Thursday, September 30, 2010


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:02 AM

"Here was finality indeed, and cleavage!"
— Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

Related— Rosetta Stone, today's Google Doodle, and Rock of Ages.

See also the New York daily numbers in yesterday's lottery.

Yonda* Lies** the Castle***

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM

"…to seek one's true nature is, as one Zen master has said,
    'a way to lead you to your long lost home.'"

— Peter Matthiessen, Nine-Headed Dragon River

   See also Matthiessen in Dead Viking.


"It's a Barnum and Bailey world…"

* See Jazz Standards.

** "Just as phony as it can be"

*** A search for Jung and "the square inch space"
    leads to March 15, 2009, and preceding posts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Film Director* Dies at 88

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 PM

Claves Regni Caelorum**


* "Bonnie and Clyde" director Arthur Penn, who died last night.

** See also Escher's "Inside St. Peter's" and some related images.

At the Still Point

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:30 AM

It Goes to Show…*


* Context— ChuckBerry.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brightness at Noon (continued)

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Happy birthday to Mira Sorvino (Harvard '89).

Related material: June 9 and June 10, 2008.

A more dramatic presentation, also done on June 9-10, 2008

Alicia Keys, "Superwoman" video.

Happy dies natalis  to Miles Davis

"… nothing ever truly dies. The universe wastes nothing. Everything is simply… transformed."

— Keanu Reeves in the 2008 "Day the Earth Stood Still." (See today's 11:07 AM entry.)

Midnight at the Still Point

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM

From this journal —

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

m759 @ 12:00 AM
The Dance

“… physicists are doing more
than ‘discovering the endless
 diversity of nature.’ They are
     dancing with Kali….”

Gary Zukav,
Harvard ’64

A photo from that same day—


Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith),
and Keanu Reeves at a press conference for the
Tokyo premiere of "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
Photo taken on 17 December 2008. The film was
to premiere in Japan 19 December, 2008.

(Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

Related material: The links from this journal given above —

Harvard '64 and continued.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Social Network…

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 AM

… In the Age of Citation

Social network analysis is focused on the patterning of the social
relationships that link social actors. Typically, network data take the
form of a square-actor by actor-binary adjacency matrix, where
each row and each column in the matrix represents a social actor. A
cell entry is 1 if and only if a pair of actors is linked by some social
relationship of interest (Freeman 1989).

— "Using Galois Lattices to Represent Network Data,"
by Linton C. Freeman and Douglas R. White,
Sociological Methodology,  Vol. 23, pp. 127–146 (1993)

From this paper's CiteSeer page


766  Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications – WASSERMAN, FAUST – 1994
100 The act of creation – Koestler – 1964
 75 Visual Thinking – Arnheim – 1969

Visual Image of the Problem—

From a Google search today:


Related material—


"It is better to light one candle…"

"… the early favorite for best picture at the Oscars" — Roger Moore

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where Credit Is Due…

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

The Dick Medal

Review of the film "Knowing" from 2009—

Nicolas Cage's character, an astrophysicist, looks at a chart (written 50 years earlier by a child) with a colleague and points out a chronologically correct prediction of the date and number of dead in world wide tragedies over the last fifty years, and his colleague's response is "Systems that find meaning in numbers are a dime a dozen. Why? Because people see what they want to see." Well that would be a pretty neat trick. You could build a career on that in a Vegas showroom.

Summary of the film "Next"

Film Title:  Next
Based on the 1954 short story
"The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick

Release Date:
April 27, 2007

About the Film:
Nicolas Cage stars as Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician with a secret gift that is both a blessing and a curse: He has the uncanny ability to tell you what happens next.

Related material from this journal on the release date of "Next"— April 27, 2007

Production Credits:

Thanks to the
Pennsylvania Lottery for
  today’s suggestion of links 
to the dates 9/15 and 6/06–

PA lottery April 27, 2007: Midday 915, Evening 606

– and to
Hermann Weyl
for the illustration
from 6/06 (D-Day)
underlying the
following “gold medal”
from 9/15, 2006:

Medal of 9/15/06

"It’s almost enough to make you think that time present and time past might both be present in time future. As someone may have said."

— David Orr, "The Age of Citation"


Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Happy birthday to the sexton's son.

