You can see this in the "snap" effect of proclaimed religions in census returns.

            People fill in what they feel culturally obligated to fill in (ie: "I'm from XYZ ancesty and they wentto ABC church, so I must be of this religion") and the realisation that they can fill in "Jedi" or "greater reunified reunification church of the globe artichoke(*)" or quite simply "not applicable"(**) - with NO punishment coming from the supposed community leaders - usually spreads around the population within 2 or 3 cycles.

            It's a bit like the issue of privacy laws and telephone books - across the world many people were in the phone book only because the (government operated/sanctioned) phone company charged EXTRA to not be listed(***). It was only when this was ruled an unlawful breach of privacy across many jurisdictions that this policy changed and within 2 years of such a decision in any given area phone books would normally halve in thickness.

            (*) There was a campaign in New Zealand universities during the 1980s to use this as a protest entry. It apparently hit "statisically significant numbers" (ie, higher than many "legitimate" religions) and was supposedly discarded as an abberation.

            (**) many census forms didn't (many still don't) offer a "none" or NA option - which added to the "obligation" to come up with 'something' to keep the government happy. I heard many stories of census takers hectoring people for not filling the field in or entering "anglican" on blank fields when doing data entry as the tabulation system didn't allow "no entry" or "none"

            (***) I discovered that whilst the number was mandatory, the residential address and name listed were entirely discretionary - resulting in my entry being on the other end of the dictionary and a horse paddock on the other side of town. Apparently that horse paddock had a LOT of phones in it.

          2. timrowledge

            Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

            Y’know, from the content of this post one might think that you have rather less understanding of science than you think.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

          " The only people really offended were those who insisted every word of the Bible must be literally true, "

          It's sometimes described as "I'll give you the big bang and 15 billion years if you'll concede there might have been a creator behind it"

          A fairly spectacular interpretation of "let there be light" :)

      4. Robert Grant

        Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

        on the whole the book was reasonably well received and not nearly as controversial as we like to think.

        Indeed nonsense like the following is pretty ignorant:

        It was a scandalous book in its day because it refuted the creationist doctrine that life in all its diversity was snapped into existence fully formed by God. "Design implies a designer" and all that.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Darwin is still a very naughty boy ...

      It seems to me that there has been a huge row-back on the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment in recent years

      I believe more careful study of the history of ideas will show that's merely perception. Modern scientific epistemology has never been broadly popular, and actually is difficult even for its practitioners to sustain. Humans are not evolved to be consistently and thoroughly rational. It's not feasible given the resource constraints and speed of conscious human cognition.

      In the so-called Age of Enlightenment, practitioners had the luxury of largely surrounding themselves with like-minded types, and ignoring those who still relied primarily on non-rational thinking. These days we have much more persistent, pervasive, and rhetorically aggressive sources of information, which constantly remind us of the prevalence of superstition.

  4. Symon Silver badge
    Pint

    Darwin, top bloke.

    "The tl;dr of natural selection – as he called it – is that over a long period of time creatures that are good at surviving survive and creatures bad at surviving die."

    As your man Herbert Spencer would tell you, it's more accurate to say that it's the "Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations." It's not necessarily the creatures that are good at surviving that keep going, it's the ones that are most successful at reproduction. For example, a peacock unencumbered by an enormous tail will be better at evading predators than a normal peacock, but he's not gonna get the chicks. Literally.

    Oh, and your man didn't always have a beard, he sometimes went for the sideburns look!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/Charles_Darwin_aged_51.jpg

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Darwin, top bloke.

      Correct: biological/evolutionary success is not about the individual surviving, it is about having grandchildren.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Darwin, top bloke.

        Thus it is incumbent on 'intelligent' people to procreate rapidly so in the future we'll have enough smart people to 'science the s**t' # out of all the problems we keep finding (making?) in order to save civilization.

        #'The Martian' is one good film to get the younglings interested in science

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Darwin, top bloke.

