Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Inside the White Cube
Monday, May 13, 2019
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Asymmetry: An Historical YA Fantasy
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
On Unfairly Excluding Asymmetry
A comment on the the Diamond Theorem Facebook page —
Those who enjoy asymmetry may consult the "Expert's Cube" —
For further details see the previous post.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The Diamond Cube
The Java applets at the webpage "Diamonds and Whirls"
that illustrate Cullinane cubes may be difficult to display.
Here instead is an animated GIF that shows the basic unit
for the "design cube" pages at finitegeometry.org.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
“Puzzle Cube of a Novel”
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Cube of Ultron
The Blacklist “Pilot” Review
"There is an element of camp to this series though. Spader is
quite gleefully channeling Anthony Hopkins, complete with being
a well educated, elegant man locked away in a supercell.
Speaking of that supercell, it’s kind of ridiculous. They’ve got him
locked up in an abandoned post office warehouse on a little
platform with a chair inside a giant metal cube that looks like
it could have been built by Tony Stark. And as Liz approaches
to talk to him, the entire front of the cube opens and the whole
thing slides back to leave just the platform and chair. Really?
FUCKING REALLY ? "
— Kate Reilly at Geekenstein.com (Sept. 27, 2013)
Monday, May 19, 2014
Friday, December 28, 2012
Cube Koan
From Don DeLillo's novel Point Omega — I knew what he was, or what he was supposed to be, a defense intellectual, without the usual credentials, and when I used the term it made him tense his jaw with a proud longing for the early weeks and months, before he began to understand that he was occupying an empty seat. "There were times when no map existed to match the reality we were trying to create." "What reality?" "This is something we do with every eyeblink. Human perception is a saga of created reality. But we were devising entities beyond the agreedupon limits of recognition or interpretation. Lying is necessary. The state has to lie. There is no lie in war or in preparation for war that can't be defended. We went beyond this. We tried to create new realities overnight, careful sets of words that resemble advertising slogans in memorability and repeatability. These were words that would yield pictures eventually and then become threedimensional. The reality stands, it walks, it squats. Except when it doesn't." He didn't smoke but his voice had a sandlike texture, maybe just raspy with age, sometimes slipping inward, becoming nearly inaudible. We sat for some time. He was slouched in the middle of the sofa, looking off toward some point in a high corner of the room. He had scotch and water in a coffee mug secured to his midsection. Finally he said, "Haiku." I nodded thoughtfully, idiotically, a slow series of gestures meant to indicate that I understood completely. "Haiku means nothing beyond what it is. A pond in summer, a leaf in the wind. It's human consciousness located in nature. It's the answer to everything in a set number of lines, a prescribed syllable count. I wanted a haiku war," he said. "I wanted a war in three lines. This was not a matter of force levels or logistics. What I wanted was a set of ideas linked to transient things. This is the soul of haiku. Bare everything to plain sight. See what's there. Things in war are transient. See what's there and then be prepared to watch it disappear." 
What's there—
This view of a die's faces 3, 6, and 5, in counter
clockwise order (see previous post) suggests a way
of labeling the eight corners of a die (or cube):
123, 135, 142, 154, 246, 263, 365, 456.
Here opposite faces of the die sum to 7, and the
three faces meeting at each corner are listed
in counterclockwise order. (This corresponds
to a labeling of one of MacMahon's* 30 colored cubes.)
A similar vertexlabeling may be used in describing
the automorphisms of the order8 quaternion group.
For a more literary approach to quaternions, see
Pynchon's novel Against the Day .
* From Peter J. Cameron's weblog:
"The big name associated with this is Major MacMahon,
an associate of Hardy, Littlewood and Ramanujan,
of whom Robert Kanigel said,
His expertise lay in combinatorics, a sort of
glorified dicethrowing, and in it he had made
contributions original enough to be named
a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Glorified dicethrowing, indeed…"
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Cube Partitions
The second Logos figure in the previous post
summarized affine group actions on partitions
that generate a group of about 1.3 trillion
permutations of a 4x4x4 cube (shown below)—
Click for further details.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Cuber
"Examples galore of this feeling must have arisen in the minds of the people who extended the Magic Cube concept to other polyhedra, other dimensions, other ways of slicing. And once you have made or acquired a new 'cube'… you will want to know how to export a known algorithm , broken up into its fundamental operators , from a familiar cube. What is the essence of each operator? One senses a deep invariant lying somehow 'down underneath' it all, something that one can’t quite verbalize but that one recognizes so clearly and unmistakably in each new example, even though that example might violate some feature one had thought necessary up to that very moment. In fact, sometimes that violation is what makes you sure you’re seeing the same thing , because it reveals slippabilities you hadn’t sensed up till that time….
… example: There is clearly only one sensible 4 × 4 × 4 Magic Cube. It is the answer; it simply has the right spirit ."
— Douglas R. Hofstadter, 1985, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern (Kindle edition, locations 1155711572)
See also Many Dimensions in this journal and Solomon's Cube.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Quaternions on a Cube
The following picture provides a new visual approach to
the order8 quaternion group's automorphisms.
Click the above image for some context.
Here the cube is called "eightfold" because the eight vertices,
like the eight subcubes of a 2×2×2 cube,* are thought of as
independently movable. See The Eightfold Cube.
See also…
 The 1985 note from which the above figures were drawn
 Visualizing GL(2,p)
 Quaternions in an Affine Galois Plane
Related material: Robin Chapman and Karen E. Smith
on the quaternion group's automorphisms.
* See Margaret Wertheim's Christmas Eve remarks on mathematics
and the following eightfold cube from an institute she cofounded—
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(cofounded by Margaret Wertheim)
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Cosmic Cube*
Prequel — (Click to enlarge)
Background —
See also Rubik in this journal.
* For the title, see Groups Acting.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The Cube
Click the above image for some background.
Related material:
Skateboard legend Andy Kessler,
this morning's The Gleaming,
and But Sometimes I Hit London.
Monday, January 13, 2014
A Prime for Marissa
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Stage Direction: “Comments Off.”
The previous post dealt with "magic" cubes, so called because of the
analogous "magic" squares. Douglas Hofstadter has written about a
different, physical , object, promoted as "the Magic Cube," that Hofstadter
felt embodied "a deep invariant":
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Artifice* of Eternity …
… and Schoolgirl Space
"This poem contrasts the prosaic and sensual world of the here and now
with the transcendent and timeless world of beauty in art, and the first line,
'That is no country for old men,' refers to an artless world of impermanence
and sensual pleasure."
— "Yeats' 'Sailing to Byzantium' and McCarthy's No Country for Old Men :
Art and Artifice in the New Novel,"
Steven Frye in The Cormac McCarthy Journal ,
Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 2005), pp. 1420.
See also Schoolgirl Space in this journal.
* See, for instance, Lewis Hyde on the word "artifice" and . . .
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Perception of Space
The three previous posts have now been tagged . . .
Tetrahedron vs. Square and Triangle vs. Cube.
Related material —
Tetrahedron vs. Square:
Labeling the Tetrahedral Model (Click to enlarge) —
Triangle vs. Cube:
… and, from the date of the above John Baez remark —
Dreamtimes
“I am always the figure in someone else’s dream. I would really rather
sometimes make my own figures and make my own dreams.”
