Thursday, December 12, 2013
"… Galois was a mathematical outsider…."
— Tony Mann, "head of the department of mathematical sciences,
University of Greenwich, and president, British Society for the
History of Mathematics," in a May 6, 2010, review of Duel at Dawn
in Times Higher Education.
(Click for a larger image.)
For a less outside version of the central image
above, see Kunstkritikk on Oct. 15, 2013.
The late Colin Wilson appears at the head
of this afternoon's New York Times obituaries —
Margalit Fox's description this afternoon of
Wilson's first book, from 1956—
"The Outsider had an aim no less ambitious
than its scope: to delineate the meaning of
This suggests a review of Log24 posts on "The Zero Theorem"
See also Log24 on the date of Wilson's death.
Related material: Devil's Night, 2011.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The inclusion of D. H. Lawrence in that post
suggests a review of posts tagged Howl.
"The werewolves are here to save us."
— Simon in "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones."
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
For the late Jim Hall—
Backstory: Icon, 1:44 PM ET today.
Update of 11 PM ET Dec. 10, 2013 —
Matrix used to illustrate the well-tempered
scale. The integer frequency-ratio values
are only approximate in such a scale.
See also last night's "Pink Champagne on Ice" post.
The "ice" in that post's title refers to the white lines
forming a tesseract in the book cover's background—
"icy white and crystalline," as Johnny Mercer put it.
(A Tune for Josefine, Nov. 25.)
See also the tag Diamond Theory tesseract in this journal.
Related material —
* The title is a musical term…
For Blancanieves, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lily Collins.
See also this journal on the above upload date— June 21, 2012.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Or: The Naked Blackboard Jungle
"…it would be quite a long walk
Swiftly Mrs. Who brought her hands… together.
"Now, you see," Mrs. Whatsit said,
– A Wrinkle in Time ,
Related material: Machete Math and…
Starring the late Eleanor Parker as Swiftly Mrs. Who.
An I Ching study quoted in Waiting for Ogdoad (St. Andrew's Day, 2013)—
(Click for clearer image.)
The author of the above I Ching study calls his lattice "Arising Heaven."
The following lattice might, therefore, be called "Heaven Descending."
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Tonight was Honors Night at the Kennedy Center.
"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross." — Pynchon
"At a literary conference at SUNY New Paltz three years ago, among people who I thought would be positively disposed to Wilson, my mentioning of his name resulted in any number of arched eyebrows and suavely disparaging remarks. Now this might itself be, not an affirmation of justified oblivion, as one could easily assume, but rather a kind of indirect evidence for intrinsic merit. I stress the academic character of the event and the self-assured oiliness of the dismissal. In context, the reference seemed to carry a distinctly un-PC valence so that the reaction to it, as I picture it in retrospect, resembled that of a patrician vampire to garlic."
— Thomas F. Bertonneau on Thursday,
* The title refers to the film illustrated above, and also
(with a different meaning) to this morning's 11 AM post,
as well as to topics that may interest fans of the authors
in this afternoon's previous post.
Update of 2:02 PM ET:
From this journal on the day of Wilson's death—
"Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts,
Saturday, December 7, 2013
… and Little Colva—
"So it's the laughter we will remember…." —Streisand
Speak for yourself, Barbra.
Wachs reportedly died on Monday, December 2, 2013.
"What's too painful to remember…" — Streisand
"So set 'em up, Joe…" — Sinatra
A recent addition to Barry Mazur's home page—
"December 1, 2013: Here are rough notes for
a short talk entitled The Faces of Evidence
(in Mathematics) ([PDF]) to be given at the
Cambridge Scientific Club, Dec. 5 2013."
The Proof and the Lie (St. Andrew's Day, 2003), and
a recent repetition of the lie in Wikipedia:
"Around 1955, Japanese mathematicians Goro Shimura
and Yutaka Taniyama observed a possible link between
two apparently completely distinct, branches of mathematics,
elliptic curves and modular forms."
This statement, from the article on Algebraic number theory,
was added on Oct. 22, 2013 by one "Brirush," apparently a
Temple University postdoctoral researcher, in what he rightly
called a "terrible history summary."
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Excerpt from a poem by Johanna Skibsrud
(Toronto Quarterly , April 2, 2011)—
No, I could not love a human being if they
Even if I was a bear
Even if you were a bear
But I am not a bear. And will not eat you.
And you are not a bear. And will not eat me.
And that is why I could not love you.
Related material: Into the Bereshit.
" 'The nothing that is': An Ethics of Absence
Within the Poetry of Wallace Stevens."
