Log24

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Simplification in Its Purest Form”

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:08 PM

For students of the Hogwash School of Witchcraft and Wizardry —

"Elementary particles are the most fundamental
building blocks of nature, and their study
would seem to be an expression of simplification
in its purest form." 

— Sean Carroll in The New York Times  today 
in an opinion piece titled "The Physicist Who
Made Sense of the Universe"

Related remarks:  See a Log24 search for "Simpli".

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Simplicity Versus Complexity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:13 PM

Simplicity  (Click for some complexity.)

Complexity  (Click for some simplicity.)

A passage from the 2011 book Idea Man  that was suggested by
a recent New Yorker  article on the book's author, the late Paul Allen —

Left-click image to enlarge.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Simplicity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM


 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Geometry and Simplicity

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:27 PM

From

Thinking in Four Dimensions
By Dusa McDuff

"I’ve got the rather foolhardy idea of trying to explain
to you the kind of mathematics I do, and the kind of
ideas that seem simple to me. For me, the search
for simplicity is almost synonymous with the search
for structure.

I’m a geometer and topologist, which means that
I study the structure of space
. . . .

In each dimension there is a simplest space
called Euclidean space … "

— In Roman Kossak, ed.,
Simplicity:  Ideals of Practice in Mathematics and the Arts
(Kindle Locations 705-710, 735). Kindle Edition.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix18/180827-Simplicity-Springer-April_2013_conference.jpg

For some much simpler spaces of various
dimensions, see Galois Space in this journal.

Some small Galois spaces (the Cullinane models)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Complexity to Simplicity via Hudson and Rosenhain*

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:20 AM

'Desargues via Rosenhain'- April 1, 2013- The large Desargues configuration mapped canonically to the 4x4 square

*The Hudson of the title is the author of Kummer's Quartic Surface  (1905).
The Rosenhain of the title is the author for whom Hudson's 4×4 diagrams
of "Rosenhain tetrads" are named. For the "complexity to simplicity" of
the title, see Roger Fry in the previous post.

Complexity to Simplicity

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:00 AM

Cézanne "showed how it was possible to pass
from the complexity of the appearance of things
to the geometrical simplicity which design demands."

— Roger Fry in the catalogue for the 1910 London 
exhibition "Manet and the Post-Impressionists,"
according to

See also A Roger Fry Reader 
(edited by Christopher Reed,
University of Chicago Press, 1996).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Simplify

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

(Continued)

“Alles wird viel einfacher, wenn man zuerst von der
Unendlichkeit der Theilbarkeit abstrahirt und bloss
Discrete Grössen betrachtet.”

Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1825

(Quoted here in the July 16, 2013, post Child Buyers.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Simplicity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

(Continued from July 16)

From the schedule of an April 2013 philosophical conference:

Why should anyone care what Zwicky thinks?

1.  Her writings. In particular, Plato as Artist .

2.  Her husband. See Robert Bringhurst in this journal.

3.  A reading by Zwicky and Bringhurst on March 20, 2013.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Simplify (continued)

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

"Plato acknowledges how khora  challenges our normal categories
 of rational understanding. He suggests that we might best approach it
 through a kind of dream  consciousness."
  —Richard Kearney, quoted here yesterday afternoon

"You make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream."
 — Song at last night's Grammy awards

Image-- Richard Kiley with record collection in 'Blackboard Jungle,' 1955

Richard Kiley in "Blackboard Jungle" (1955)
Note the directive on the blackboard.

Quoted here last year on this date

Alexandre Borovik's Mathematics Under the Microscope  (American Mathematical Society, 2010)—

"Once I mentioned to Gelfand that I read his Functions and Graphs ; in response, he rather sceptically asked me what I had learned from the book. He was delighted to hear my answer: 'The general principle of always looking at the simplest possible example.'….

So, let us look at the principle in more detail:

Always test a mathematical theory on the simplest possible example…

This is a banality, of course. Everyone knows it; therefore, almost no one follows it."

Related material— Geometry Simplified and A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168.

"Great indeed is the riddle of the universe.
 Beautiful indeed is the source of truth."

– Shing-Tung Yau, Chairman,
Department of Mathematics, Harvard University

"Always keep a diamond in your mind."

King Solomon at the Paradiso

IMAGE-- Imaginary movie poster- 'The Galois Connection'- from stoneship.org

Image from stoneship.org

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simplify.

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:20 PM

Image-- Richard Kiley with record collection in 'Blackboard Jungle,' 1955

Richard Kiley in "Blackboard Jungle" (1955)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Emergence

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:01 AM

"Elementary particles are the most fundamental building blocks
of nature, and their study would seem to be an expression of
simplification in its purest form. The essence of complexity
research, by contrast, is the emergence of new kinds of order
that are only manifest when systems are large and messy."

— Sean Carroll in an opinion piece that concludes as follows:

The above plug for Sean Carroll's book
The Big Picture : On the Origins of
Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
   
suggests

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bright Club

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

An image from "Blackboard Jungle," 1955 —

IMAGE- Richard Kiley in 'Blackboard Jungle,' with grids and broken records

"Through the unknown, remembered gate . . . ."

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Monday, January 7, 2019

Resonant Clarity

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

Abstract for a talk at the City University of New York:

The Experience of Meaning 
Jan Zwicky, University of Victoria 
09:00-09:40 Friday, April 5, 2013

Once the question of truth is settled, and often prior to it, what we value in a mathematical proof or conjecture is what we value in a work of lyric art: potency of meaning. An absence of clutter is a feature of such artifacts: they possess a resonant clarity that allows their meaning to break on our inner eye like light. But this absence of clutter is not tantamount to 'being simple': consider Eliot's Four Quartets  or Mozart's late symphonies. Some truths are complex, and they are simplified  at the cost of distortion, at the cost of ceasing to be  truths. Nonetheless, it's often possible to express a complex truth in a way that precipitates a powerful experience of meaning. It is that experience we seek — not simplicity per se , but the flash of insight, the sense we've seen into the heart of things. I'll first try to say something about what is involved in such recognitions; and then something about why an absence of clutter matters to them.