— John Malkovich at squarespace.com, January 10, 2017
Also on that date . . .
Monday, July 8, 2019
Exploring Schoolgirl Space
See also "Quantum Tesseract Theorem" and "The Crosswicks Curse."
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Schoolgirl Problem
Anonymous remarks on the schoolgirl problem at Wikipedia —
"This solution has a geometric interpretation in connection with
Galois geometry and PG(3,2). Take a tetrahedron and label its
vertices as 0001, 0010, 0100 and 1000. Label its six edge centers
as the XOR of the vertices of that edge. Label the four face centers
as the XOR of the three vertices of that face, and the body center
gets the label 1111. Then the 35 triads of the XOR solution correspond
exactly to the 35 lines of PG(3,2). Each day corresponds to a spread
and each week to a packing."
See also Polster + Tetrahedron in this journal.
There is a different "geometric interpretation in connection with
Galois geometry and PG(3,2)" that uses a square model rather
than a tetrahedral model. The square model of PG(3,2) last
appeared in the schoolgirlproblem article on Feb. 11, 2017, just
before a revision that removed it.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Art Object, continued and continued
See as well posts mentioning "An Object of Beauty."
Update of 12 AM June 11 — A screenshot of this post
is now available at http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/hqk7nx97 .
Monday, May 13, 2019
Doris Day at the Hudson Rock
" 'My public image is unshakably that of
America’s wholesome virgin, the girl next door,
carefree and brimming with happiness,'
she said in Doris Day: Her Own Story ,
a 1976 book . . . ."
From "Angels & Demons Meet Hudson Hawk" (March 19, 2013) —
From the March 1 post "Solomon and the Image," a related figure —
Friday, March 1, 2019
Solomon and the Image
"Maybe an image is too strong
Or maybe is not strong enough."
— "Solomon and the Witch,"
by William Butler Yeats
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Compare and Contrast
Related material on automorphism groups —
The "Eightfold Cube" structure shown above with Weyl
competes rather directly with the "Eightfold Way" sculpture
shown above with Bryant. The structure and the sculpture
each illustrate Klein's order168 simple group.
Perhaps in part because of this competition, fans of the Mathematical
Sciences Research Institute (MSRI, pronounced "Misery') are less likely
to enjoy, and discuss, the eightcube mathematical structure above
than they are an eightcube mechanical puzzle like the one below.
Note also the earlier (2006) "Design Cube 2x2x2" webpage
illustrating graphic designs on the eightfold cube. This is visually,
if not mathematically, related to the (2010) "Expert's Cube."
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Sure, Whatever.
The search for Langlands in the previous post
yields the following Toronto Star illustration —
From a review of the recent film "Justice League" —
"Now all they need is to resurrect Superman (Henry Cavill),
stop Steppenwolf from reuniting his three Mother Cubes
(sure, whatever) and wrap things up in under two cinematic
hours (God bless)."
For other cubic adventures, see yesterday's post on A Piece of Justice
and the block patterns in posts tagged Design Cube.
Friday, March 23, 2018
Reciprocity
Copy editing — From Wikipedia
"Copy editing (also copyediting or copyediting, sometimes abbreviated ce)
is the process of reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy,
readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error,
omission, inconsistency, and repetition. . . ."
An example of the need for copy editing:
Related material: Langlands and Reciprocity in this journal.
From the Personal to the Platonic
On the Oslo artist Josefine Lyche —
"Josefine has taken me through beautiful stories,
ranging from the personal to the platonic
explaining the extensive use of geometry in her art.
I now know that she bursts into laughter when reading
Dostoyevsky, and that she has a weird connection
with a retired mathematician."
— Ann Cathrin Andersen,
http://bryggmagasin.no/2017/behindtheglitter/
Personal —
The Rushkoff Logo
— From a 2016 graphic novel by Douglas Rushkoff.
See also Rushkoff and Talisman in this journal.
Platonic —
Compare and contrast the shifting hexagon logo in the Rushkoff novel above
with the hexagoninsideacube in my "Diamonds and Whirls" note (1984).
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Unite the Seven.
Related material —
The seven points of the Fano plane within
"Before time began . . . ."
— Optimus Prime
Monday, January 22, 2018
Hollywood Moment
A death on the date of the above symmetry chat,
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 —
An Hispanic Hollywood moment:
Ojo de Dios —
Click for related material.
For further Hispanic entertainment,
see Ben Affleck sing
"Aquellos Ojos Verdes "
in "Hollywoodland."
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Summer of 1984
The previous two posts dealt, rather indirectly, with
the notion of "cube bricks" (Cullinane, 1984) —
Group actions on partitions —
Cube Bricks 1984 —
Another mathematical remark from 1984 —
For further details, see Triangles Are Square.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Think Different
The New York Times online this evening —
"Mr. Jobs, who died in 2011, loomed over Tuesday’s
nostalgic presentation. The Apple C.E.O., Tim Cook,
paid tribute, his voice cracking with emotion, Mr. Jobs’s
steeplefingered image looming as big onstage as
Big Brother’s face in the classic Macintosh '1984' commercial."
Review —
Thursday, September 1, 2011
How It Works

See also 1984 Bricks in this journal.
Chin Music
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
AllSpark Notes
"For years, the AllSpark rested, sitting dormant
like a giant, useless art installation."
— Vinnie Mancuso at Collider.com yesterday
Related material —
Giant, useless art installation —
Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA. See also LeWitt in this journal.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Contracting the Spielraum
The contraction of the title is from group actions on
the ninefold square (with the center subsquare fixed)
to group actions on the eightfold cube.
From a post of June 4, 2014 …
At math.stackexchange.com on March 112, 2013:
“Is there a geometric realization of the Quaternion group?” —
The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity. No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note “GL(2,3) actions on a cube” of April 5, 1985).
Monday, April 3, 2017
Friday, September 30, 2016
Desmic Midrash
The author of the review in the previous post, Dara Horn, supplies
below a midrash on "desmic," a term derived from the Greek desme
( δεσμή , bundle, sheaf, or, in the mathematical sense, pencil —
French faisceau ), which is apparently related to the term desmos , bond …
(The term "desmic," as noted earlier, is relevant to the structure of
Heidegger's Sternwürfel .)
The Horn midrash —
(The "medieval philosopher" here is not the remembered preChristian
Ben Sirah (Ecclesiasticus ) but the philosopher being read — Maimonides:
Guide for the Perplexed , 3:51.)
Here of course "that bond" may be interpreted as corresponding to the
Greek desmos above, thus also to the desmic structure of the
stellated octahedron, a sort of threedimensional Star of David.
See "desmic" in this journal.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Articulation
Cassirer vs. Heidegger at Harvard —
A remembrance for Michaelmas —
A version of Heidegger's "Sternwürfel " —
From Log24 on the upload date for the above figure —
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Star Wars
See also in this journal "desmic," a term related
to the structure of Heidegger's Sternwürfel .
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Hint of Reality
From an article* in Proceedings of Bridges 2014 —
As artists, we are particularly interested in the symmetries of real world physical objects. Three natural questions arise: 1. Which groups can be represented as the group of symmetries of some realworld physical object? 2. Which groups have actually been represented as the group of symmetries of some realworld physical object? 3. Are there any glaring gaps – small, beautiful groups that should have a physical representation in a symmetric object but up until now have not? 