After the Fall

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:09 AM

The Harvard Crimson —

Magic of Numbers:
Summing Up the Fall

Published by Timothy J. Walsh on September 24, 2010 at 8:41AM

Each Thursday, The Crimson will compile a series of unique statistics
about Harvard's sports scene. Welcome to the Magic of Numbers—
without the problem sets. We'll do the math for you.


Saturday night's game… Harvard vs. Brown at Providence—

Harvard 14, Brown 29.

Related philosophy about divine providence—


See also, from 2002, a note on "light inclosed in the dark" versus the late Harvard philosopher Barbara Johnson.

For some context on Harvard and "the Magic of Numbers" see Summer Reading from 2007.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Talking Rot at Harvard

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:16 AM

"…as Jeremy R. Knowles, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, stated in his Fall 2006 address to the Harvard freshman class, being able to tell if a man is 'talking rot' is the ultimate goal of a liberal arts education."

— Yelena S. Mironova ’12 in The Harvard Crimson  yesterday

Is Mironova talking rot? Apparently not, since Knowles did, it seems, use that phrase in such an address. (See an alleged transcript of his remarks by someone at Facebook identifying herself as Van Le, Harvard '10)

Was Knowles talking rot? Perhaps, since the alleged transcript of his remarks indicates he attributed the phrase to a 1914 lecture by one J. A. Smith, a philosopher at Oxford,  but did not give a source for his quotation.

A Google web search for more accurate information yields no exact source. There are two notable hearsay sources—

The weblog Fairing's Parish  on August 16, 2009, gives a version attributed to Smith in More Christmas Crackers  by John Julius Norwich. (The hardcover first edition of this book was published by Viking on Oct. 14, 1991, according to Amazon.co.uk.)

An earlier book in the Christmas Crackers  series was cited as a Smith source by Michael M. Thomas at Forbes.com on Oct. 24, 2008

"I happened upon Professor Smith long years ago, in the 1980 edition of John Julius Norwich's Christmas Cracker  [sic ]…."

The weblog Laudator Temporis Acti  of Michael Gilleland on August 29, 2004, says…

The following quotation comes at second or third hand. John Alexander Smith (1863-1939), Waynflete Professor of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford, gave a lecture sometime before WWI, attended by Harold Macmillan. Macmillan reported Smith's words to Isaiah Berlin, and Isaiah Berlin told them to Ramin Jahanbegloo, who reproduced them in Conversations with Isaiah Berlin  (London: Phoenix Press, 1993), p. 29….

Some further bibliographic notes on the Jahanbegloo book—

Ramin Jahanbegloo, Isaiah Berlin en toutes libertés: entretiens avec Isaiah Berlin  (Paris, 1991: Éditions du Félin); repr. in its original English form as Ramin Jahanbegloo, Conversations with Isaiah Berlin  (London, 1992: Peter Halban; New York, 1992: Scribner’s; London, 1993: Phoenix; 2nd ed., London, 2007: Halban); excerpted in Jewish Quarterly  38 No 3 (Autumn 1991), 15–26, Jewish Chronicle,  7 February 1992, Literary Supplement, ii, Guardian,  7 March 1992, 23, and (as ‘Philosophy and Life: An Interview’) New York Review of Books,  28 May 1992, 46–54; trans. Chinese (both scripts), German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish (complete and in part, by different translators)


A Google books  search yields some starting points for a paper chase that might, given library resources like Harvard's, finally nail down the rot quote.

Try smith oxford "talking rot".

The best citation I can find online is not very good. See The Oxford Book of Oxford  (first edition 1978, new edition 2002), edited by Jan (formerly James) Morris, who gives as her source "J. A. Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy, opening a lecture course in 1914 (quoted by Harold Macmillan in The Times, 1965)." This does not indicate whether Macmillan was quoting Smith from memory or from a written or printed record. Only the latter would clear Macmillan (and all subsequent purveyors of the alleged Smith quote who did not attribute it to Macmillan) from the suspicion of talking rot.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heisman Trophy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

An Ecumenical Hymn

For those who observed Yom Kippur at
Harvard's Memorial Church on Saturday,
September 18, 2010—

Friday night and the lights are low…


NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day for
July 13, 2007— Manhattanhenge.

See also on July 13, 2007, in this  journal, a post
for Harrison Ford's 65th birthday featuring the
ecumenical diamond-in-a-football religious symbol—

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070713-Ford2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Related story: Harvard Defeats Holy Cross 34 – 6.