For some context, see posts tagged Artifacts.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Symmetry at Hiroshima

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:43 AM

A search this morning for articles mentioning the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis within the last year yielded an abstract for two talks given
at Hiroshima on March 8 and 9, 2018

http://www.math.sci.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/
branched/files/2018/abstract/Aitchison.txt

Iain AITCHISON

Title:

Construction of highly symmetric Riemann surfaces, related manifolds, and some exceptional objects, I, II

Abstract:

Since antiquity, some mathematical objects have played a special role, underpinning new mathematics as understanding deepened. Perhaps archetypal are the Platonic polyhedra, subsequently related to Platonic idealism, and the contentious notion of existence of mathematical reality independent of human consciousness.

Exceptional or unique objects are often associated with symmetry – manifest or hidden. In topology and geometry, we have natural base points for the moduli spaces of closed genus 2 and 3 surfaces (arising from the 2-fold branched cover of the sphere over the 6 vertices of the octahedron, and Klein's quartic curve, respectively), and Bring's genus 4 curve arises in Klein's description of the solution of polynomial equations of degree greater than 4, as well as in the construction of the Horrocks-Mumford bundle. Poincare's homology 3-sphere, and Kummer's surface in real dimension 4 also play special roles.

In other areas: we have the exceptional Lie algebras such as E8; the sporadic finite simple groups; the division algebras: Golay's binary and ternary codes; the Steiner triple systems S(5,6,12) and S(5,8,24); the Leech lattice; the outer automorphisms of the symmetric group S6; the triality map in dimension 8; and so on. We also note such as: the 27 lines on a cubic, the 28 bitangents of a quartic curve, the 120 tritangents of a sextic curve, and so on, related to Galois' exceptional finite groups PSL2(p) (for p= 5,7,11), and various other so-called `Arnol'd Trinities'.

Motivated originally by the `Eightfold Way' sculpture at MSRI in Berkeley, we discuss inter-relationships between a selection of these objects, illustrating connections arising via highly symmetric Riemann surface patterns. These are constructed starting with a labeled polygon and an involution on its label set.

Necessarily, in two lectures, we will neither delve deeply into, nor describe in full, contexts within which exceptional objects arise. We will, however, give sufficient definition and detail to illustrate essential inter-connectedness of those exceptional objects considered.

Our starting point will be simplistic, arising from ancient Greek ideas underlying atomism, and Plato's concepts of space. There will be some overlap with a previous talk on this material, but we will illustrate with some different examples, and from a different philosophical perspective.

Some new results arising from this work will also be given, such as an alternative graphic-illustrated MOG (Miracle Octad Generator) for the Steiner system S(5,8,24), and an alternative to Singerman – Jones' genus 70 Riemann surface previously proposed as a completion of an Arnol'd Trinity. Our alternative candidate also completes a Trinity whose two other elements are Thurston's highly symmetric 6- and 8-component links, the latter related by Thurston to Klein's quartic curve.

See also yesterday morning's post, "Character."

Update: For a followup, see the next  Log24 post.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Hogwarts Peak

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Or:  Misery, Jessica …  Jessica, Misery .

http://www.log24.com/log/pix18/180817-Misery's_Return-cover.jpg

http://www.log24.com/log/pix18/180817-Chastain-Crimson_Peak-500w.jpg

Related material from The Harvard Crimson

"The beach and the castle on the hill and the waves
would always be here, always moving, always changing,
but always constant." 

— Robert Miranda, "The Simplicity of Waves," August 8, 2018

Related material on waves (i.e. , "Fourier's laboratory") —

See also this  journal on August 8.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Greatly Exaggerated Report

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:21 PM

"The novel has a parallel narrative that eventually
converges with the main story."

— Wikipedia on a book by Foer's novelist brother
 

Public Squares

An image from the online New York Times 
on the date, July 6,
of  the above Atlantic  article —

An image from "Blackboard Jungle," 1955 —

IMAGE- Richard Kiley in 'Blackboard Jungle,' with grids and broken records

"Through the unknown, remembered gate . . . ."

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Friday, July 6, 2018

Blackboard Jungle — The Prequel

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:05 AM

An image from the online New York Times  today —

Blackboard Jungle , 1955 —

IMAGE- Richard Kiley in 'Blackboard Jungle,' with grids and broken records

"Through the unknown, remembered gate . . . ."

T. S. Eliot, 1942

Monday, July 2, 2018

Another Letterman Intro

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:06 PM

Recognitions, Corrections;  Corrections, Recognitions.

"It is the dawning of the second gestalt 
in relation to the first 
that is the experience of meaning."

— Jan Zwicky in "The Experience of Meaning"
(at 27:36 of 44:36 in the video of her talk) 

Related remarks by the author of The Corrections

" Even friends of The Recognitions  have found it a daunting
text.  Jonathan Franzen, the best known of the book's current
day champions, has offered both praise and words of warning
to potential readers. 'I loved it,' he proclaimed in the pages
of
The New Yorker  back in 2002, where he held up Gaddis's
novel as the preeminent example of what Franzen calls 'the
Status model' of literature.  Authors who subscribe to the
'Status model' embrace fiction as the springboard for
'a discourse of genius and art-historical importance' freed
from the demands of the marketplace or the requirements of
mass consumption.  Yet even Franzen acknowledges the toll
exacted by this particular masterpiece.  He declares that 
The
Recognitions
  is 'the most difficult book I ever voluntarily read
in its entirety,' adding that he completed the task 'as a kind
of penance.' "

Now try Euclid.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Deutsche Ordnung

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:22 PM

The title is from a phrase spoken, notably, by Yul Brynner
to Christopher Plummer in the 1966 film "Triple Cross."

Related structures —

Greg Egan's animated image of the Klein quartic —

For a tetrahedral key to the arrangement of the 56 triangles within the above
structure, see a book chapter by Michael Huber of Tübingen

For further details, see the June 29 post Triangles in the Eightfold Cube.

See also, from an April 2013 philosophical conference:

Abstract for a talk at the City University of New York:

The Experience of Meaning 
Jan Zwicky, University of Victoria 
09:00-09:40 Friday, April 5, 2013

Once the question of truth is settled, and often prior to it, what we value in a mathematical proof or conjecture is what we value in a work of lyric art: potency of meaning. An absence of clutter is a feature of such artifacts: they possess a resonant clarity that allows their meaning to break on our inner eye like light. But this absence of clutter is not tantamount to 'being simple': consider Eliot's Four Quartets  or Mozart's late symphonies. Some truths are complex, and they are simplified  at the cost of distortion, at the cost of ceasing to be  truths. Nonetheless, it's often possible to express a complex truth in a way that precipitates a powerful experience of meaning. It is that experience we seek — not simplicity per se , but the flash of insight, the sense we've seen into the heart of things. I'll first try to say something about what is involved in such recognitions; and then something about why an absence of clutter matters to them.

