Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday September 30, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:48 AM

Midnight in the Garden, Autumn 2009



Der Einsatz

Motto of Plato's Academy: 'Let no one ignorant of geometry enter'

The Ninefold Square (a 3x3 grid)

The New York Times Magazine
on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009:

From this journal on the following day, Sept. 21:

Pearl Jam 'Backspacer' album released Sept. 20, 2009

Happy birthday, Stephen King.

Today's previous entry is based on a song, "Unthought Known,"
from the above album; the cover of the album uses the 3×3 grid
shown in Sept. 20's midnight review. For related material
on the unconscious, see June 13-15, 2005.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.

Tom O'Bedlam's Song

Wednesday September 30, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 AM

Not So Second-Rate

From the above link in this journal on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009:

“… the unthought-known dispatches a steady stream of ‘notes’ from underground. If it cannot gain a full return to consciousness, it at least would like some recognition– even if disguised.”

— Randall Hoedeman, Sunnyhill Church, Pittsburgh

Randall Hoedeman

Randall Hoedeman

Another discovery reportedly also made last Thursday, Sept. 24:

“The Cullinan mine has again given the world a spectacularly beautiful and important diamond.”

Petra Diamonds Ltd. CEO Johan Dippenaar

Picture from Fox News:

507-carat diamond from the Cullinan mine reportedly found on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday September 29, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 AM

From Harper’s Magazine
for the Feast of
St. Michael and All Angels:

Note on a poem by Rilke

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday September 28, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 AM
for Germany

See Annals of Aesthetics,
 January 13, 2009,
which features the following
example of modernism:

Modernist chess set, Lanier Graham, 1966

… and for readers of
the Sunday New York Times

Highgate Cemetery, London, on cover of NY Times Book Review Sept. 27, 2009

The funereal heart illustrates a review of a book titled Her Fearful Symmetry. The book is set, partly, in London's Highgate Cemetery.

The book's author, Audrey Niffenegger, has stated that her title refers to "the doubling and twinning and opposites" that are "essential to the theme and structure of the book." For examples of doubling, twinning, and opposites that I prefer to Niffenegger's, see this journal's Saturday and Sunday entries.

Fans of the New York Times's cultural coverage may prefer Niffenegger's own art work. They may also enjoy images from the weekend's London Art Book Fair that suggested the rather different sort of book in Saturday's entry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday September 27, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:00 AM
A Pleasantly
Discursive Treatment

In memory of Unitarian
minister Forrest Church,
 dead at 61 on Thursday:

NY Times Sept. 27, 2009, obituaries, featuring Unitarian minister Forrest Church

Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith

“In sixteenth-century Transylvania, Unitarian congregations were established for the first time in history.”

Gravity’s Rainbow–

“For every kind of vampire, there is a kind of cross.”

Unitarian minister Richard Trudeau

“… I called the belief that

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist

the ‘Diamond Theory’ of truth. I said that for 2200 years the strongest evidence for the Diamond Theory was the widespread perception that

(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds….

As the news about non-Euclidean geometry spread– first among mathematicians, then among scientists and philosophers– the Diamond Theory began a long decline that continues today.

Factors outside mathematics have contributed to this decline. Euclidean geometry had never been the Diamond Theory’s only ally. In the eighteenth century other fields had seemed to possess diamonds, too; when many of these turned out to be man-made, the Diamond Theory was undercut. And unlike earlier periods in history, when intellectual shocks came only occasionally, received truths have, since the eighteenth century, been found wanting at a dizzying rate, creating an impression that perhaps no knowledge is stable.

Other factors notwithstanding, non-Euclidean geometry remains, I think, for those who have heard of it, the single most powerful argument against the Diamond Theory*– first, because it overthrows what had always been the strongest argument in favor of the Diamond Theory, the objective truth of Euclidean geometry; and second, because it does so not by showing Euclidean geometry to be false, but by showing it to be merely uncertain.” —The Non-Euclidean Revolution, p. 255

H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s book

“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?’.”

As noted here on Oct. 8, 2008 (A Yom Kippur Meditation), Coxeter was aware in 1987 of a more technical use of the phrase “diamond theory” that is closely related to…

A kind
 of cross:

Diamond formed by four diagonally-divided two-color squares

See both
Theme and
and some more
poetic remarks,

 of the Fourfold.

