Sunday, September 30, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:45 AM


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Immerse Yourself

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


From the Wikipedia article (with links altered) on Mormon baptism of the dead

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that baptism is a prerequisite for entry into the kingdom of God as stated by Jesus in John 3:5: "Except that a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (KJV).

From The Painted Word  (with link added), by Tom Wolfe—

PEOPLE DON’T READ THE MORNING NEWSPAPER, Marshall McLuhan once said, they slip into it like a warm bath. Too true, Marshall! Imagine being in New York City on the morning of Sunday, April 28, 1974, like I was, slipping into that great public bath, that vat, that spa, that regional physiotherapy tank, that White Sulphur Springs, that Marienbad, that Ganges, that River Jordan for a million souls which is the Sunday New York Times . Soon I was submerged, weightless, suspended in the tepid depths of the thing, in Arts & Leisure, Section 2, page 19, in a state of perfect sensory deprivation, when all at once an extraordinary thing happened:

I noticed something!

This Just In

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Update of 11:22 AM ET— A job for Mitt—


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

The New York Times  on its print edition yesterday:

A version of this article appeared in print
on September 28, 2012, on page 
of the 
New York edition with the headline:
John Silber Dies at 86; Led Boston University.

The Times 's Robert D. McFadden wrote that
Silber was "a philosopher by training but
a fighter by instinct."  

That phrase was brought to mind today
by a Sept. 25 link in The Harvard Crimson
to Mumford & Sons singing "The Boxer"
in Providence on Transfiguration Day.

There was no Transfiguration Day post
in this journal. Here are parts of the posts
for the preceding and following days—

See also "The Count" from September 17.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Empty Chair at B.U.*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Below: A New York Times  "Fashion Week: Immerse Yourself" ad
with obituary of former Boston University president John Silber—
"a philosopher by training but a fighter by instinct"—

IMAGE- NY Times obit of former B.U. president with ad-- 'Fashion Week: Immerse Yourself.'

"I can't do that to myself ." — Clint Eastwood

* See a Sept. 1st CNN piece by Boston University
   religion scholar Stephen Prothero—
  "Give Me Bali's Empty Chair over Eastwood's"—

  See also Prothero in this journal.

Classic Nothing

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 PM

Click to enlarge:

IMAGE- Harvard president Drew Faust sums up the work of Joan Didion


Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM


— Inscription at entrance to
     Plato's Academy, according to
     an elementary introduction to
     philosophy by James L. Christian 

For Irving Adler, who reportedly
died on September 22, 2012—


Background: See Sangaku in this journal.

See also the following, from a different  
elementary introduction, by Adler—
Giant Golden Book of Mathematics,
illustrated by Lowell Hess


   (Detail of Flickr photo)

* See Liddell and Scott.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kummer and the Cube

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 PM

Denote the d-dimensional hypercube by  γd .

"… after coloring the sixty-four vertices of  γ6
alternately red and blue, we can say that
the sixteen pairs of opposite red vertices represent
the sixteen nodes of Kummer's surface, while
the sixteen pairs of opposite blue vertices
represent the sixteen tropes."

— From "Kummer's 16," section 12 of Coxeter's 1950
    "Self-dual Configurations and Regular Graphs"

Just as the 4×4 square represents the 4-dimensional
hypercube  γ4  over the two-element Galois field GF(2),
so the 4x4x4 cube represents the 6-dimensional
hypercube  γ6  over GF(2).

For religious interpretations, see
Nanavira Thera (Indian) and
I Ching  geometry (Chinese).

See also two professors in The New York Times
discussing images of the sacred in an op-ed piece
dated Sept. 26 (Yom Kippur).

Mathematics and Narrative (continued)

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

In diamond-narrative news today…

IMAGE- Pink Panther actor dies at 95

"Among the low points of his career was his performance
in the disastrous 1985 remake of “King Solomon’s Mines….”

— David Belcher in today's online New York Times

A Kenning for Thor’s Day

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:23 AM

"A kenning… is a circumlocution
used instead of an ordinary noun
in Old Norse, Old English and
later Icelandic poetry." — Wikipedia

Note the title of Tuesday's post High White in the Dark Fields.

Related material, in memory of a composer-lyricist 
who died Monday (NY Times ) or Tuesday (LA Times )—

"Somewhere there's heaven…"

April 9, 1962

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:01 AM

IMAGE- Andy Williams sings 'Moon River' from 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' at the Academy Awards on April 9, 1962.

The "1961" Oscars ceremony shown above was for the films of 1961.
The ceremony itself was held on April 9, 1962.

