Von Weizsäcker reportedly
died sometime last night.
* A reference to this journal's
final post from 2014.
Von Weizsäcker reportedly
died sometime last night.
* A reference to this journal's
final post from 2014.
From the concluding paragraph of a new book by
mathematician Michael Harris:
"A team of eminent scholars is completing a definitive
edition of Hausdorff’s collected works—'unique …
in the annals of mathematical publishing'— with the
care befitting the literary figure he undoubtedly was….
… he is honored as, perhaps, the first modern
mathematician to give a name to what we have been
calling the 'relaxed field'— he called it the
'Spielraum of thought'— and as a mathematician
who never lost his sensitivity to his chosen field’s
problematic attractions while remaining fully aware that
every veil lifted only reveals another veil."
— Harris, Michael, Mathematics without Apologies:
Portrait of a Problematic Vocation (2015-01-18)
(pp. 324-325). Princeton U. Press. Kindle Edition.
Related material: Spiel ist nicht Spielerei .
The New York Times this morning, in an
obituary for a maker of crossword puzzles :
"… the first known crossword puzzle appeared in
an American newspaper. (Called a 'word-cross'
and shaped like a diamond, it was published in
The New York World on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1913.)"
See St. Nicholas magazine, November 1874, p. 59 :
In memory of a dead poet —
The Yale Daily News on Sept. 9, 2014 —
Related material on "the hard problem" of consciousness—
Click on the image above for the LA Times obituary of Charles Townes, inventor of the laser.
See also a statement at Adherents.com —
From: "'STATEMENT BY CHARLES HARD TOWNES
At The Templeton Prize News Conference, March 9, 2005,'
posted on Templeton Prize official website"—
"Science and religion have had a long history of interesting interaction. But when I was younger, that interaction did not seem like a very healthy one. For example, when I was a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, even my professor who was directing my research jumped on me for being religiously oriented. I myself have always thought that science and religion are not unrelated, and should be honestly and openly interacting. Later, in the early 1960s, I was at Columbia University and the men's group of Riverside Church, near Columbia, asked if I would talk to them about my views, since I was one of few scientists they knew who attended church. Surprisingly, a week after my talk someone telephoned to ask if he could publish my talk he had heard on the relation between science and religion. Of all things, he wanted to publish it in THINK magazine of IBM, of which he was editor. Shortly after that, the editor of the MIT Alumni Journal read it and also wanted to publish it in his journal, and did. But a prominent MIT alumnus wrote him that if he ever published anything like it again on religion, he would never have anything more to do with MIT. This of course only encouraged me to provide many other talks and articles on the subject as I was invited, but it reflected a common view at the time among many scientists that one could not be a scientist and religiously oriented. There was an antipathy towards discussion of spirituality."
See as well a post, American Activities, from the above-mentioned date— March 9, 2005— in this journal.
A passage relevant to that post from a review of the recent film Predestination :
"By the end, even bad jokes and tired riddles come together in a giddy concatenation of thought and feeling. When a central character asks, 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?' he answers for himself: 'The rooster.' We learn that he’s not just being absurd, imbecilic or sarcastic. He’s presaging the movie’s existential triple whammies."
— "Deep Focus: Predestination," by Michael Sragow, Jan. 8, 2015
A memorable phrase by Verity Stob
at theregister.co.uk on Jan. 26:
"… remember you're not just an emotionless Dalek.
You are in the lavender band of the autistic spectrum."
See also lavender in this journal…
("Dalek, Spacek. Spacek, Dalek.")
Verity herself —
Verity's column, illustrated above, on Nov. 12, 2013,
was titled "Three Men in a Tardis."
Connoisseurs of synchronicity may consult my own
remarks on that date. Three men discussed there
are the two X-Men patriarchs Patrick Stewart and
Ian McKellen, as well as a more interesting character,
composer Sir John Tavener.
Columbia University physics writer Peter Woit dubbed
yesterday Snowpocalypse 2015 in New York City.
Woit used the day to ponder a new book by mathematician
Michael Harris, Mathematics without Apologies .
Related material: a search for Michael Harris in this journal.
That search includes…
Julianne Moore at the Screen Actors Guild awards
on Sunday evening:
"When I was 17, I decided I wanted to be
an actor. It didn't seem possible because
I'd never met a real actor," Moore said.
"So I want to say to all the kids in the
drama club, you guys are the real actors."