For the talk itself, see a YouTube video.

The conference talks also appear in a book.

The book begins with an epigraph by Hilbert

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Movement of Analogy: Hume vs. Paz

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

Hume, from posts tagged "four-set" in this journal —

"The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions
successively make their appearance; pass, repass, glide away,
and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations.
There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity
in different, whatever natural propension we may have
to imagine that simplicity and identity."

Paz, from a search for Paz + Identity in this journal —

"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 

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Golay Code via Witt’s Construction

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:08 PM

Reference

Hansen, Robert Peter, "Construction and Simplicity of
the Large Mathieu Groups" (2011). Master's Theses. 4053. 
http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/4053.

See also The Matrix Meets the Grid (Log24, Nov. 24).
More generally, see SPLAG in this journal.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dueling Formulas

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:35 PM

Continued from the previous post and from posts
now tagged Dueling Formulas

The four-diamond formula of Jung and
the four-dot "as" of Claude Lévi-Strauss:

Simplified versions of the diamonds and the dots
 

The Ring of the Diamond Theorem          ::

I prefer Jung. For those who prefer Lévi-Strauss —

     First edition, Cornell University Press, 1970.

A related tale — "A Meaning, Like."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bit Plot

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:40 AM

From a May 15 review of a new book by Douglas Coupland, author of
the 1991 book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture .

"Minimalists are actually extreme hoarders:
 they hoard space." — Douglas Coupland

The title of Coupland's new book suggests a review of Schmeikal 
in this  journal

Coupland's above remark on hoarders suggests a look at
a wealthy California collector whom, were he not wealthy,
some might call a hoarder.

“I buy things because they strike an emotional bell,
they appeal to my curiosity, to the thrill of discovery
of the extraordinary in the ordinary,” Mr. Cotsen told
The Denver Post in 1998. “They appeal to my sense
of humor, and to my search for the beauty in simplicity.”

He added, “I decided I had a collection when there was
no more space to put anything.”

By the time he died at 88 on May 8 in Beverly Hills, Calif.,
Mr. Cotsen (pronounced COAT-zen) had donated about
half of the material in his collections to institutions like the
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Princeton University
and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, N.M.

Richard Sandomir in the online New York Times , May 17

Cotsen reportedly died at 88 on May 8. 

See also this  journal on that date —

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Pinterest Board

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:29 PM 

https://www.pinterest.com/stevenhcullinane/art-space/

Friday, April 7, 2017

Personal Identity

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:40 PM

From "The Most Notorious Section Phrases," by Sophie G. Garrett
in The Harvard Crimson  on April 5, 2017 —

This passage reminds me of (insert impressive philosophy
that was not in the reading).

This student is just being a show off. We get that they are smart
and well read. Congrats, but please don’t make the rest of the us
look bad in comparison. It should be enough to do the assigned
reading without making connections to Hume’s theory of the self.

Hume on personal identity (the "self")

For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions removed by death, and could I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate, after the dissolution of my body, I should be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect nonentity.
. . . .

I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. Our thought is still more variable than our sight; and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change: nor is there any single power of the soul, which remains unalterably the same, perhaps for one moment. The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, repass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different, whatever natural propension we may have to imagine that simplicity and identity. The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us. They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind; nor have we the most distant notion of the place where these scenes are represented, or of the materials of which it is composed.

Related material —
Imago Dei  in this journal.

The Ring of the Diamond Theorem

Backstory —
The previous post
and The Crimson Abyss.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Princeton Style

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:00 PM

The previous post contained a remark from Princeton
on the January 1, 2016, death of a mathematician.

"There's a certain Princeton style that focuses on
precision, centrality and simplicity."

See also

For a different sort of style, see Death on New Year's Day.

Gospel of the Nobodies

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:56 PM

"Principles before personalities" — AA saying

Principles

From an April 8 Princeton obituary of a mathematician —

" Moore embodied a 'Princeton style' that made him
a challenging and influential presence in the careers
of his students, said Joseph Neisendorfer, a professor
of mathematics at the University of Rochester who
received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton in
1972. Because of Moore's style, his students would
write theses that 'almost without exception' were
significant advances in mathematics, Neisendorfer said.

'There's a certain Princeton style that focuses on
precision, centrality and simplicity. He was a superb
mathematician and he exercised a lot of influence
by imparting his style to his students,' Neisendorfer said.
'He epitomized the Princeton style.' "

Personalities 

Gospel of the Nobodies 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Synchronicity Check

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:29 PM

The book quoted in the previous post, Attack of the Copula Spiders,
was reportedly published on March 27, 2012.

For the Church of Synchronology

The above icon may be viewed as a simplified version
of the image described in the April 8 post Space Cross.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Both Sides Now

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:30 AM

(Continued from the link in the previous post to 
a Feb. 20 NY Times  essay on the brain's two sides)

From a webpage on Galois geometry

Postscript

From a 2002 review by Stacy G. Langton of Sherman Stein's book on mathematics, How the Other Half Thinks :

"The title of Stein's book (perhaps chosen by the publisher?) seems to refer to the popular left brain/right brain dichotomy. As Stein writes (p. ix): 'I hope this book will help bridge that notorious gap that separates the two cultures: the humanities and the sciences, or should I say the right brain (intuitive, holistic) and the left brain (analytical, numerical). As the chapters will illustrate, mathematics is not restricted to the analytical and numerical; intuition plays a significant role.' Stein does well to avoid identifying mathematics with the activity of just one side of the brain. He would have done better, however, not to have endorsed the left brain/right brain ideology. While it does indeed appear to be the case that the two sides of our brain act in rather different ways, the idea that the right brain is 'intuitive, holistic,' while the left brain is 'analytical, numerical,' is a vast oversimplification, and goes far beyond the actual evidence."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Charm School

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:28 AM

"When the first Harry Potter book appeared, in 1997,
it was just a year before the universal search engine
Google was launched. And so Hermione Granger,
that charming grind, still goes to the Hogwarts library
and spends hours and hours working her way through
the stacks, finding out what a basilisk is or how to
make a love potion."

— Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker  issue dated
     St. Valentine's Day, 2011

More recently, Gopnik writes that

"Arguing about non-locality went out of fashion, in this
account, almost the way 'Rock Around the Clock' 
displaced Sinatra from the top of the charts."

— Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker  issue dated
     St. Andrew's Day, 2015

This  journal on Valentine's Day, 2011 —

"One heart will wear a valentine." — Sinatra

" she has written a love letter to Plato, whom 
she regards as having given us philosophy.
He is, in her view, as relevant today as he ever 
was — which is to say, very."

New York Times  review of a book by 
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, April 18, 2014

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Zinsser Obituary

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:48 PM

"William Zinsser, a writer, editor and teacher
whose book ‘On Writing Well’ sold more than
1.5 million copies by employing his own literary
craftsmanship to urge clarity, simplicity, brevity
and humanity, died on Tuesday [May 12, 2015]
at his home in Manhattan. He was 92." 

— Douglas Martin in the online New York Times

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Unicode Diamonds

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:16 PM

The following figure, intended to display as
a black diamond, was produced with
HTML and Unicode characters. Depending
on the technology used to view it, the figure
may contain gaps or overlaps.

◢◣
◥◤

Some variations:

◤◥
◣◢

◤◥
◢◣

◤◣
◢◥

◤◣
◥◢

Such combined Unicode characters —

◢  black lower right triangle,
◣  black lower left triangle,
᭘  black upper left triangle,
᭙  black upper right triangle 

— might be used for a text-only version of the Diamond 16 Puzzle
that is more easily programmed than the current version.

The tricky part would be coding the letter-spacing and
line-height to avoid gaps or overlaps within the figures in
a variety of browsers. The w3.org visual formatting model
may or may not be helpful here.

Update of 11:20 PM ET March 15, 2015 — 
Seekers of simplicity should note that there is
a simple program in the Processing.js  language, not  using
such Unicode characters, that shows many random affine
permutations of a 4×4 diamond-theorem array when the
display window is clicked.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sermon

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

Epigraphs from Parallelisms of Complete Designs
by Peter J. Cameron (Cambridge University Press, 1976)

Introduction
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning
(T. S. Eliot: Little Gidding)

I  The existence theorem
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual
(T. S. Eliot: The Dry Salvages)

II  The parallelogram property
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
(T. S. Eliot: Little Gidding)

III  Steiner points and Veblen points
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again?
(T. S. Eliot: East Coker)

IV  Edge-colourings of complete graphs
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
(T. S. Eliot: East Coker)

V  Biplanes and metric regularity
Two and two, necessarye conjunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde.
(T. S. Eliot: East Coker)

VI  Automorphism groups
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
(T. S. Eliot: Burnt Norton)

VII  Resolutions and partition systems
… fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors .. .
(T. S. Eliot: The Dry Salvages)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Abuse of Language

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

From Wikipedia — Abuse of language —

“… in mathematics, a use of terminology in a way that is not formally correct
but that simplifies exposition or suggests the correct intuition.”

The phrase “symplectic structure” in the previous post
was a deliberate abuse of languageThe real definition:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Magic in the Moonshine

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

“The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning
of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not
typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the
meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside,
enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a
haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes
are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.”

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

“By groping toward the light we are made to realize
how deep the darkness is around us.”

— Arthur Koestler, The Call Girls: A Tragi-Comedy,
Random House, 1973, page 118

Spectral evidence is a form of evidence
based upon dreams and visions.” —Wikipedia

See also Moonshine (May 15, 2014) and, from the date of the above
New York Times  item, two posts tagged Wunderkammer .

Related material: From the Spectrum program of the Mathematical
Association of America, some non-spectral evidence.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Moonshine

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

“The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning
of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not
typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the
meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside,
enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a
haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes
are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.”

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Photo of full moon over Oslo last night by Josefine Lyche:

A scene from my film viewing last night:

Some background (click to enlarge):

Note:

The “I, Frankenstein” scene above should not be interpreted as
a carrying of Martin Gardner through a lyche gate.  Gardner
is, rather, symbolized by the asterisk in the first image from
the above Google search.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Eight Gate

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

From a Huffington Post  discussion of aesthetics:

“The image below on the left… is… overly simplistic, and lacks reality:

IMAGE - Two eightfold cubes-  axonometric view on left, perspective view on right

It’s all a matter of perspective: the problem here is that opposite sides
of the cube, which are parallel in real life, actually look parallel in the
left image! The image on the right is better….”

A related discussion:  Eight is a Gate.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quotation

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:09 PM

Edward Frenkel in a vulgar and stupid
LA Times  opinion piece, March 2, 2014 —

"In the words of the great mathematician Henri Poincare, mathematics is valuable because 'in binding together elements long-known but heretofore scattered and appearing unrelated to one another, it suddenly brings order where there reigned apparent chaos.' "

My attempts to find the source of these alleged words of Poincaré were fruitless.* Others may have better luck.

The search for Poincaré's words did, however, yield the following passage —

HENRI POINCARÉ
THE FUTURE OF MATHEMATICS

If a new result is to have any value, it must unite elements long since known, but till then scattered and seemingly foreign to each other, and suddenly introduce order where the appearance of disorder reigned. Then it enables us to see at a glance each of these elements in the place it occupies in the whole. Not only is the new fact valuable on its own account, but it alone gives a value to the old facts it unites. Our mind is frail as our senses are; it would lose itself in the complexity of the world if that complexity were not harmonious; like the short-sighted, it would only see the details, and would be obliged to forget each of these details before examining the next, because it would- be incapable of taking in the whole. The only facts worthy of our attention are those which introduce order into this complexity and so make it accessible to us.