For a different Tiffany, see Tuesday's Another Day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM
From French cinema—


"a 'non-existent myth' of a battle between
goddesses of the sun and the moon
for a mysterious blue diamond
that has the power to make
mortals immortal and vice versa"

"Moon River, wider than a mile…"

The most damaging and obstructive
cluster of ideas you face as a writer
are nearly all related to the idea of “flow.”

Like “genius.”

And “sincerity.”

And “inspiration.”

Distrust these words.

They stand for cherished myths,
but myths nonetheless.

— Verlyn Klinkenborg, 
"Several Short Sentences About Writing"       

"All she had to do was kick off and flow."

The Gameplayers of Zan

"I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay."

Finnegans Wake

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

High White in the Dark Fields

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"High white noon"

— Phrase of Don DeLillo and Josefine Lyche

"Spellbinding visuals dwarf weak characters."

Fox News review of Snow White and the Huntsman

For some stronger characters, see Limitless , a 2011 film 
based on a 2001 novel by Alan Glynn, The Dark Fields .

See also St. Andrew's Day 2011 in this journal.

Another Day

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

Verlyn Klinkenborg in yesterday's online New York Times

"Even metaphors — the best ones anyway —
are literal-minded. But that’s a story for another day."

Another day: May 18, 2010—

Part I: At Pomona College

"Writer-in-Residence Verlyn Klinkenborg '74
Writes Essay on Graduation for New York Times"
— Pomona College news item, May 18, 2010, by
   Laura Tiffany

Part II: In this journal

Note that the geometric diamond in the screenshot above
is not blue but black.

See also Pomona College under the topic Defining Form
in this journal.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:48 AM

"And so the sentence ceases to be a sentence—
a verbal construct of a certain length, velocity and
rhythm with, at bottom, an unambiguous literal
meaning. It becomes a sign instead that telepathic
communication is about to commence."

— Verlyn Klinkenborg, "The Trouble With Intentions,"
     in The New York Times  last night at 9:30 PM ET

Other signs of the Times  (click to enlarge)—

Signs suggested by Klinkenborg's remarks—

Click the above image for further details.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Short Story

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:25 PM

Ad for the story—


IMAGE- NY Times front page- JAWS MEETS MOSES, or 'How Sharks Behave' and 'Reinventing Ethics'

The Story —

IMAGE- 'Ayn Sof,' title of a Log24 post on Jan. 7, 2011

Midbrow in Paris

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM

"Middlebrow culture was killed in the late 50's and 60's,
and the mortal blows came from opposite directions.
The intellectuals launched assaults on what they took to be
middlebrow institutions, attacks that are so vicious
they take your breath away….

At the same time, pop culture changed."

David Brooks in The New York Times , June 16, 2005

"… but the fighter still remains" —Paul Simon

"James Joyce frequently presents climactic moments
of realization of life at the end of his stories; these
psychological revelations, called epiphanies, constitute
moments of heightened awareness which foment reflection
on the part of both the character and the readers, as well
as introduce an element of surprise."

The Telling and the Tale , by Gilda Pacheco Acuña
and Kari Meyers Skredsvig, Editorial Universidad
de Costa Rica
, 2006, page 11

For Scott and Ernest, from Julio —

"The novel wins by points and the short story by knockout."

Id.  (See also Feb. 8,  Beach Boy .)

Nice Job, Jimmy

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

"… and now thanks to Philo T. Farnsworth,
we have 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.'"

Jimmy Kimmel at last night's Emmy Awards

Related material—

Aldous Huxley in last evening's Log24 post—

"Embraced, the lovers desperately try
to fuse their insulated ecstasies into
a single self-transcendence…."

From an anonymous author at the website Kill Devil Hill

"This little story… has that climactic moment of
heightened awareness….  This is a moment where
two individuals become one, empowering them
to transcend the limitations of their own individual
frailty and society. It's an epiphany, an almost
divine spark. It is an experience when one plus one
don't equal two, but something far greater."

Kill Devil Hills also appears in a 1983 film

"Suppose it were possible to transfer
from one mind to another
the experience of another person."

Trailer for "Brainstorm" (1983),
     the last film of Natalie Wood

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Point Counterpoint

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies – all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or "feeling into." Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience."

The Doors of Perception

"Greet guests with a touch of glass."

The Perception of Doors

Plan 9 (continued)–

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

In Like Flynn

From the Wall Street Journal  site Friday evening—

ESSAY September 21, 2012, 9:10 p.m. ET

Are We Really Getting Smarter?

Americans’ IQ scores have risen steadily over the past century.
James R. Flynn examines why.