"Thomson is clearly talented, yet unable to get out of
the shadow of his superhero role. He is filled with
a simmering rage as Robert Downey Jr. appears
on the TV, arguably the highest profile actor alive
courtesy of a role in the Marvel films."
— Grant Pearsall at The Snapper
A midrash for Robert:
Continued from June 17, 2013
(John Baez as a savior for atheists):
As an atheists-savior, I prefer Galois…
For the genesis of the figure,
see The Geometry of Logic.
From a search for "snowflake" in this journal —
Two hymns that may or may not be relevant:
Those who prefer more-secular music may consult
Princeton Requiem, a post from the day of Faudree's death.
Yesterday's online LA Times had an obituary for a
"Besides writing and teaching, Borg was a frequent speaker,
usually racking up 100,000 frequent flier miles a year.
He and Crossan, along with their wives, led annual tours
to Turkey to follow the path of the Apostle Paul and to give
a sense of his world. They also led tours to Ireland to
showcase a different brand of Christianity."
See also, from the date of Borg's death, a different salesman joke.
Some backstory —
"What we do may be small, but it has
a certain character of permanence."
— G. H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology
Wikipedia on a 1953 novel by Theodore Sturgeon:
"The novel concerns the coming together of
six extraordinary people with strange powers…."
"If there is a flaw to More Than Human , it comes from
the writer’s desire to achieve more than fiction. If you
think that sci-fi books don’t pay attention to deep
inner meanings, you will be surprised by the conclusion
to this work, in which Sturgeon reaches for something
bigger than a story of this scale can deliver."
Background: Sturgeon's novella Baby is Three (1952).
See also 6! in this journal.
"We are not isolated free chosers,
monarchs of all we survey, but
benighted creatures sunk in a reality
whose nature we are constantly and
overwhelmingly tempted to deform
—Iris Murdoch, "Against Dryness"
in Encounter , p. 20 of issue 88
(vol. 16 no. 1, January 1961, pp. 16-20)
"We need to turn our attention away from the consoling
dream necessity of Romanticism, away from the dry
symbol, the bogus individual, the false whole, towards
the real impenetrable human person."
— Iris Murdoch, 1961
"Impenetrability! That's what I say!"
"In the garden of Adding
live Even and Odd…."
– The Midrash Jazz Quartet
in the novel City of God
by E. L. Doctorow (2000)
From a search in this journal
for "Against Dryness":
See also the previous three posts.
“I need a photo opportunity,
I want a shot at redemption.
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
in a cartoon graveyard.”
— Paul Simon
for the late John Bayley and Iris Murdoch —
From a cartoon graveyard, in memory of
a British artist who reportedly died yesterday:
Recall the punchline of Tuesday afternoon's post
on the 2012 film "Travelling Salesman" —
"What am I, the farmer's daughter?"
For background from the dark fields of the republic,
see a speech last night by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.
At the end of the 2012 film "Travelling Salesman,"
the main character holds up to the light a letter that has
at the top the presidential seal of the United States:
The camera pans down, and the character then
sees a watermark that echoes another famous seal,
from the U.S. one-dollar bill:
For related paranoia, see the novels of Dan Brown
as well as…
The Malfunctioning TARDIS continues…
The New York Times this evening claims that
this is a photo from the Year of Our Lord 1970:
It clearly is not. [See correction below.]
Update to Log24 at 6:52 PM ET Jan. 21
copied from an earlier correction at the Times :
On Alice K. Turner, fiction editor at Playboy magazine
for two decades, who reportedly died on Jan. 17:
"To have Alice publish a science-fiction story
of yours was a big seal of approval."
— Robert Silverberg, according to Turner's
obituary by Emily Langer in yesterday evening's
online Washington Post
Also from that obituary:
"Ms. Turner wrote a nonfiction and scholarly
book of her own, 'The History of Hell' (1993).
She professed that she did not believe in the
afterlife and described her book as a 'real
history of an imaginary place.' The erudite
work encompassed theology, art, literature
See as well this journal on the date of Turner's death.
"The character and events depicted in this
motion picture are fictitious. Any similarity
to actual persons, living or dead, is purely
— Ending credits of the 2012 film
From that film's introduction to the
"He is presently the Rouse Ball Professor
of Mathematics in the Department of
Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics
at Cambridge University and a fellow at
Trinity College. In 2008… he was awarded
the greatest honor in our profession
when he was presented with the Fields Medal
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor
that I now present to you Dr. Timothy Horton."
A line for a fellow of Trinity:
"What am I, the farmer's daughter?"
