Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 PM

And an especially Faustian
Walpurgis Night to
Harvard University, home of
Robert Langdon, fictional professor
of Religious Symbology


“That corpse you planted
last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout?
Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost
disturbed its bed?”

— T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land

From Log24 last September:

Rachel Cobb photo of man returning a crucifix to Huichol village chapel

A man returns a crucifix
to a Huichol village chapel.

Photo by Rachel Cobb
for National Geographic


Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 AM

Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds
and Sacred Heart

PARIS — Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

Related material:

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

a film by Julie Taymor,
Across the Universe:

Across the Universe DVD

Detail of the
Strawberry Fields Forever
Sacred Heart:

Strawberry Fields Sacred Heart from 'Across the Universe'

A song:

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor

Shinin’ like a diamond,
she had tombstones
in her eyes.

Album “The Dark,”
by Guy Clark

For related tombstones,
see May 16-19, 2006,
and April 19, 2008.

Further background:
Art Wars for
Red October.

Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Calendar Catechism

Q: If the opposite of Christmas (December 25) is Anti-Christmas (June 25), and the opposite of Halloween (October 31) is May Day (May 1), then what is the opposite of April 30?

A: October 30… Devil’s Night!

Related material:

Walpurgis Night,
the previous entry,
H is for Hogwarts

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday April 29, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:09 AM
Sacerdotal Jargon
at Harvard:

Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe
(Harvard M.A., 1922)


Rosalind Krauss

Rosalind Krauss
(Harvard M.A., 1964,
Ph.D., 1969)


The Kernel of Eternity

"No culture has a pact with eternity."
George Steiner, interview in  
The Guardian of April 19

"At that instant he saw,
in one blaze of light, an image
of unutterable conviction….
the core of life, the essential
pattern whence all other things
proceed, the kernel of eternity."

— Thomas Wolfe, Of Time
and the River, quoted in
Log24 on June 9, 2005


From today's online Harvard Crimson:

"… under the leadership of Faust,
Harvard students should look forward
to an ever-growing opportunity for
international experience
and artistic endeavor."


Wolfgang Pauli as Mephistopheles

Pauli as Mephistopheles
in a 1932 parody of
Faust at Niels Bohr's
institute in Copenhagen

From a recent book
on Wolfgang Pauli,
The Innermost Kernel:

Pauli's Dream Square (square plus the two diagonals)

A belated happy birthday
to the late
Felix Christian Klein
  (born on April 25) —

The Klein Group: The four elements in four colors, with black points representing the identity

Another Harvard figure quoted here on Dec. 5, 2002:

"The theory of poetry, that is to say, the total of the theories of poetry, often seems to become in time a mystical theology or, more simply, a mystique. The reason for this must by now be clear. The reason is the same reason why the pictures in a museum of modern art often seem to become in time a mystical aesthetic, a prodigious search of appearance, as if to find a way of saying and of establishing that all things, whether below or above appearance, are one and that it is only through reality, in which they are reflected or, it may be, joined together, that we can reach them. Under such stress, reality changes from substance to subtlety, a subtlety in which it was natural for Cézanne to say: 'I see planes bestriding each other and sometimes straight lines seem to me to fall' or 'Planes in color…. The colored area where shimmer the souls of the planes, in the blaze of the kindled prism, the meeting of planes in the sunlight.' The conversion of our Lumpenwelt went far beyond this. It was from the point of view of another subtlety that Klee could write: 'But he is one chosen that today comes near to the secret places where original law fosters all evolution. And what artist would not establish himself there where the organic center of all movement in time and space– which he calls the mind or heart of creation– determines every function.' Conceding that this sounds a bit like sacerdotal jargon, that is not too much to allow to those that have helped to create a new reality, a modern reality, since what has been created is nothing less."

— Wallace Stevens, Harvard College Class of 1901, "The Relations between Poetry and Painting" in The Necessary Angel (Knopf, 1951)

From a review of Rosalind Krauss's The Optical Unconscious  (MIT Press hardcover, 1993):

Krauss is concerned to present Modernism less in terms of its history than its structure, which she seeks to represent by means of a kind of diagram: "It is more interesting to think of modernism as a graph or table than a history." The "table" is a square with diagonally connected corners, of the kind most likely to be familiar to readers as the Square of Opposition, found in elementary logic texts since the mid-19th century. The square, as Krauss sees it, defines a kind of idealized space "within which to work out unbearable contradictions produced within the real field of history." This she calls, using the inevitable gallicism, "the site of Jameson's Political Unconscious" and then, in art, the optical unconscious, which consists of what Utopian Modernism had to kick downstairs, to repress, to "evacuate… from its field."