Cartoon Graveyard continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 AM

The New York Times  today—

Stuart E. Hample,
Humorist and Cartoonist,
Dies at 84

NY Times Enlarge-This Icon Enlarge This Image

"Dread & Superficiality:
Woody Allen as Comic Strip"/Abrams

Mr. Hample, who was also a playwright and performer,
wrote “The Silly Book” and was the co-author of
“Children’s Letters to God.”

Hample died on Sunday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nunc Dimittis

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

Composer Geoffrey Burgon died on September 21. Roll credits.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM

"He can write, but he's got nothing to say."[42]

— Isaac Babel on Nabokov (Wikipedia)


Vladimir Nabokov

42.  Ilya Ehrenburg, Memoirs: 1921-1941,  page 110.


"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain" — Nabokov

"Someday we’ll see each other" — Isaac Babel


Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM

"Epistulae ad familiares" (adfamiliares for short) at livejournal.com

"Prefatory notes evoke a Republic of Letters— or at least an academic support group— in which the writer claims membership. In fact, they often describe something much more tenuous, the group of those who the author wishes had read his work, offered him references, or at least given him the time of day. Hence they retain something of the literary— not to say fictional— quality of traditional poets' prayers." (Anthony Grafton, The Footnote: A Curious History)

P.S. This book rules.  Why did I wait so long to read it?

* See a definition. See also this  journal's previous post, Patterns in the Carpets. As for "those who the author wishes had read his work," see a quotation from an author mentioned in that post, Greg Egan, that seems relevant to the suicide outside Harvard's Memorial Church last Saturday during the morning Yom Kippur service—

… The word "transhumanism" (or, even worse, "posthumanism") sounds like a suicide note for the species, which effectively renders it a political suicide note for any movement by that name. No doubt there are people prepared to spend 90% of their time and energy explaining that they didn't intend  any negative connotations, but this is not one of those cases where other people will be to blame if "transhumanists" are reviled as the enemies of humanity on purely linguistic grounds. It's no use people proclaiming "Please, read my 1,000-page manifesto, don't just look at one word!"….

— Greg Egan on April 23, 2008,** at Metamagician and the Hellfire Club

Related material— A livejournal note on the Memorial Church suicide, nihilism, and a "final crux."

** Footnote to a footnote— See also Log24 on April 23, 2008— Shakespeare's birthday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Patterns in the Carpets

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

"I know no writing— except perhaps Henry James's introductory essays— which conveys so clearly and with such an absence of fuss the excitement of the creative artist."

— Graham Greene on A Mathematician's Apology , review in The Spectator , 20 December 1940

"The mere quality and play of an ironic consciousness in the designer left wholly alone, amid a chattering unperceiving world, with the thing he has most wanted to do, with the design more or less realised— some effectual glimpse of that might, by itself, for instance, reward one's experiment."

— Henry James, "Prefaces to the New York Edition," in The Figure in the Carpet and Other Stories, Penguin Books, 1986, with introduction and notes by Frank Kermode

"What? You've found a pattern?"

— Greg Egan, "Wang's Carpets"

See also Notes on Mathematics and Narrative, with its discussion of the tiles of the creative artist Patrick Blackburn in the recent (August 2010) Pythagorean novel The Thousand  and the discussion of Wang tiles in Modal Logic,  a  book from November 2002 whose author also happens to be named Patrick Blackburn.

(Credit for the Greene bibliographic information is due to Janelle Robyn Humphreys, whose doctoral thesis, Shadows of Another Dimension, was published in 2009 by the University of Wollongong.)

Sects, continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:16 AM

Smarter Questions —


Click to enlarge.

Smarter Answers —



From Sunday's Sermon for Harvard


Each sexton has his sect. The bells have none.

Each truth is a sect though no bells ring for it.

— Wallace Stevens

See also Jill Johnston on Jung's Red Book  (March 2010).

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Unfolding

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Two pictures suggested by recent comments on
Peter J. Cameron's Sept. 17 post about T.S. Eliot—



For some further background, see Symmetry of Walsh Functions.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sermon for Harvard

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM


Each sexton has his sect. The bells have none.

Each truth is a sect though no bells ring for it.

