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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gold Bug Variations (Continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:32 PM


See as well a search for "Gold Bug"  in this  journal.

From that search —

Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations , first published in 1991—

Botkin, whatever her gifts as a conversationist, is almost as old
as the rediscovery of Mendel. The other extreme in age, 
Joe Lovering, beat a time-honored path out of pure math 
into muddy population statistics. Ressler has seen the guy 
potting about in the lab, although exactly what the excitable kid 
does is anybody's guess. He looks decidedly gumfooted holding
any equipment more corporeal than a chi-square. Stuart takes
him to the Y for lunch, part of a court-your-resources campaign.
He has the sub, Lovering the congealed mac and cheese. 
Hardly are they seated when Joe whips out a napkin and begins
sketching proofs. He argues that the genetic code, as an 
algorithmic formal system, is subject to Gödel's Incompleteness
Theorem. "That would mean the symbolic language of the code 
can't be both consistent and complete. Wouldn't that be a kick 
in the head?"

Kid talk, competitive showing off, intellectual fantasy. 
But Ressler knows what Joe is driving at. He's toyed with similar 
ideas, cast in less abstruse terms. We are the by-product of the 
mechanism in there. So it must be more ingenious than us. 
Anything complex enough to create consciousness may be too 
complex for consciousness to understand. Yet the ultimate paradox
is Lovering, crouched over his table napkin, using proofs to 
demonstrate proof's limits. Lovering laughs off recursion and takes
up another tack: the key is to find some formal symmetry folded
in this four-base chaos
. Stuart distrusts this approach even more.
He picks up the tab for their two untouched lunches, thanking 
Lovering politely for the insight.

"The key is to find some formal symmetry…."

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

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