— Arthur C. Danto in ArtForum, Summer 1993

Rosalind Kraus in The Optical Unconscious (MIT Press paperback, 1994):

For a presentation of the Klein Group, see Marc Barbut, "On the Meaning of the Word 'Structure' in Mathematics," in Introduction to Structuralism, ed. Michael Lane (New York: Basic Books, 1970). Claude Lévi-Strauss uses the Klein group in his analysis of the relation between Kwakiutl and Salish masks in The Way of the Masks, trans. Sylvia Modelski (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982), p. 125; and in relation to the Oedipus myth in "The Structural Analysis of Myth," Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jackobson [sic] and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963). In a transformation of the Klein Group, A. J. Greimas has developed the semiotic square, which he describes as giving "a slightly different formulation to the same structure," in "The Interaction of Semiotic Constraints," On Meaning (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 50. Jameson uses the semiotic square in The Political Unconscious (see pp. 167, 254, 256, 277) [Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981)], as does Louis Marin in "Disneyland: A Degenerate Utopia," Glyph, no. 1 (1977), p. 64.

For related non-sacerdotal jargon, see…

Wikipedia on the Klein group (denoted V, for Vierergruppe):

In this representation, V is a normal subgroup of the alternating group A4 (and also the symmetric group S4) on 4 letters. In fact, it is the kernel of a surjective map from S4 to S3. According to Galois theory, the existence of the Klein four-group (and in particular, this representation of it) explains the existence of the formula for calculating the roots of quartic equations in terms of radicals.

For radicals of another sort, see A Logocentric Meditation, A Mass for Lucero, and [update of 7 PM] Steven Erlanger in today's New York Times— "France Still Divided Over Lessons of 1968 Unrest."

For material related to Klee's phrase mentioned above by Stevens, "the organic center of all movement in time and space," see the following Google search:

April 29, 2008, Google search on 'penrose space time'

Click on the above
 image for details.

See also yesterday's
Religious Art.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday April 28, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Religious Art

The black monolith of
Kubrick's 2001 is, in
its way, an example
of religious art.

Black monolith, proportions 4x9

One artistic shortcoming
(or strength– it is, after
all, monolithic) of
that artifact is its
resistance to being
analyzed as a whole
consisting of parts, as
in a Joycean epiphany.

The following
figure does
allow such
  an epiphany.

A 2x4 array of squares

One approach to
 the epiphany:

"Transformations play
  a major role in
  modern mathematics."
– A biography of
Felix Christian Klein

The above 2×4 array
(2 columns, 4 rows)
 furnishes an example of
a transformation acting
on the parts of
an organized whole:

The 35 partitions of an 8-set into two 4-sets

For other transformations
acting on the eight parts,
hence on the 35 partitions, see
"Geometry of the 4×4 Square,"
as well as Peter J. Cameron's
"The Klein Quadric
and Triality" (pdf),
and (for added context)
"The Klein Correspondence,
Penrose Space-Time, and
a Finite Model

For a related structure–
  not rectangle but cube– 
see Epiphany 2008.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday April 27, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:28 AM
Happy Birthday
to the late
Gian-Carlo Rota,
mathematician and
scholar of philosophy

Rota* on his favorite philosopher:

“I believe Husserl to be the greatest philosopher of all times….

Intellectual honesty is the striking quality of Husserl’s writings. He wrote what he honestly believed to be true, neither more nor less. However, honesty is not clarity; as a matter of fact, honesty and clarity are at opposite ends. Husserl proudly refused to stoop to the demands of showmanship that are indispensable in effective communication.”

B.C. by Hart, April 27, 2008:  Discovery of the Wheel and of the Diamond

Related material:
The Diamond Theorem


* Gian-Carlo Rota, “Ten Remarks on Husserl and Phenomenology,” in O.K. Wiegand et al. (eds.), Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics and Logic, pp. 89-97, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday April 26, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:31 AM
Mere Philosophy

In Memory of
Edmund Husserl

“Mereology (from the Greek μερος, ‘part’)
is the theory of parthood relations:
of the relations of part to whole and the
relations of part to part within a whole.
Its roots can be traced back to
the early days of philosophy….”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“Beauty is the proper conformity
of the parts to one another
and to the whole.”