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
See my Google Sites page if you would like to
download a zipped copy (31 MB) of my
Finite-Geometry Notes site
(not zipped, at finitegeometry.org/sc/map.html).
Or you can of course use a website downloader.
(Suggested by a recent NY Times piece on
a company, Citia, that splits books into pieces
for easier electronic access. The large zipped
file referred to above is sort of a reverse of this
Sunday, December 1, 2013
"It's going to be accomplished in steps,
this establishment of the Talented
in the scheme of things."
— To Ride Pegasus ,
by Anne McCaffrey (Radcliffe '47)
Click for clearer image.
"May 7, 1997 'McX and Wyman' — In his essay 'On What There Is', Willard Quine introduces two fictional philosophers who put forward certain ontological doctrines: McX and Wyman. It would be interesting to know whether Quine was thereby alluding to some real philosophers. My guess for McX would be Hugh MacColl, but I have no idea who Wyman might stand for. Thanks for considering the question! from Dr. Kai F. Wehmeier — Email: Kai.Wehmeier (at) math.uni-muenster.de Web Page: http://wwwmath.uni-muenster.de/math/users/wehmeier/"
"I spoke with Prof Quine last night regarding your question which he found interesting. He says his intention was to create some fictional philosophers ('X' and 'Y') to illustrate some of his concerns. There may also have been a 'Z' man. These fictional philosophers were not designed to represent any particular philosophers although their viewpoints may happen [to] reflect those of actual philosophers. – Doug” [Douglas Boynton Quine]
The X-Men Tree (Nov. 12),
X-Men Tree continued (Nov. 17),
Waiting for Ogdoad (Oct. 30),
Interpenetrative Ogdoad (Oct. 31),
Waiting for Ogdoad continued (Nov. 30),
For Sean Connery on St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30).
Saturday, November 30, 2013
On St. Andrew's Day.
A Connery adventure in Kuala Lumpur—
For another Kuala Lumpur adventure, see today's update
to "In Defense of Plato's Realism"—
Continued from October 30 (Devil's Night), 2013.
“In a sense, we would see that change
arises from the structure of the object.”
— Theoretical physicist quoted in a
Simons Foundation article of Sept. 17, 2013
This suggests a review of mathematics and the
"Classic of Change ," the I Ching .
The physicist quoted above was discussing a rather
complicated object. His words apply to a much simpler
object, an embodiment of the eight trigrams underlying
the I Ching as the corners of a cube.
(Click for clearer image.)
The Cullinane image above illustrates the seven points of
the Fano plane as seven of the eight I Ching trigrams and as
seven natural ways of slicing the cube.
Friday, November 29, 2013
"These are odd facts…." — G. H. Hardy,
quoted in the previous post, "Centered"
Other odd facts:
If n is odd, then the object at the center
of the n×n square is a square.
Similarly for the n×n×n cube.
“In a sense, we would see that change
arises from the structure of the object,” he said.
“But it’s not from the object changing.
The object is basically timeless.”
— Theoretical physicist quoted in a
Simons Foundation article of Sept. 17, 2013,
"A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics"
See also "My God, it's full of… everything."
"I have now come to the most difficult part of my story."
"265/153" — Object Lesson
An accurate description of such number lore:
"These are odd facts, very suitable for puzzle columns
and likely to amuse amateurs, but there is nothing
in them which appeals much to a mathematician.
The proofs are neither difficult nor interesting—
merely a little tiresome. The theorems are not serious;
and it is plain that one reason (though perhaps not the
most important) is the extreme speciality of both the
enunciations and the proofs, which are not capable of
any significant generalization." — G. H. Hardy
See also some remarks on figurate numbers in this journal.
Nothing went wrong at the back of the north wind.
"What a queer place it must be!"
"It's a very good place."
"Do you want to go back again?"
"No; I don't think I have left it; I feel it here, somewhere."
"Did the people there look pleased?"
"Yes— quite pleased, only a little sad."
"Then they didn't look glad?"
"They looked as if they were waiting to be gladder some day."
For the birth date of C. S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle.
THE GOLD KEY
The speaker in this case
"Now he believed that where there was a key, there must also be a lock…."
"We must find the country from which the shadows come," said Mossy.
"We must, dear Mossy," responded Tangle. "What if your golden key should be the key to it?"
"Ah! that would be grand," returned Mossy.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
"Her metaphoric strength has never been greater —
really funny, among other things, a dark, dark laughter."