The article was cited by Evelyn Lamb in her Scientific American
weblog on May 19, 2014.
The above three questions from the article are relevant to a more
recent (Oct. 24, 2015) remark by Lamb:
"… finite projective planes [in particular, the 7point Fano plane,
about which Lamb is writing] seem like a triumph of purely
axiomatic thinking over any hint of reality…."
For related hints of reality, see Eightfold Cube in this journal.
* "The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group," by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Epiphany in Paris
Friday, August 7, 2015
Parts
Spielerei —
"On the most recent visit, Arthur had given him
a brightly colored cube, with sides you could twist
in all directions, a new toy that had just come onto
the market."
— Daniel Kehlmann, F: A Novel (2014),
translated from the German by
Carol Brown Janeway
Nicht Spielerei —
A figure from this journal at 2 AM ET
on Monday, August 3, 2015
Also on August 3 —
FRANKFURT — "Johanna Quandt, the matriarch of the family
that controls the automaker BMW and one of the wealthiest
people in Germany, died on Monday in Bad Homburg, Germany.
She was 89."
MANHATTAN — "Carol Brown Janeway, a Scottishborn
publishing executive, editor and awardwinning translator who
introduced American readers to dozens of international authors,
died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 71."
Related material — Heisenberg on beauty, Munich, 1970
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Space
Notes on space for day 13 of May, 2015 —
The 13 symmetry axes of the cube may be viewed as
the 13 points of the Galois projective space PG(2,3).
This space (a plane) may also be viewed as the nine points
of the Galois affine space AG(2,3) plus the four points on
an added "line at infinity."
Related poetic material:
The ninefold square and Apollo, as well as …
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Paradigm for Pedagogues
Illustrations from a post of Feb. 17, 2011:
Plato’s paradigm in the Meno —
Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —
Ultron: By the Book
If The New York Times interviewed Ultron for its
Sunday Book Review "By the Book" column —
What books are currently on your night stand?
Steve Fuller's Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times
Gerald Holton's Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought
John Gray's The Soul of the Marionette
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Soul
Nonsense…
See Gary Zukav, Harvard '64, in this journal.
and damned nonsense —
"Every institution has a soul."
— Gerald Holton in Harvard Gazette today
Commentary —
"The Ferris wheel came into view again…."
— Malcom Lowry, Under the Volcano
See also Holton in a Jan. 1977 interview:
"If people have souls, and I think a few have, it shows…."
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
WürfelMärchen
Continued from yesterday, the date of death for German
billionaire philanthropist Klaus Tschira —
For Tschira in this journal, see Stiftung .
For some Würfel illustrations, see this morning's post
Manifest O. A related webpage —
Manifest O
The title was suggested by
http://benmarcus.com/smallwork/manifesto/.
The "O" of the title stands for the octahedral group.
See the following, from http://finitegeometry.org/sc/map.html —

An invariance of symmetry The diamond theorem on a 4x4x4 cube, and a sketch of the proof. 
831001  Portrait of O A table of the octahedral group O using the 24 patterns from the 2×2 case of the diamond theorem. 
831016  Study of O A different way of looking at the octahedral group, using cubes that illustrate the 2x2x2 case of the diamond theorem. 
840915  Diamonds and whirls Block designs of a different sort — graphic figures on cubes. See also the University of Exeter page on the octahedral group O. 
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Platonic Analogy
(Five by Five continued)
As the 3×3 grid underlies the order3 finite projective plane,
whose 13 points may be modeled by
the 13 symmetry axes of the cube,
so the 5×5 grid underlies the order5 finite projective plane,
whose 31 points may be modeled by
the 31 symmetry axes of the dodecahedron.
See posts tagged GaloisPlane Models.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Two Physical Models of the Fano Plane
The seven symmetry axes of the regular tetrahedron
are of two types: vertextoface and edgetoedge.
Take these axes as the "points" of a Fano plane.
Each of the tetrahedron's six reflection planes contains
two vertextoface axes and one edgetoedge axis.
Take these six planes as six of the "lines" of a Fano
plane. Then the seventh line is the set of three
edgetoedge axes.
(The Fano tetrahedron is not original with me.
See Polster's 1998 A Geometrical Picture Book , pp. 1617.)
There are three reflection planes parallel to faces
of the cube. Take the seven nonempty subsets of
the set of these three planes as the "points" of a
Fano plane. Define the Fano "lines" as those triples
of these seven subsets in which each member of
the triple is the symmetricdifference sum of the
other two members.
(This is the eightfold cube discussed at finitegeometry.org.)
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Class Act
Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —
For further information on the geometry in
the remarks by Eberhart below, see
pp. 1617 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998). Polster
cites a different article by Lemay.
A search for background to the exercise in the previous post
yields a passage from the late Stephen Eberhart:
The first three primes p = 2, 3, and 5 therefore yield finite projective planes with 7, 13, and 31 points and lines, respectively. But these are just the numbers of symmetry axes of the five regular solids, as described in Plato's Timaeus : The tetrahedron has 4 pairs of face planes and comer points + 3 pairs of opposite edges, totalling 7 axes; the cube has 3 pairs of faces + 6 pairs of edges + 4 pairs of comers, totalling 13 axes (the octahedron simply interchanges the roles of faces and comers); and the pentagon dodecahedron has 6 pairs of faces + 15 pairs of edges + 10 pairs of comers, totalling 31 axes (the icosahedron again interchanging roles of faces and comers). This is such a suggestive result, one would expect to find it dealt with in most texts on related subjects; instead, while "well known to those who well know such things" (as Richard Guy likes to quip), it is scarcely to be found in the formal literature [9]. The reason for the common numbers, it turns out, is that the groups of symmetry motions of the regular solids are subgroups of the groups of collineations of the respective finite planes, a face axis being different from an edge axis of a regular solid but all points of a projective plane being alike, so the latter has more symmetries than the former. [9] I am aware only of a series of inhouse publications by Fernand Lemay of the Laboratoire de Didactique, Faculté des Sciences de I 'Éducation, Univ. Laval, Québec, in particular those collectively titled Genèse de la géométrie IX.
— Stephen Eberhart, Dept. of Mathematics, 
Eberhart died of bone cancer in 2003. A memorial by his
high school class includes an Aug. 7, 2003, transcribed
letter from Eberhart to a classmate that ends…
… I earned MA’s in math (UW, Seattle) and history (UM, Missoula) where a math/history PhD program had been announced but canceled. So 1984 to 2002 I taught math (esp. nonEuclidean geometry) at C.S.U. Northridge. It’s been a rich life. I’m grateful. Steve 
See also another informative BRIDGES paper by Eberhart
on mathematics and the seven traditional liberal arts.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
EuclideanGalois Interplay
For previous remarks on this topic, as it relates to
symmetry axes of the cube, see previous posts tagged Interplay.
The above posts discuss, among other things, the Galois
projective plane of order 3, with 13 points and 13 lines.
These Galois points and lines may be modeled in Euclidean geometry
by the 13 symmetry axes and the 13 rotation planes
of the Euclidean cube. They may also be modeled in Galois geometry
by subsets of the 3x3x3 Galois cube (vector 3space over GF(3)).
