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Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Wednesday March 5, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:07 AM

Ash Wednesday

Brace Yourself, Maureen

From Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column today:

“During the innocent summer before 9/11, the defense secretary’s office sponsored a study of ancient empires — Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols — to figure out how they maintained dominance.

What tips could Rummy glean from Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan?”

Saddle up!

Background briefing, added at 6:29 AM:

See also the use of the hyperbolic paraboloid in Mexican church architecture by Félix Candela and an essay on saddle surfaces by Joseph F. MacDonnell, Society of Jesus, who spent eight years in Iraq teaching physics and mathematics at two Jesuit schools in Baghdad: Baghdad College and Al Hikma University.  He writes that “since the 1968 Baathi takeover of the two Jesuit schools and expulsion of all Jesuits from Iraq in 1969” he has been teaching mathematics at Fairfield University. 

MacDonnell notes that there are only three doubly ruled surfaces (in real 3-space): the hyperboloid (used for nuclear cooling towers), the hyperbolic paraboloid (used, as noted, for Mexican churches), and the plane (used widely).  The geometry here is perhaps less relevant than the existence of the Society of Jesus as a sort of intelligence agency within the Church — an agency the current Pope has never understood how to use.  Opus Dei is a greatly inferior substitute.

1 Comment

  1. Erm…can anyone say “fall of the roman empire”?

    Comment by NickyJett — Wednesday, March 5, 2003 @ 8:42 AM

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