— C. K. Williams
Another dark lady:
"Of note on the Wadsworth Map of 1748 are…
the Grammar School, the 'Goal' or jail…."
Related material: Puritan in this journal.
Non-Puritans may prefer the following image—
Source: Yale English Department banner
Continued from Deo Gratias , a post at noon last Saturday
that featured blues singer R. L. Burnside.
"It is a fresh spiritual that he defines"
— "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven"
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A Yale death between Saturday night and Sunday morning—
Judicial Department spokeswoman Rhonda Hebert
Mr. Samuel See was delivered to the
Also known as Virgil the Geometer.
" Art, in other words, can speak to social conflicts,
and not always how you might think. Yvonne Scott,
a professor here at Trinity College, remarked
before the wake that in 1972 the invention of
Patrick Ireland was 'hard for people to grasp
because for a long while conceptual art wasn’t
understood here.' She added, 'Times have changed.' "
— Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times ,
May 22, 2008
A story dated December 16, 2008, from the parish of Shannon.
A post dated December 16, 2008, from this journal.
Continued from Pensée (Feb. 10, 2012).*
Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker of Dec. 2, 2013—
" When one speaks of Zwirner the gallerist, one is speaking
as much of a handful of women in their forties who have been
with the gallery fifteen or more years. Zwirner has made them
partners, meaning, he says, that they 'will participate in profits
as the gallery does well.' They are Angela Choon, who runs the
London gallery; Hanna Schouwink, from Holland; Bellatrix Hubert,
from France; and Kristine Bell, from outside Buffalo. Seeing them
all together, at an opening or a dinner, brings to mind David
Carradine’s gang of glamorous assassins in 'Kill Bill.' "
See also the previous post, on An Object of Beauty.
* For some related art, see Square Round.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
In memory of a composer who reportedly died
on Thursday, November 21, 2013:
Related material, for mature audiences only, "based on the
confessional poetry of Anne Sexton," from Nov. 8, 2012:
See also Confessional : this journal on that date.
Peter Keepnews on the late jazz musician Chico Hamilton:
"He was a charter member of the baritone saxophonist
Gerry Mulligan’s quartet, which helped lay the groundwork
for the cool movement. His own quintet, which he formed
shortly after leaving the Mulligan group, came to be
regarded as the quintessence of cool."
Suggested by a theater review titled "Filling the Existential Void."
Companion piece: A Poem for Pinter.
Monday, November 25, 2013
"Waiting for Ogdoad" continues…
"You want Frye's with that?" — A recent humanities graduate.
Frye's backstory: Ogdoad.
* Footnotes on the title—
For the groundlings: Urban Dictionary.
" In 2005, when Mr. Kavli announced that
he planned to start the prizes, he recalled
skiing in the Norwegian mountains as a boy.
'At times,' he told a gathering in New York,
'the whole sky was aflame with the Northern Lights
shifting and dancing across the sky down to the
white-clad mountaintops. In the stillness and
loneliness of the white mountains, I pondered the
universe, the planet, nature and the wonders of
man. I’m still pondering.' "
Ben Brantley reviewing a show by the X-Men patriarchs
that opened on Sunday:
"This isn’t just a matter of theatergoers chuckling
to show that they’re smart and cultured and had
damn well better be having a good time after
forking out all that money…."
I prefer reality (which includes the life of Fred Kavli) :
Whether the patriarch Kavli, pictured above, is now having
a good time, I do not know. I hope so.
The title refers to a post from July 2012:
"Thus the theory of description matters most.
It is the theory of the word for those
For whom the word is the making of the world…."
— Wallace Stevens, "Description without Place"
See also Finite Relativity (St. Cecilia's Day, 2012).
Sunday, November 24, 2013
The search for 1984 at the end of last evening's post
suggests the following Sunday meditation.
My own contribution to this genre—
A triangle-decomposition result from 1984:
Triangles are square
"Every triangle consists of n congruent copies of itself"
The Orwell slogans are false. My own is not.
* The "for Jews" of the title applies to some readers of Edward Frenkel.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
"We'll give the week-end to wisdom, to Weisheit, the rabbi…."
— Wallace Stevens in "Things of August" (see Storyville yesterday)
My choice for a rabbi would be George Steiner.
You once referred to the “patience of apprehension” and “open-endedness of asking” which fiction can enact, and yet you have described your fictions as “allegories of argument, stagings of ideas.” Do you still consider them to be “stagings of ideas”?
Very much so. My writing of fiction comes under a very general heading of those teachers, critics, scholars who like to try their own hand once or twice in their lives.