Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Kick

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

"The inception of critical thought, of a philosophic anthropology, is contained in the archaic Greek definition of man as a 'language-animal'…."

— George Steiner, Real Presences , U. of Chicago Press, 1991, p. 89 (See also Steiner on Language.)

"To some, Inception  is a film about the creative process, specifically filmmaking, with Cobb as the director, Saito the producer, Ariadne the screenwriter, Eames the actor, and so on.  To others the entire movie is a dream in that the film supports Carl Jungs' dream analysis; with all of the supporting characters acting as classical archetypes to Cobb's multiple personalities (which would also justify the lack of development in the supporting characters).  The fact that Inception , in the few months since its initial release, has already given rise to so much discussion and critical thought is much more revelatory than whether or not Cobb is still dreaming."

— Russell Espinosa at FilmFracture.com, Jan. 1, 2011

See also Piaf's "Rien de Rien in a Log24 post from Jan. 19, 2012.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Steiner on Language

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM

March 28 review in the Times Literary Supplement  of
George Steiner's new book The Poetry of Thought

"If this new book opens with the concession that
language has neither the performative power of music
nor the elegant precision of mathematics,
it is language, for Steiner, that defines the human.

The survey accordingly begins from the ancient Greek
view of man as the 'language-animal.'" 

A check of this phrase yields, in a 1969 Steiner essay,
"The Language Animal," a Greek form of the phrase—

In short, the least inadequate definition we can arrive at
of the genus homo , the definition that fully distinguishes
him from all neighbouring life-forms, is this:
man is a zoon phonanta , a language-animal.

— p. 10 in Encounter , August 1969 (essay on pp. 7-23)

After introducing "language-animal" as a translation of  "zoon phonanta " in 1969,
Steiner in later writing went on to attribute this phrase to the ancient Greeks.

 "The inception of critical thought, of a philosophic anthropology, 
is contained in the archaic Greek definition of man as a

— George Steiner, Real Presences , U. of Chicago Press, 1991, p. 89

"… the 'language-animal' we have been since ancient Greece
so designated us…. "

— George Steiner, Grammars of Creation , Yale U. Press, 2002, p. 265

Despite this, there seems to be no evidence for use of this phrase
by the ancient Greeks.

A Google search today for zoon phonanta  (ζῷον φωνᾶντα)—

There are also no results from searches for the similar phrases
"ζωον φωναντα," "ζωον φωνᾶντα," and "ζῷον φωναντα."

Brain Boost*

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

See "Dark Fields" in this journal
and Peter J. Cameron's weblog today.

* Phrase from "Forbidden Planet" (1956).
  See previous post.

Meanwhile… (continued)

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:09 AM

In memory of actor Warren Stevens


“… Which makes it a gilt-edged priority that one  of us
 gets into that Krell lab and takes that brain boost.”

— American adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest , 1956

Some other dialogue—

"Where is the cat?" he asked at last.

"Where is the box?"


"Where's here?"

"Here is now."

"We used to think so," I said,
"but really we should use larger boxes."

— "Schrödinger's Cat,"
by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:09 PM
A Large & Startling Figure:
The Harry Crews Online Bibliography
Page updated: March 29, 2012, 08:16 PM
Copyright © 1998 – 2010

Appalachian Spring

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

For Reba

"Earl Eugene Scruggs was born on Jan. 6, 1924,
in Flint Hill, near Shelby, N.C.,
to George Elam Scruggs, a farmer and bookkeeper,
and the former Georgia Lula Ruppe,
who played the pump organ in church.
He attended high school in Boiling Springs, N.C."

— Today's online New York Times


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM

… of background for yesterday's Log24 posts

Aldaily.com, March 28 and 27, 2012

"Now that philosophy has become a scientific pursuit…."
 leads to the following article from St. Patrick's Day—

See also this  journal on St. Patrick's Day—

Doodle Dandy and The Purloined Diamond (scroll down).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Requiem for a Cat

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Cover art by Robert Goldstrom

From “Schrödinger’s Cat,” by Ursula K. Le Guin
(Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences )


There was silence then: deep silence. We both gazed, I afoot, Rover kneeling, at the box. No sound. Nothing happened. Nothing would happen. Nothing would ever happen, until we lifted the lid of the box.