Mathematicians attach a great importance to the elegance of their methods and of their results, and this is not mere dilettantism. What is it that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution or a demonstration? It is the harmony of the different parts, their symmetry, and their happy adjustment; it is, in a word, all that introduces order, all that gives them unity, that enables us to obtain a clear comprehension of the whole as well as of the parts. But that is also precisely what causes it to give a large return; and in fact the more we see this whole clearly and at a single glance, the better we shall perceive the analogies with other neighbouring objects, and consequently the better chance we shall have of guessing the possible generalizations. Elegance may result from the feeling of surprise caused by the unlooked-for occurrence together of objects not habitually associated. In this, again, it is fruitful, since it thus discloses relations till then unrecognized. It is also fruitful even when it only results from the contrast between the simplicity of the means and the complexity of the problem presented, for it then causes us to reflect on the reason for this contrast, and generally shows us that this reason is not chance, but is to be found in some unsuspected law. ….

HENRI POINCARÉ
L'AVENIR DES MATHÉMATIQUES

Si un résultat nouveau a du prix, c'est quand en reliant des éléments connus depuis longtemps, mais jusque-là épars et paraissant étrangers les uns aux autres, il introduit subitement l'ordre là où régnait l'apparence du désordre. Il nous permet alors de voir d'un coup d'œil chacun de ces éléments et la place qu'il occupe dans l'ensemble. Ce fait nouveau non-seulement est précieux par lui-même, mais lui seul donne leur valeur à tous les faits anciens qu'il relie. Notre esprit est infirme comme le sont nos sens; il se perdrait dans la complexité du monde si cette complexité n'était harmonieuse, il n'en verrait que les détails à la façon d'un myope et il serait forcé d'oublier chacun de ces détails avant d'examiner le suivant, parce qu'il serait incapable de tout embrasser. Les seuls faits dignes de notre attention sont ceux qui introduisent de l'ordre dans cette complexité et la rendent ainsi accessible.

Les mathématiciens attachent une grande importance à l'élégance de leurs mé-thodes et de leurs résultats; ce n'est pas là du pur dilettantisme. Qu'est ce qui nous donne en effet dans une solution, dans une démonstration, le sentiment de l'élégance? C'est l'harmonie des diverses parties, leur symétrie, leur heureux balancement; c'est en un mot tout ce qui y met de l'ordre, tout ce qui leur donne de l'unité, ce qui nous permet par conséquent d'y voir clair et d'en comprendre l'ensemble en même temps que les détails. Mais précisément, c'est là en même temps ce qui lui donne un grand rendement ; en effet, plus nous verrons cet ensemble clairement et d'un seul coup d'œil, mieux nous apercevrons ses analogies avec d'autres objets voisins, plus par conséquent nous aurons de chances de deviner les généralisations possibles. L'élé-gance peut provenir du sentiment de l'imprévu par la rencontre inattendue d'objets qu'on n'est pas accoutumé à rapprocher; là encore elle est féconde, puisqu'elle nous dévoile ainsi des parentés jusque-là méconnues; elle est féconde même quand elle ne résulte que du contraste entre la simplicité des moyens et la complexité du problème posé ; elle nous fait alors réfléchir à la raison de ce contraste et le plus souvent elle nous fait voir que cette raison n'est pas le hasard et qu'elle se trouve dans quelque loi insoupçonnée. ….

* Update of 1:44 PM ET March 14 — A further search, for "it suddenly brings order," brought order. Words very close to Frenkel's quotation appear in a version of Poincaré's "Future of Mathematics" from a 1909 Smithsonian report

"If a new result has value it is when, by binding together long-known elements, until now scattered and appearing unrelated to each other, it suddenly brings order where there reigned apparent disorder."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rated X

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

New York Times  theater critic Ben Brantley
last night at 10 PM ET on the opening of a
play by Samuel Beckett —

"The cause of this incontinent mirth?
The dirtiest joke of all time. I mean life itself.

No playwright of the 20th century, and quite
possibly ever, has told this joke with the
clarity, simplicity and richness of Beckett."

Related material — This journal yesterday.

See also Lead Balloon.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kernel and Glow

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:01 AM

"The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning
of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not
typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the
meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside,
enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a
haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes
are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine."

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Kernel — See Nocciolo.

Glow — See Moonshine and Moonshine II.

See also Cold Open (Jan. 29, 2011) and
Where Entertainment is God (Aug. 25, 2013).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sermon

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

(Simplicity continued)

"Understanding a metaphor is like understanding a geometrical
truth. Features of various geometrical figures or of various contexts
are pulled into revealing alignment with one another by  the
demonstration or the metaphor.

What is 'revealed' is not that the alignment is possible; rather,
that the alignment is possible reveals the presence of already-
existing shapes or correspondences that lay unnoticed. To 'see' a
proof or 'get' a metaphor is to experience the significance of the
correspondence for what the thing, concept, or figure is ."

— Jan Zwicky, Wisdom & Metaphor , page 36 (left)

Zwicky illustrates this with Plato's diamond figure
​from the Meno  on the facing page— her page 36 (right).

A more sophisticated geometrical figure—

Galois-geometry key to
Desargues' theorem:

   D   E   F
 S'  P Q R
 S  P' Q' R'
 O  P1 Q1 R1

For an explanation, see 
Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Child Buyers

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

The title refers to a classic 1960 novel by John Hersey.

“How do you  get young people excited about space?”

— Megan Garber in The Atlantic , Aug. 16, 2012
(Italics added.) (See previous four posts.)

Allyn Jackson on “Simplicity, in Mathematics and in Art,”
in the new August 2013 issue of Notices of the American
Mathematical Society

“As conventions evolve, so do notions of simplicity.
Franks mentioned Gauss’s 1831 paper that
established the respectability of complex numbers.”

This suggests a related image by Gauss, with a
remark on simplicity

IMAGE- Complex Grid, by Gauss

Here Gauss’s diagram is not, as may appear at first glance,
a 3×3 array of squares, but is rather a 4×4 array of discrete
points (part of an infinite plane array).

Related material that does  feature the somewhat simpler 3×3 array
of squares, not  seen as part of an infinite array—

Marketing the Holy Field

IMAGE- The Ninefold Square, in China 'The Holy Field'

Click image for the original post.

For a purely mathematical view of the holy field, see Visualizing GL(2,p).

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Structure vs. Character

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

“… Reality is not a given whole. An understanding of this,
a respect for the contingent, is essential to imagination
as opposed to fantasy. Our sense of form, which is an
aspect of our desire for consolation, can be a danger to
our sense of reality as a rich receding background.
Against the consolations of form, the clean crystalline
work, the simplified fantasy-myth, we must pit the
destructive power of the now so unfashionable naturalistic
idea of character.