The New York Times Sunday Style section
(online three days ago):
As for the elder Mr. Gilbert, he could have
leapt out of a novel by Louis Auchincloss….
According to his wedding announcement
in The New York Times, [the elder]
Mr. Gilbert’s father was the chief executive
of a company that made machines for
the textile industry….
— "The Price of Privilege," by Landon Thomas Jr.
"By Louis Auchincloss" … or by F. Scott Fitzgerald?
In memory of a mathematician who
reportedly died on Dec. 16, 2014:
Backstory: Or Only Die.
From Wikipedia as of today:
"In fiction, revisionism is the retelling of a story
or type of story with substantial alterations in
character or environment, to 'revise' the view
shown in the original work. Unlike most usages
of the term revisionism, this is not generally
The film Dances with Wolves is a revisionist
Western because it portrays the Native Americans
sympathetically instead of as the savages of
traditional Westerns, which have been criticized
as racist. Similarly, the novel Wicked by
Gregory Maguire is a revisionist account of
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , which portrays the
Wicked Witch of the West fighting for what she
believes is right, and the Wizard as a ruthless
dictator of Oz."
See also another Wikipedia article's Revision History.
Cross of Gold:
"I would tell them about Rhiannon,
and about my treasured gold cross…."
— Stevie Nicks
See Dagger Definitions, by James Joyce:
"Hold to the now, the here, through which
all future plunges to the past."
A Jew's View:
"… as though echoing the road's vanishing point
up ahead…." — Album review, 2002
See Vanishing Point in this journal.
Keep in mind, the audience has
no idea who Stevie Nicks is.
The street was deserted late Friday night
We were buggin' each other while
we sat out the light….
Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve, you best keep away
"Reality is the beginning not the end,
Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega,
of dense investiture, with luminous vassals."
— “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” VI
From the series of posts tagged "Defining Form" —
The 4-point affine plane A and
the 7-point projective plane PA —
The circle-in-triangle of Yale's Figure 30b (PA ) may,
if one likes, be seen as having an occult meaning.
For the mathematical meaning of the circle in PA
see a search for "line at infinity."
A different, cubic, model of PA is perhaps more perspicuous.
Remarks from The Harvard Crimson
last October on a library visit —
Remarks today by Margaret Soltan
(University Diaries , or UD )
of George Washington (GW) University
on writing well —
Related material from this journal in
Fearful Symmetry, Princeton Style:
* See as well other instances of Kulturkampf in this journal.
Enotes.com on Herman Wouk's 1985 novel Inside, Outside :
"The 'outside' of the title is the goyish world
into which David’s profession has drawn him;
the 'inside' is the warm life of his Russian-
Jewish family on which he, as narrator, reflects
in the course of the novel."
For a different sort of 'inside' life, see this morning's post
Gesamtkunstwerk , and Nathan Shields's Feb. 8, 2011,
tribute to a serial composer "In Memoriam, Milton Babbitt."
Some other context for Shields's musical remarks —
For a more interesting contrast of inside with outside
that has nothing to do with ethnicity, see the Feb. 10,
2014, post Mystery Box III: Inside, Outside, about
the following box:
From The Daily Princetonian ,
BY JACOB DONNELLY
Students, faculty, staff and community members circled around a table supporting a single lit candle in the lobby of Murray-Dodge Hall on Monday night as they remembered the life of Audrey Dantzlerward ’16, who was found dead in her room in Edwards Hall today. The gathering, led by Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel Alison Boden, was moved to the lobby after a room reserved for the meeting overflowed.
Participants spoke commonly of Dantzlerward’s contributions to campus life, sharp intellect, supportive gestures and friendly demeanor, and the Wildcats, an
See a YouTube video, uploaded on May 26, 2014,
of the Princeton Wildcats singing "Angel Eyes."
The array was labeled Ω
because that is the usual designation for
a set acted upon by a group:
* The title is an allusion to Point Omega , a novel by
Don DeLillo published on Groundhog Day 2010.
See "Point Omega" in this journal.
A professor at Harvard has written about
"the urge to seize and display something
real beyond artifice."
He reportedly died on January 3, 2015.
An image from this journal on that date:
Another Gitterkrieg image:
The 24-set Ω of R. T. Curtis
Click on the images for related material.
From a recent Gitterkrieg post:
"The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being…." — Wallace Stevens
See also the cover of the February 2015
Notices of the American Mathematical Society .
For Kristen Wiig, a 10 if ever there was one.
See also "Ten'll Getcha."