— Wallace Stevens

Zipper illustration, New York Times

Related material —

The ThousandA recent novel about Pythagorean sects

16 + 9 = 25A Pythagorean truth

YThe Pythagorean letter

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Public Square

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM

There are "worrying signs of a failure to appreciate… 
the legitimate role of religion in the public square."
Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall on Friday

Related material on the public square —

Lubtchansky's Key,
Wallace Stevens, and
Porcelain Leer

Enigma Variation

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:57 AM

Yesterday evening's Telegraph

Didi Nearne was inspired by her strong Catholic faith
to believe that she would be well received, and the priest,
appalled at the state of the women, hid them in the bell tower.

In 1944 Nearne, an agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) who had
parachuted into France, was captured, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo,
sent to a concentration camp, and later escaped.

She died at 89 on September 2, 2010. See this journal on that date.

See also Geheimnis des Glockenturms.

Yom Kippur Special

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM

John Hooper in The Guardian  quotes the Pope in Westminster Cathedral this morning—

"Here too I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes.

"I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims and the purification of the church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people."

The pope made his comments at a service that was the occasion for religious pageantry of a sort rarely seen in Britain. He was preceded into the cathedral by more than 100 scarlet-robed priests and a constellation of bishops and cardinals. To a volley of applause from the congregation, he appeared at the climax of a musical build-up that could have come from the score for a sci-fi movie epic.

Related material— Childhood's Rear End.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fade to Blacker

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:22 PM

From Peter J. Cameron's web journal today—

Eliot’s Four Quartets  has been one of my favourite works of poetry since I was a student…. 

Of course, a poem doesn’t have a single meaning, especially one as long and complex as Four Quartets.  But to me the primary meaning of the poem is about the relationship between time and eternity, which is something maybe of interest to mathematicians as well as to mystics.

Curiously, the clearest explanation of what Eliot is saying that I have found is in a completely different work, Pilgrimage of Dreams  by the artist Thetis Blacker, in which she describes a series of dreams she had which stood out as being completely different from the confusion of normal dreaming. In one of these dreams, “Mr Goad and the Cathedral”, we find the statements

“Eternity isn’t a long time


“Eternity is always now, but …”
“Now isn’t always eternity”.

In other words, eternity is not the same as infinity; it is not the time line stretched out to infinity. Rather, it is an intimation of a different dimension, which we obtain only because we are aware of the point at which that dimension intersects the familiar dimension of time. In a recurring motif in the second Quartet, “East Coker”, Eliot says,

Time future and time past
Are both somehow contained in time present

and, in “Little Gidding”,

   … to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint

From this  journal on the date of Blacker's death
what would, if she were a Catholic saint, be called her dies natalis

Monday December 18, 2006

m759 @ 7:20 AM
Fade to Black:

Martin Gardner in the Notices of the American Mathematical SocietyJune/July 2005 (pdf):

“I did a column in Scientific American  on minimal art, and I reproduced one of Ed Rinehart’s [sic ] black paintings.  Of course, it was just a solid square of pure black.”

Black square 256x256

Click on picture for details.

The Notices of the American Mathematical SocietyJanuary 2007 (pdf):

“This was just one of the many moments in this sad tale when there were no whistle-blowers. As a result the entire profession has received a very public and very bad black mark.”

– Joan S. Birman
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Barnard College and
Columbia University

The Galois Window

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 5:01 AM

Yesterday’s excerpt from von Balthasar supplies some Catholic aesthetic background for Galois geometry.

That approach will appeal to few mathematicians, so here is another.

Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace  is a book by Leonard Mlodinow published in 2002.

More recently, Mlodinow is the co-author, with Stephen Hawking, of The Grand Design  (published on September 7, 2010).

A review of Mlodinow’s book on geometry—

“This is a shallow book on deep matters, about which the author knows next to nothing.”
— Robert P. Langlands, Notices of the American Mathematical Society,  May 2002

The Langlands remark is an apt introduction to Mlodinow’s more recent work.

It also applies to Martin Gardner’s comments on Galois in 2007 and, posthumously, in 2010.

For the latter, see a Google search done this morning—


Here, for future reference, is a copy of the current Google cache of this journal’s “paged=4” page.

Note the link at the bottom of the page in the May 5, 2010, post to Peter J. Cameron’s web journal. Following the link, we find…

For n=4, there is only one factorisation, which we can write concisely as 12|34, 13|24, 14|23. Its automorphism group is the symmetric group S4, and acts as S3 on the set of three partitions, as we saw last time; the group of strong automorphisms is the Klein group.