IMAGE- Raven's Progressive Matrices problem with ninth configuration a four-diamonds grid

No, thank you. I prefer the ninth configuration as is—

IMAGE- Four-diamonds grid, the ninth configuration in a Raven's Progressive Matrices problem

Why? See Josefine Lyche’s art installation “Grids, you say?

Her reference there to “High White Noon” is perhaps
related to the use of that phrase in this journal.

The phrase is from a 2010 novel by Don DeLillo.
See “Point Omega,” as well as Lyche’s “Omega Point,”
in this journal.

The Wall Street Journal  author above, James R. Flynn (born in 1934),
“is famous for his discovery of the Flynn effect, the continued
year-after-year increase of IQ scores in all parts of the world.”

His son Eugene Victor Flynn is a mathematician, co-author
of the following chapter on the Kummer surface— 

For use of the Kummer surface in Buddhist metaphysics, see last night’s
post “Occupy Space (continued)” and the letters of Nanavira Thera from the
late 1950s at nanavira.blogspot.com.

These letters, together with Lyche’s use of the phrase “high white noon,”
suggest a further quotation

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

See also the Kummer surface at the web page Configurations and Squares.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Occupy Space

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


"The word 'space' has, as you suggest, a large number of different meanings."

Nanavira Thera in [Early Letters. 136] 10.xii.1958

From that same letter (links added to relevant Wikipedia articles)—

Space (ākāsa) is undoubtedly used in the Suttas
to mean 'what/where the four mahābhūtas are not',
or example, the cavities in the body are called ākāsa
M.62—Vol. I, p. 423). This, clearly, is the everyday
'space' we all experience—roughly, 'What I can move
bout in', the empty part of the world. 'What you can't
ouch.' It is the 'space' of what Miss Lounsberry has so
appily described as 'the visible world of our five
senses'. I think you agree with this. And, of course, if
this is the only meaning of the word that we are
going to use, my 'superposition of several spaces' is
disqualified. So let us say 'superposition of several
extendednesses'. But when all these
extendednesses have been superposed, we get
'space'—i.e. our normal space-containing visible
world 'of the five senses'. But now there is another
point. Ākāsa is the negative of the four mahābhūtas,
certainly, but of the four mahābhūtas understood
in the same everyday sense—namely, solids (the
solid parts of the body, hair, nails, teeth, etc.),
liquids (urine, blood, etc.), heat and processes
(digestion) and motion or wind (N.B. not 'air').
These four, together with space, are the normal
furniture of our visible world 'of the five senses',
and it is undoubtedly thus that they are intended
in many Suttas. But there is, for example, a Sutta
(I am not sure where) in which the Ven. Sariputta
Thera is said to be able to see a pile of logs
successively as paṭhavi, āpo, tejo, and vāyo; and
it is evident that we are not on the same level.
On the everyday level a log of wood is solid and
therefore pathavi (like a bone), and certainly not
āpo, tejo, or vāyo. I said in my last letter that I
think that, in this second sense—i.e. as present in,
or constitutive of, any object (i.e. = rupa)—they
are structural and strictly parallel to nama and can
be defined exactly in terms of the Kummer
triangle. But on this fundamental level ākāsa has
no place at all, at least in the sense of our normal
everyday space. If, however, we take it as equivalent
to extendedness then it would be a given arbitrary
content—defining one sense out of many—of which
the four mahābhūtas (in the fundamental sense) are
the structure. In this sense (but only in this sense—
and it is probably an illegitimate sense of ākāsa)
the four mahābhūtas are the structure of space
(or spatial things). Quite legitimately, however, we
can say that the four mahābhūtas are the structure
of extended things—or of coloured things, or of smells,
or of tastes, and so on. We can leave the scientists'
space (full of right angles and without reference to the
things in it) to the scientists. 'Space' (= ākāsa) is the
space or emptiness of the world we live in; and this,
when analyzed, is found to depend on a complex
superposition of different extendednesses (because
all these extendednesses define the visible world
'of the five senses'—which will include, notably,
tangible objects—and this world 'of the five
senses' is the four mahābhūtas [everyday space]
and ākāsa).

Your second letter seems to suggest that the space
of the world we live in—the set of patterns
(superimposed) in which “we” are—is scientific space.
This I quite disagree with—if you do suggest it—,
since scientific space is a pure abstraction, never
experienced by anybody, whereas the superimposed
set of patterns is exactly what I experience—the set
is different for each one of us—, but in all of these
sets 'space' is infinite and undifferentiable, since it is,
by definition, in each set, 'what the four mahābhūtas
are not'. 

A simpler metaphysical system along the same lines—

The theory, he had explained, was that the persona
was a four-dimensional figure, a tessaract in space,
the elementals Fire, Earth, Air, and Water permutating
and pervolving upon themselves, making a cruciform
(in three-space projection) figure of equal lines and
ninety degree angles.