Real people are destructive of myth, contingency is
destructive of fantasy and opens the way for imagination.
Think of the Russians, those great masters of the contingent.
Too much contingency of course may turn art into journalism.
But since reality is incomplete, art must not be too much
afraid of incompleteness. Literature must always represent a
battle between real people and images; and what it requires
now is a much stronger and more complex conception of the
former.”

— Iris Murdoch, January 1961, “Against Dryness

See also the recent posts Structure and Character.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Galois Space

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:30 PM

(Continued)

The 16-point affine Galois space:

Further properties of this space:

In Configurations and Squares, see the
discusssion of the Kummer 166 configuration.

Some closely related material:

  • Wolfgang Kühnel,
    "Minimal Triangulations of Kummer Varieties,"
    Abh. Math. Sem. Univ. Hamburg 57, 7-20 (1986).

    For the first two pages, click here.

  • Jonathan Spreer and Wolfgang Kühnel,
    "Combinatorial Properties of the 3 Surface:
    Simplicial Blowups and Slicings,"
    preprint, 26 pages. (2009/10) (pdf).
    (Published in Experimental Math. 20,
    issue 2, 201–216 (2011).)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Form:

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 PM

Story, Structure, and the Galois Tesseract

Recent Log24 posts have referred to the 
"Penrose diamond" and Minkowski space.

The Penrose diamond has nothing whatever
to do with my 1976 monograph "Diamond Theory,"
except for the diamond shape and the connection
of the Penrose diamond to the Klein quadric—

IMAGE- The Penrose diamond and the Klein quadric

The Klein quadric occurs in the five-dimensional projective space
over a field. If the field is the two-element Galois field GF(2), the
quadric helps explain certain remarkable symmetry properties 
of the R. T. Curtis Miracle Octad Generator  (MOG), hence of
the large Mathieu group M24. These properties are also 
relevant to the 1976 "Diamond Theory" monograph.

For some background on the quadric, see (for instance)

IMAGE- Stroppel on the Klein quadric, 2008

See also The Klein Correspondence,
Penrose Space-Time, and a Finite Model
.

Related material:

"… one might crudely distinguish between philosophical
and mathematical motivation. In the first case one tries
to convince with a telling conceptual story; in the second
one relies more on the elegance of some emergent
mathematical structure. If there is a tradition in logic
it favours the former, but I have a sneaking affection for
the latter. Of course the distinction is not so clear cut.
Elegant mathematics will of itself tell a tale, and one with
the merit of simplicity. This may carry philosophical
weight. But that cannot be guaranteed: in the end one
cannot escape the need to form a judgement of significance."

– J. M. E. Hyland. "Proof Theory in the Abstract." (pdf)
Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 114, 2002, 43-78.

Those who prefer story to structure may consult 

  1. today's previous post on the Penrose diamond
  2. the remarks of Scott Aaronson on August 17, 2012
  3. the remarks in this journal on that same date
  4. the geometry of the 4×4 array in the context of M24.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In a Nutshell

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

(Continued)

"The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity,
the whole meaning of which
lies within the shell of a cracked nut.
But Marlow was not typical
(if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted),
and to him the meaning of an episode
was not inside like a kernel but outside,
enveloping the tale which brought it out
only as a glow brings out a haze,
in the likeness of one of these misty halos
that sometimes are made visible by
the spectral illumination of moonshine."

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plan 9 from MIT

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

IMAGE- Very simplified example of a Raven's Progressive Matrices test

Click image for some context from MIT.

Background from The New York Times— "Can You Make Yourself Smarter?"

See also "Plan 9" in this journal.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Complex Reflection

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:32 AM

Yesterday's post in memory of Octavio Paz

… the free-standing, two-sided “Life-Death Figure,”
carved from stone in Mexico some time between
A.D. 900 and 1250, 
has multiple personalities.

Holland Cotter,  New York Times 

An earlier post yesterday, Fashion Notes, linked to a Sting video—

IMAGE- Sting meets his own reflection in a mirror in 'We'll Be Together' video

From "Loo Ree," by Zenna Henderson

"It's so hard to explain–"

"Oh, foof!" I cried defiantly, taking off my glasses and, smearing the tears across both lenses with a tattered Kleenex. "So I'm a dope, a moron! If I can explain protective coloration to my six-year-olds and the interdependence of man and animals, you can tell me something of what the score is!" I scrubbed the back of my hand across my blurry eyes. "If you have to, start out 'Once upon a time."' I sat down– hard.  

Loo Ree smiled and sat down, too. "Don't cry, teacher. Teachers aren't supposed to have tears."  

"I know it," I sniffed. "A little less than human-that's us."

"A little more than human, sometimes." Loo Ree corrected gently. "Well then, you must understand that I'll have to simplify. You will have to dress the bare bones of the explanation according to your capabilities.  

"Once upon a time there was a classroom. Oh, cosmic in size, but so like yours that you would smile in recognition if you could see it all. And somewhere in the classroom something was wrong. Not the whispering and murmuring– that's usual. Not the pinching and poking and tattling that goes on until you get so you don't even hear it." I nodded. How well I knew.  

"It wasn't even the sudden blow across the aisle or the unexpected wrestling match in the back of the room. That happens often, too. But something else was wrong. It was an undercurrent, a stealthy, sly sort of thing that has to be caught early or it disrupts the whole classroom and tarnishes the children with a darkness that will never quite rub off.  

"The teacher could feel it –as all good teachers can– and she spoke to the principal. He, being a good principal, immediately saw the urgency of the matter and also saw that it was beyond him, so he called in an Expert." "You?" I asked, feeling quite bright because I had followed the analogy so far.  

Loo Ree smiled. "Well, I'm part of the Expert."  

"If you have to, start out 'Once upon a time.'"

Yesterday's Paz post was at 6:48 PM EDT.

For the autistic, here is some related mathematics.

Yesterday's Fashion Notes post was at 1:06 PM  EDT.

A related chronological note from Rolling Stone  yesterday—

"Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band,
 died on April 19th in New York of throat cancer.
 He was 71. 

"He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon…."