“Like Pandora,” I said in a weak whisper. I could not quite recall Pandora’s legend. She had let all the plagues and evils out of the box, of course, but there had been something else, too. After all the devils were let loose, something quite different, quite unexpected, had been left. What had it been? Hope? A dead cat? I could not remember.

Impatience welled up in me. I turned on Rover, glaring. He returned the look with expressive brown eyes. You can’t tell me dogs haven’t got souls.

“Just exactly what are you trying to prove?” I demanded.

“That the cat will be dead, or not dead,” he murmured submissively. “Certainty. All I want is certainty. To know for sure that God does play dice with the world.”

I looked at him for a while with fascinated incredulity. “Whether he does, or doesn’t,” I said, “do you think he’s going to leave you a note in the box?” I went to the box, and with a rather dramatic gesture, flung the lid back. Rover staggered up from his knees, gasping, to look. The cat was, of course, not there.

Rover neither barked, nor fainted, nor cursed, nor wept. He really took it very well.

“Where is the cat?” he asked at last.

“Where is the box?”


“Where’s here?”

“Here is now.”

“We used to think so,” I said, “but really we should use larger boxes.”

He gazed about in mute bewilderment, and did not flinch even when the roof of the house was lifted off just like the lid of the box, letting in the unconscionable, inordinate light of the stars. He had just time to breathe, “Oh, wow!”

I have identified the note that keeps sounding. I checked it on the mandolin before the glue melted. It is the note A, the one that drove the composer Schumann mad. It is a beautiful, clear tone, much clearer now that the stars are visible. I shall miss the cat. I wonder if he found what it was we lost?

Sunset Limited

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:28 PM

“I need a photo opportunity…” — Paul Simon

The Word

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:12 PM


(In memory of art critic Hilton Kramer,
who died this morning)

See also “crucial” in this journal.

Literary Field

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 1:00 PM

An image suggested by Google's observance today
of Mies van der Rohe's 126th birthday—

Related material:

See also yesterday's Chapter and Verse  by Stanley Fish,
and today's Arts & Letters Daily .

Finnegans Kaleidoscope

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

IMAGE- Philip Kitcher and David Albert read Finnegans Wake

In appreciation of their essays in last
Sunday’s New York Times Book Review ,
a link for David Albert and Philip Kitcher

Finnegans Kaleidoscope.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

(The title is a nod to Peter Woit's recent post "Nothingness Smackdown.")

"To wrestle new mediums to the mat of specificity has been a preoccupation of mine since the inception of October , the magazine I founded in 1976 with Annette Michelson, the first issue of which carried my essay 'Video and Narcissism' which attempts to tie the essence of video to the spectacular nature of mirrors."

Rosalind Krauss, 2008, introduction to Perpetual Inventory  (MIT Press, 2010)

Related material— The video art and mirror art of Josefine Lyche.

See also Krauss's essay on video in Perpetual Inventory—  "Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism" (first published as "Video and Narcissism," October , no. 1 (Spring 1976))—

"In The Language of the Self , Lacan begins by characterizing the space of the therapeutic transaction as an extraordinary void created by the silence of the analyst. Into this void the patient projects the monologue of his own recitation, which Lacan calls 'the monumental construct of his narcissism.'"