The 3×3×3 Galois Cube
Exercise: Is there any such analogy between the 31 points of the
order5 Galois projective plane and the 31 symmetry axes of the
Euclidean dodecahedron and icosahedron? Also, how may the
31 projective points be naturally pictured as lines within the
5x5x5 Galois cube (vector 3space over GF(5))?
Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —
For background to the above exercise, see
pp. 1617 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998), esp.
the citation to a 1983 article by Lemay.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Raiders of the Lost Articulation
Tom Hanks as Indiana Langdon in Raiders of the Lost Articulation :
An unarticulated (but colored) cube:
A 2x2x2 articulated cube:
A 4x4x4 articulated cube built from subcubes like
the one viewed by Tom Hanks above:
Friday, August 29, 2014
Raum
A possible answer to the 1923 question of Walter Gropius, "Was ist Raum?"—
See also yesterday's Source of the Finite and the image search
on the Gropius question in last night's post.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Brutalism Revisited
Yesterday's 11 AM post was a requiem for a brutalist architect.
Today's LA Times has a related obituary:
"Architectural historian Alan Hess, who has written several books on
MidCentury Modern design, said Meyer didn't have a signature style,
'which is one reason he is not as wellknown as some other architects
of the period. But whatever style he was working in, he brought a real
sense of quality to his buildings.'
A notable example is another bank building, at South Beverly Drive
and Pico Boulevard, with massive concrete columns, a hallmark of
the New Brutalism style. 'This is a really good example of it,' Hess said."
— David Colker, 5:43 PM LA time, Aug. 28, 2014
A related search, suggested by this morning's post Source of the Finite:
(Click to enlarge.)
Source of the Finite
"Die Unendlichkeit ist die uranfängliche Tatsache: es wäre nur
zu erklären, woher das Endliche stamme…."
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Das Philosophenbuch/Le livre du philosophe
(Paris: AubierFlammarion, 1969), fragment 120, p. 118
Cited as above, and translated as "Infinity is the original fact;
what has to be explained is the source of the finite…." in
The Production of Space , by Henri Lefebvre. (Oxford: Blackwell,
1991 (1974)), p. 181.
This quotation was suggested by the Bauhausrelated phrase
"the laws of cubical space" (see yesterday's Schau der Gestalt )
and by the laws of cubical space discussed in the webpage
Cube Space, 19842003.
For a less rigorous approach to space at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design, see earlier references to Lefebvre in this journal.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Altar
"To every man upon this earth,
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
and the temples of his gods…?"
— Macaulay, quoted in the April 2013 film "Oblivion"
"Leave a space." — Tom Stoppard, "Jumpers"
Related material: The August 16, 2014, sudden death in Scotland
of an architect of the above Cardross seminary, and a Log24 post,
Plato's Logos, from the date of the above photo: June 26, 2010.
See also…
Here “eidolon” should instead be “eidos .”
An example of eidos — Plato's diamond (from the Meno ) —
Schau der Gestalt
(Continued from Aug. 19, 2014)
"Christian contemplation is the opposite
of distanced consideration of an image:
as Paul says, it is the metamorphosis of
the beholder into the image he beholds
(2 Cor 3.18), the 'realisation' of what the
image expresses (Newman). This is
possible only by giving up one's own
standards and being assimilated to the
dimensions of the image."
— Hans Urs von Balthasar,
The Glory of the Lord:
A Theological Aesthetics,
Vol. I: Seeing the Form
[ Schau der Gestalt ],
Ignatius Press, 1982, p. 485
A Bauhaus approach to Schau der Gestalt :
I prefer the I Ching 's approach to the laws of cubical space.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Sequel
A sequel to the 1974 film
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot :
Contingent and Fluky
Some variations on a thunderbolt theme:
These variations also exemplify the larger
Verbum theme:
A search today for Verbum in this journal yielded
a Georgetown University Chomskyite, Professor
David W. Lightfoot.
"Dr. Lightfoot writes mainly on syntactic theory,
language acquisition and historical change, which
he views as intimately related. He argues that
internal language change is contingent and fluky,
takes place in a sequence of bursts, and is best
viewed as the cumulative effect of changes in
individual grammars, where a grammar is a
'language organ' represented in a person's
mind/brain and embodying his/her language
faculty."
Some syntactic work by another contingent and fluky author
is related to the visual patterns illustrated above.
See Tecumseh Fitch in this journal.
For other material related to the large Verbum cube,
see posts for the 18th birthday of Harry Potter.
That birthday was also the upload date for the following:
See esp. the comments section.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Monkey Business
The title refers to a Scientific American weblog item
discussed here on May 31, 2014:
Some closely related material appeared here on
Dec. 30, 2011:
A version of the above quaternion actions appeared
at math.stackexchange.com on March 12, 2013:
"Is there a geometric realization of Quaternion group?" —
The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity. No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note "GL(2,3) actions on a cube" of April 5, 1985).
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Quaternion Group Models:
The ninefold square, the eightfold cube, and monkeys.
For posts on the models above, see quaternion
in this journal. For the monkeys, see
"Nothing Is More Fun than a Hypercube of Monkeys,"
Evelyn Lamb's Scientific American weblog, May 19, 2014:
The Scientific American item is about the preprint
"The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group,"
by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman (April 26, 2014):
See also Finite Geometry and Physical Space.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Diamond Space
Definition: A diamond space — informal phrase denoting
a subspace of AG(6, 2), the sixdimensional affine space
over the twoelement Galois field.
The reason for the name:
Click to enlarge.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Heaven Descending
An I Ching study quoted in Waiting for Ogdoad (St. Andrew’s Day, 2013)—
(Click for clearer image.)
The author of the above I Ching study calls his lattice “Arising Heaven.”
The following lattice might, therefore, be called “Heaven Descending.”
Click for the source, mentioned in Anatomy of a Cube (Sept. 18, 2011).
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Core
Promotional description of a new book:
"Like Gödel, Escher, Bach before it, Surfaces and Essences will profoundly enrich our understanding of our own minds. By plunging the reader into an extraordinary variety of colorful situations involving language, thought, and memory, by revealing bit by bit the constantly churning cognitive mechanisms normally completely hidden from view, and by discovering in them one central, invariant core— the incessant, unconscious quest for strong analogical links to past experiences— this book puts forth a radical and deeply surprising new vision of the act of thinking."
"Like Gödel, Escher, Bach before it…."
Or like Metamagical Themas .
Rubik core:
Non Rubik cores:
Of the odd nxnxn cube: 
Of the even nxnxn cube: 
Related material: The Eightfold Cube and…
"A core component in the construction
is a 3dimensional vector space V over F_{2 }."
— Page 29 of "A twist in the M_{24} moonshine story,"
by Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland.
(Submitted to the arXiv on 13 Mar 2013.)
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Narrative
"… both marveled at early Ingmar Bergman movies."
One of the friends' "humor was inspired by
surrealist painters and Franz Kafka."
"Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in
a single reality known as the Marvel Universe…."
Related material: The Cosmic Cube.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Midnight in Paris
Surreal requiem for the late Jonathan Winters:
"They 'burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles
exploding like spiders across the stars,'
as Jack Kerouac once wrote. It was such a powerful
image that WalMart sells it as a jigsaw puzzle."