          But if you have loads of kids you won't have the time or resources to educate them, which is more important than any genetic inheritance.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Darwin, top bloke.

            Only having 2-3 ankle biters would be enough, if anyone intelligent can't manage to instil the incentive to learn in that few a number then what are they doing with their child rearing hours every day.

            If procreation isn't your thing then adopting a new born will be just as effective.

            All children are born inquisitive and with the determination & persistence that bare survival required, unfortunately far too many are literally years behind by the time formal education starts because they've only had a passive (or worse) interaction with the world during the years their brain was growing at its fastest. Then they grow up and repeat the problem. There's no easy way to break that cycle.

            1. nagyeger
              Joke

              Re: Darwin, top bloke.

              what are they doing with their child rearing hours every day.

              Reading / sniggering at the comments on El reg, of course.

        2. David Roberts

          Re: Darwin, top bloke.

          Sadly, intelligence is not a guaranteed inheritance factor.

          Granted that below average intelligence kids are more likely to maximise their potential if they have intelligent parents.

    2. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Darwin, top bloke.

      For sure, this was intended to be a toddler-level interpretation of the theory.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Darwin, top bloke.

        Maybe we toddlers would benefit more by being told about the great insight that Darwin had about survival of the fittest, as Spencer put it, rather than being told he came up with a truism?! On the other hand, maybe not... :-)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Darwin, top bloke.

        "For sure, this was intended to be a toddler-level interpretation of the theory."

        So, did the version intended to be published here on El Reg end up in the Beano then?

    3. Martin

      Re: Darwin, top bloke.

      Best summary I know is the very last paragraph of the book. It's also a beautiful bit of writing.

      It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Darwin, top bloke.

        Darwin shows a belief in the notion that man is the pinnacle of evolution:

        the production of the higher animals, directly follows

        Man came about by evolution, but evolution is about having lots of descendants, and by that measure, Escherichia coli is just at the top of its own pinnacle as is man.

        Man is not a species chosen by god or anything else.

        1. Paul Kinsler

          Re: Escherichia coli is just at the top of its own pinnacle as is man.

          See also, assuming ones nose is not so large as to be in the way, fig. 2 of

          https://arxiv.org/abs/0711.1751

          :-)

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Escherichia coli is just at the top of its own pinnacle as is man.

            E.Q. stands for encephalization quotient? Damn, a nightmare hippy chick convinced me it meant emotional intelligence.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Escherichia coli is just at the top of its own pinnacle as is man.

              E.Q. stands for encephalization quotient? Damn, a nightmare hippy chick convinced me it meant emotional intelligence.

              Weigh her brain? I'm unconvinced by E.Q. I've always been curious about Neanderthals given on average, they seemed to have a larger cranial capacity than modern humans. Yet we managed to kill them off or assimilate them into our DNA. There's been some odd claims as to why, like thinking Neanderthals couldn't fish, which seems strange given their tech level. My guess is we out-competed & out fought them, aided by good'ol climate change. Same thing may happen when octopi decide they're fed up with being wet all the time and want to get on Facepalm/Instagram.

              I'm also curious about the theory that evolution can't run backwards, and if our reliance on tech could lead to devolution, or we evolve to interface our wetware to software & hardware.

              1. Tikimon Silver badge
                Headmaster

                H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                "I've always been curious about Neanderthals given on average, they seemed to have a larger cranial capacity than modern humans. Yet we managed to kill them off or assimilate them into our DNA."

                Enigmatic, isn't it? I'm leaning toward a new hypothesis about that. I suspect ever more these days that genus Homo's initial success was due to throwing ability - rocks first, then spears follow naturally. Later, I suspect H. Sapiens outcompeted H. Neanderthalensis due to our association... with dogs.