— and related remarks on October  and the void quoted here March 10 in "Boo Boo Boo."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Compare and Contrast

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

IMAGE- Escher, 'Fishes and Scales'

IMAGE- Cullinane, 'Invariance'


The Origin and Development of Erwin Panofsky's Theories of Art ,
Michael Ann Holly, doctoral thesis, Cornell University, 1981 (pdf, 10 MB)

Panofsky, Cassirer, and Perspective as Symbolic Form ,
Allister Neher, doctoral thesis, Concordia University, 2000

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The David Waltz…

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

In Turing's Cathedral

"At the still point…" — T. S. Eliot

In memory of David L. Waltz, artificial-intelligence pioneer,
who died Thursday, March 22, 2012—

  1. The Log24 post of March 22 on the square-triangle theorem
  2. The March 18 post, Square-Triangle Diamond
  3. Remarks from the BBC on linguistic embedding
    that begin as follows—
         "If we draw a large triangle and embed smaller triangles in it,
          how does it look?"—
    and include discussion of a South American "tribe called Piranha" [sic ]
  4. The result of a Cartoon Bank search suggested by no. 3 above—
    (Click image for some related material.)
  5. A suggestion from the Cartoon Bank—
    IMAGE- 'Try our new grid view.'
  6. The following from the First of May, 2010

    The Nine Divisions of Heaven–

    Image-- Routledge Encyclopedia of Taoism, Vol. I, on the Nine Heavens, 'jiutian,' ed. by Fabrizio Pregadio

    Some context–

    IMAGE- The 3x3 ('ninefold') square as Chinese 'Holy Field'

    "This pattern is a square divided into nine equal parts.
    It has been called the 'Holy Field' division and
    was used throughout Chinese history for many
    different purposes, most of which were connected
    with things religious, political, or philosophical."

    – The Magic Square: Cities in Ancient China,
    by Alfred Schinz, Edition Axel Menges, 1996, p. 71

  7. The phrase "embedding the stone" —

Friday, March 23, 2012

Embedding the Stone

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM

"Imbedding the God character in a holy book's very detailed narrative
and building an entire culture around this narrative
seems by itself to confer a kind of existence on Him."

John Allen Paulos in the philosophy column "The Stone,"
     New York Times  online, Oct. 24, 2010

A related post from Log24 later that year—

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Embedding

 — m759 @ 6:00 AM

The New York Times Magazine  this morning on a seminar on film theory at Columbia University—

"When the seminar reconvened after the break, Schamus said, 'Let’s dive into the Meno,' a dialogue in which Plato and Socrates consider virtue. 'The heart of it is the mathematical proof.' He rose from his seat and went to the whiteboard, where he drew figures and scribbled numbers as he worked through the geometry. 'You can only get the proof visually,' he concluded, stepping back and gazing at it. Plato may be skeptical about the category of the visual, he said, but 'you are confronted with a visual proof that gets you back to the idea embedded in visuality.'"

The Meno Embedding

Plato's Diamond embedded in The Matrix

See also Plato's Code and
 Plato Thanks the Academy.

"Next come the crown of thorns and Jesus' agonized crawl across the stage,
bearing the weight of his own crucifix. And at last, after making
yet another entrance, Mr. Nolan strikes the pose immortalized
in centuries of art, clad in a demure loincloth, arms held out to his sides,
one leg artfully bent in front of the other, head hanging down
in tortured exhaustion. Gently spotlighted, he rises from the stage
as if by magic, while a giant cross, pulsing with hot gold lights,
descends from above to meet him. Mr. Lloyd Webber's churning guitar rock
hits a climactic note, and the audience erupts in excited applause."

— Charles Isherwood, review of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in today's  New York Times

Other remarks on embedding —

Part I

Review of a new book on linguistics, embedding, and a South American tribe—

"Imagine a linguist from Mars lands on Earth to survey the planet's languages…."
Chronicle of Higher Education , March 20, 2012

Part II

The Embedding , by Ian Watson (Review of a 1973 novel from Shakespeare's birthday, 2006)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Square-Triangle Theorem continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Last night's post described a book by Alexander Soifer
on questions closely related to— and possibly
suggested by— a Miscellanea  item and a letter to
the editor
in the American Mathematical Monthly ,
June-July issues of 1984 and 1985.

Further search yields a series of three papers by
Michael Beeson on the same questions. These papers are
more mathematically  presentable than Soifer's book.