— "When the Village Was the Vanguard,"
by Henry Allen, in today's Wall Street Journal
See also Damnation Morning and the picture in
yesterday evening's remarks on art:
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Naked Art
The New Yorker on Cubism:
"The style wasn’t new, exactly— or even really a style,
in its purest instances— though it would spawn no end
of novelties in art and design. Rather, it stripped naked
certain characteristics of all pictures. Looking at a Cubist
work, you are forced to see how you see. This may be
gruelling, a gymnasium workout for eye and mind.
It pays off in sophistication."
— Online "Culture Desk" weblog, posted today by Peter Schjeldahl
Nonstyle from 1911:
See also Cube Symmetry Planes in this journal.
A comment at The New Yorker related to Schjeldahl's phrase "stripped naked"—
"Conceptualism is the least seductive modernart movement."
POSTED 4/11/2013, 3:54:37 PM BY CHRISKELLEY
(The "conceptualism" link was added to the quoted comment.)
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Mathematics and Narrative (continued)
Angels & Demons meet Hudson Hawk
Dan Brown's fourelements diamond in Angels & Demons :
The Leonardo Crystal from Hudson Hawk :
Mathematics may be used to relate (very loosely)
Dan Brown's fanciful diamond figure to the fanciful
Leonardo Crystal from Hudson Hawk …

Compare Brown's fictional Illuminati Diamond to the
nonfictional figures in The Diamond Theorem and
Theme and Variations. 
Compare the fictional Leonardo Crystal to Hudson's
nonfictional desmic system of tetrahedra (above), and
see, in Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads in PG(3,2), how
the diamond theorem is related to Hudson's work.
For the tetrads ' relationship to tetrahedra , see
Hudson's own book.
"Giving himself a head rub, Hawk bears down on
the three oddly malleable objects. He TANGLES
and BENDS and with a loud SNAP, puts them together,
forming the Crystal from the opening scene."
— A screenplay of Hudson Hawk
Happy birthday to Bruce Willis.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Configurations
Yesterday's post Permanence dealt with the cube
as a symmetric model of the finite projective plane
PG(2,3), which has 13 points and 13 lines. The points
and lines of the finite geometry occur in the cube as
the 13 axes of symmetry and the 13 planes through
the center perpendicular to those axes. If the three
axes lying in a plane that cuts the cube in a hexagon
are supplemented by the axis perpendicular to that
plane, each plane is associated with four axes and,
dually, each axis is associated with four planes.
My web page on this topic, Cubist Geometries, was
written on February 27, 2010, and first saved to the
Internet Archive on Oct. 4, 2010.
For a more recent treatment of this topic that makes
exactly the same points as the 2010 page, see p. 218
of Configurations from a Graphical Viewpoint , by
Tomaž Pisanski and Brigitte Servatius, published by
Springer on Sept. 23, 2012 (date from both Google
Books and Amazon.com):
For a similar 1998 treatment of the topic, see Burkard Polster's
A Geometrical Picture Book (Springer, 1998), pp. 103104.
The PisanskiServatius book reinforces my argument of Jan. 13, 2013,
that the 13 planes through the cube's center that are perpendicular
to the 13 axes of symmetry of the cube should be called the cube's
symmetry planes , contradicting the usual use of of that term.
That argument concerns the interplay between Euclidean and
Galois geometry. Pisanski and Servatius (and, in 1998, Polster)
emphasize the Euclidean square and cube as guides* to
describing the structure of a Galois space. My Jan. 13 argument
uses Galois structures as a guide to redescribing those of Euclid .
(For a similar strategy at a much more sophisticated level,
see a recent Harvard Math Table.)
Related material: Remarks on configurations in this journal
during the month that saw publication of the PisanskiServatius book.
* Earlier guides: the diamond theorem (1978), similar theorems for
2x2x2 (1984) and 4x4x4 cubes (1983), and Visualizing GL(2,p)
(1985). See also Spaces as Hypercubes (2012).
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Object Lesson
Yesterday's post on the current Museum of Modern Art exhibition
"Inventing Abstraction: 19101925" suggests a renewed look at
abstraction and a fundamental building block: the cube.
From a recent Harvard University Press philosophical treatise on symmetry—
The treatise corrects Nozick's error of not crediting Weyl's 1952 remarks
on objectivity and symmetry, but repeats Weyl's error of not crediting
Cassirer's extensive 1910 (and later) remarks on this subject.
For greater depth see Cassirer's 1910 passage on Vorstellung :
This of course echoes Schopenhauer, as do discussions of "Will and Idea" in this journal.
For the relationship of all this to MoMA and abstraction, see Cube Space and Inside the White Cube.
"The sacramental nature of the space becomes clear…." — Brian O'Doherty
Monday, December 24, 2012
Eternal Recreation
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
by C. G. Jung
Recorded and edited By Aniela Jaffé, translated from the German
by Richard and Clara Winston, Vintage Books edition of April 1989
From pages 195196:
"Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is:
'Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind's eternal recreation.'*
And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all
goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate selfdeceptions."
* Faust , Part Two, trans. by Philip Wayne (Harmondsworth,
England, Penguin Books Ltd., 1959), p. 79. The original:
… Gestaltung, Umgestaltung,
Des ewigen Sinnes ewige Unterhaltung….
Jung's "Formation, Transformation" quote is from the realm of
the Mothers (Faust , Part Two, Act 1, Scene 5: A Dark Gallery).
The speaker is Mephistopheles.
See also Prof. Bruce J. MacLennan on this realm
in a Web page from his Spring 2005 seminar on Faust:
"In alchemical terms, F is descending into the dark, formless
primary matter from which all things are born. Psychologically
he is descending into the deepest regions of the
collective unconscious, to the source of life and all creation.
Mater (mother), matrix (womb, generative substance), and matter
all come from the same root. This is Faust's next encounter with
the feminine, but it's obviously of a very different kind than his
relationship with Gretchen."
The phrase "Gestaltung, Umgestaltung " suggests a more mathematical
approach to the Unterhaltung . Hence…
Part I: Mothers
"The ultimate, deep symbol of motherhood raised to
the universal and the cosmic, of the birth, sending forth,
death, and return of all things in an eternal cycle,
is expressed in the Mothers, the matrices of all forms,
at the timeless, placeless originating womb or hearth
where chaos is transmuted into cosmos and whence
the forms of creation issue forth into the world of
place and time."
— Harold Stein Jantz, The Mothers in Faust:
The Myth of Time and Creativity ,
Johns Hopkins Press, 1969, page 37
Part II: Matrices
Part III: Spaces and Hypercubes
Click image for some background.
Part IV: Forms
Forms from the I Ching :
Click image for some background.
Forms from Diamond Theory :
Click image for some background.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Group Actions
The December 2012 Notices of the American
Mathematical Society has an ad on page 1564
(in a review of two books on vulgarized mathematics)
for three workshops next year on "Lowdimensional
Topology, Geometry, and Dynamics"—
(Only the top part of the ad is shown; for further details
see an ICERM page.)
(ICERM stands for Institute for Computational
and Experimental Research in Mathematics.)
