Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Heraldry for Walpurgisnacht

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:05 AM

A problem not only at Harvard.

For instance… A Hollywood anticlerical classic:

Schoolgirl Problem —

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Lucifer for Walpurgisnacht

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

A politician as 'Lucifer in the flesh'

A more impressive Lucifer —

The late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler,
author of the phrase "it from bit."

Related material —

"The Thing and I" (April 17, 2016) and an essay by
Julian Barbour, "Bit from It."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Harvard Cinco de Mayo

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

… And Some Not So Live —

"Here was finality indeed, and cleavage!" — Under the Volcano

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Castle Rock Entertainment

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:48 AM

(Where Entertainment Is God , continued)

Yesterday's evening numbers in the New York Lottery
were 007 and 3856. You are free to supply your own
interpretation of the former. The latter may, if you like,
be interpreted as post  3856, The Illuminati Stone .

Some context:

(Click for a larger, clearer image.)

I prefer Richard  Brautigan.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Lexicographic Octad Generator (LOG)*

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:43 PM

The lexicographic Golay code
contains, embedded within it,
the Miracle Octad Generator.

By Steven H. Cullinane, July 13, 2020

Background —

The Miracle Octad Generator (MOG)

of R. T. Curtis (Conway-Sloane version) —

A basis for the Golay code, excerpted from a version of
the code generated in lexicographic order, in

Constructing the Extended Binary Golay Code
Ben Adlam
Harvard University
August 9, 2011:


Below, each vector above has been reordered within
a 4×6 array, by Steven H. Cullinane, to form twelve
independent Miracle Octad Generator  vectors
(as in the Conway-Sloane SPLAG version above, in
which Curtis’s earlier heavy bricks are reflected in
their vertical axes) —

01 02 03 04 05 . . . 20 21 22 23 24 -->

01 05 09 13 17 21
02 06 10 14 18 22
03 07 11 15 19 23
04 08 12 16 20 24

0000 0000 0000 0000 1111 1111 -->

0000 11
0000 11
0000 11
0000 11 as in the MOG.

0000 0000 0000 1111 0000 1111 -->

0001 01
0001 01
0001 01
0001 01 as in the MOG.

0000 0000 0011 0011 0011 0011 -->

0000 00
0000 00
0011 11
0011 11 as in the MOG.

0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 -->

0000 00
0011 11
0000 00
0011 11 as in the MOG.

0000 0000 1001 0110 0110 1001 -->

0010 01
0001 10
0001 10
0010 01 as in the MOG.

0000 0011 0000 0011 0101 0110 -->

0000 00
0000 11
0101 01
0101 10 as in the MOG.

0000 0101 0000 0101 0110 0011 -->

0000 00
0101 10
0000 11
0101 01 as in the MOG.

0000 1001 0000 0110 0011 1010 -->

0100 01
0001 00
0001 11
0100 10 as in the MOG.

0001 0001 0001 0001 0111 1000 -->

0000 01
0000 10
0000 10
1111 10 as in the MOG.

0010 0001 0001 0010 0001 1101 -->

0000 01
0000 01
1001 00
0110 11 as in the MOG.

0100 0001 0001 0100 0100 1110 -->

0000 01
1001 11
0000 01
0110 00 as in the MOG.

1000 0001 0001 0111 0010 0100 -->

10 00 00
00 01 01
00 01 10
01 11 00 as in the MOG (heavy brick at center).

Update at 7:41 PM ET the same day —
A check of SPLAG shows that the above result is not new:

And at 7:59 PM ET the same day —
Conway seems to be saying that at some unspecified point in the past,
M.J.T. Guy, examining the lexicographic Golay code,  found (as I just did)
that weight-8 lexicographic Golay codewords, when arranged naturally
in 4×6 arrays, yield certain intriguing visual patterns. If the MOG existed
at the time of his discovery, he would have identified these patterns as
those of the MOG.  (Lexicographic codes have apparently been
known since 1960, the MOG since the mid-1970s.)

* Addendum at 4 AM ET  the next day —
See also Logline  (Walpurgisnacht 2013).