— Classic definition quoted   
by Werner Heisenberg
(Log24, May 18-20, 2005)

“It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern,
      and ceases to be a mere sequence….”

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

A Walsh function and a corresponding finite-geometry hyperplane

See also Time Fold
and Theme and Variations.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday April 25, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM
the Locus

"It is the intention
 of this piece
 to destabilize the locus
  of that authorial act…."

— Yale art student
    Aliza Shvarts,
quoted today in
The Harvard Crimson

From Log24 on
March 14:

Rite of Spring

From the online 
Harvard Crimson

Anatomy exhibit at the Harvard Women's Center

Related material:

A figure from  
Monday's entry

Mandorla from center of ovato tondo

— and  
June 30, 2007's
Annals of Theology,
with a link to a film:
The Center of the World.

The center referred
to in that film is the
same generic "center"
displayed at Harvard
and in the above
mandorla: not the
Harvard Women's
Center, but rather
the women's center.

See also Yeats —
"the centre cannot hold,"

Stevens —
"the center of resemblance,"

and Zelazny —
"center loosens,
forms again elsewhere

Related material
from Google:

JSTOR: Killing Time
with Mark Twain's Autobiographies

frame "writing" within his own writing in order to destabilize the locus of his authorial voice and to promote a textual confusion that doubly displaces
links.jstor.org/…Similar pages

Other ways
of killing time:

From Log24 on April 21, the date of Mark Twain's death–

Psychoshop, by Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny:

His manner was all charm and grace; pure cafe society….

He purred a chuckle. "My place. If you want to come, I'll show you."

"Love to. The Luogo Nero? The Black Place?"

"That's what the locals call it. It's really Buoco Nero, the Black Hole."

"Like the Black Hole of Calcutta?"

"No. Black Hole as in astronomy. Corpse of a dead star, but also channel between this universe and its next-door neighbor."

The Pennsylvania Lottery
yesterday, April 24, 2008:

Mid-day 923, Evening 765….

and hence Log24, 9/23 (2007), and page 765 of From Here to Eternity (Delta paperback, 1998):

He stayed that way for eight days, never what you could really call drunk, but certainly never anywhere near sober, and always with a bottle of Georgette's expensive scotch in one hand and a glass in the other. He did not talk at all except to say "Yes" or "No," mostly "No," when confronted with a direct question, and he never ate anything when they were there. It was like living in the same house with a dead person.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday April 24, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

George Steiner, interview in The Guardian of April 19:

“No culture has a pact with eternity,” he says. “The conditions which made possible the giants of the western poetic, aesthetic, philosophic tradition no longer really obtain.” Steiner doesn’t believe “there can be a Hamlet without a ghost, a Missa Solemnis without a missa,” and if you say that the questions addressed by religion are “nonsense or baby talk or trivial, I don’t believe that certain dimensions will be available to you. Particularly today, when the atheist case is being put, if I may say so, with such vulgarity of mind.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday April 23, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM

Upscale Realism

or, "Have some more
wine and cheese, Barack."

(See April 15, 5:01 AM)

  Allyn Jackson on Rebecca Goldstein
in the April 2006 AMS Notices (pdf)

"Rebecca Goldstein’s 1983 novel The Mind-Body Problem has been widely admired among mathematicians for its authentic depiction of academic life, as well as for its exploration of how philosophical issues impinge on everyday life. Her new book, Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, is a volume in the 'Great Discoveries' series published by W. W. Norton….

In March 2005 the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley held a public event in which its special projects director, Robert Osserman, talked with Goldstein about her work. The conversation, which took place before an audience of about fifty people at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, was taped….

A member of the audience posed a question that has been on the minds of many of Goldstein’s readers: Is The Mind-Body Problem based on her own life? She did indeed study philosophy at Princeton, finishing her Ph.D. in 1976 with a thesis titled 'Reduction, Realism, and the Mind.' She said that while there are correlations between her life and the novel, the book is not autobiographical….

She… talked about the relationship between Gödel and his colleague at the Institute for Advanced Study, Albert Einstein. The two were very different: As Goldstein put it, 'Einstein was a real mensch, and Gödel was very neurotic.' Nevertheless, a friendship sprang up between the two. It was based in part, Goldstein speculated, on their both being exiles– exiles from Europe and intellectual exiles. Gödel's work was sometimes taken to mean that even mathematical truth is uncertain, she noted, while Einstein's theories of relativity were seen as implying the sweeping view that 'everything is relative.' These misinterpretations irked both men, said Goldstein. 'Einstein and Gödel were realists and did not like it when their work was put to the opposite purpose.'"