The Gameplayers of Zan ,
a 1977 novel by M. A. Foster

"I am glad you have discovered that the situation is comical:
 ever since studying Kummer I have been, with some difficulty,
 refraining from making that remark."

— Nanavira Thera, [Early Letters, 131] 17.vii.1958


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:20 PM

( Or: Occupy Space The Prequel  )

From this journal last year on November 19 and 18—

IMAGE- 'It frequently happens that the object offers a hook to the projection....' --Jung, with Natalie Wood in 'Brainstorm'

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trouble with the Curve

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

The Harvard Crimson  on last night's Ig Nobel Prize ceremony:

"The theme of the evening was 'The Universe,' a catchword
that had the audience cheering any time it was mentioned
throughout the night. Throughout the ceremony, a mini opera
entitled 'The Intelligent Designer and the Universe'* premiered
in four acts.

The opera’s final line was “This is how the Universe decays
into insanity.”

* An opera "about an insane wealthy man who bequeaths his
  fortune to have someone design a beautiful dress for the
  universe." —Mark Pratt, Associated Press

In related news…

"Most mysteries begin in confusion and end in certainty;
Pynchon likes to change this trajectory, so that what begins
a mystery ends as pure chaos. (Well aware how frustrating
some readers find this, Pynchon sets up a running gag in
Inherent Vice  about a class action suit brought against MGM
by audiences who don't like the way its stories end.)"

— Sarah Churchwell in The Guardian , Sunday, July 26, 2009


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:48 AM

Where Entertainment is God continues…

Excerpts from "Today in History,"
by The Associated Press,
for Friday, September 21, 2012

Today's Birthdays:
Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen is 78.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 69.
Author Stephen King is 65.
Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 62.

Thought for Today: "The crisis of yesterday
is the joke of tomorrow." — H.G. Wells, English author
(born this day in 1866, died 1946).

And the joke of yesterday?

Related material:

Thursday, September 20, 2012


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

      Part of a New York Times  banner ad last night—

IMAGE- 'Fashion Week: Immerse Yourself'

     (Fashion week dates 2012 — 
     New York Sept. 6-13, London Sept. 14-18,
     Milan Sept. 19-25, Paris Sept. 25-Oct. 3.)

     Some related prose suggested by a link in
     last night's Log24 post

The theory, he had explained, was that the persona
was a four-dimensional figure, a tessaract in space,
the elementals Fire, Earth, Air, and Water permutating
and pervolving upon themselves, making a cruciform
(in three-space projection) figure of equal lines and
ninety degree angles.

The Gameplayers of Zan , a novel by M. A. Foster

IMAGE- Immersion in a fictional vision of resurrection within a tesseract

      See also, if you can find a copy, Jeff Riggenbach's 
      "Science Fiction as Will and Idea," Riverside Quarterly 
       Vol. 5, No. 3 (whole number 19, August 1972, ed. by
       Leland Sapiro et al.), 168-177.

      Some background—
      Tuesday's Simple Skill and 4D Ambassador,
      as well as Now What? from May 23, 2012.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


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

The Game in the Ship cannot be approached as a job,
a vocation, a career, or a recreation. To the contrary,
it is Life and Death itself at work there. In the Inner Game,
we call the Game Dhum Welur , the Mind of God."

 — The Gameplayers of Zan

"When Death tells a story
 you really have to listen."

The Book Thief , cover

Art Wars (continued)

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

Today's previous post, "For Odin's Day," discussed 
a mathematical object, the tesseract, from a strictly
narrative point of view.

In honor of George Balanchine, Odin might yield the
floor this evening to Apollo.

From a piece in today's online New York Times  titled
"How a God Finds Art (the Abridged Version)"—

"… the newness at the heart of this story,
in which art is happening for the first time…."

Some related art

IMAGE- Figure from Plato's Meno in version by Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, Oxford

and, more recently

This more recent figure is from Ian Stewart's 1996 revision 
of a 1941 classic, What Is Mathematics? , by Richard Courant
and Herbert Robbins.

Apollo might discuss with Socrates how the confused slave boy
of Plato's Meno  would react to Stewart's remark that

"The number of copies required to double an
 object's size depends on its dimension."

Apollo might also note an application of Socrates' Meno  diagram
to the tesseract of this afternoon's Odin post


For Odin’s Day*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

(Mathematics and Narrative, continued)

"My dad has a great expression,"
Steve Sabol told USA TODAY Sports
last year. "He always says, 'Tell me
a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me the truth,
and I believe. But tell me a story,
and it will live in my heart forever.' "


Sabol died yesterday.