                Dogs provided multiple advantages, for defense, hunting, guarding the cave (and later, herds and crops). There's a genetic component to associating with dogs, a reward pathway for doing so, and our health suffers when we don't have them around (if dogs improve your health, a lack of dogs lessens it). Those don't happen by accident, it was hugely adaptive and became wired into us. That speaks of dogs' enduring value to our species, a body of advantages that Neanderthals don't seem to have had.

                This hits the blind spot that most people have. Everyone assumes something INTRINSIC gave H. Sapiens the edge, but I suspect it was our external association with our best friends and helpmates, dogs.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                  Interesting hypothesis ... Except the Neanderthal population was gone over 20,000 years before the first domesticated dog existed.

                  Gut feeling is that Neanderthals never went anywhere. They were simply and quietly subsumed into Homo Sap.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                    Gut feeling is that Neanderthals never went anywhere.

                    I suspect that was part of their problem. So relatively small, static population made it vulnerable to events like climate change, disease and H.Sapien's expansion may have compounded that via competition. External events like Heinrich & Dansgaard–Oeschger could have created long, cold periods that would have made food gathering harder, and H.Sapien's expansion from the south limited ability to head south to warmer climes.. But then given the periodicity of those events, Neanderthals should have survived previous ones.

                    The dog theory's interesting.. Neanderthals lived with coyotes, but doesn't seem to be any evidence they domesticated them. Or perhaps some managed some basic taming, ie you notice coyotes are attracted to food, so offer food to build trust. The eye contact theory just sounds risky against pack hunters. So make eye contact with a wolf and try to outstare it, but the rest of the pack will be circling, then go for your leg tendons to bring you down.

                    But I guess that's all part of the fun for archaeologists and anthropologists, trying to answer big questions from small fragments. Evolution-wise, I think it's fun to ponder why there was divergent evolution in hominids. And dogs are perhaps also a good example of tampering with evolution, ie some dog breeds 'evolved' or bred into strains that aren't viable long-term & creating serious health problems in those breeds. Then whether we risk the same. So we've had floods in the UK, and pics of people being 'rescued' from knee-high water. Ok, wading through floods is risky given manholes may have burst open, but it's more inconvenient than life threatening for most people.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                      "Neanderthals lived with coyotes"

                      No. Coyotes are native to North America. Neanderthals never made it that far. Besides, the modern "Coyote" arose about 15,000 years ago (a trifle before the domestic dog), which is over 20,000 years after Neanderthal was to all intents and purposes extinct (odd bits of DNA still existing in modern human populations not withstanding).

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                        My bad, was thinking of the cave hyena.. Who's fate was also somewhat curious given their size. One of those canids vs felids things I guess. In my defence, I used to have a dog I nick-named Borophagus after his eating habits. Should have also translated 'rolls in the mud' :p

                        1. jake Silver badge

                          Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                          I seriously doubt the cave hyena interacted with humans any more than it's cousin, the modern day spotted hyena, does today. The dearth of art depicting the critter suggests it may have actively been shunned.

                    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                      Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                      "pics of people being 'rescued' from knee-high water."

                      _Never_ underestimate the power of flowing water and there are far worse things to step on than open manhole covers when the water's murky (a twisted/sprained ankle is no fun at the best of times, nor is getting a nasty septic infected cut/blister due to sewage contaminated water)

                      Anyone who's ever forded a river can tell you: Ankle high fast flowing water is more than enough to knock you off your feet if you stumble. Knee high will not only knock you off your feet but prevent you from getting back up whilst washing you downstream.

                      You wade in murky floodwaters when you have to - and only when the water isn't moving. Otherwise wait for it to go down or someone to show up with a boat.

                2. Danny 2 Silver badge

                  Re: H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

                  @Tikimon

                  I suspect ever more these days that genus Homo's initial success was due to throwing ability - rocks first, then spears

                  I heard the spear thing too from the BBC so it must be true. We could throw them, they couldn't

                  I have a good enough story. I had a gay childhood pal who died last year from heart failure due to HIV drug side effects,

                  He attacked me when we were five or six by throwing stones at me. At the time I was among the best three fighters in my year, and certainly the best stone thrower. I skipped his heels with stones a few times to warn him off.