Helm and The Band performing "The Weight"—

"I pulled into Nazareth, I was a-feelin' 'bout half past dead…"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

24 Hour DeLillo

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Review of DeLillo's novel Point Omega

"One difference between art and entertainment has to do with the speed of perception. Art deliberately slows and complicates reading, hearing, and/or viewing so that you’re challenged to re-think and re-feel form and experience. Entertainment deliberately accelerates and simplifies them so that you don’t have to think about or feel very much of anything at all except, perhaps, the adrenalin rush before dazzling spectacle. Although, of course, there can be myriad gradations between the former and latter, in their starkest articulation we’re talking about the distance between, say, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest  and Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol…."

— Lance Olsen, March 1, 2010, in The Quarterly Conversation

Robert Hughes on fast and slow art—

"We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food. What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn't merely sensational, that doesn't get its message across in 10 seconds, that isn't falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media. For no spiritually authentic art can beat mass media at their own game."

– Speech of June 1, 2004

Log24 on art speeds—

A Study in Art Education (June 15, 2007)

Twenty-four (March 13, 2011)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cover Art

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 AM

The Misalignment of Mars and Venus

A death in Sarasota on Sunday leads to a weblog post from Tuesday
that suggests a review of Dan Brown's graphic philosophy—

From The Da Vinci Code :

Langdon pulled a pen from his pocket.  “Sophie are you familiar with the modern icons for male and female?”  He drew the common male symbol ♂ and female symbol ♀.

“Of course,” she said.

“These,” he said quietly, are not the original symbols for male and female.  Many people incorrectly assume the male symbol is derived from a shield and spear, while the female represents a mirror reflecting beauty.  In fact, the symbols originated as ancient astronomical symbols for the planet-god Mars and the planet-goddess Venus.  The original symbols are far simpler.”  Langdon drew another icon on the paper.

 

 

 

“This symbol is the original icon for male ,” he told her.  “A rudimentary phallus.”

“Quite to the point,” Sophie said.

“As it were,” Teabing added.

Langdon went on.  “This icon is formally known as the blade , and it represents aggression and manhood.  In fact, this exact phallus symbol is still used today on modern military uniforms to denote rank.”

“Indeed.”  Teabing grinned.  “The more penises you have, the higher your rank.  Boys will be boys.”

Langdon winced.  “Moving on, the female symbol, as you might imagine, is the exact opposite.”  He drew another symbol on the page.  “This is called the chalice .”

 

 

Sophie glanced up, looking surprised.

Langdon could see she had made the connection.  “The chalice,” he said, “resembles a cup or vessel, and more important, it resembles the shape of a woman’s womb.  This symbol communicates femininity, womanhood, and fertility.”

Langdon's simplified symbols, in disguised form, illustrate
a musical meditation on the misalignment of Mars and Venus—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110720-Misaligned.jpg

This was adapted from an album cover by "Meyers/Monogram"—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110720-BladeAndChalice-RomeoAndJuliet-500w.jpg

  See also Secret History and The Story of N.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Groups Acting

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

The LA Times  on last weekend's film "Thor"—

"… the film… attempts to bridge director Kenneth Branagh's high-minded Shakespearean intentions with Marvel Entertainment's bottom-line-oriented need to crank out entertainment product."

Those averse to Nordic religion may contemplate a different approach to entertainment (such as Taymor's recent approach to Spider-Man).

A high-minded— if not Shakespearean— non-Nordic approach to groups acting—

"What was wrong? I had taken almost four semesters of algebra in college. I had read every page of Herstein, tried every exercise. Somehow, a message had been lost on me. Groups act . The elements of a group do not have to just sit there, abstract and implacable; they can do  things, they can 'produce changes.' In particular, groups arise naturally as the symmetries of a set with structure. And if a group is given abstractly, such as the fundamental group of a simplical complex or a presentation in terms of generators and relators, then it might be a good idea to find something for the group to act on, such as the universal covering space or a graph."

— Thomas W. Tucker, review of Lyndon's Groups and Geometry  in The American Mathematical Monthly , Vol. 94, No. 4 (April 1987), pp. 392-394

"Groups act "… For some examples, see

Related entertainment—

High-minded— Many Dimensions

Not so high-minded— The Cosmic Cube

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110509-SpideySuperStories39Sm.jpg

One way of blending high and low—

The high-minded Charles Williams tells a story
in his novel Many Dimensions about a cosmically
significant cube inscribed with the Tetragrammaton—
the name, in Hebrew, of God.

The following figure can be interpreted as
the Hebrew letter Aleph inscribed in a 3×3 square—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110510-GaloisAleph.GIF

The above illustration is from undated software by Ed Pegg Jr.

For mathematical background, see a 1985 note, "Visualizing GL(2,p)."

For entertainment purposes, that note can be generalized from square to cube
(as Pegg does with his "GL(3,3)" software button).

For the Nordic-averse, some background on the Hebrew connection—

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On Art and Magic

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 PM

Two Blocks Short of a Design:

A sequel to this morning's post on Douglas Hofstadter

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110505-ThemeAndVariations-Hofstadter.jpg

Photo of Hofstadter by Mike McGrath taken May 13, 2006

Related material — See Lyche's  "Theme and Variations" in this journal
and Hofstadter's "Variations on a Theme as the Essence of Imagination"
Scientific American  October 1982

A quotation from a 1985 book by Hofstadter—

"… we need to entice people with the beauties of clarity, simplicity, precision,
elegance, balance, symmetry, and so on.

Those artistic qualities… are the things that I have tried to explore and even
to celebrate in Metamagical Themas .  (It is not for nothing that the word
'magic' appears inside the title!)"

The artistic qualities Hofstadter lists are best sought in mathematics, not in magic.

An example from Wikipedia —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110505-BlockDesignTheory.jpg

Mathematics

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110505-WikipediaFanoPlane.jpg

The Fano plane block design

Magic

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110505-DeathlyHallows.jpg

The Deathly Hallows  symbol—
Two blocks short of  a design.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unique Figure

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110412-BlackPlank.jpg

National Gallery of Art

In the landscape of minimalism, John McCracken cuts a unique figure. He is often grouped with the "light and space" artists who formed the West Coast branch of the movement. Indeed, he shares interests in vivid color, new materials, and polished surfaces with fellow Californians enamored of the Kustom Kar culture. On the other hand, his signature works, the "planks" that he invented in 1966 and still makes today, have the tough simplicity and aggressive presence of New York minimalism….