Related material:

From Log24 on
March 22 (Tuesday of
Passion Week), 2005:

"'What is this Stone?' Chloe asked…. 'It is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.'"

Many Dimensions,
by Charles Williams, 1931

For more on this theme
appropriate to Passion Week
Jews playing God — see

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Trio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Rebecca Goldstein
in conversation with
Bob Osserman
of the
Mathematical Sciences
Research Institute
at the
Commonwealth Club,
San Francisco,
Tuesday, March 22.

Wine and cheese
reception at 5:15 PM
(San Francisco time).

a website of the
physics department at
the University of Toronto:

Mirror Symmetry

Robert Fludd: Universe as mirror image of God

"The image [above]
is a depiction of
the universe as a
mirror image of God,
drawn by Robert Fludd
in the early 17th century.

The caption of the
upper triangle reads:

'That most divine and beautiful
counterpart visible below in the
flowing image of the universe.'

The caption of the
lower triangle is:

'A shadow, likeness, or
reflection of the insubstantial*
triangle visible in the image
of the universe.'"

* Sic. The original is incomprehensibilis, a technical theological term. See Dorothy Sayers on the Athanasian Creed and John 1:5.

For further iconology of the
above equilateral triangles,
see Star Wars (May 25, 2003),
Mani Padme (March 10, 2008),
Rite of Sping (March 14, 2008),
Art History: The Pope of Hope
(In honor of John Paul II
three days after his death
in April 2005).

Happy Shakespeare's Birthday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday April 22, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

Stanley Fish in the New York Times of April 20, 2008–

“General accounts of truth fall under the category of epistemology– inquiries into how we come to know the facts and truths we routinely affirm.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday April 21, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM
A Fresh Perspective

“… if thou bring thy gift   
to the altar, and
    there rememberest….”
Matthew 5:23-24

The following meditations were inspired by an ad today in the online New York Times obituaries section–

“Been somewhere interesting? Tell us about it for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Paris.”

Country song, quoted here Dec. 17, 2003–

“Give faith a fighting chance.”

Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano–

“I sit now in a little room off the bar at four-thirty in the morning drinking ochas and then mescal and writing this on some Bella Vista notepaper I filched the other night…. But this is worst of all, to feel your soul dying. I wonder if it is because to-night my soul has really died that I feel at the moment something like peace. Or is it because right through hell there is a path, as Blake well knew, and though I may not take it, sometimes lately in dreams I have been able to see it? …And this is how I sometimes think of myself, as a great explorer who has discovered some extraordinary land from which he can never return to give his knowledge to the world: but the name of this land is hell. It is not Mexico of course but in the heart.”

From an obituary of mathematician Gian-Carlo Rota linked to here on April 18, the anniversary of Rota’s death:

Gian-Carlo Rota

Gian-Carlo Rota

“He always brought a very fresh
perspective on philosophical issues.”

Father Robert Sokolowski

NY Times obituaries, April 21, 2008: Cardinal Trujillo and Jerome H. Grossman, as well as William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer

Final Arrangements, continued–

April 21, 2008:

Odd Couples

Click image to enlarge.

From a novel, Psychoshop, quoted here in an entry on the Pope’s birthday, “The Gates of Hell” —

His manner was all charm and grace; pure cafe society….

He purred a chuckle. “My place. If you want to come, I’ll show you.”

“Love to. The Luogo Nero? The Black Place?”

“That’s what the locals call it. It’s really Buoco Nero, the Black Hole.”

“Like the Black Hole of Calcutta?”

“No. Black Hole as in astronomy. Corpse of a dead star, but also channel between this universe and its next-door neighbor.”

“Here? In Rome?”

“Sure. They drift around in space until they run out of gas and come to a stop. This number happened to park here.”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday April 19, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM
A Midrash for Benedict

On April 16, the Pope’s birthday, the evening lottery number in Pennsylvania was 441. The Log24 entries of April 17 and April 18 supplied commentaries based on 441’s incarnation as a page number in an edition of Heidegger’s writings.  Here is a related commentary on a different incarnation of 441.  (For a context that includes both today’s commentary and those of April 17 and 18, see Gian-Carlo Rota– a Heidegger scholar as well as a mathematician– on mathematical Lichtung.)