Triangle Tiling I 


       March 2, 2012

Triangle Tiling II 


       February 18, 2012

Triangle Tiling III 


       March 11, 2012 

These three recent preprints replace some 2010 drafts not now available.
Here are the abstracts of those drafts—

"Tiling triangle ABC with congruent triangles similar to ABC"
 (March 13, 2010),

"Tiling a triangle with congruent triangles"
(July 1, 2010).

Beeson, like Soifer, omits any reference to the "Triangles are square" item
of 1984 and the followup letter of 1985 in the Monthly .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Square-Triangle Theorem

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 PM

(Continued from March 18, 2012)

Found in a search this evening—

How Does One Cut a Triangle?  by Alexander Soifer

(Second edition, Springer, 2009. First edition published
by Soifer's Center for Excellence in Mathematical Education,
Colorado Springs, CO, in 1990.)

This book, of xxx + 174 pages, covers questions closely related
to the "square-triangle" result I published in a letter to the 
editor of the June-July 1985 American Mathematical Monthly
(Vol. 92, No. 6, p. 443).  See Square-Triangle Theorem.

Soifer's four pages of references include neither that letter
nor the Monthly  item, "Miscellaneum 129: Triangles are square"
of a year earlier that prompted the letter.

Digital Theology

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:20 AM

See also remarks on Digital Space and Digital Time in this journal.

Such remarks can, of course, easily verge on crackpot territory.

For some related  pure  mathematics, see Symmetry of Walsh Functions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Field (continued)

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

In memory of director Ulu Grosbard (continued from yesterday)

From  http://scripturetext.com/matthew/13-44.htm —

Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field
the which when a man hath found he hideth and for joy thereof
goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 13:44 Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
παλιν ομοια εστιν η βασιλεια των ουρανων θησαυρω κεκρυμμενω εν τω αγρω


παλιν  adverb

palin  pal'-in:  (adverbially) anew, i.e. (of place) back, (of time) once more, or (conjunctionally) furthermore or on the other hand — again.

ομοια  adjective – nominative singular feminine

homoios  hom'-oy-os:  similar (in appearance or character) — like, + manner.

εστιν  verb – present indicative – third person singular 

esti  es-tee':  he (she or it) is; also (with neuter plural) they are

η  definite article – nominative singular feminine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

βασιλεια  noun – nominative singular feminine

basileia  bas-il-i'-ah:  royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm — kingdom, + reign.

των  definite article – genitive plural masculine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

ουρανων  noun – genitive plural masculine

ouranos  oo-ran-os':  the sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity) — air, heaven(-ly), sky.

θησαυρω  noun – dative singular masculine

thesauros  thay-sow-ros':  a deposit, i.e. wealth — treasure.

κεκρυμμενω  verb – perfect passive participle – dative singular masculine 

krupto  kroop'-to:  to conceal (properly, by covering) — hide (self), keep secret, secret(-ly).

εν  preposition

en  en:  in, at, (up-)on, by, etc.

τω  definite article – dative singular masculine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

αγρω  noun – dative singular masculine

agros  ag-ros':  a field (as a drive for cattle); genitive case, the country; specially, a farm, i.e. hamlet — country, farm, piece of ground, land.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:08 AM

IMAGE- Two versions of 'field'

— Illustration by Neill Cameron for his father, combinatorialist Peter J. Cameron

Illustration by Nao of the Japanese (and Chinese) character for "field"—

IMAGE- Japanese character for 'field'

Related material—

Finitegeometry.org favicon from February 24, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Square-Triangle Diamond

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

The diamond shape of yesterday's noon post
is not wholly without mathematical interest …

The square-triangle theorem

"Every triangle is an n -replica" is true
if and only if n  is a square.

IMAGE- Square-to-diamond (rhombus) shear in proof of square-triangle theorem

The 16 subdiamonds of the above figure clearly
may be mapped by an affine transformation
to 16 subsquares of a square array.

(See the diamond lattice  in Weyl's Symmetry .)

Similarly for any square n , not just 16.