This example generalises, by taking the factorisation to consist of the parallel classes of lines in an affine space over GF(2). The automorphism group is the affine group, and the group of strong automorphisms is its translation subgroup.

See also, in this  journal, Window and Window, continued (July 5 and 6, 2010).

Gardner scoffs at the importance of Galois’s last letter —

“Galois had written several articles on group theory, and was
merely annotating and correcting those earlier published papers.”
Last Recreations, page 156

For refutations, see the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society  in March 1899 and February 1909.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For the Pope in Scotland

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:01 AM

From Seeing the Form, by Hans Urs von Balthasar


Related material:

  1. "This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood…."
  2. Geometry Simplified
  3. The Diamond Archetype


Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:04 AM

— A sequel of sorts to yesterday's post on the number fifteen —

Today's date and the title of the recent Pythagorean novel "The Thousand" suggest a search for the title "The Sixteen." This yields a British music ensemble.

Listen, for instance, to the ensemble performing works by Purcell in honor (partly) of Scottish composer James MacMillan's fiftieth birthday on July 16, 2009.

A check on synchronicity yields the following Log24 posts —

Happy birthday, Professor Gates.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fifteen and Other Small Numbers

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:30 PM

Today is the birthday of mathematician Jean-Pierre Serre.

Some remarks related to today's day number within the month, "15"—

The Wikipedia article on finite geometry has the following link—

Carnahan, Scott (2007-10-27), "Small finite sets", Secret Blogging Seminar, http://sbseminar.wordpress.com/2007/10/27/small-finite-sets/, notes on a talk by Jean-Pierre Serre on canonical geometric properties of small finite sets.

From Carnahan's notes (October 27, 2007)—

Serre has been giving a series of lectures at Harvard for the last month, on finite groups in number theory. It started off with some ideas revolving around Chebotarev density, and recently moved into fusion (meaning conjugacy classes, not monoidal categories) and mod p representations. In between, he gave a neat self-contained talk about small finite groups, which really meant canonical structures on small finite sets.

He started by writing the numbers 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, indicating the sizes of the sets to be discussed, and then he tackled them in order.

Related material on finite geometry and the indicated small numbers may, with one apparent exception, be found at my own Notes on Finite Geometry.

The apparent exception is "5." See, however, the role played in finite geometry by this number (and by "15") as sketched by Robert Steinberg at Yale in 1967—


See also …


(Click to enlarge.)

Special Olympics continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:11 AM

New York Times  Sept. 15, 2010—

"Who's the Con Man?"


New York Times  Aug. 11, 2009—

"Oh, Sting, Where Is Thy Death?"


Ask a stupid question

Holy Cross Day* Revisited

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM

"Ready when you are, C. B."



Related material: Day 256 and Language Game.

* September 14

Wittgenstein, 1935

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:20 AM



With the expiry of his five-year Research Fellowship at Trinity College Wittgenstein was faced once more with the problem of loss of career. Accordingly he planned a journey to the Soviet Union, to find out whether he could find a suitable post there. Wittgenstein’s constant quest for the right career was not, as it is often misunderstood, a flight from himself. Rather, it was a search for the right place, a being at one with himself: Return him [Man] to his rightful element and everything will unfold and appear as healthy. (MS 125)

Since 1933/34 he had been taking lessons in Russian from the philosopher Fanja Pascal, initially with Francis Skinner. In June he asked Keynes for an introduction to the Soviet ambassador in London, Ivan M. Maiski. He sought contacts in two places above all, at the Northern Institute in Leningrad and the Institute for National Minorities in Moscow, writing to Keynes on 6 July: These Institutes, as I am told, deal with people who want to go to the ‘colonies’ the newly colonized parts at the periphery of the U. S. S. R. (Letters to Russell, Keynes and Moore)

On 12 September Wittgenstein arrived in Leningrad. There he met the author and educator Guryevich at the Northern Institute, then an autonomous faculty of Leningrad University. On the evening of the following day he travelled on to Moscow, arriving there on the morning of the 14th. Here he had contacts with various western Europeans and Americans, including the correspondent of the Daily Worker, Pat Sloane. Most of his discussions, however, were with scientists, for example the young mathematician Yanovskaya and the philosopher Yushevich from Moscow University, who were both close to so-called Mach Marxism and the Vienna Circle. He was invited by the philosopher Tatiana Nikolayeva Gornstein, a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, to teach philosophy at Leningrad University. He traveled to Kazakhstan, where he was offered a chair at the famous university where Tolstoy once studied. On 1 October he was back in Cambridge. The trip was shorter than planned, and it appears that he had given up the idea of settling in Russia.