From R. D. Carmichael, Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order (Boston, Ginn and Co., 1937)– an exercise from the final page, 441, of the final chapter, “Tactical Configurations”–

“23. Let G be a multiply transitive group of degree n whose degree of transitivity is k; and let G have the property that a set S of m elements exists in G such that when k of the elements S are changed by a permutation of G into k of these elements, then all these m elements are permuted among themselves; moreover, let G have the property P, namely, that the identity is the only element in G which leaves fixed the nm elements not in S.  Then show that G permutes the m elements S into

n(n -1) … (nk + 1)

m(m – 1) … (mk + 1)

sets of m elements each, these sets forming a configuration having the property that any (whatever) set of k elements appears in one and just one of these sets of m elements each. Discuss necessary conditions on m, n, k in order that the foregoing conditions may be realized. Exhibit groups illustrating the theorem.”

This exercise concerns an important mathematical structure said to have been discovered independently by the American Carmichael and by the German Ernst Witt.

For some perhaps more comprehensible material from the preceding page in Carmichael– 440– see Diamond Theory in 1937.

Saturday April 19, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM
Shine On

(Continued from
April 21, 2007)

From “Today in History,”
by the Associated Press–

April 19, 2008–
“On this date….  
Ten years ago….
Mexican poet-philosopher
Octavio Paz died at age 84.”

“Mexico is a solar country–
but it is also a black country,
a dark country. This duality
of Mexico has preoccupied
me since I was a child.”

Octavio Paz, as quoted
   by Homero Aridjis

“And the light shineth in
darkness; and the darkness
comprehended it not.”
— John 1:5  

Images of time and eternity in memory of Michelangelo

Ya la ronda
  llega aquí

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday April 18, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM
In memory of
Gian-Carlo Rota,
mathematician, who died
at 66 on this date in 1999

“Numbers go to heaven
who know no more
of God on earth than,
as it were,
of sun in forest gloom.”

— Meister Eckhart,
In Principio Erat Verbum

Related material:

The Shining of May 29,

 yesterday’s entry, and

Against Reductionism

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday April 17, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 AM
Top Headlines

(at Google News):

  1. Obama, Clinton…
  2. Suicide bomber…

  3. Pope Benedict XVI…

In other words:

  1. The best lack all conviction
  2. while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
  3. Surely some revelation is at hand….

    William Butler Yeats

Revelation for  
April 16, 2008 —
day of the Pennsylvania
Clinton-Obama debate and
 of the Pope’s birthday —

The Pennsylvania Lottery:

PA Lottery April 16, 2008: Mid-day 413, Evening 441

Make of this revelation
what you will.

My own interpretations:
the Lichtung of 4/13 and
the Dickung of page 441
of Heidegger’s
Basic Writings, where
the terms Lichtung and
Dickung are described.

See also “The Shining of
May 29
” (JFK’s birthday).

“By groping toward the light
we are made to realize
how deep the darkness is
around us.”

— Arthur Koestler,  
The Call Girls:
A Tragi-Comedy

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday April 16, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:10 AM

Poetry for Physicists:
The Gates of Hell

From the obituary of physicist John Archibald Wheeler at Princeton:

In the fall of 1967, he was invited to give a talk…. As he spoke, he… [mentioned] something strange… what he called a gravitationally completely collapsed object. But such a phrase was a mouthful, he said, wishing aloud for a better name. "How about black hole?" someone shouted from the audience.

That was it. "I had been searching for just the right term for months, mulling it over in bed, in the bathtub, in my car, wherever I had quiet moments," he later said. "Suddenly this name seemed exactly right." He kept using the term, in lectures and on papers, and it stuck.

From Log24 last year on this date ("Happy Birthday, Benedict XVI"):

"Know the one about the Demiurge and the Abridgment of Hope?"

— Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise, Knopf, 1981, the final page, 439

From Dante, The Inferno, inscription on the gates of Hell:

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter."

From Psychoshop, an unfinished novel by Alfred Bester completed by Roger Zelazny:

His manner was all charm and grace; pure cafe society….

He purred a chuckle. "My place. If you want to come, I'll show you."

"Love to. The Luogo Nero? The Black Place?"

"That's what the locals call it. It's really Buoco Nero, the Black Hole."