There is a group of 322,560 natural transformations
that permute the centers  of the 16 subsquares
in a 16-part square array. The same group may be
viewed as permuting the centers  of the 16 subtriangles
in a 16-part triangular array.

(Updated March 29, 2012, to correct wording and add Weyl link.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Purloined Diamond

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


The diamond from the Chi-rho page
of the Book of Kells —

The diamond at the center of Euclid's
Proposition I, according to James Joyce
(i.e., the Diamond in the Mandorla) —

Geometry lesson: the vesica piscis in Finnegans Wake

The Diamond in the Football


“He pointed at the football
  on his desk. ‘There it is.’”
         – Glory Road

Doodle Dandy (continued)

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


See also Kells in this journal.

Friday, March 16, 2012

For the Clueless

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 AM

"And she provided him besides with a ball of thread,
bidding him to fasten the end of it to the entrance
of the Labyrinth, and unwind it as he went in, that
it might serve him as a clue to find his way out again."

— "Theseus and Ariadne," by Charles Morris

From "Ariadne's Clue," a post of March 1 last year—


The Watson here is not Emma, but Victor—


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Head of Caesar

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Remarks on Citizen Kane  from The New York Times

"… a kind of metaphysical detective story…. At the end we realize that the fragments are not governed by any secret unity: the detested Charles Foster Kane is a simulacrum, a chaos of appearances.” Borges concluded by quoting Chesterton, "there is nothing more frightening than a labyrinth that has no center." *

* The actual quote is from a Father Brown mystery, "The Head of Caesar," "'What we all dread most,' said the priest in a low voice, 'is a maze with no centre….'"


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


The Grind House of My Father

New York Times  headline for the latest
    Will Ferrell film, Casa de Mi Padre

Related material—

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM


(Click to enlarge.)

IMAGE- NY Times online front page March 11, 2012, with images related to the film 'Hereafter' and to Goldman Sachs


Margin Call

(Click for story.)

IMAGE- Leaving Goldman Sachs (NY Times online front page)

"Greg Smith is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director
and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa." —NY Times  today


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Geometry and Death

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:28 AM

Continued from other posts.

IMAGE- From the 3/13 NY Times obituaries- Albert Abramson, Holocaust Museum backer, with other deaths

Related material from Washington Jewish Week

"Abramson did not always get his way; he didn't have to win, but never took his eye off the ball— the Museum had to emerge the better. He did not take loses personally but pragmatically. A design for the Museum building done by an architect from his firm was charitably speaking 'mediocre.' It was replaced by a brilliant building designed by James Ingo Freed who rightfully regarded it as the master work of his distinguished career. Abramson became Freed's champion. He pushed the design team for a happy ending, saying that he knew the American people and they needed an uplifting ending since the subject of the Holocaust was so very depressing."

— and from the Holocaust Memorial Museum

IMAGE- Holocaust Museum, architectural details

Update of 5:01 AM March 13—

See also yesterday's post The Line and
the section "The Pythagorean/ Platonic tradition"
at David Wade's website Pattern in Islamic Art.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Line

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM

From a film review

"The first half of the film has the predominant
tone and style of a comic farce. In the second
half, the film becomes darker as it delves deeper
into its central issues of human suffering,
sacrifice and faith. The film also frequently blurs
the line between the sane and the insane."

Related materialThe Line: A Lenten Meditation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM

From one year ago today, a link—

The Citizen Kane of Horror.

*Title courtesy of William Peter Blatty.

Boo continued…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:18 PM

Click image for some context. See also yesterday's Boo Boo Boo.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Boo Boo Boo*

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:33 PM

Academics today—

Home Page of Steven Z. Levine
(A.B., A.M., Ph.D., all at Harvard University, 1968-1974)—

IMAGE-Bryn Mawr home page of Professor Steven Z. Levine

(Click to enlarge.)

Note that Levine states forthrightly that he won Third Prize for Bad Writing
from the international journal Philosophy and Literature  in 1998.