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bit by Bit

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

In memory of Claude Shannon, who would have turned 100 today.

See "The Matthias Defense" and citations of that page in this journal.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In Memoriam

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 AM

For the author of Dances with Wolves —

'Winter Count,' by Barry Holstun Lopez, cover with shades of gray

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Die Scheinung

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

See also Die Scheinung  in this journal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ART WARS continued

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:29 PM

The previous post mentioned a new mobile, "Triangle Constellation,"
commissioned for the Harvard Art Museums.

Related material (click to enlarge) —

The above review is of an exhibition by the "Constellation" artist,
Carlos Amorales, that opened on Sept. 26, 2008 — "just in time for
Halloween and the Day of the Dead."

See also this  journal on that date.

Purely Aesthetic

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

G. H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology —

What ‘purely aesthetic’ qualities can we distinguish in such theorems as Euclid’s or Pythagoras’s?

I will not risk more than a few disjointed remarks. In both theorems (and in the theorems, of course, I include the proofs) there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The arguments take so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seem so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching results; but there is no escape from the conclusions. There are no complications of detail—one line of attack is enough in each case; and this is true too of the proofs of many much more difficult theorems, the full appreciation of which demands quite a high degree of technical proficiency. We do not want many ‘variations’ in the proof of a mathematical theorem: ‘enumeration of cases’, indeed, is one of the duller forms of mathematical argument. A mathematical proof should resemble a simple and clear-cut constellation, not a scattered cluster in the Milky Way. 

Related material:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


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

(Night at the Museum continues.)

"Strategies for making or acquiring tools

While the creation of new tools marked the route to developing the social sciences,
the question remained: how best to acquire or produce those tools?"

— Jamie Cohen-Cole, “Instituting the Science of Mind: Intellectual Economies
and Disciplinary Exchange at Harvard’s Center for Cognitive Studies,”
British Journal for the History of Science  vol. 40, no. 4 (2007): 567-597.

Obituary of a co-founder, in 1960, of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard:

"Disciplinary Exchange" —

In exchange for the free Web tools of HTML and JavaScript,
some free tools for illustrating elementary Galois geometry —

The Kaleidoscope Puzzle,  The Diamond 16 Puzzle
The 2x2x2 Cube, and The 4x4x4 Cube

"Intellectual Economies" —

In exchange for a $10 per month subscription, an excellent
"Quilt Design Tool" —

This illustrates not geometry, but rather creative capitalism.

Related material from the date of the above Harvard death:  Art Wars.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monkey Grammar

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:29 AM

For a modern Adam and Eve—

W. Tecumseh Fitch and Gesche Westphal Fitch,
editors of a new four-volume collection titled
Language Evolution  (Feb. 2, 2012, $1,360)—

Related material—

"At the point of convergence
the play of similarities and differences
cancels itself out in order that 
identity alone may shine forth. 
The illusion of motionlessness,
the play of mirrors of the one: 
identity is completely empty;
it is a crystallization and
in its transparent core
the movement of analogy 
begins all over once again."

— The Monkey Grammarian 

by Octavio Paz, translated by
Helen Lane (Kindle edition of
2011-11-07, Kindle locations

The "play of mirrors" link above is my own.

Click on W. Tecumseh Fitch for links to some
examples of mirror-play in graphic design—
from, say, my own work in a version of 1977, not from
the Fitches' related work published online last June—

See also Log24 posts from the publication date
of the Fitches' Language Evolution

Groundhog Day, 2012.

Happy birthday to the late Alfred Bester.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Defining the Contest…

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 5:48 AM

Chomsky vs. Santa

From a New Yorker  weblog yesterday—

"Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky." by Gary Marcus—

"… two titans facing off, with Chomsky, as ever,
defining the contest"

"Chomsky sees himself, correctly, as continuing
a conversation that goes back to Plato, especially
the Meno dialogue, in which a slave boy is
revealed by Socrates to know truths about
geometry that he hadn’t realized he knew."