"Like the Black Hole of Calcutta?"

"No. Black Hole as in astronomy. Corpse of a dead star, but also channel between this universe and its next-door neighbor."

"Here? In Rome?"

"Sure. They drift around in space until they run out of gas and come to a stop. This number happened to park here."

"How long ago?"

"No one knows," he said. "It was there six centuries before Christ, when the Etruscans took over a small town called Roma and began turning it into the capital of the world."


Related material:

Log24 on

Life of the Party
(March 24, 2006),
(March 26, 2006)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday April 15, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM

Best summary of Obama’s sneer:

Xenophobia, San Francisco Style.”

Have some wine and cheese, Barack.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday April 14, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Classical Quantum

From this morning's
New York Times:

Physicist John A. Wheeler with diagrams of classical and quantum ways to get from point A to point B

"John A. Wheeler, a visionary physicist… died Sunday morning [April 13, 2008]….

… Dr. Wheeler set the agenda for generations of theoretical physicists, using metaphor as effectively as calculus to capture the imaginations of his students and colleagues and to pose questions that would send them, minds blazing, to the barricades to confront nature….

'He rejuvenated general relativity; he made it an experimental subject and took it away from the mathematicians,' said Freeman Dyson, a theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study….

… he [Wheeler] sailed to Copenhagen to work with Bohr, the godfather of the quantum revolution, which had shaken modern science with paradoxical statements about the nature of reality.

'You can talk about people like Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Confucius, but the thing that convinced me that such people existed were the conversations with Bohr,' Dr. Wheeler said….

… Dr. Wheeler was swept up in the Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb. To his lasting regret, the bomb was not ready in time to change the course of the war in Europe….

Dr. Wheeler continued to do government work after the war, interrupting his research to help develop the hydrogen bomb, promote the building of fallout shelters and support the Vietnam War….

… Dr. Wheeler wondered if this quantum uncertainty somehow applied to the universe and its whole history, whether it was the key to understanding why anything exists at all.

'We are no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, or fields of force, or geometry, or even space and time,' Dr. Wheeler wrote in 1981. 'Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself.'

At a 90th birthday celebration in 2003, Dr. Dyson said that Dr. Wheeler was part prosaic calculator, a 'master craftsman,' who decoded nuclear fission, and part poet. 'The poetic Wheeler is a prophet,' he said, 'standing like Moses on the top of Mount Pisgah, looking out over the promised land that his people will one day inherit.'"

Dennis Overbye, The New York Times,
    Monday, April 14, 2008

As prophets go, I prefer
 the poet Wallace Stevens:

"point A / In a perspective
that begins again / At B"

— Wallace Stevens,
"The Rock"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday April 13, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:29 PM
National Treasure

Nicolas Cage in National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Pennsylvania Lottery today:

Mid-day 504, Evening 628.

Related material:

Today’s previous entry

and entries of

5/04 (2007), and 6/28 (2007).

Happy birthday, Thomas Jefferson:

“… God to a nation
         dealt that day’s dear chance.
 To man, that needs would worship
         block or barren stone….”

— “To what serves Mortal Beauty?,”
     by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J.

    (Quoted here on Aug. 29, 2006)

Sunday April 13, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM
The Echo
in Plato’s Cave

“It is said that the students of medieval Paris came to blows in the streets over the question of universals. The stakes are high, for at issue is our whole conception of our ability to describe the world truly or falsely, and the objectivity of any opinions we frame to ourselves. It is arguable that this is always the deepest, most profound problem of philosophy.”

— Simon Blackburn, Think (Oxford, 1999)

Michael Harris, mathematician at the University of Paris:

“… three ‘parts’ of tragedy identified by Aristotle that transpose to fiction of all types– plot (mythos), character (ethos), and ‘thought’ (dianoia)….”

— paper (pdf) to appear in Mathematics and Narrative, A. Doxiadis and B. Mazur, eds.

Mythos —

A visitor from France this morning viewed the entry of Jan. 23, 2006: “In Defense of Hilbert (On His Birthday).” That entry concerns a remark of Michael Harris.

A check of Harris’s website reveals a new article:

“Do Androids Prove Theorems in Their Sleep?” (slighly longer version of article to appear in Mathematics and Narrative, A. Doxiadis and B. Mazur, eds.) (pdf).