* Stanley H. Kaplan, mnemonic for “square root of two.”
On the void — See this morning’s post and “Is Nothing Sacred?


Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 AM

"In 1957, as an incoming freshman,
 I was traded by Harvard to Yale.
 Harvard got a guy who could row
 and Yale got a Jewish boy with good SATs."

— The late Peter Bergman

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Home for Purim

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:30 PM


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

For Women's Day—

Heralds of Light

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

On Harvard's Memorial Church in 2007—

"John Harvard left no male heir to carry on the Harvard family name. Instead, the naming of the College in his honor was the undying legacy that his friends decided to grant to him. In so doing, they were saying to every succeeding generation that this was the kind of man whom they wanted others to emulate, whose spirit of courage, self-sacrifice and generosity embodied the very best of what they hoped Harvard College should become. 

On November 4, 2007, the gift of a tablet was presented to Harvard Memorial Church by the dean of Southwark Cathedral, London, the Rev. Colin Slee, and Emmanuel College, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Harvard's baptism. This, along with a combined brief exhibit called 'Heralds of Light,' which consisted in part of showing John Harvard's baptismal page from the Southwark records and his Emmanuel College signature— brought over for the occasion from England by Southwark and Emmanuel representatives—was about all the attention that Harvard University could muster to remember the 400th birthday of its namesake."

— Arseny James Melnick (A.M., Harvard University, 1977),
     personal website on John Harvard

Related material from the entertainment world—

Phoenix Senior: "As the plaque reads, this is John Harvard,
founder of Harvard University in 1638. It's also called
the Statue of Three Lies. What are the three lies?"

— "The Social Network"

Also on November 4, 2007—

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day of the Monolith

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

IMAGE- Black monolith, proportions 4x9

See Monolith in this journal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doodle Dandy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

For Princess Leia, from donshewey.com—


Origin of the title: Harold Ross, founding editor of The New Yorker, was once asked to describe the average reader of the magazine. He said, “One thing I know, the magazine is not going to be written for the little old lady from Dubuque.” Naming his character after Ross’s imaginary small-town creature was typically whimsical of Albee. The play’s title character is extremely worldly and other-worldly at the same time. “If The New Yorker is written for anyone, it’s written for her,” Albee said.

Related material: Butterfly in this journal.

A Strange Thing

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

In memory of songwriter Robert Sherman

L. Frank Baum

See also The Uploading.

Monday, March 5, 2012

For a Yale 10

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM

See a Harvard Crimson  review of a book
by philosopher Colin McGinn.

Beach Boy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:48 PM


IMAGE- Outer Banks beach and 'The Stone' philosophy column by Colin McGinn, NY Times

See also McGinn in this journal.

IMAGE- On the beach: 'Once again the castle's architect is taken to task for using sand instead of stone.' --Sally Forth 7/13/08


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM

(Continued from Sweaters and Muses)

A Leap Day photo—

"yes I said yes I will Yes"

For the Nine Muses

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

From "The Talented," a post of April 26, 2011—


And for Josefine Lyche

Unity in Multiplicity —

Pink  in Wikipedia

Establishment of the Talented

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

For Women's History Month —

See this post's title in Log24 and the following from Pinkdex ,
the online catalog of the MIT Science Fiction Society (MITSFS)—

IMAGE- Pinkdex results for McCaffrey's 'Rowan' series

"The Pinkdex is so named because it was originally
maintained by another member of MITSFS, many years ago—
 Marilyn 'Fuzzy Pink' Niven [said to be so called for her sweaters],
 whose husband, Larry Niven, has written
or co-authored many of the books in the MITSFS library."

Susan Shepherd, MIT '11

See also MIT Commencement in this journal.

Postscript for the less technically oriented reader—
This post was suggested by yesterday's "Look, Buster,"
and by the middle name of William Rowan Hamilton.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Haunted Galaxy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

(Continued from Big Art 1 PM EST yesterday)

'IMAGE- The Galaxy has been haunted by ugly colours for centuries'- Josefine Lyche, 2001 video

In related news…

Ralph McQuarrie, who designed the Star Wars  trilogy, died yesterday.