His friend Gilbert Pattison, who picked him up from the ship on his return, recalled that Wittgenstein’s view was that he could not live there himself: One could live there, but only if one kept in mind the whole time that one could never speak one’s mind. … It is as though one were to spend the rest of one’s life in an army, any army, and that is a rather difficult thing for people who are educated. (Interview with Pattison)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

c6 d0 x2 y5 p5 d3 x4 y3 p5

Related material— yesterday's Programmers' Day note and 2009's Symbol Story.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 256

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 PM

Today, Day 256 of 2010, is Programmers' Day in Russia.

"Unicorn is a simple programming language which is designed to be used by children.
 You can produce interesting effects very quickly, and see exactly what is going on."

 Always a good idea.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 AM

In memory of Kevin McCarthy, who died on Saturday, September 11

From a 9/11 post

Anthony Hopkins at Dolly's Little Diner in Slipstream

Sir Anthony Hopkins in "Slipstream." See "Home from Home."

From Script-O-Rama, dialogue from "Slipstream" —

My God, this place
must be a million years old.

Will that be it, sweetie?

I think this gentleman's next.

No, sir. You're next.

Thank you.

That'll be $1.35.



That's all?

Did you want to pay more?

No, it's just so cheap.

That's the way it is out here,
sweetie, free and easy.

Yes, sirree, home on the range
where the buffalo roam,
The deer and the antelope play.

Dolly's Little Diner.
Home from home.

Home from home.

See also "Kevin McCarthy" in this journal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brightness at Noon continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

16 + 9 = 25.

See also this morning's entry and "June 25" in this journal.

A Fragment of Time*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending….

Four Quartets

June 25, 2010

Image-- Rosalind Krauss and The Ninefold Square

Art Theorist Rosalind Krauss and The Ninefold Square

* Title from a quotation in the Sunday New York Times  today
  (in a story about a June 25 death beginning on page MB1 of the New York edition)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Victorian Secret

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM

The New York Times  today

"In his efforts to create complicated positions that would unsettle his opponent, Mr. Larsen often essayed unusual openings that other players did not know. He helped popularize some openings that otherwise might have remained obscure, most notably the queen’s fianchetto, which became known as the Larsen opening after he began playing it regularly in international competitions."


Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:15 AM

Continued from Halloween 2005


"They're gonna put me in the movies,
 They're gonna make a big star out of me…"

Anthony Hopkins at Dolly's Little Diner in Slipstream

Sir Anthony Hopkins in "Slipstream." See "Home from Home."

At Play in the Field

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:24 AM

For Bent Larsen, Danish chess Grandmaster, who died on Thursday, September 9, 2010—


See also "Patrick Blackburn, meet Gideon Summerfield" in Building a Mystery.

"As you read, watch for patterns." — Nabokov

Friday, September 10, 2010

Only Connect

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 PM

For Julie Taymor on Fashion's Night Out

This morning's post had a link to a video meditation from the director of
the 1985 film "Kiss of the Spider Woman"—

Image-- Plane flying into sun, from 'At Play in the Fields of the Lord'

This film clip is echoed by lyrics, broadcast this morning, from Taymor's new Spider-Man musical—

You can fly too high and get too close to the sun.
See how the boy falls from the sky.

This morning's post and the "At Play" film it linked to featured class conflict and Brazilian natives.

For a more down-to-earth approach to these topics, see Fox Broadcasting's new series "Running Wilde."

Dead Viking

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

At Play in the Fields of the Lord


Room 217

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:23 AM

Although it's always crowded, you still can find some room…


The Group

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 AM

"Since he couldn’t find traditional backing for the film,
a group of well-wishers… financed it."

William Grimes on the late Clive Donner  

"We keep coming back and coming back
To the real: to the hotel instead of the hymns"
– Wallace Stevens 

Suzanne Vega, album cover, 'Beauty and Crime'

"There's a small hotel
With a wishing well"

Lorenz Hart

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM

A film director's obituary in today's New York Times

"Mr. Donner broke through as a director in 1963 with a low-budget black-and-white film of Harold Pinter’s play 'The Caretaker,' with Alan Bates, Donald Pleasence and Robert Shaw. Since he couldn’t find traditional backing for the film, a group of well-wishers that included Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers and Noël Coward financed it."