From that article:

“The word ‘key’ functions here to structure the reading of the article, to draw the reader’s attention initially to the element of the proof the author considers most important. Compare E.M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel:

[plot is] something which is measured not be minutes or hours, but by intensity, so that when we look at our past it does not stretch back evenly but piles up into a few notable pinnacles.”

Ethos —

“Forster took pains to widen and deepen the enigmatic character of his novel, to make it a puzzle insoluble within its own terms, or without. Early drafts of A Passage to India reveal a number of false starts. Forster repeatedly revised drafts of chapters thirteen through sixteen, which comprise the crux of the novel, the visit to the Marabar Caves. When he began writing the novel, his intention was to make the cave scene central and significant, but he did not yet know how:

When I began a A Passage to India, I knew something important happened in the Malabar (sic) Caves, and that it would have a central place in the novel– but I didn’t know what it would be… The Malabar Caves represented an area in which concentration can take place. They were to engender an event like an egg.”

E. M. Forster: A Passage to India, by Betty Jay

Dianoia —

Flagrant Triviality
or Resplendent Trinity?

“Despite the flagrant triviality of the proof… this result is the key point in the paper.”

— Michael Harris, op. cit., quoting a mathematical paper

Online Etymology Dictionary

c.1500, “resplendent,” from L. flagrantem (nom. flagrans) “burning,” prp. of flagrare “to burn,” from L. root *flag-, corresponding to PIE *bhleg (cf. Gk. phlegein “to burn, scorch,” O.E. blæc “black”). Sense of “glaringly offensive” first recorded 1706, probably from common legalese phrase in flagrante delicto “red-handed,” lit. “with the crime still blazing.”

A related use of “resplendent”– applied to a Trinity, not a triviality– appears in the Liturgy of Malabar:


The Liturgies of SS. Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom, and Basil, and the Church of Malabar, by the Rev. J.M. Neale and the Rev. R.F. Littledale, reprinted by Gorgias Press, 2002

On Universals and
A Passage to India:


“”The universe, then, is less intimation than cipher: a mask rather than a revelation in the romantic sense. Does love meet with love? Do we receive but what we give? The answer is surely a paradox, the paradox that there are Platonic universals beyond, but that the glass is too dark to see them. Is there a light beyond the glass, or is it a mirror only to the self? The Platonic cave is even darker than Plato made it, for it introduces the echo, and so leaves us back in the world of men, which does not carry total meaning, is just a story of events.”


— Betty Jay,  op. cit.



Judy Davis in the Marabar Caves

In mathematics
(as opposed to narrative),
somewhere between
a flagrant triviality and
a resplendent Trinity we
have what might be called
“a resplendent triviality.”

For further details, see
A Four-Color Theorem.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday April 12, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM

Yesterday morning’s entry:

let the spinning
wheel spin

Yesterday’s lottery in
the Keystone State:

PA Lottery 4/11/08: mid-day 707, evening 009




Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday April 11, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:35 AM

With thanks to my
anonymous reader(s?)
in France:

NYT obituaries, morning of Friday, April 11, 2008-- Carousel designer and others

Click on image for further details.

Ride a painted pony
let the spinning
wheel spin

Friday April 11, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:48 AM

.- El Arzobispo Emérito de México, Cardenal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, falleció esta mañana a las 05:30 a.m., en su domicilio….

of literary “signature passages” —

Don Quixote -- 'wasteland and crossroad places'

Images of time and eternity in memory of Michelangelo

Ya la ronda
  llega aquí

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday April 10, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM
The Date

A Xanga footprint this morning–

France /283018943/item.html? 4/10/2008 8:14 AM

This links to an entry
containing the following:

Date: June 13, 2005

Related material:
A Mass for Lucero.

That web page concludes with a reference to esthetics and a Delian palm, and was written three years ago on this date.

Today [June 13] is also the date of death for Martin Buber, philosophical Jew.

Here is a Delphic saying in memory of Buber:

“It is the female date that is considered holy, and that bears fruit.”

—  Steven Erlanger,
    New York Times story,
    dateline Jerusalem, June 11

This, together with the online
New York Times obituaries
pictured here on April 7,
suggests further consideration
of a female date…. namely,
that of a Log24 entry,

A Yahrzeit for Virginia Woolf,

from March 28
(the date of Woolf’s death).

March 28 this year was also
the date of death of another
female author,

Helen Bassine Yglesias

Helen Yglesias in 2000

Click on the image
for a larger picture
and further details.