See also Haunting Time.

Look, Buster…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

(Continued from previous posts)

  Detail from Washington Post  page today (below)…

  Click to enlarge

In related news…

  The Hallowed Crucible

"After all the pretty contrast of life and death
 Proves that these opposite things partake of one,
 At least that was the theory…."

— Wallace Stevens, "Connoisseur of Chaos"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big Art

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

For Women's History Month—

The Beam of Pink Light

Beam of pink light in Philip K. Dick's 'VALIS'

Video by Josefine Lyche ('Jo Lyxe')

From a post linked to on Lyxe's upload date, Feb. 6, 2012

“… with primitives the beginnings of art, science, and religion
coalesce in the undifferentiated chaos of the magical mentality….”

— Carl G. Jung, “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry,”
     Collected Works, Vol. 15, The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature,
     Princeton University Press, 1966, excerpted in
    Twentieth Century Theories of Art, edited by James M. Thompson.

See also the NY Lottery for St. Luke's Day, 2011, publication date
of the new edition of Philip K. Dick's VALIS  quoted above.


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:33 AM

A search tonight for material related to the four-color
decomposition theorem yielded the Wikipedia article
Functional decomposition.

The article, of more philosophical than mathematical
interest, is largely due to one David Fass at Rutgers.

(See the article's revision history for mid-August 2007.)

Fass's interest in function decomposition may or may not
be related to the above-mentioned theorem, which 
originated in the investigation of functions into the
four-element Galois field from a 4×4 square domain.

Some related material involving Fass and 4×4 squares—

A 2003 paper he wrote with Jacob Feldman—

(Click to enlarge.)

"Design is how it works." — Steve Jobs

An assignment for Jobs in the afterlife—

Discuss the Fass-Feldman approach to "categorization under
complexity" in the context of the Wikipedia article's
philosophical remarks on "reductionist tradition."

The Fass-Feldman paper was assigned in an MIT course
for a class on Walpurgisnacht 2003.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Douat Facsimile

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:14 PM

Title of a treatise by Dominique Douat

"Méthode pour faire une infinité de desseins différens avec des carreaux mi-partis de deux couleurs par une ligne diagonale : ou observations du Père Dominique Doüat Religieux Carmes de la Province de Toulouse sur un mémoire inséré dans l'Histoire de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Paris l'année 1704, présenté par le Révérend Père Sébastien Truchet religieux du même ordre, Académicien honoraire  " (Paris, 1722)

"The earliest (and perhaps the rarest) treatise on the theory of design"

— E. H. Gombrich, 1979, in The Sense of Order

A facsimile version (excerpts, 108 pp., Feb. 5, 2010) of this treatise is available from

http://jacques-andre.fr/ed/ in a 23.1 MB pdf.

Sample page—

For a treatise on the finite geometry underlying such designs (based on a monograph I wrote in 1976, before I had heard of Douat or his predecessor Truchet), see Diamond Theory.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Block That Metaphor:

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:09 PM

The Cube Model and Peano Arithmetic

The eightfold cube  model of the Fano plane may or may not have influenced a new paper (with the date Feb. 10, 2011, in its URL) on an attempted consistency proof of Peano arithmetic—

The Consistency of Arithmetic, by Storrs McCall

"Is Peano arithmetic (PA) consistent?  This paper contains a proof that it is. …

Axiomatic proofs we may categorize as 'syntactic', meaning that they concern only symbols and the derivation of one string of symbols from another, according to set rules.  'Semantic' proofs, on the other hand, differ from syntactic proofs in being based not only on symbols but on a non-symbolic, non-linguistic component, a domain of objects.    If the sole paradigm of 'proof ' in mathematics is 'axiomatic proof ', in which to prove a formula means to deduce it from axioms using specified rules of inference, then Gödel indeed appears to have had the last word on the question of PA-consistency.  But in addition to axiomatic proofs there is another kind of proof.   In this paper I give a proof of PA's consistency based on a formal semantics for PA.   To my knowledge, no semantic consistency proof of Peano arithmetic has yet been constructed.