See Meno Diamond in this journal. For instance, from 
the Feast of Saint Nicholas (Dec. 6th) this year—

The Meno Embedding


For related truths about geometry, see the diamond theorem.

For a related contest of language theory vs. geometry,
see pattern theory (Sept. 11, 16, and 17, 2012).

See esp. the Sept. 11 post,  on a Royal Society paper from July 2012
claiming that

"With the results presented here, we have taken the first steps
in decoding the uniquely human  fascination with visual patterns,
what Gombrich* termed our ‘sense of order.’ "

The sorts of patterns discussed in the 2012 paper —

IMAGE- Diamond Theory patterns found in a 2012 Royal Society paper

"First steps"?  The mathematics underlying such patterns
was presented 35 years earlier, in Diamond Theory.

* See Gombrich-Douat in this journal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pattern Conception

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

( Continued from yesterday's post FLT )

Context Part I —

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

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

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

Context Part II —

IMAGE- Wikipedia article 'Formal language'

Context Part III —

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

Context Part IV —

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

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

Related material from a literate source—

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

Formal Patterns—

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

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

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

Sunday, September 16, 2012


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

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

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

IMAGE- Design and Formal Language Theory

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

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

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

Happy Rosh Hashanah.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Then?

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Last October, Harvard celebrated its 375th anniversary
with Pandemonium. For remarks of a different sort,
see Andrew Cusack on Walpurgisnacht.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mysteries of Faith

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM

From today's NY Times


Obituaries for mystery authors
Ralph McInerny and Dick Francis

From the date (Jan. 29) of McInerny's death–

"…although a work of art 'is formed around something missing,' this 'void is its vanishing point, not its essence.'"

Harvard University Press on Persons and Things (Walpurgisnacht, 2008), by Barbara Johnson

From the date (Feb. 14) of Francis's death–

2x2x2 cube

The EIghtfold Cube

The "something missing" in the above figure is an eighth cube, hidden behind the others pictured.

This eighth cube is not, as Johnson would have it, a void and "vanishing point," but is instead the "still point" of T.S. Eliot. (See the epigraph to the chapter on automorphism groups in Parallelisms of Complete Designs, by Peter J. Cameron. See also related material in this journal.) The automorphism group here is of course the order-168 simple group of Felix Christian Klein.

For a connection to horses, see
a March 31, 2004, post
commemorating the birth of Descartes
  and the death of Coxeter–

Putting Descartes Before Dehors

     Binary coordinates for a 4x2 array  Chess knight formed by a Singer 7-cycle

For a more Protestant meditation,
see The Cross of Descartes


Descartes's Cross

"I've been the front end of a horse
and the rear end. The front end is better."
— Old vaudeville joke

For further details, click on
the image below–

Quine and Derrida at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 PM

And an especially Faustian
Walpurgis Night to
Harvard University, home of
Robert Langdon, fictional professor
of Religious Symbology


“That corpse you planted
last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout?
Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost
disturbed its bed?”

— T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land

From Log24 last September:

Rachel Cobb photo of man returning a crucifix to Huichol village chapel

A man returns a crucifix
to a Huichol village chapel.

Photo by Rachel Cobb
for National Geographic


Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 AM

Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds
and Sacred Heart

PARIS — Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

Related material:

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

a film by Julie Taymor,
Across the Universe:

Across the Universe DVD

Detail of the
Strawberry Fields Forever
Sacred Heart:

Strawberry Fields Sacred Heart from 'Across the Universe'

A song:

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor

Shinin’ like a diamond,
she had tombstones
in her eyes.

Album “The Dark,”
by Guy Clark

For related tombstones,
see May 16-19, 2006,
and April 19, 2008.

Further background:
Art Wars for
Red October.

Wednesday April 30, 2008

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

Q: If the opposite of Christmas (December 25) is Anti-Christmas (June 25), and the opposite of Halloween (October 31) is May Day (May 1), then what is the opposite of April 30?

A: October 30… Devil’s Night!

Related material:

Walpurgis Night,
the previous entry,
H is for Hogwarts

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