* As recent Log24 entries have pointed out, diamond theory (in the original 1976 sense) is a type of non-Euclidean geometry, since finite geometry is not Euclidean geometry– and is, therefore, non-Euclidean, in the strictest sense (though not according to popular usage).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday September 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM
Suggested by today’s
London Art Book Fair:

at Amazon

'Four Quartets' paperback cover

Amazon image upload: 'Four Quartets' cover, 2/27/06

Related material:


Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday September 25, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 AM

Gian-Carlo Rota



Shift Lock key from manual typewriter, linking to book 'The Philosopher's Gaze'

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday September 24, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:01 AM

Who Knows
What Evil Lurks…

The brain-in-a-jar on the cover of the new Pearl Jam album “Backspacer” (previous two entries) is apparently there because of a song on the album, “Unthought Known“–

“All the thoughts you never see
You are always thinking
Brain is wide, the brain is deep
Oh, are you sinking?”

The song title is from a book, The Shadow of the Object (Columbia U. Press, 1987), by psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas.

The “unthought known” phrase has been quoted widely by second-rate psychologizers and by some not so second-rate. Their lucubrations suggest that sinking brain-worshippers should seek a…

Amy Adams and Meryl Streep ('Doubt') as Catholic psychoanalysts, with their couch

The couch is from a 2002 exhibit
at London’s White Cube gallery.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday September 23, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:26 AM


Some background for the images in the previous entry’s album cover:

Pearl Jam's 'Backspacer' album cover

See PearlJamEvolution.com, Aug. 3, 2009, and Aug. 6, 2009.

The brain image is apparently based on a photo at Flickr.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday September 21, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:56 AM

A Google search for "Das Scheinen," a very rough translation into Heidegger's German of "The Shining," leads to a song. A search for the English version of the song leads to a site with a sidebar advertising Pearl Jam's new (Sept. 20) album "Backspacer."


Pearl Jam 'Backspacer' album released Sept. 20, 2009

Happy birthday,
 Stephen King.


Yesterday's entries
and the plot of
L'Engle's classic
A Wrinkle in Time.
(See this journal's entries
for March 2008.)

The Pearl Jam album cover art
is of particular interest in light
of King's story "Apt Pupil" and
of Katherine Neville's remark
"Nine is a very powerful
Nordic number.

Those who prefer more sophisticated
aesthetic theory may click on the
following keys:

Back Space key from manual typewriter, linking to Babich on Music, Nietzsche, and Heidegger
Shift Lock key from manual typewriter, linking to Levin's 'The Philosopher's Gaze'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday September 20, 2009

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

The Appearances

German verb:

1.  to shine; to gleam
2.  to seem; to appear….

Quine, Pursuit of Truth,
Harvard U. Press, 1990, epigraphs:


Google search:


Owen Barfield,
Saving the Appearances:

George S. Lensing,
Wallace Stevens and the Seasons:


"Poetry is often a revelation  
of the elements of appearance."

Sunday September 20, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Der Einsatz

Motto of Plato's Academy: 'Let no one ignorant of geometry enter'

The 3x3 grid

Nichts ist wie es scheint.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday September 19, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:23 PM

Old Year, Raus!

Also in today’s New York Times obituaries index:

 John T. Elson, Editor Who Asked
“Is God Dead?” at Time, Dies at 78

John T. Elson and Budd Schulberg

Wikipedia article on George Polya:

  • Look for a pattern
  • Draw a picture
  • Solve a simpler problem
  • Use a model
  • Work backward

From the date of Elson’s death:

Cube, 4x4x4

Four coloring pencils, of four different colors

Related material:
A Four-Color Theorem.”

Saturday September 19, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:22 AM

Towards Kristen

Kristen Wiig as Michele Bachmann, SNL Thursday update, Sept. 17, 2009

Jerusalem Post Interview
with Charles Krauthammer

by Hilary Leilea Krieger, JPost Correspondent, Washington

Krauthammer, a columnist for The Washington Post, is a winner of the Irving Kristol award.

Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2009:

Can you talk a little bit about your own Jewish upbringing and sense of Jewishness, and how that influences you? I assume it’s a factor in this particular project.