An art gallery in Oslo is exhibiting a tesseract.


The Jewel of Odin's Treasure Room

(Click to enlarge.)

* I.e., Wednesday. For some apt Nordic spirit,
   see Odin's Day 2012 Trailer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

4D Ambassador

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

IMAGE- '4D Ambassador (Hypercube), 2012' by Josefine Lyche at The Boiler Room Gallery in Oslo

Simple Skill

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:18 AM

But with good Will
To show our simple skill…

( Continued from Midsummer Eve, 1993 )

The "Black Diamond" search from Holy Cross Day 
leads to Talk Amongst Yourselves, which in turn
leads to PyrE in the Book, with Alfred Bester's
version of "Will and Idea."

This phrase may be regarded as a version of 
Schopenhauer's "Will and Representation."

Related material—

"Schopenhauer's notion of the will comes from the Kantian thing-in-itself, which Kant believed to be the fundamental reality behind the representation that provided the matter of perception, but lacked form. Kant believed that space, time, causation, and many other similar phenomena belonged properly to the form imposed on the world by the human mind in order to create the representation, and these factors were absent from the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer pointed out that anything outside of time and space could not be differentiated, so the thing-in-itself must be one and all things that exist, including human beings, must be part of this fundamental unity. Our inner-experience must be a manifestation of the noumenal realm and the will is the inner kernel* of every being. All knowledge gained of objects is seen as self-referential, as we recognize the same will in other things as is inside us." —Wikipedia

* "Die Schrecken des Todes beruhen großentheils auf dem falschen Schein, daß jetzt das Ich verschwinde, und die Welt bleibe, Vielmehr aber ist das Gegentheil wahr: die Welt verschwindet; hingegen der innerste Kern des Ich, der Träger und Hervorbringer jenes Subjekts, in dessen Vorstellung allein die Welt ihr Daseyn hatte, beharrt." 

— Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung , Kapitel 41

Added Nov. 16, 2012, a translation by E. F. J. Payne—

"The terrors of death rest for the most part on the false illusion that then the I or ego vanishes, and the world remains. But rather is the opposite true, namely that the world vanishes; on the other hand, the innermost kernel of the ego endures, the bearer and producer of that subject in whose representation alone the world had its existence."


by Arthur Schopenhauer
Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne
In two volumes
© 1969 Dover Publications, Inc.
© 1958 by The Falcon's Wing Press

Volume Two: Supplements to the Fourth Book, 
XLI. On Death and Its Relation to the Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Count

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:01 PM

… I saw a shadow
sliding around the ropes
to get at me. The referee
moved it back, and then
went over and picked up the count.
"One!" The fog was clearing.

I rose to a knee,
and at "nine" to my feet.

— Louis Simpson, "The Appointment"

Simpson reportedly died on Holy Cross Day.

That day in this journal—

IMAGE- Log24 posts 'Please Mister Please' and 'Plan 9'

Pattern Conception

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

( Continued from yesterday's post FLT )

Context Part I —

"In 1957, George Miller initiated a research programme at Harvard University to investigate rule-learning, in situations where participants are exposed to stimuli generated by rules, but are not told about those rules. The research program was designed to understand how, given exposure to some finite subset of stimuli, a participant could 'induce' a set of rules that would allow them to recognize novel members of the broader set. The stimuli in question could be meaningless strings of letters, spoken syllables or other sounds, or structured images. Conceived broadly, the project was a seminal first attempt to understand how observers, exposed to a set of stimuli, could come up with a set of principles, patterns, rules or hypotheses that generalized over their observations. Such abstract principles, patterns, rules or hypotheses then allow the observer to recognize not just the previously seen stimuli, but a wide range of other stimuli consistent with them. Miller termed this approach 'pattern conception ' (as opposed to 'pattern perception'), because the abstract patterns in question were too abstract to be 'truly perceptual.'….

…. the 'grammatical rules' in such a system are drawn from the discipline of formal language theory  (FLT)…."

— W. Tecumseh Fitch, Angela D. Friederici, and Peter Hagoort, "Pattern Perception and Computational Complexity: Introduction to the Special Issue," Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B  (2012) 367, 1925-1932 

Context Part II —

IMAGE- Wikipedia article 'Formal language'

Context Part III —

A four-color theorem describes the mathematics of
general  structures, not just symbol-strings, formed from
four kinds of things— for instance, from the four elements
of the finite Galois field GF(4), or the four bases of DNA.