The ICERM logo displays seven subcubes of
a 2x2x2 eightcube array with one cube missing—
The logo, apparently a stylized image of the architecture
of the Providence building housing ICERM, is not unlike
a picture of Froebel's Third Gift—
Photo by Norman Brosterman from the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring (cofounded by Margaret Wertheim)
The eighth cube, missing in the ICERM logo and detached in the
Froebel Cubes photo, may be regarded as representing the origin
(0,0,0) in a coordinatized version of the 2x2x2 array—
in other words the cube invariant under linear , as opposed to
more general affine , permutations of the cubes in the array.
These cubes are not without relevance to the workshops' topics—
lowdimensional exotic geometric structures, group theory, and dynamics.
See The Eightfold Cube, A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168, and
The Quaternion Group Acting on an Eightfold Cube.
Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics may regard linear
and affine group actions on the eight cubes as the dance of
Snow White (representing (0,0,0)) and the Seven Dwarfs—
.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Congruent Group Actions
A Google search today yielded no results
for the phrase "congruent group actions."
Places where this phrase might prove useful include—
 Actions of the quaternion group in finite geometry
 Affine group actions in finite geometry
 The "symmetric generation" technique of R. T. Curtis
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Chiral Problem
In memory of William S. Knowles, chiral chemist, who died last Wednesday (June 13, 2012)—
Detail from the Harvard Divinity School 1910 bookplate in yesterday morning's post—
"ANDOVER–HARVARD THEOLOGICAL LIBRARY"
Detail from Knowles's obituary in this morning's New York Times—
William Standish Knowles was born in Taunton, Mass., on June 1, 1917. He graduated a year early from the Berkshire School, a boarding school in western Massachusetts, and was admitted to Harvard. But after being strongly advised that he was not socially mature enough for college, he did a second senior year of high school at another boarding school, Phillips Academy in Andover, N.H.
Dr. Knowles graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1939….
"This is the relativity problem: to fix objectively a class of equivalent coordinatizations and to ascertain the group of transformations S mediating between them."
— Hermann Weyl, The Classical Groups, Princeton University Press, 1946, p. 16
From Pilate Goes to Kindergarten—
The six congruent quaternion actions illustrated above are based on the following coordinatization of the eightfold cube—
Problem: Is there a different coordinatization
that yields greater symmetry in the pictures of
quaternion group actions?
A paper written in a somewhat similar spirit—
"Chiral Tetrahedrons as Unitary Quaternions"—
ABSTRACT: Chiral tetrahedral molecules can be dealt [with] under the standard of quaternionic algebra. Specifically, noncommutativity of quaternions is a feature directly related to the chirality of molecules….
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Child’s Play
“A set having three members is a single thing
wholly constituted by its members but distinct from them.
After this, the theological doctrine of the Trinity as
‘three in one’ should be child’s play.”
– Max Black, Caveats and Critiques: Philosophical Essays
in Language, Logic, and Art , Cornell U. Press, 1975
Related material—
Saturday, May 19, 2012
G8
"The group of 8" is a phrase from politics, not mathematics.
Of the five groups of order 8 (see today's noon post),
the one pictured* in the center, Z_{2} × Z_{2} × Z_{2} , is of particular
interest. See The Eightfold Cube. For a connection of this
group of 8 to the last of the five pictured at noon, the
quaternion group, see Finite Geometry and Physical Space.
* The picture is of the group's cycle graph.
Monday, May 7, 2012
More on Triality
John Baez wrote in 1996 ("Week 91") that
"I've never quite seen anyone come right out
and admit that triality arises from the
permutations of the unit vectors i, j, and k
in 3d Euclidean space."
Baez seems to come close to doing this with a
somewhat different i , j , and k — Hurwitz
quaternions— in his 2005 book review
quoted here yesterday.
See also the Log24 post of Jan. 4 on quaternions,
and the following figures. The actions on cubes
in the lower figure may be viewed as illustrating
(rather indirectly) the relationship of the quaternion
group's 24 automorphisms to the 24 rotational
symmetries of the cube.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Souvenir*
From life's box of chocolates…
Happy birthday to Piper Laurie.
* Those who prefer their
souvenirs without sentiment
may consult the quaternions.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Defining Form (continued)
Detail of Sylvie Donmoyer picture discussed
here on January 10—
The "13" tile may refer to the 13 symmetry axes
in the 3x3x3 Galois cube, or the corresponding
13 planes through the center in that cube. (See
this morning's post and Cubist Geometries.)
Damnation Morning*
The following is adapted from a 2011 post—
* The title, that of a Fritz Leiber story, is suggested by
the above picture of the symmetry axes of the square.
Click "Continued" above for further details. See also
last Wednesday's Cuber.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Language Game
Tension in the Common Room—
In memory of population geneticist James F. Crow,
who died at 95 on January 4th.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Revision
I revised the cubes image and added a new link to
an explanatory image in posts of Dec. 30 and Jan. 3
(and at finitegeometry.org). (The cubes now have
quaternion "i , j , k " labels and the cubes now
labeled "k " and "k " were switched.)
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Theorum
In memory of artist Ronald Searle—
Searle reportedly died at 91 on December 30th.
From Log24 on that date—
Click the above image for some context.
Update of 9:29 PM EST Jan. 3, 2012—
Theorum
Theorum (rhymes with decorum, apparently) is a neologism proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth to distinguish the scientific meaning of theory from the colloquial meaning. In most of the opening introduction to the show, he substitutes "theorum" for "theory" when referring to the major scientific theories such as evolution. Problems with "theory" Dawkins notes two general meanings for theory; the scientific one and the general sense that means a wild conjecture made up by someone as an explanation. The point of Dawkins inventing a new word is to get around the fact that the lay audience may not thoroughly understand what scientists mean when they say "theory of evolution". As many people see the phrase "I have a theory" as practically synonymous with "I have a wild guess I pulled out of my backside", there is often confusion about how thoroughly understood certain scientific ideas are. Hence the well known creationist argument that evolution is "just a theory" – and the often cited response of "but gravity is also just a theory". To convey the special sense of thoroughness implied by the word theory in science, Dawkins borrowed the mathematical word "theorem". This is used to describe a well understood mathematical concept, for instance Pythagoras' Theorem regarding right angled triangles. However, Dawkins also wanted to avoid the absolute meaning of proof associated with that word, as used and understood by mathematicians. So he came up with something that looks like a spelling error. This would remove any person's emotional attachment or preconceptions of what the word "theory" means if it cropped up in the text of The Greatest Show on Earth , and so people would (in "theory ") have no other choice but to associate it with only the definition Dawkins gives. This phrase has completely failed to catch on, that is, if Dawkins intended it to catch on rather than just be a device for use in The Greatest Show on Earth . When googled, Google will automatically correct the spelling to theorem instead, depriving this very page its rightful spot at the top of the results.

Some backgound— In this journal, "Diamond Theory of Truth."
Friday, June 24, 2011
For Stephen King Fans
Friday, May 13, 2011
Apollo’s 13
Continued … See related previous posts.
Those who prefer narrative to mathematics
may consult Wikipedia on The Cosmic Cube.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Beyond Forgetfulness
From this journal on July 23, 2007—
It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves.
Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness.