I grew up in a Modern Orthodox home [in Montreal]. I went to Jewish day school right through high school, so half of my day was spent speaking Hebrew from age six to 16. I studied thousands of hours of Talmud. My father thought I didn’t get enough Talmud at school, so I took the extra Talmud class at school and he had a rabbi come to the house three nights a week. One of those nights was Saturday night, so in synagogue Saturday morning my brother and I would pray very hard for snow so he wouldn’t be able to come on Saturday night and we could watch hockey night in Canada. That’s where I learned about prayer.

That didn’t seem to you to be a prayer that was likely to go unanswered?

Yeah, I was giving it a shot to see what side God was on.

And what did you determine?

It rarely snowed.


More on Krauthammer’s Canadian childhood:

“His parents were Orthodox and sent him to
 Hebrew day school. He also took
 private Gomorrah lessons twice a week.”

— “Charles Krauthammer: Prize Writer,”
     by Mitchell Bard


Also in the Jerusalem Post interview:

…. What, then, did you mean by a Jewish sensibility?

“…. In literature it’s an interesting question, what’s a Jewish novel?”

My Prayer:

Private Gomorrah lessons
with Kristen.


“Heaven Can Wait”
at Haaretz.com

Happy Rosh Hashanah
(and Gemara).

Update, 5:01 AM Sept. 19

Before becoming a writer,
Krauthammer was, his
Washington Post biography says,
a resident and then chief resident
in psychiatry at
Massachusetts General Hospital.

Related Metaphors

This morning’s New York Times:

NY Times obituary for Irving Kristol, with squirrel-and-nuts ad

MicheleBachmann.com this morning:

Squirrel with acorns at Michele Bachmann home page, Sept. 19, 2009

See also:

James Hillman’s “acorn theory
of personality development
(yesterday’s entry).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday September 18, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:22 PM
An Alternative

to the worldview
of Dan Brown:

'The Soul's Code,' by James Hillman

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday September 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM
Jennifer's Body

The following remark this evening by Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post serves as an instant review of today's previous cinematic Log24 offering starring the late Patrick Swayze:

"Watch it, forget it, move on."

A perhaps more enduring tribute:

Patrick Swayze in 'King Solomon's Mines'


Related material:

Solomon's Cube,
Solomon and Sheba,
Raiders of the Lost Stone.

"Ready when you are, C.B."


Thursday September 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Symbologist Robert Langdon and a corner of Solomon's Cube

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in  'Dirty Dancing'

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Thursday September 17, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM
Thomas Disch
welcomes Mary Travers

NY Times obituaries, 2:30 AM Sept. 17, 2009: Mary Travers and others

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday September 16, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 AM
The Found Symbol
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube
Jacques Derrida on the Looking-Glass garden, 'The Time before First,' and Solomon's seal

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 PM
In memory of
Harvard literature professor
Barbara Ellen Johnson
(Oct. 4, 1947 –
 Aug. 27, 2009)

“…one has to be willing
to tolerate ambiguity,
even to be crazy.”

“Bohr’s words?”

“The party line….”

— Quotation from
Secret Passages linked to on
 the date of Johnson’s death

“Yes and no (what else?).”
— Barbara Johnson in
The Wake of Deconstruction

Related material:

Harvard Crimson obituary
and a
Funeral Service obituary
with comments.

For more on ambiguity,
see this journal’s entries of
 March 7, 8, and 9, 2007.

For more on craziness,
see this journal’s entries of
March 10, 2007.

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 AM
Table of Unicode dingbats

My personal favorite:

Dingbat 275A, 
"heavy vertical bar"–

Unicode symbol 'heavy vertical bar'

Cf. March 7, 2003.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday September 14, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:09 PM

Generating permutations for the Klein simple group of order 168 acting on the eightfold cube

The Sept. 8 entry on non-Euclidean* blocks ended with the phrase “Go figure.” This suggested a MAGMA calculation that demonstrates how Klein’s simple group of order 168 (cf. Jeremy Gray in The Eightfold Way) can be visualized as generated by reflections in a finite geometry.