From The New York Times this morning:
"David Henry Marlowe was born in Brooklyn
on June 6, 1931, the youngest of three children
of Karl and Lena Marlowe, Jewish immigrants
from Russia and Ukraine. His father sold
insurance, among other things, and his mother
ran the household.
For a time, the couple had a 'mind reading' act
on the Coney Island boardwalk, and their son
never forgot it. 'I can’t read minds, like my
parents,' he liked to say to friends. 'What I can
read is behavior.'"
* "I wrote another book." — Harlan Kane
in “Moulin Rouge”
(An episode of Mathematics and Narrative .)
Mathematician Peter J. Cameron this morning
on a Paris anthropological exhibition subtitled
Révélation d’un temps sans fin —
"I was reminded of Herbert Read’s
novel The Green Child ."
Related recent posts from this journal:
A passage from The Green Child :
"He watched over her until he too began to feel
overpowered by a desire to sleep. He therefore
got out on to the ledge of the trough and pulled
the Green Child after him. The rock there was
warm, smooth as jade to the flesh. They lay there
and sank into a profound slumber."
Sweet dreams, Mr. Taylor.
Green Child on the Rocks —
The noted historian of mathematics reportedly
died on December 12, 2014.
"His forthright style of operating meant
he could occasionally ruffle academic feathers."
— An acquaintance quoted today in
Times Higher Education
See a quote from Grattan-Guinness in this
journal on April 19, 2004 ("Cartesian Theatre").
"The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being…." — Wallace Stevens
See also Cube Trinity in this journal.
From the abstract of a talk, "Extremal Lattices," at TU Graz
on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Nebe
(RWTH Aachen) —
"I will give a construction of the extremal even
unimodular lattice Γ of dimension 72 I discovered
in summer 2010. The existence of such a lattice
was a longstanding open problem. The
construction that allows to obtain the
minimum by computer is similar to the one of the
Leech lattice from E8 and of the Golay code from
the Hamming code (Turyn 1967)."
On an earlier talk by Nebe at Oberwolfach in 2011 —
"Exciting new developments were presented by
Gabriele Nebe (Extremal lattices and codes ) who
sketched the construction of her recently found
extremal lattice in 72 dimensions…."
Nebe's Oberwolfach slides include one on
"The history of Turyn's construction" —
Nebe's list omits the year 1976. This was the year of
publication for "A New Combinatorial Approach to M24"
by R. T. Curtis, the paper that defined Curtis's
"Miracle Octad Generator."
See Turyn in this journal.
"Pilgrims to James Joyce's grave in Zurich, Switzerland,
continue to have their reveries fed by Hebald's 1966
life size bronze capturing the great modernist author
deep in thought, with open book in hand."
— LA Times obituary for Milton Hebald, sculptor,
who reportedly died at 97 on Twelfth Night
(Monday, January 5, 2014)
Related material: Joyce + Zurich + Serpent
in this journal.
In memory of my former sixth-grade
teacher at the school below —
A song he taught us —
The teacher died on Sunday, May 19, 2013.
See from that date a post titled Sermon.
See as well Lucy's Day 2014.
"Bercovitch’s first published article, in 1964, was on
'Dramatic Irony in Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground ';
his second and his third, in 1965, on 'Romance and Anti-Romance
in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ' and 'Three Perspectives on
Reality in Paradise Lost .' Only thereafter does his publication record
begin to reflect his interest in the vagaries of early American culture,
when he published in 1966 his essay, 'New England Epic:
Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana .'"
— "Scholar and Exegete: A Tribute to Sacvan Bercovitch,
Honored Scholar of Early American Literature," by
Bercovitch was a professor at Harvard (an institution
apparently unable to state accurately the date of
his death). The translator of of the above Nicholas of
Cusa passage may, I surmise, have been my section
man in a freshman philosophy course at Harvard
in the academic year 1960-1961.
"The way which directs a pilgrim to a city
is not the name of that city."
— Nicholas of Cusa
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
"I pondered deeply, then, over the
adventures of the jungle. And after
some work with a colored pencil
I succeeded in making my first drawing.
My Drawing Number One.
It looked something like this:
I showed my masterpiece to the
grown-ups, and asked them whether
the drawing frightened them.
But they answered: 'Why should
anyone be frightened by a hat?'"
* For the title, see Plato Thanks the Academy (Jan. 3).