Context Part IV —

A quotation from William P. Thurston, a mathematician
who died on Aug. 21, 2012—

"It may sound almost circular to say that
what mathematicians are accomplishing
is to advance human understanding of mathematics.
I will not try to resolve this
by discussing what mathematics is,
because it would take us far afield.
Mathematicians generally feel that they know
what mathematics is, but find it difficult
to give a good direct definition.
It is interesting to try. For me,
'the theory of formal patterns'
has come the closest, but to discuss this
would be a whole essay in itself."

Related material from a literate source—

"So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern"

Formal Patterns—

Not formal language theory  but rather
finite projective geometry  provides a graphic grammar
of abstract design

IMAGE- Harvard Crimson ad, Easter Sunday, 2008: 'Finite projective geometry as a graphic grammar of abstract design'

See also, elsewhere in this journal,
Crimson Easter Egg and Formal Pattern.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


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

The "FLT" of the above title is not Fermat's Last Theorem,
but Formal Language Theory (see image below).

In memory of George A. Miller, Harvard cognitive psychologist, who
reportedly died at 92 on July 22, 2012, the first page of a tribute
published  shortly before his death

IMAGE- Design and Formal Language Theory

The complete introduction is available online. It ends by saying—

"In conclusion, the research discussed in this issue
breathes new life into a set of issues that were raised,
but never resolved, by Miller 60 years ago…."

Related material: Symmetry and Hierarchy (a post of 9/11), and
Notes on Groups and Geometry, 1978-1986 .

Happy Rosh Hashanah.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"I'm 18."

— Spoken by a very beautiful girl
      in the summer of 1991

"Work on what has been spoiled [ Decay ]."

Hexagram 18

IMAGE- Matchbook with monogram ROT from 'North by Northwest'

Click image for some background.

Master Class

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 AM

Wikipedia (links added)—

"Hubbard coined Dianetics  from the Greek stems dia ,
meaning through, and nous , meaning mind."

Log24 on August 30

"The snow kept falling on the world,
big white flakes like white gloves."

— Frederick Seidel, "House Master,"
poem in The New Yorker  of Sept. 3, 2012

Detail of Aug. 30 illustration, with added arrow—

IMAGE- Detail of large 'Search for the Lost Tesseract' image with Amy Adams, Richard Zanuck, 'snowflake' structure, and white gloves

  The part of the illustration at upper right is from a post of
  Friday, July 13th, 2012, on the death of producer Richard Zanuck.

  "Pay no attention to the shadow behind the curtain."


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:01 AM

Today's date suggests a review of
Incommensurables, a post of July 18, 2012.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

IMAGE- 'God goes Hollywood,' by Jeremiah Cullinane

Click for further details.

Some context—

Friday, September 14, 2012

Plan 9

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 PM

(ContinuedA Meditation for Holy Cross Day )

Black Diamond in this journal
Black Diamond at Harvard

IMAGE- The Harvard Crimson on the new Black Diamond investment club for students

Please Mister Please

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:01 AM

Quotations for a Memorial

"There is a body  on the cross in my church."

"Please Mister please, don't play B-17."

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Yesterday's online Los Angeles Times  
on a film that inspired recent protests in Cairo—

The film… was shown on June 23
to an audience of less than 10
at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard,
a source familiar with the screening said….
The screening was at The Vine Theater,
which rents itself out for private screenings,
said one person involved in the theater.

An image from this journal on that same day, June 23

IMAGE- Rudolf Koch's version of the 'double cross' symbol

    Source: Rudolf KochThe Book of Signs

For some background on the symbol, see Damnation Morning.

See also Don Henley's Hollywood hymn "Garden of Allah."

Update of 8 PM Sept. 13, 2012—

Other sources give the film's screening date not as June 23,
2012, but rather as June 30, 2012. (BBC News, LAWEEKLY blogs)

The following post from this journal on that  date may or
may not have some religious relevance.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:20 PM

"… to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic"

— The aim of the artist, according to Thomas Wolfe

Related entertainment—

High-minded— Many Dimensions .

Not so high-minded— The Cosmic Cube .

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Class Act

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:31 PM

Once in love with Amy

IMAGE- Harvard Class of 2016 arrives


IMAGE- 'Romney Goes the Full D'Souza,' with picture of D'Souza film '2016'


Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 PM

A review of Max Bialystock's new smash hit,
"The Empty Chair"—


Where Madness Lies

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 AM

IMAGE- NYT obituaries-- psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and Broadway director Albert Marre-- with Stravinsky/Balanchine ad

    "Who knows where madness lies?" —Man of La Mancha

    "Hum a few bars and I'll fake it." —Stravinsky

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Symmetry and Hierarchy

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

A followup to Intelligence Test (April 2, 2012).