* i.e., other than Euclidean. The phrase “non-Euclidean” is usually applied to only some of the geometries that are not Euclidean. The geometry illustrated by the blocks in question is not Euclidean, but is also, in the jargon used by most mathematicians, not “non-Euclidean.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday September 11, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
For 9/11

Cover of 'Underworld,' by Don DeLillo, First Edition, Advance Reader's Copy, 1997


Cover of Underworld,
 by Don DeLillo, First Edition,
 Advance Reader's Copy, 1997

"Time and chance
happeneth to them all."
Ecclesiastes 9:11  

Related material:

1. The previous entry, on
  Copenhagen physicist
Aage Bohr, and      
2. Notes from this journal
 from Bohr's birthday,
 June 19th, through  
        Midsummer Night, 2007…
 including notes on   
  Faust in Copenhagen
   3. Walpurgisnacht 2008 and
 Walpurgisnacht 2009

Friday September 11, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:56 AM
 in memory of
physicist Aage Bohr,
who died at 87 on
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009

Swarthmore physics honors thesis, 136 pp., 2007–


"Quantum mechanics, which has no completely accepted interpretation but many seemingly strange physical results, has been interpreted in a number of bizarre and fascinating ways over the years. The two interpretations examined in this paper, [Aage] Bohr and [Ole] Ulfbeck's 'Genuine Fortuitousness' and Stuckey, Silberstein, and Cifone's 'Relational Blockworld,' seem to be two such strange interpretations; Genuine Fortuitousness posits that causality is not fundamental to the universe, and Relational Blockworld suggests that time does not act as we perceive it to act. In this paper, I analyze these two interpretations…."

Footnote 55, page 114:
"Thus far, I have been speaking in fairly abstract terms, which can sometimes be unhelpful on the issue of explaining anything about the structure of space-time. I want to pause for a moment to suggest a new potential view of the blockworld within a 'genuinely fortuitous' universe in more visual terms. Instead of the 'static spacetime jewel' of blockworld that is often invoked by eternalists to help their readers conceptualize of what a blockworld would 'look like' from the outside, now imagine that a picture on a slide is being projected onto the surface of this space-time jewel."

Interpolated figure
from Log24:


Juliette Binoche in 'Blue'  The 24 2x2 Cullinane Kaleidoscope animated images

Cf. August 5, 2009.

From the perspective of one inside the jewel, one might ask 'Why is this section blue while this section is black?,' and from within the jewel, one could not formulate an answer since one could not see the entire picture projected on the jewel; however, from outside the jewel, an observer (some analogue of Newton's God, perhaps, looking down on his 'sensorium' from the 5th dimension) could easily see the pattern and understand that all of the 'genuinely fortuitous' events inside the space-time jewel are, in fact, completely determined by the pattern in the projector."

— "Genuine Fortuitousness, Relational Blockworld, Realism, and Time" (pdf), by Daniel J. Peterson, Honors Thesis, Swarthmore College, December 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday September 8, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Magic Box  

Box containing Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
 Continued from Dec. 7, 2008,
and from yesterday.



Passages from a classic story:

… he took from his pocket a gadget he had found in the box, and began to unfold it. The result resembled a tesseract, strung with beads….


"Your mind has been conditioned to Euclid," Holloway said. "So this– thing– bores us, and seems pointless. But a child knows nothing of Euclid. A different sort of geometry from ours wouldn't impress him as being illogical. He believes what he sees."

"Are you trying to tell me that this gadget's got a fourth dimensional extension?" Paradine demanded.
"Not visually, anyway," Holloway denied. "All I say is that our minds, conditioned to Euclid, can see nothing in this but an illogical tangle of wires. But a child– especially a baby– might see more. Not at first. It'd be a puzzle, of course. Only a child wouldn't be handicapped by too many preconceived ideas."

"Hardening of the thought-arteries," Jane interjected.

Paradine was not convinced. "Then a baby could work calculus better than Einstein? No, I don't mean that. I can see your point, more or less clearly. Only–"

"Well, look. Let's suppose there are two kinds of geometry– we'll limit it, for the sake of the example. Our kind, Euclidean, and another, which we'll call x. X hasn't much relationship to Euclid. It's based on different theorems. Two and two needn't equal four in it; they could equal y, or they might not even equal. A baby's mind is not yet conditioned, except by certain questionable factors of heredity and environment. Start the infant on Euclid–"

"Poor kid," Jane said.

Holloway shot her a quick glance. "The basis of Euclid. Alphabet blocks. Math, geometry, algebra– they come much later. We're familiar with that development. On the other hand, start the baby with the basic principles of our x logic–"

"Blocks? What kind?"

Holloway looked at the abacus. "It wouldn't make much sense to us. But we've been conditioned to Euclid."

