is La Griffe du Lion?
A law professor writes:
Griffe du Lion" must be Dan
Seligman [the veteran business journalist, now with Forbes, long the
writer of Fortune's wonderful "Keeping Up" column]. The
convergence of writing style and subject matter interests is a dead
giveaway. Look at it as Griffe would: only a few thousand people have
this interest in IQ and only a few dozen can write, on any subject, in
that league. The population of the overlap of the two sets must be very
tiny. We know Seligman is in it. And have we ever seen Seligman and
Griffe in the same room at the same time?
you know what "la griffe du lion" refers to?
on a website:
1696 Jean Bernoulli and G. W. Leibniz concocted two teasing problems
they sent to the leading mathematicians in Europe. After the problems
had been in circulation for about 6 months, a friend communicated them
to Newton, who, when he had finished his day’s work at the Mint, came
home and solved both. The next day he submitted his solutions to the
Royal Society anonymously, as he did not like to be distracted from the
business of the Mint by embroilment in scientific discussions. The
anonymity did not, however, deceive Bernoulli. ‘I
recognize the lion by his claw!‘ he exclaimed." (E. Bell, Men
Seligman evidence is circumstantial but compelling. "La griffe du
lion" = "the lion’s paw" ("claw," actually),
or, in other words, the signature. In this mystery I am, flatteringly,
cast in the role of Jean Bernoulli, the Swiss mathematician who, in
addition to being one of the most important founders of the calculus,
was also father of the law of large numbers. (Jean’s brother Jacob and
his sons Daniel and Nicholas were mathematicians equally as famous. The
Bernoullis remain one of the most intriguing clusters of high IQ
individuals.) In July of 1995, Seligman, writing in Fortune as "Mr.
Statistics," muses on the wager that Claudius makes with Laertes
concerning the latter’s duel with Hamlet. Mr. Statistics analyzes the
odds with a computer simulation that, in effect, utilizes the law of
large numbers. I e-mailed Seligman and asked him point blank whether I
rightly detected la griffe du lion. He didn’t write back.
it’s a great guess, and I imagine the part about Bernoulli and Newton is
where Griffe got his nom de plume, but I don’t think the Griffe=Seligman
idea is true, because they’ve both been active in the same email
discussions. I don’t think Mr. Seligman, an eminently sane individual,
would go to all the trouble of taking both sides in an on-line debate!
Further, Mr. Seligman is a lifelong New Yorker, while Griffe is not.