“To learn how to swim, one must go to sea”


The great G. W. Leibniz articulates very neatly the relationship between philosophy and mathematics (and indeed human knowledge):

1.“Sans les mathématiques on ne pénétre point au fond de la philosophie.
2.Sans la philosophie on ne pénétre point au fond des mathématiques.
3.Sans les deux on ne pénétre au fond de rien.”

which in translation (see Tim Gowers’ page) reads

1.Without Mathematics one cannot understand the fundamentals of Philosophy.
2.Without Philosophy we cannot reach the Foundation of Mathematics.
3.Without both (Mathematics and Philosophy) one cannot reach anything that is fundamental.

In order to be able to make use of the famous words of Benedetto Croce in the title, I post here links to sites where the works of some major thinkers of the Western canon can be located (either in the original language or in translation). The selection is of course idiosyncratic, but gives precedence to those who resonate more closely to the ideas of this blog:

Giordano Bruno works:Italian,Latin
Baruch Spinoza works:Latin
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz works:German,Latin,French
David Hume works:mixed
Immanuel Kant works:mixed
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels works:German
Charles Darwin works:English
Frederick Nietzsche works:German
Noam Chomsky works:English
Roger Sperry works:English
Pierre Bourdieu works:mixed

Below a set of links to interesting lectures, where great thinkers have produced a sum-up of their thought:

Gibbs Lectures topic
Gifford Lectures topic
Massey Lectures index|streams
Reith Lectures topic
Tanner Lectures topic

Video Transcoding: Handbrake + libdvdcss

Suppose you had your collection of DVDs which you lawfully bought in the marketplace.
Suppose you wanted to see them when you are running in the gym, on your iPad. You need to transcode them, i. e. make the conversion into another format (in my case .mp4).

Surprisingly, this simple problem is not that tractable, unless you commit money to some expensive proprietary software solution. The issue is the Content Scramble System, a lawful encryption system that scrambles the contents of the DVD and messes up the reading of them.

A simple transcoder – an utility that transitions a format into a different one – may fail if the encryption is not taken care of.  And this is exactly what happens with a simple minded usage  of the marvellous free & open source transcoder Handbrake


Handbrake needs the crucial library that inverts the scramble, libdvdcss.

Here is then the solution with respect to Handbrake (64 bits) on Windows:
Download libdvdcss-2.dll from
http://download.videolan.org/libdvdcss/1.2.11/win32/libdvdcss-2.dll (32 bit version) or http://download.videolan.org/libdvdcss/1.2.11/win64/libdvdcss-2.dll (64 bit version).

Then, move the libdvdcss-2.dll into your Handbrake install directory (usually C:\Program Files\Handbrake\).
Enjoy transcoding!