And if we ate the incipient colorings – Wallace Stevens, "The Rock" 
This quotation from Stevens (Harvard class of 1901) was posted here on when Daniel Radcliffe (i.e., Harry Potter) turned 18 in July 2007.
Other material from that post suggests it is time for a review of magic at Harvard.
On September 9, 2007, President Faust of Harvard
"encouraged the incoming class to explore Harvard’s many opportunities.
'Think of it as a treasure room of hidden objects Harry discovers at Hogwarts,' Faust said."
That class is now about to graduate.
It is not clear what "hidden objects" it will take from four years in the Harvard treasure room.
Perhaps the following from a book published in 1985 will help…
The March 8, 2011, Harvard Crimson illustrates a central topic of Metamagical Themas , the Rubik's Cube—
Hofstadter in 1985 offered a similar picture—
Hofstadter asks in his Metamagical introduction, "How can both Rubik's Cube and nuclear Armageddon be discussed at equal length in one book by one author?"
For a different approach to such a discussion, see Paradigms Lost, a post made here a few hours before the March 11, 2011, Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster—
Whether Paradigms Lost is beyond forgetfulness is open to question.
Perhaps a later post, in the lighthearted spirit of Faust, will help. See April 20th's "Ready When You Are, C.B."
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Abacus Conundrum*
From Das Glasperlenspiel (Hermann Hesse, 1943) —
“Bastian Perrot… constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything, but the pupils liked it.… …what later evolved out of that students’ sport and Perrot’s beadstrung wires bears to this day the name by which it became popularly known, the Glass Bead Game.”
From "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (Lewis Padgett, 1943)—
…"Paradine looked up. He frowned, staring. What in—
…"Is that an abacus?" he asked. "Let's see it, please."
…Somewhat unwillingly Scott brought the gadget across to his father's chair. Paradine blinked. The "abacus," unfolded, was more than a foot square, composed of thin, rigid wires that interlocked here and there. On the wires the colored beads were strung. They could be slid back and forth, and from one support to another, even at the points of jointure. But— a pierced bead couldn't cross interlocking wires—
…So, apparently, they weren't pierced. Paradine looked closer. Each small sphere had a deep groove running around it, so that it could be revolved and slid along the wire at the same time. Paradine tried to pull one free. It clung as though magnetically. Iron? It looked more like plastic.
…The framework itself— Paradine wasn't a mathematician. But the angles formed by the wires were vaguely shocking, in their ridiculous lack of Euclidean logic. They were a maze. Perhaps that's what the gadget was— a puzzle.
…"Where'd you get this?"
…"Uncle Harry gave it to me," Scott said on the spur of the moment. "Last Sunday, when he came over." Uncle Harry was out of town, a circumstance Scott well knew. At the age of seven, a boy soon learns that the vagaries of adults follow a certain definite pattern, and that they are fussy about the donors of gifts. Moreover, Uncle Harry would not return for several weeks; the expiration of that period was unimaginable to Scott, or, at least, the fact that his lie would ultimately be discovered meant less to him than the advantages of being allowed to keep the toy.
…Paradine found himself growing slightly confused as he attempted to manipulate the beads. The angles were vaguely illogical. It was like a puzzle. This red bead, if slid along this wire to that junction, should reach there— but it didn’t. A maze, odd, but no doubt instructive. Paradine had a wellfounded feeling that he’d have no patience with the thing himself.
…Scott did, however, retiring to a corner and sliding beads around with much fumbling and grunting. The beads did sting, when Scott chose the wrong ones or tried to slide them in the wrong direction. At last he crowed exultantly.
…”I did it, dad!”
…””Eh? What? Let’s see.” The device looked exactly the same to Paradine, but Scott pointed and beamed.
…”I made it disappear.”
…”It’s still there.”
…”That blue bead. It’s gone now.”
…Paradine didn’t believe that, so he merely snorted. Scott puzzled over the framework again. He experimented. This time there were no shocks, even slight. The abacus had showed him the correct method. Now it was up to him to do it on his own. The bizarre angles of the wires seemed a little less confusing now, somehow.
…It was a most instructive toy—
…It worked, Scott thought, rather like the crystal cube.
* Title thanks to Saturday Night Live (Dec. 45, 2010).
Monday, December 13, 2010
Mathematics and Narrative continued…
Apollo's 13: A Group Theory Narrative —
I. At Wikipedia —
II. Here —
See Cube Spaces and Cubist Geometries.
The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube–
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
subcubes in the 27part (Galois) 3×3×3 cube–
A note from 1985 describing group actions on a 3×3 plane array—
Undated software by Ed Pegg Jr. displays
group actions on a 3×3×3 cube that extend the
3×3 group actions from 1985 described above—
Pegg gives no reference to the 1985 work on group actions.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Art Object, continued
"An image comes to mind of a white, ideal space
that, more than any single picture, may be
the archetypal image of 20thcentury art."
"May be" —
Image from this journal
at noon (EST) Tuesday
"The geometry of unit cubes is a meeting point
of several different subjects in mathematics."
— Chuanming Zong
"A meeting point" —
The above death reportedly occurred "early Wednesday in Beijing."
Another meeting point —
(Click on logo and on meeting image for more details.)
See also "no ordinary venue."
Monday, June 28, 2010
Shall I Compare Thee
Margaret Soltan on a summer'sday poem by D.A. Powell—
first, a congregated light, the brilliance of a meadowland in bloom
and then the image must fail, as we must fail, as we
graceless creatures that we are, unmake and befoul our beds
don’t tell me deluge. don’t tell me heat, too damned much heat
"Specifically, your trope is the trope of every life:
the organizing of the disparate parts of a personality
into a self (a congregated light), blazing youth
(a meadowland in bloom), and then the failure
of that image, the failure of that self to sustain itself."
Alternate title for Soltan's commentary, suggested by yesterday's Portrait:
Smart Jewish Girl Fwows Up.
Midrash on Soltan—
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me?
"…meadowdown is not distressed
For a rainbow footing…."
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sunday at the Apollo
27
The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube–
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
subcubes in the 27part (Galois) 3×3×3 cube–
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Space Cowboy
From yesterday's Seattle Times—
According to police, employees of a Second Avenue mission said the suspect, clad in black and covered in duct tape, had come into the mission "and threatened to blow the place up." He then told staffers "that he was a vampire and wanted to eat people."
The man… also called himself "a space cowboy"….
This suggests two film titles…
and Apollo's 13—
The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube–
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
subcubes in the (Galois) 3×3×3 cube–
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Cubist Geometries
"The cube has…13 axes of symmetry:
6 C_{2} (axes joining midpoints of opposite edges),
4 C_{3} (space diagonals), and
3C_{4} (axes joining opposite face centroids)."
–Wolfram MathWorld article on the cube
These 13 symmetry axes can be used to illustrate the interplay between Euclidean and Galois geometry in a cubic model of the 13point Galois plane.
The geometer's 3×3×3 cube–
27 separate subcubes unconnected
by any Rubiklike mechanism–
The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube–
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
subcubes in the (Galois) 3×3×3 cube–
A closely related structure–
the finite projective plane
with 13 points and 13 lines–
A later version of the 13point plane
by Ed Pegg Jr.–
A group action on the 3×3×3 cube
as illustrated by a Wolfram program
by Ed Pegg Jr. (undated, but closely
related to a March 26, 1985 note
by Steven H. Cullinane)–
The above images tell a story of sorts.