— "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," Lewis Padgett, 1943

Padgett (pseudonym of a husband-and-wife writing team) says that alphabet blocks are the intuitive "basis of Euclid." Au contraire; they are the basis of Gutenberg.

For the intuitive basis of one type of non-Euclidean* geometry– finite geometry over the two-element Galois field– see the work of…

Friedrich Froebel
 (1782-1852), who
 invented kindergarten.

His "third gift" —

Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring

Go figure.

* i.e., other than Euclidean

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday September 7, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Magic Boxes

"Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas– only I don't exactly know what they are!…. Let's have a look at the garden first!"

— A passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. The "garden" part– but not the "ideas" part– was quoted by Jacques Derrida in Dissemination in the epigraph to Chapter 7, "The Time before First."

 on the passage:

Part I    "The Magic Box,"  shown on Turner Classic Movies earlier tonight

Part II: "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," a classic science fiction story:

"… he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm– much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block. Strange things they were, too. Miniature people, for example– They moved. Like clockwork automatons, though much more smoothly. It was rather like watching a play."

Part III:  A Crystal Block

Cube, 4x4x4

Four coloring pencils, of four different colors

Image of pencils is by
Diane Robertson Design.

Related material:
"A Four-Color Theorem."

Part IV:

David Carradine displays a yellow book-- the Princeton I Ching.

"Click on the Yellow Book."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday September 6, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:18 PM
Magic Boxes

Part I: “The Magic Box,” shown on Turner Classic Movies tonight

Part II: “Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” a classic science fiction story:

“… he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm– much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block. Strange things they were, too. Miniature people, for example–

They moved. Like clockwork automatons, though much more smoothly. It was rather like watching a play.”



Image of pencils is by
Diane Robertson Design.

Related material:
A Four-Color Theorem.”

Sunday September 6, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Back at  
Harvard Yard

(Click images to enlarge.)

H-Bomb Pioneer Dies

Harvard's New Line

Related material:
Aug. 31 and Sept. 1

Sunday September 6, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Oscar Speech

(continued from
February 25th, 2007)

Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider

 “From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit   
     Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire     
     Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.”

Four Quartets

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday September 5, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 PM
For the
Burning Man

'The Stars My Destination,' current edition (with cover slightly changed)

(Cover slightly changed.)

Background —

Part I:

Sophists (August 20th)

Part II:


Escher's 'Verbum'

Escher's Verbum

Solomon's Cube

Part III:

From August 25th

Equilateral triangle on a cube, each side's length equal to the square root of two

"Boo, boo, boo,
  square root of two.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday September 4, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM
Closing the Circle

Continued from Monday

“This is a chapel 
 of mischance;
ill luck betide it, ’tis
the cursedest kirk
  that ever I came in!”

Philip Kennicott on
Kirk Varnedoe in
The Washington Post:

“Varnedoe’s lectures were
ultimately about faith,
about his faith in
the power of abstraction,
 and abstraction as a kind of
    anti-religious faith in itself….”

Kennicott’s remarks were
 on Sunday, May 18, 2003.
They were subtitled
“Closing the Circle
on Abstract Art.”

Also on Sunday, May 18, 2003:

 “Will the circle be unbroken?
  As if some southern congregation
  is praying we will come to understand.”

Princeton University Press

Empty canvas on cover of Varnedoe's 'Pictures of Nothing'

See also

  Giordano Bruno

Parmiggiani's Bruno: empty canvas with sculpture of Durer's solid

Dürer’s Melencolia I

Durer, Melencolia I

and Log24 entries
of May 19-22, 2009,
ending with
    “Steiner System” —

Diamond-shaped face of Durer's 'Melencolia I' solid, with  four colored pencils from Diane Robertson Design

George Steiner on chess
(see yesterday morning):

“There are siren moments when quite normal creatures otherwise engaged, men such as Lenin and myself, feel like giving up everything– marriage, mortgages, careers, the Russian Revolution– in order to spend their days and nights moving little carved objects up and down a quadrate board.”

Steiner continues

“Allegoric associations of death with chess are perennial….”

Yes, they are.

April is Math Awareness Month.
This year’s theme is “mathematics and art.”

Mathematics and Art: Totentanz from Seventh Seal

Cf. both of yesterday’s entries.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday September 3, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM
White Space

“White space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space– it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all.” —Wikipedia

Related material (or non-material)–

White space resulting from a recent lack of ad sales in the New York Times obituaries section leads to the following composition–

White Space
with Voices

Click on images to enlarge.