From a NY Times obituary for an Arkansas poet,
Miller Williams, who reportedly died at 84
on New Year's Day —
The title of Lucinda Williams’s most recent album,
"Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone,” is a
slightly altered line from one of her father’s poems,
which reads in its entirety:
Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.
The above phrase "aimed at the heart of poetic language"
suggests an image from the poet's daughter's album —
A search for antimetaphoric yields…
See also other instances of "As It Were" in this journal.
Click on the image for related material.
See also Interpenet- in this journal.
"Interpenetration, that's what I say!"
— Adapted from Humpty Dumpty
A sequel to New Year's Greeting from Franz Kafka:
From "Kafka and the Coincidence of Opposites," by
… my aim in the following pages is to identify and examine the particular dynamics of Kafka's mysticism through an analysis of this principle of the coincidence of opposites, first as a recurrent motif in his intellectual life, and then as a thematic and structural force in several key works of short fiction. Since the coincidentia, as the "abstract essence" of dialectical logic, may be said to subsume all experiential content, it becomes intrinsically more interesting as form than as content, and we will thus be examining a variety of Kafka's coincidentia-generated binaries (e.g., conscious/unconscious, freedom/bondage, wisdom/ignorance), first in a series of short parables and finally in two of the longer short fictions, "Die Verwandlung" [“The Metamorphosis”] and “Vor dem Gesetz” [“Before the Law”]. Moreover, since the coincidentia, understood in the German and other mystical traditions familiar to Kafka as the original Oneness of the pairs of opposites, is precisely what the human mind obscures as it conceptually bifurcates things in order to "get at them," we will be focusing especially on those relatively rare instances in Kafka's fiction in which the mind of the character or persona goes beyond its own intrinsic limits. This is in support of the case for Kafka's mystical insight as a mainspring of his literary creativity and, more generally, for Kafka as essentially a spiritual writer, convinced in the end of the human being's capacity to transcend, however remote the possibility, the suffering of separation built into his or her own dualistic consciousness.
"Spiel ist nicht Spielerei.
Es hat hohen Ernst
und tiefe Bedeutung."
— Friedrich W.A. Fröbel
An image that led off the year-end review yesterday in
the weblog of British combinatorialist Peter J. Cameron:
See also this weblog's post final post of 2014,
with a rectangular array illustrating the six faces
of a die, and Cameron's reference yesterday to
a die-related post…
"The things on my blog that seem to be
of continuing value are the expository
series like the one on the symmetric group
(the third post in this series was reblogged
by Gil Kalai last month, which gave it a new
lease of life)…."
|The Emperor—so they say—has sent a message, directly from his death bed, to you alone, his pathetic subject, a tiny shadow which has taken refuge at the furthest distance from the imperial sun. He ordered the herald to kneel down beside his bed and whispered the message into his ear. He thought it was so important that he had the herald repeat it back to him. He confirmed the accuracy of the verbal message by nodding his head. And in front of the entire crowd of those who’ve come to witness his death—all the obstructing walls have been broken down and all the great ones of his empire are standing in a circle on the broad and high soaring flights of stairs—in front of all of them he dispatched his herald. The messenger started off at once, a powerful, tireless man. Sticking one arm out and then another, he makes his way through the crowd. If he runs into resistance, he points to his breast where there is a sign of the sun. So he moves forward easily, unlike anyone else. But the crowd is so huge; its dwelling places are infinite. If there were an open field, how he would fly along, and soon you would hear the marvelous pounding of his fist on your door. But instead of that, how futile are all his efforts. He is still forcing his way through the private rooms of the innermost palace. He will never he win his way through. And if he did manage that, nothing would have been achieved. He would have to fight his way down the steps, and, if he managed to do that, nothing would have been achieved. He would have to stride through the courtyards, and after the courtyards the second palace encircling the first, and, then again, stairs and courtyards, and then, once again, a palace, and so on for thousands of years. And if he finally did burst through the outermost door—but that can never, never happen—the royal capital city, the centre of the world, is still there in front of him, piled high and full of sediment. No one pushes his way through here, certainly not with a message from a dead man. But you sit at your window and dream of that message when evening comes.|
See also a passage quoted in this weblog on the original
date of Cameron's Prague image, July 26, 2014 —
"The philosopher Graham Harman is invested in
re-thinking the autonomy of objects and is part
of a movement called Object-Oriented-Philosophy
(OOP)." — From “The Action of Things,” a 2011
M.A. thesis at the Center for Curatorial Studies,
Bard College, by Manuela Moscoso
— in the context of a search here for the phrase
"structure of the object." An image from that search:
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