The difference between 'semantic' and 'syntactic' theories is described by van Fraassen in his book The Scientific Image :

"The syntactic picture of a theory identifies it with a body of theorems, stated in one particular language chosen for the expression of that theory.  This should be contrasted with the alternative of presenting a theory in the first instance by identifying a class of structures as its models.  In this second, semantic, approach the language used to express the theory is neither basic nor unique; the same class of structures could well be described in radically different ways, each with its own limitations.  The models occupy centre stage." (1980, p. 44)

Van Fraassen gives the example on p. 42 of a consistency proof in formal geometry that is based on a non-linguistic model.  Suppose we wish to prove the consistency of the following geometric axioms:

A1.  For any two lines, there is at most one point that lies on both.
A2.  For any two points, there is exactly one line that lies on both.
A3.  On every line there lie at least two points.

The following diagram shows the axioms to be consistent:

Figure 1

The consistency proof is not a 'syntactic' one, in which the consistency of A1-A3 is derived as a theorem of a deductive system, but is based on a non-linguistic structure.  It is a semantic as opposed to a syntactic proof.  The proof constructed in this paper, like van Fraassen's, is based on a non-linguistic component, not a diagram in this case but a physical domain of three-dimensional cube-shaped blocks. ….

… The semantics presented in this paper I call 'block semantics', for reasons that will become clear….  Block semantics is based on domains consisting of cube-shaped objects of the same size, e.g. children's wooden building blocks.  These can be arranged either in a linear array or in a rectangular array, i.e. either in a row with no space between the blocks, or in a rectangle composed of rows and columns.  A linear array can consist of a single block, and the order of individual blocks in a linear or rectangular array is irrelevant. Given three blocks A, B and C, the linear arrays ABC and BCA are indistinguishable.  Two linear arrays can be joined together or concatenated into a single linear array, and a rectangle can be re-arranged or transformed into a linear array by successive concatenation of its rows.  The result is called the 'linear transformation' of the rectangle.  An essential characteristic of block semantics is that every domain of every block model is finite.  In this respect it differs from Tarski’s semantics for first-order logic, which permits infinite domains.  But although every block model is finite, there is no upper limit to the number of such models, nor to the size of their domains.

It should be emphasized that block models are physical models, the elements of which can be physically manipulated.  Their manipulation differs in obvious and fundamental ways from the manipulation of symbols in formal axiomatic systems and in mathematics.  For example the transformations described above, in which two linear arrays are joined together to form one array, or a rectangle of blocks is re-assembled into a linear array, are physical transformations not symbolic transformations. …" 

Storrs McCall, Department of Philosophy, McGill University

See also…

Big Reveal

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

(Continued from 1:06 AM EST.)

Wikipedia on the late Andrew Breitbart—

"He ran his own news aggregation site, Breitbart.com,
and five other websites: Breitbart.tv, Big Hollywood,
Big Government, Big Journalism, and Big Peace."

Salvation for Gopnik

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 AM

Yesterday afternoon's post Universals Revisited linked
(indirectly) to an article in the current New Yorker  on
the Book of Revelation —

"The Big Reveal: Why Does the Bible End That Way?"

The connection in that post between universals and Revelation
may have eluded readers unfamiliar with a novel by
Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion  (London, Gollancz, 1931).

The article's author, Adam Gopnik, appears in the following
Google Book Search, which may or may not help such readers.

Should Gopnik desire further information on Williams and salvation,
he may consult Steps Toward Salvation: An Examination of Coinherence
and Substitution in the Seven Novels of Charles Williams
by Dennis L. Weeks (American University Studies: Series 4, English
Language and Literature. Vol. 125), XV + 117 pp., Peter Lang Publishing, 1991.

The ninth item in the above search refers to a boxed set
of the seven novels themselves—


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