   A lower-budget version:



All work and no play 

makes Jack a dull boy.


See also "Patrick Blackburn, meet Gideon Summerfield" in Building a Mystery.

Building a Mystery

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:02 PM

Notes on Mathematics and Narrative, continued

Patrick Blackburn, meet Gideon Summerfield…

From a summary of a politically correct 1995 feminist detective novel about quilts, A Piece of Justice

The story deals with “one Gideon Summerfield, deceased.” Summerfield, a former tutor at (the fictional) St. Agatha’s College, Cambridge University, “is about to become the recipient of the Waymark prize. This prize is awarded in Mathematics and has the same prestige as the Nobel. Summerfield had a rather lackluster career at St. Agatha’s, with the exception of one remarkable result that he obtained. It is for this result that he is being awarded the prize, albeit posthumously.”  Someone is apparently trying to prevent a biography of Summerfield from being published.

The following page contains a critical part of the solution to the mystery:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/PieceOfJustice138.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Compare and contrast with an episode from the resume of a real  Gideon Summerfield

Head of Strategy, Designer City (May 1999 — January 2002)

Secured Web agency business from new and existing clients with compelling digital media strategies and oversaw delivery of creative, production and technical teams…. Clients included… Greenfingers  and Lord of the Dance .

For material related to Greenfingers  and Lord of the Dance , see Castle Kennedy Gardens at Wicker Man  Locations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grand Design

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:22 AM

From Harvard's 2010 Phi Beta Kappa ceremony

Think of all the history you’ve read. It started somewhere.
It started at absolute zero, is what you thought.
Just because you couldn’t know what came before.
But imagine: something did.

"To help the graduates find rightness, two addresses are at the heart of the exercises ceremony.
 One is by a poet, who reads a work written for the occasion.
 The other is by an 'orator,' a guest invited to offer timely discourse."

From this morning's New York Times


Related material—

Immediately following Inspector Pine in this morning's Times  obituary list
is Virginia B. Smith, a former president of Vassar College. Smith died at 87 on August 27.

From her obituary—

Ms. Smith is survived by her partner of 57 years, Florence Oaks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burning Patrick —

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 11:15 AM

Notes on Mathematics and Narrative


  1. The Burning Man in Bester's classic The Stars My Destination,
  2. The not-so-classic Hitler Plans Burning Man, and
  3. The cult film The Wicker Man

Commentary on The Wicker Man

Originally The Wicker Man  was not well-received by critics in the UK. It was considered
to be bizarre, disturbing, and uncomfortable, with the hasty editing making the story confusing
and out of order…. Today this movie is considered a cult classic and has been called
the “Citizen Kane  of horror films” by some reviewers. How did this film become a cult classic?

Real estate motto— Location, Location, Location.

Illustration— The fire leap scene from Wicker Man, filmed at Castle Kennedy


From August 27

In today's New York Times, Michiko Kakutani reviews a summer thriller
by Kevin Guilfoile.  The Thousand  is in the manner of Dan Brown's
2003 The Da Vinci Code  or of Katherine Neville's 1988 The Eight .

From the review—

What connects these disparate events, it turns out, is a sinister organization
called the Thousand, made up of followers of the ancient Greek mathematician
and philosopher Pythagoras (yes, the same Pythagoras associated with
the triangle theorem that we learned in school).

As Mr. Guilfoile describes it, this organization is part Skull and Bones,
part Masonic lodge, part something much more twisted and nefarious….

The plot involves, in part,

… an eccentric artist’s mysterious masterwork, made up of thousands of
individually painted tiles that may cohere into an important message….

Not unlike the tiles in the Diamond Theory cover (see yesterday's post)
or, more aptly, the entries in this journal.

A brief prequel to the above dialogue—


In lieu of songs, here is a passage by Patrick Blackburn
more relevant to the art of The Thousand


See also the pagan fire leaping in Dancing at Lughnasa.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 AM

September of 1957 was the month I entered high school. Also that month—


    And so she did.

Related material: This journal on August 29, 2010, and the phrase "attention must be paid."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Soul Count

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM

Sunday's Pennsylvania Lottery numbers— Midday 604, Evening 804.

Related posts— 6/04 and 8/04.