                  He said, "I'm not you fighting any more". Because he'd stupidly started it and I was easily beating him. I didn't want to fight a gay, it was like fighting a girl. We always knew who the gays were and never attacked them.

                  He turned around back to me and threw his stone over his head. He didn't aim it. Struck me on the bridge of my nose. Split it open, blood everywhere. He didn't even know. He burst out laughing when I told him when I met him when I told him that when we was 21.

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Darwin, top bloke.

          True, but for a long time even after evolution was (generally) accepted as producing humans, the view has persisted that evolution moves to greater complexity, greater agility, greater intelligence.

          That big brain takes energy, though, and if having the brain doesn't equip you with a means to replace that lost energy, you're going to be outbred by those that don't have it.

          If you look at natural history books for over a century you'll find some with evolutionary trees putting humans at the top, but with evolution always progressing in roughly the same direction like traffic along a road. In fact, the only way you get to see the path of evolution is to look backwards down the track - never forwards.

          tl;dr - you're absolutely right, but many/most people _still_ don't see it that way... Even the humble slug is a badass in its own niche.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Darwin, top bloke.

        There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

        This bit is in Nightwish's "The greatest show on earth". A truly epic piece of music.

  5. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Actually Am-O-Zon will sell you a printed copy of Origin of Spies for two(2) Earth pounds...

    ... and they'll give you a Kindle copy for nowt. Check out the Creationist reviews, endless amusement...

  6. rg287 Silver badge

    Hollywood?!

    It is understood that the series about the magical adventures of a tween occultist is quite popular, spawning several Hollywood adaptations.

    There's nothing Hollywood about the adaptations - not since the (rapidly-snubbed) American proposals involved turning the setting into a US-style High School with cheerleaders and magical sparkling pom-poms...

    Proudly made in Britain (Leavesden) using finest British creative and technical talent and not a little bit of top-grade boffinry. Whilst the studio tour may be a nerd-fest for fans, it includes some props and set items which are often assumed to be CGI but in fact were achieved as cunning practical effects, very refreshing in today's world of virtual sets and digital-everything and interesting for those of a technical disposition whilst the kids are gorging on Potter-everything.

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Hollywood?!

      Warner Bros

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hollywood?!

      Oooh, sparkling pom-poms...

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Hollywood?!

      Though worth noting that the fabulous beasts franchise films are very American

  7. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Coat

    The winning bidder was interviewed...

    When the winning bidder was asked why he paid so much he simply said "Who dars, wins."

    [Coat->leaving]

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Isaac Newtown

    Ah yes, he of the mathematical principles of natural urban planning.....

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    In a word...

    ...provenance.

  10. Winkypop Silver badge
    Meh

    Perhaps if Darwin had been an American...

    ...we wouldn't still have such a bewildering proliferation of creationist mumbo-jumbo emanating from the US.

  11. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Origin of Species

    The very beginnings are not sufficiently defined, non-linear systems are understood somewhat later

  12. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Alfred Russel Wallace

    Just saying.

  13. Been there, done that, it never ends
    Headmaster

    math is hard

    A first-edition copy of history's most influential takedown of creationism has sold for $564,500 at auction, the highest amount yet for the tome.

    ...

    The winning bid more than doubled the presale estimate of $120,000-$180,000 and Mellon's collection as a whole raked in $1.9m during the auction on 5 November.

    Last time I checked, $564,500 more than tripled a number in the range $120,000-$180,000. So, yes it more than doubled it, but more than tripled it would be more accurate.

    1. dajames Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: math is hard

      Last time I checked, $564,500 more than tripled a number in the range $120,000-$180,000. So, yes it more than doubled it, but more than tripled it would be more accurate.

      More accurate? No. Both statements are true, neither is more accurate than the other.

      To have said "tripled" would have been more precise, though.

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