The moral of the story–
Galois projective geometries can be viewed
in the context of the larger affine geometries
from which they are derived.
The standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane is that they are lines through the (arbitrarily chosen) origin in a corresponding affine 3space converted to a vector 3space.
If we choose the origin as the center cube in coordinatizing the 3×3×3 cube (See Weyl's relativity problem ), then the cube's 13 axes of symmetry can, if the other 26 cubes have properly (Weyl's "objectively") chosen coordinates, illustrate nicely the 13 projective points derived from the 27 affine points in the cube model.
The 13 lines of the resulting Galois projective plane may be derived from Euclidean planes through the cube's center point that are perpendicular to the cube's 13 Euclidean symmetry axes.
The above standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane may of course also be used in a simpler structure– the eightfold cube.
(The eightfold cube also allows a less standard way to picture projective points that is related to the symmetries of "diamond" patterns formed by group actions on graphic designs.)
See also Ed Pegg Jr. on finite geometry on May 30, 2006
at the Mathematical Association of America.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thursday February 5, 2009
Through the
Looking Glass:
A Sort of Eternity
From the new president's inaugural address:
"… in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."
The words of Scripture:
9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 
10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 
11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 
12 
For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

"through a glass"—
[di’ esoptrou].
By means of
a mirror [esoptron].
Childish things:
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(cofounded by Margaret Wertheim)
Notsochildish:
Three planes through
the center of a cube
that split it into
eight subcubes:
Through a glass, darkly:
A group of 8 transformations is
generated by affine reflections
in the above three planes.
Shown below is a pattern on
the faces of the 2x2x2 cube
that is symmetric under one of
these 8 transformations–
a 180degree rotation:
(Click on image
for further details.)
But then face to face:
A larger group of 1344,
rather than 8, transformations
of the 2x2x2 cube
is generated by a different
sort of affine reflections– not
in the infinite Euclidean 3space
over the field of real numbers,
but rather in the finite Galois
3space over the 2element field.
Galois age fifteen,
drawn by a classmate.
These transformations
in the Galois space with
finitely many points
produce a set of 168 patterns
like the one above.
For each such pattern,
at least one nontrivial
transformation in the group of 8
described above is a symmetry
in the Euclidean space with
infinitely many points.
For some generalizations,
see Galois Geometry.
Related material:
The central aim of Western religion–
"Each of us has something to offer the Creator... the bridging of masculine and feminine, life and death. It's redemption.... nothing else matters."  Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998) The central aim of Western philosophy– Dualities of Pythagoras as reconstructed by Aristotle: Limited Unlimited Odd Even Male Female Light Dark Straight Curved ... and so on .... "Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited [man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is… the central aim of all Western philosophy." — Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)
"In the garden of Adding — The Midrash Jazz Quartet in City of God, by E. L. Doctorow (2000) A quotation today at art critic Carol Kino's website, slightly expanded:
"Art inherited from the old religion — Octavio Paz,"Seeing and Using: Art and Craftsmanship," in Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1987), 52 From Brian O'Doherty's 1976 Artforum essays– not on museums, but rather on gallery space:
"We have now reached
"Space: what you — James Joyce, Ulysses 
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Saturday May 10, 2008
Kindergarten
"… the startling thesis of Mr. Brosterman's new book, 'Inventing Kindergarten' (Harry N. Abrams, $39.95): that everything the giants of modern art and architecture knew about abstraction they learned in kindergarten, thanks to building blocks and other educational toys designed by Friedrich Froebel, a German educator, who coined the term 'kindergarten' in the 1830's."
— "Was Modernism Born
in Toddler Toolboxes?"
by Trip Gabriel, New York Times,
April 10, 1997
Figure 1 —
Concept from 1819:
(Footnotes 1 and 2)
Figure 2 —
The Third Gift, 1837:
Froebel, the inventor of
kindergarten, worked as
an assistant to the
crystallographer Weiss
mentioned in Fig. 1.
(Footnote 3)
Figure 3 —
The Third Gift, 1906:
Figure 4 —
Solomon's Cube,
1981 and 1983:
Figure 5 —
Design Cube, 2006:
The above screenshot shows a
moveable JavaScript display
of a space of six dimensions
(over the twoelement field).
(To see how the display works,
try the Kaleidoscope Puzzle first.)
2. Curtis Schuh, "The Library: Biobibliography of Mineralogy," article on Mohs
3. Bart Kahr, "Crystal Engineering in Kindergarten" (pdf), Crystal Growth & Design, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2004, 39
Monday, July 23, 2007
Monday July 23, 2007
is 18 today.
Greetings.
“The greatest sorcerer (writes Novalis memorably)
would be the one who bewitched himself to the point of
taking his own phantasmagorias for autonomous apparitions.
Would not this be true of us?”
–Jorge Luis Borges, “Avatars of the Tortoise”
“El mayor hechicero (escribe memorablemente Novalis)
sería el que se hechizara hasta el punto de
tomar sus propias fantasmagorías por apariciones autónomas.
¿No sería este nuestro caso?”
–Jorge Luis Borges, “Los Avatares de la Tortuga“
At Midsummer Noon:

It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves. We must be cured of it by a cure of the ground Or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure
Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness.
And if we ate the incipient colorings – Wallace Stevens, “The Rock” 
Gödel and Escher and Bach
were only shadows
cast in different directions by
some central solid essence.
I tried to reconstruct
the central object, and
came up with this book.”
Hofstadter’s cover.
“shadows” of a sort,
derived from a different
“central object”:
Saturday, November 5, 2005
Saturday November 5, 2005
Contrapuntal Themes
in a Shadowland
(See previous entry.)
Douglas Hofstadter on his magnum opus:
"… I realized that to me, Gödel and Escher and Bach were only shadows cast in different directions by some central solid essence. I tried to reconstruct the central object, and came up with this book."
Hofstadter's cover
Here are three patterns,
"shadows" of a sort,
derived from a different
"central object":
For details, see
Solomon's Cube.
Related material:
The reference to a
"permutation fugue"
(pdf) in an article on
Gödel, Escher, Bach.
Friday, May 6, 2005
Friday May 6, 2005
Fugues
"To improvise an eightpart fugue
is really beyond human capability."
— Douglas R. Hofstadter,
Gödel, Escher, Bach
Order of a projective
automorphism group:
168
"There are possibilities of
contrapuntal arrangement
of subjectmatter."
— T. S. Eliot, quoted in
Origins of Form in Four Quartets.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Sunday August 17, 2003
Diamond theory is the theory of affine groups over GF(2) acting on small square and cubic arrays. In the simplest case, the symmetric group of degree 4 acts on a twocolored diamond figure like that in Plato's Meno dialogue, yielding 24 distinct patterns, each of which has some ordinary or colorinterchange symmetry .
This symmetry invariance can be generalized to (at least) a group of order approximately 1.3 trillion acting on a 4x4x4 array of cubes.
The theory has applications to finite geometry and to the construction of the large Witt design underlying the Mathieu group of degree 24.
Further Reading:
 "Diamond Theory," http://m759.freeservers.com/