Day Job

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 AM

In today's New York Times, mystery author John Grisham tells how he stuck to his day job—

"preparing wills and deeds and contracts."

Related material—

Mystery Stone

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:28 AM

The New York Times  this morning—


Sarah McLachlan—

Ooh you're working
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

Sunday, September 5, 2010

M Theory

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 PM


"It's going to be accomplished in steps, this establishment
of the Talented in the scheme of things."
— Anne McCaffrey

From this journal on August 23,
a look at Resurrection Road  in M magazine—


Notes for an unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"There is a place for a hint somewhere
  of a big agent to complete the picture."


Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM

Phenomenology of 256 and Requiem for a Force.

These two posts are from February 4, 2010.

See also an Oxford Journals essay from that date.

Sunday School

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

An Exclamation for Jenny.

The "Jenny" here refers to both Tuesday's Log24 post Page Mark and to a post from Dec. 29, 2005

Wishmaster 3:
Beyond the
Gates of Hell

SciFi channel,
7 PM tonight

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This world is not conclusion;
a sequel stands beyond
Emily Dickinson

Houses of the Holy continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 AM

Ode  magazine, June 2007, on Ivan Illich—

When Ivan was 12, Hitler invaded Austria, prompting his decision never to bring children into this world. At the age of 16, before fleeing Vienna, he bribed the secretary of Nazi leader Hermann Goering – who had claimed Illich's family home – to free his grandfather. Ultimately, Illich did do well in school, studying philosophy and theology at the elite Pontifical Gregorian University in the Vatican, later earning a Ph.D. at the University of Salzburg. He travelled to India and soaked up Eastern philosophy during long discussions with the Indian Hindu and Catholic priest Ramon Panikkar in Varanasi (Benares), along the Ganges river. He was later ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in New York City. He became a professor at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico and moved to Mexico, where he founded an educational centre that challenged the Church’s embrace of modern development. He resigned from priesthood in the late 1960s because he no longer felt at home with the dogmas of the Catholic Church – "I have enough Jewish blood to be able to get angry with God" – and began his life as a philosopher and author.

Illich greeted us at his home in Bremen….

Panikkar died on August 26, 2010. See this journal on that date ("Home from Home continued"), with its link to math16.com and the reference there to Stevens's "The Owl in the Sarcophagus."

Related material—

A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma (letters to The Guardian  on Stephen Hawking's new book)
and Panikkar's book (published in Paris in 2002 and in Minneapolis, by a Lutheran press, in 2006)
The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Double Cross continued–

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Enigma Variations

The intercept control room in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park, 1943—


Photo: GETTY

The above photo is from today's London Telegraph  obituary of Keith Batey, a Bletchley Park codebreaker who died at 91 on St. Augustine's Day, 2010. Also from that obituary—

Batey himself was responsible for some important breakthroughs in decrypting the Abwehr Enigma system, helping MI5 to control the entire German espionage network in Britain. The intelligence was crucial to the Double Cross system – under which MI5 turned German agents sent to Britain and used them to feed the Abwehr false information – as it showed that the information was being accepted as genuine; it further revealed what the Germans did and did not know about the D-Day invasion plans.

In the Details

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

What's wrong with this picture?

Google News today—


Midrash on what's wrong


Related material from August 29

Camp Germania

(Click for Source)


Related material from Camp Germania

For a Festschrift  on his eightieth birthday, she [Hannah Arendt] wrote “the storm that blows through Heidegger's work—like the one which blows across centuries against it from Plato's works—does not stem from this century.” And from her first book—on the idea of love in St. Augustine—to her last, she chose a much different path. While her public remarks were full of praise, her private ones were less so. After the war, Arendt, since married, returned to Germany and spent an uneasy afternoon with her former love and his resolutely anti-Semitic wife Elfriede. What she wrote of her experience was in her diary and was not published until after her death. This was not a diary entry like others she wrote: it was an animal fable called “Heidegger the Fox.” It begins, “Heidegger says proudly: ‘People say Heidegger is a fox.' This is the true story of Heidegger the fox.” She continued….

— "Being There," in Cabinet Magazine, Issue 25, Spring 2007

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Morn

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM

For Alyssa Milano —


The Forking

(Click here for cheesy Neil Diamond background music.)

For some related philosophical remarks, see Deconstructing Alice

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

and the new Pythagorean thriller The Thousand.

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