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
B  (2012) 367, 2007–2022
(theme issue of July 19, 2012

Gesche Westphal-Fitch [1], Ludwig Huber [2],
Juan Carlos Gómez [3], and W. Tecumseh Fitch [1]
[1]  Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna,
      Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
[2]  Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna,
      Medical University of Vienna and University of Vienna,
      Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
[3]  School of Psychology, St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews,
      South Street, St Andrews, KY16 9JP, UK
Excerpt (added in an update on Dec. 8, 2012) —
Conclusion —
"…  We believe that applying the theoretical
framework of formal language theory to two-dimensional
patterns offers a rich new perspective on the
human capacity for producing regular, hierarchically
organized structures. Such visual patterns may actually
prove more flexible than music or language for probing
the full extent of human pattern processing abilities.
      With the results presented here, we have taken the
first steps in decoding the uniquely human fascination
with visual patterns, what Gombrich termed our
‘sense of order’.
      Although the patterns we studied are most similar
to tilings or mosaics, they are examples of a much
broader type of abstract plane pattern, a type found
in virtually all of the world’s cultures [4]. Given that
such abstract visual patterns seem to represent
human universals, they have received astonishingly
little attention from psychologists. This neglect is particularly
unfortunate given their democratic nature,
their popular appeal and the ease with which they
can be generated and analysed in the laboratory.
With the current research, we hope to spark renewed
scientific interest in these ‘unregarded arts’, which
we believe have much to teach us about the nature of
the human mind."
[4]  Washburn, D. K. & Crowe, D. W.,1988
      Symmetries of Culture
      Theory and Practice of Plane Pattern Analysis
      Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Commentary —
For hierarchy , see my assessment of Gombrich.
For culture , see T. S. Eliot and Russell Kirk on Eliot.

Monday, September 10, 2012

O for Origin

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

IMAGE- Roger O. Thornhill's monogrammed 'ROT' matchbook in 'North by Northwest'

Stanley Cavell on the film North by Northwest

"The 'nothing,' or naught, in the ROT monogram equally appropriately stands for origin, so its simultaneous meaning is that the actor is the origin of the character and also the origin of what becomes of himself or herself on film. The further thought that the human self as such is both an origin and a nothing is a bit of Cartesianism that is conceivably not called for in the context of this film."

Cavell on Film , SUNY Press, 2005, pp. 44-45

For another central O, see Four Gods in this journal.

The film's mistaken-identity plot involves a fictional character named Kaplan. For a real Kaplan, see a 2001 New Yorker  piece.

For a related catchphrase, see Kaplan Boo.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grid Compass

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 PM

IMAGE- Grid Systems designer of 'Grid Compass,' first laptop, dies at 69.

Related material:  The Empty Chair Award.

For a different sort of grid compass, see February 3, 2011.

Decomposition Sermon

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

(Continued from Walpurgisnacht 2012)

Wikipedia article on functional decomposition

"Outside of purely mathematical considerations,
perhaps the greatest value of functional decomposition
is the insight it provides into the structure of the world."

Certainly this is true for the sort of decomposition
known as harmonic analysis .

It is not, however, true of my own decomposition theorem,
which deals only with structures made up of at most four
different sorts of elementary parts.

But my own approach has at least some poetic value.

See the four elements of the Greeks in (for instance)
Eliot's Four Quartets  and in Auden's For the Time Being .

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM


"… the modern meritocracy dates only to the 1930s,
when Harvard President James Bryant Conant
directed his admissions staff to find a measure of
ability to supplement the old boys’ network. They
settled on the exam we know as the SAT."

— "Tyranny of Merit," by Samuel Goldman,
       a book review dated August 21, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:01 PM

The producer of the films "Gandhi," "City of Joy," 
and "The Legend of Bagger Vance"
reportedly died on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.

Film producer Jake Eberts is shown
on the set of "City of Joy" in 1991. 
(David Appleby photo, Los Angeles Times ,
with the Sanskrit word SAT added)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Decomp Revisited

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:11 PM


"Some mathematicians are birds, others are frogs. Birds fly high in the air and survey broad vistas of mathematics out to the far horizon. They delight in concepts that unify our thinking and bring together diverse problems from different parts of the landscape. Frogs live in the mud below and see only the flowers that grow nearby. They delight in the details of particular objects, and they solve problems one at a time."

— Freeman Dyson (See July 22, 2011)

A Rhetorical Question:

Robert Osserman in 2004

"The past decade has been an exciting one in the world of mathematics and a fabulous one (in the literal sense) for mathematicians, who saw themselves transformed from the frogs of fairy tales— regarded with a who-would-want-to-kiss-that aversion, when they were noticed at all— into fascinating royalty, portrayed on stage and screen….

Who bestowed the magic kiss on the mathematical frog?"