Thursday September 3, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Autistic Enchantment

“Music and mathematics are among the pre-eminent wonders of the race. Levi-Strauss sees in the invention of melody ‘a key to the supreme mystery’ of man– a clue, could we but follow it, to the singular structure and genius of the species. The power of mathematics to devise actions for reasons as subtle, witty, manifold as any offered by sensory experience and to move forward in an endless unfolding of self-creating life is one of the strange, deep marks man leaves on the world. Chess, on the other hand, is a game in which thirty-two bits of ivory, horn, wood, metal, or (in stalags) sawdust stuck together with shoe polish, are pushed around on sixty-four alternately coloured squares. To the addict, such a description is blasphemy. The origins of chess are shrouded in mists of controversy, but unquestionably this very ancient, trivial pastime has seemed to many exceptionally intelligent human beings of many races and centuries to constitute a reality, a focus for the emotions, as substantial as, often more substantial than, reality itself. Cards can come to mean the same absolute. But their magnetism is impure. A mania for whist or poker hooks into the obvious, universal magic of money. The financial element in chess, where it exists at all, has always been small or accidental.

To a true chess player, the pushing about of thirty-two counters on 8×8 squares is an end in itself, a whole world next to which that of a mere biological or political or social life seems messy, stale, and contingent. Even the patzer, the wretched amateur who charges out with his knight pawn when the opponent’s bishop decamps to R4, feels this daemonic spell. There are siren moments when quite normal creatures otherwise engaged, men such as Lenin and myself, feel like giving up everything– marriage, mortgages, careers, the Russian Revolution– in order to spend their days and nights moving little carved objects up and down a quadrate board. At the sight of a set, even the tawdriest of plastic pocket sets, one’s fingers arch and a coldness as in a light sleep steals over one’s spine. Not for gain, not for knowledge or reknown, but in some autistic enchantment, pure as one of Bach’s inverted canons or Euler’s formula for polyhedra.”

— George Steiner in “A Death of Kings,” The New Yorker, issue dated September 7, 1968, page 133

“Examples are the stained-glass windows of knowledge.” —Nabokov

Quaternion rotations in a finite geometry
Click above images for some context.

See also:

Log24 entries of May 30, 2006, as well as “For John Cramer’s daughter Kathryn”– August 27, 2009— and related material at Wikipedia (where Kathryn is known as “Pleasantville”).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday September 2, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:48 PM
Outside the Box

Living Outside the Box-- Janet Maslin on Tim Page

Makes sense to me

Wednesday September 2, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM
Zoo Story

Boston Herald
 this afternoon:

Christopher, The Lion of Boston
Photo by Lisa Hornak (file)

Christopher the lion
 was ‘secured’
 at Franklin Park Zoo
when a teen toppled
 into the lion’s den.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Wednesday September 2, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:09 AM
Back to School

Canto I:

NY Times-- 'Soul' of a Party Is Memorialized

Canto II:

Friday, August 28, 2009,
in this journal

Annals of Religion:

Rites of Passage

“Things fall apart;
   the centre cannot hold….

Part I:

“Inside the church,  
    the grief was real….”

Canto III:

Sunday, August 30, 2009,
in The New York Times

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever.”

— Virginia Heffernan, “Facebook Exodus,” NY Times Magazine, Sunday, August 30, 2009

Canto IV:

A Season in Purgatory, by Dominick Dunne

Click for details.
Canto V:
Dorm Room Feng Shui: 'YOU ARE HERE'

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday September 1, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 PM

Back to the Garden

The previous entry
dealt with an artist who died last Wednesday (August 26).

Dominick Dunne, producer of the film version of "The Boys in the Band," also died last Wednesday.

In his memory, four readings:

1. "Pilot Fish," by Hemingway

2.  Self-profile by Stephen Vider, author of "American Mystic" (see previous entry)

3. "Party Animal," Vider's essay on "The Boys in the Band" published on Sinatra's birthday, 2008

4.  Back to the Garden of Forking Paths (also on Sinatra's birthday, 2008)

Related material
from last Sunday morning:

"'Soul' of a Party Is Memorialized"
New York Times online front page
"In the Details."

The following illustration from
August 16th may also be relevant:

The Expulsion from Eden

Click cover to enlarge.

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