“Attention must
  be paid.”
Linda Loman 

Thursday April 10, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 AM
A Pedestal for

The letter O on a pedestal-- cover of 'The Wonderful O' by James Thurber

Related material:

The previous entry

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday April 9, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:15 AM
A Yahrzeit for Baghdad

From Google News at
about 5:55 AM ET today:

Google News, about 5:55 AM ET 4/09/08--Curfew Marks Fall of Baghdad

Log24 five years ago:

Picture of a pedestal, rather like that which formerly  displayed the ruler of  Baghdad

Click to enlarge.

“When smashing monuments,
save the pedestals; they always
come in handy.”

Stanislaw J. Lec    

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday April 8, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM
Eight is a Gate

Part I:

December 2002

Part II:

Epiphany 2008

How the eightfold cube works
This figure is related to
the mathematics of
reflection groups

Part III:

“The capacity of music to operate simultaneously along horizontal and vertical axes, to proceed simultaneously in opposite directions (as in inverse canons), may well constitute the nearest that men and women can come to absolute freedom.  Music does ‘keep time’ for itself and for us.”

— George Steiner in Grammars of Creation

Inverse Canon —

From Werner Icking Music Archive:

Bach, Fourteen Canons
on the First Eight Notes
of the Goldberg Ground,
No. 11 —

Bach, 14 Canons on the Goldberg Ground, Canon 11
Click to enlarge.

Play midi of Canon 11.

At a different site
an mp3 of the 14 canons.

Part IV:

That Crown of Thorns,
by Timothy A. Smith

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday April 7, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 PM
A year ago…

  (Holy Saturday, 2007) —

From Friedrich Froebel,
who invented kindergarten:

Froebel's Third Gift

For further details, see
Gift of the Third Kind
  Kindergarten Relativity.

Related material:

“… There was a problem laid out on the board, a six-mover. I couldn’t solve it, like a lot of my problems. I reached down and moved a knight…. I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn’t a game for knights.”

— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Perhaps, instead,
a game for jumpers?

The image “http://www.log24.com/images/IChing/hexagram35.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Tom Stoppard’s Progress.

Monday April 7, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM
The Class,
 Without the Classes”

The New York Times
on the date of
Charlton Heston’s death

Leave a space.”
 — Tom Stoppard      
in “Jumpers”

NY Times obituaries April 7, 2008: Charlton Heston, Helen Yglesias, George Switzer

“Heaven is a state, a sort of
   metaphysical state.”
— John O’Hara,
Hope of Heaven

Monday April 7, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:20 AM

“Lord Arglay had a suspicion that the Stone would be purely logical.  Yes, he thought, but what, in that sense, were the rules of its pure logic?”

— Charles Williams, Many Dimensions

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday April 6, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 PM


"Something isn't real until it's on TV."
— Folk saying quoted, for instance,
   in Postmodern Times

Time of this entry: 11:07:48 PM.

Overheard yesterday, on the night
of Charlton Heston's death:

"He's a good gun, and we aren't
  heading for a church social."

— Yul Brynner to Steve McQueen
    in The Magnificent Seven
    (AMC, 8 PM ET Saturday, April 5, 2008)

"Lord, I remember!"
— Bob Seger

Related material:
this date last year
(Good Friday)

Sunday April 6, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:12 AM
For Sunrise

Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur in the New York Times online obituaries, morning of April 6, 2008

Click image to enlarge.

The above tableau, from this morning's
New York Times obituary page,
suggests the following meditations:

1. "Mickey Mouse will see you dead."
   — Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise
2. "Free!"
3. "I graduated in Alabama,
     Alaska, Arizona…."

These three meditations are
consistent with the fable of the
mice and the lion in The Lion,
The Witch, and the Wardrobe

and with the speech of
Aslan at the conclusion of
The Narnia Chronicles:

"The term is over: the holidays
have begun. The dream is
ended: this is the morning."

The rather depressing
"Death Notices" box
that has attracted
Charlton Heston's gaze
in the online obituaries
pictured above might
be replaced as follows:

A Hexagram for Charlton Heston-- Number 35: The sun rises above the earth

The Heston classic pictured
above is, let us recall,
based on a book titled
Ben-Hur: A Tale of
the Christ

"I know this man!"
— Charlton Heston

Time of this entry:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday April 5, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Without Classes

VANITAS: emblem of Harvard University (revisited)

From Log24 on
this date four years ago:

Motto of
Plato’s Academy

Related material:


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