A Rhetorical Answer:


Above: Amy Adams in "Sunshine Cleaning"

Related material:

Glory Road (continued)

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

"In ancient Greece, 9 was the number of the Muses,
patron goddesses of the arts. They were the daughters
of Mnemosyne ('memory'), the source
of imagination, which in turn is the carrier of archetypal,
elementary ideas to artistic realization in the field
of space-time. The number 9, that is to say, relates
traditionally to the Great Goddess of Many Names
(Devi, Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Artemis, Venus, etc.),
as matrix of the cosmic process, whether in the
macrocosm or in a microcosmic field of manifestation."

— Joseph Campbell in The Inner Reaches of Outer Space ,
      first published in 1986

From Robert A. Heinlein’s Glory Road  (1963):

Her face turned thoughtful. “Would you like to call me ‘Ettarre’?”

“Is that one of your names?”

“It is much like one of them, allowing for different spelling and accent.  Or it could be ‘Esther’ just as closely.  Or ‘Aster.’  Or even ‘Estrellita.’ “

” ‘Aster,’ ” I repeated. “Star. Lucky Star!”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Plan 9

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

(Continued from Up to Date, Aug. 28.)

Voyager 1 Story
By Amy Hubbard in the Los Angeles Times

September 4, 2012, 3:11 p.m. [PDT]

How long does it take to fly to the edge of
the solar system? At least 35 years. 
Voyager 1 is there now….

Related material—

IMAGE- Amy Hubbard in an Aug. 31, 2012, tweet- 'Dinga dong ding, Blue Moon.'

IMAGE- Joseph Campbell, 'The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,' meditation on the number nine, the Goddess, and the Angelus

      Dinga dong ding.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:31 PM

Quis custodiet?

Res ipsa loquitur.

But seriously…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM

This post is continued from May 12, 2011.

See also another journal's post on that date
as well as some related posts here.

First we take Manhattan….

Up for Grabs

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 AM

Deep background:  One Night in Bangkok.

IMAGE- Daily Beast headline: election is 'Up for Grabs'- Google News 6:06 AM EDT

See also…

The words she knows,
the tune she hums.

Monday, September 3, 2012

High Anxiety

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM


New York Times  online front page, 11 PM EDT today—

IMAGE- NY Times, 'Music of the Upset Mind'


The above Times  teaser on
"my obsessive-compulsive brain"
does not  refer to the initials "O.C.D."
in this morning's Log24 post "Hashtag E."
The source of those initials was not
"Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," but
rather the phrase "Our Class, Dear" 
in a Sept. 3, 2012, New Yorker  poem —

IMAGE- Poem on Harvard in the 1950s

See also an August 30 post for Amy Adams.


Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:02 PM

IMAGE- California Democratic chairman says GOP uses 'Big Lie' strategy.

Some background: 

The "big lie" strategy was originally described
by the National Socialists not as their own,
but  as the strategy of their enemies .

Hashtag E

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:48 AM

For Kristen

Hilary Swank in 'Million Dollar Baby'


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Washington Times

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:16 PM

IMAGE- Washington Times founder died at 92 Sunday afternoon, Sept. 2, 2012, at about 12:54 PM EDT (Monday morning, 1:54 AM, Seoul time)

The Word in the Desert

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:09 AM


For Trotsky's Birthday (Old Style), 2009—

IMAGE- Two Log24 posts, on Rosalind Krauss and on the occult, from Oct. 25, 2009

Related material:

IMAGE- Video- On the road to the U2 Rose Bowl concert of Oct. 25, 2009- 'Quest for the U2 Joshua Tree + Zabriskie'

IMAGE- NY Times Sept. 1, 2012, online obituary for Alexander Saxton, who died by his own hand on Aug. 20, 2012

(Click for further details.)

See also St. Stephen's Day, 2011.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

College of the Desert

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:08 AM

(Continued from 6:08 AM EDT yesterday and the day before)

"Richard Elster was seventy-three, I was less than half his age. He’d invited me to join him here, old house, under-furnished, somewhere south of nowhere in the Sonoran Desert or maybe it was the Mojave Desert or another desert altogether.* Not a long visit, he’d said."

— Don DeLillo, Point Omega

IMAGE- Detail of John Ritter's NY Times illustration for Geoff Dyer's review of 'Point Omega,' plus link to Twitter beneath illustration

Maybe it was the desert near Twentynine Palms.

IMAGE- Twentynine Palms in Geoff Dyer's review of 'Point Omega'

"Sometimes a wind comes before the rain
and sends birds sailing past the window,
spirit birds that ride the night,
stranger than dreams."

— Ending of Point Omega

* Update of Sept. 2, 2012— A different passage yields a more precise location.

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