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In the index of this book, under j, he references several 'jokes' found throughout the text. I can't find one on page 91 - anyone know what it is?

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closed as not a real question by Loop Space, Yemon Choi, José Figueroa-O'Farrill, Steve Huntsman, Victor Protsak Sep 24 '10 at 21:22

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Well, may be that's the joke. – algori Sep 24 '10 at 20:16
Sorry, but I don't think that this is an appropriate question for MO. – Loop Space Sep 24 '10 at 20:21
Much as I'm fond of UAG, I'm inclined to regard this question as "too localized". – Yemon Choi Sep 24 '10 at 20:21
It might have something to do with the "Central electricity" on the ruled surface. I have not been that long in the UK to actually understand the joke, though. It's questionable whether this is an appropriate question, though. I'm voting to close. – José Figueroa-O'Farrill Sep 24 '10 at 20:26
I can't recommend enough reading the "history and sociology of the modern subject", starting on page 114. It is a funny but also incredibly opinionated and informed piece: I have rarely read anything as blunt written about a group of mathematicians (namely Parisian algebraic geometers). – Georges Elencwajg Sep 24 '10 at 20:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Dear Robert, the joke on page 91 is that the ruled quadric depicted has "Central Electricity" written over it. It is an allusion to the cooling towers used by power plants. Here is the obligatory Wikipedia link:

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At the bottom of page 90 he mentions civil engineering and the advantages of this shape for building a curved surface out of concrete. – Will Jagy Sep 24 '10 at 20:33
By the way Miles Reid is one ot the three only Ph.D. students Pierre Deligne ever had ( Rapoport and Le Dung Trang are the other two).Subject of thesis? Quadrics! – Georges Elencwajg Sep 24 '10 at 21:10

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