"They kind of screw up a space because they lean," McCracken has said of the planks. Their tilting, reflective surfaces activate the room, leaving the viewer uncertain of traditional boundaries. He notes that the planks bridge sculpture (identified with the floor) and painting (identified with the wall)….

His ultimate goal, as with all mystics, is unity— not just of painting and sculpture, but of substance and illusion, of matter and spirit, of art and life. Such ideas recall the utopian aspirations of early modernists like Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky.

Related Art —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110412-32x192plusmargin6.bmp

Unity

Roman numeral I
 as well as capital I

For a related figure, see a  film review by A. O. Scott at The New York Times  (September 21, 2010)—

“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” begins with an unseen narrator— Zak Orth, sounding a lot like Woody Allen— paraphrasing Shakespeare. You may remember the quotation from high school English, about how life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The observation is attributed to the playwright himself (“Shakespeare once said”), rather than to Macbeth, whose grim experience led him to such nihilism, but never mind. In context, it amounts to a perfectly superfluous statement of the obvious.

If life signifies nothing, perhaps the tall dark figure above signifies something . Discuss.

Related Art Criticism —

For more on light and space, see this journal on the date of McCracken's death

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110412-April8Lowry.jpg

Note planks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On to Chicago!

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Commentary on last night

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110403-Macushla.jpg

Tonight: The After-Party.

In related news

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110403-TorinoApocalypse.jpg

"The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which
lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical
(if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning
of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale
which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of
one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by
the spectral illumination of moonshine."

– Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness , quoted here in
   Cold Open (Saturday night, January 29, 2011)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Defining Configurations*

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 PM

The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences has an article titled "Number of combinatorial configurations of type (n_3)," by N.J.A. Sloane and D. Glynn.

From that article:

  • DEFINITION: A combinatorial configuration of type (n_3) consists of an (abstract) set of n points together with a set of n triples of points, called lines, such that each point belongs to 3 lines and each line contains 3 points.
  • EXAMPLE: The unique (8_3) configuration consists of the triples 125, 148, 167, 236, 278, 347, 358, 456.

The following corrects the word "unique" in the example.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110320-MoebiusKantorConfig500w.jpg

* This post corrects an earlier post, also numbered 14660 and dated 7 PM March 18, 2011, that was in error.
   The correction was made at about 11:50 AM on March 20, 2011.

_____________________________________________________________

Update of March 21

The problem here is of course with the definition. Sloane and Glynn failed to include in their definition a condition that is common in other definitions of configurations, even abstract or purely "combinatorial" configurations. See, for instance, Configurations of Points and Lines , by Branko Grunbaum (American Mathematical Society, 2009), p. 17—

In the most general sense we shall consider combinatorial (or abstract) configurations; we shall use the term set-configurations as well. In this setting "points" are interpreted as any symbols (usually letters or integers), and "lines" are families of such symbols; "incidence" means that a "point" is an element of a "line". It follows that combinatorial configurations are special kinds of general incidence structures. Occasionally, in order to simplify and clarify the language, for "points" we shall use the term marks, and for "lines" we shall use blocks. The main property of geometric configurations that is preserved in the generalization to set-configurations (and that characterizes such configurations) is that two marks are incident with at most one block, and two blocks with at most one mark.

Whether or not omitting this "at most one" condition from the definition is aesthetically the best choice, it dramatically changes the number  of configurations in the resulting theory, as the above (8_3) examples show.

Update of March 22 (itself updated on March 25)

For further background on configurations, see Dolgachev—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110322-DolgachevIntro.gif

Note that the two examples Dolgachev mentions here, with 16 points and 9 points, are not unrelated to the geometry of 4×4 and 3×3 square arrays. For the Kummer and related 16-point configurations, see section 10.3, "The Three Biplanes of Order 4," in Burkard Polster's A Geometrical Picture Book  (Springer, 1998). See also the 4×4 array described by Gordon Royle in an undated web page and in 1980 by Assmus and Sardi. For the Hesse configuration, see (for instance) the passage from Coxeter quoted in Quaternions in an Affine Galois Plane.

Update of March 27

See the above link to the (16,6) 4×4 array and the (16,6) exercises using this array in R.D. Carmichael's classic Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order  (1937), pp. 42-43. For a connection of this sort of 4×4 geometry to the geometry of the diamond theorem, read "The 2-subsets of a 6-set are the points of a PG(3,2)" (a note from 1986) in light of R.W.H.T. Hudson's 1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface , pages 8-9, 16-17, 44-45, 76-77, 78-79, and 80.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cold Open

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:16 PM

Kernel and Moonshine

"The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine."

— Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Some background—

Spider and Snake on cover of Fritz Leiber's novel Big Time

An image from yesterday's search
God, TIme, Hopkins

"We got tom-toms over here bigger than a monster
Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla"

— "Massive Attack"

"I'm just checking your math on that. Yes, I got the same thing."

— "The Social Network"

"Live… Uh, check thatFrom New York, it's Saturday Night! "

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caesarian

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM

The Dreidel Is Cast

The Nietzschean phrase "ruling and Caesarian spirits" occurred in yesterday morning's post "Novel Ending."

That post was followed yesterday morning by a post marking, instead, a beginning— that of Hanukkah 2010. That Jewish holiday, whose name means "dedication," commemorates the (re)dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC.

The holiday is celebrated with, among other things, the Jewish version of a die—  the dreidel . Note the similarity of the dreidel  to an illustration of The Stone*  on the cover of the 2001 Eerdmans edition of  Charles Williams's 1931 novel Many Dimensions

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101202-DreidelAndStone.jpg

For mathematics related to the dreidel , see Ivars Peterson's column on this date fourteen years ago.
For mathematics related (if only poetically) to The Stone , see "Solomon's Cube" in this journal.

Here is the opening of Many Dimensions

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101202-WilliamsChOne.jpg

For a fanciful linkage of the dreidel 's concept of chance to The Stone 's concept of invariant law, note that the New York Lottery yesterday evening (the beginning of Hanukkah) was 840. See also the number 840 in the final post (July 20, 2002) of the "Solomon's Cube" search.

Some further holiday meditations on a beginning—

Today, on the first full day of Hanukkah, we may or may not choose to mark another beginning— that of George Frederick James Temple, who was born in London on this date in 1901. Temple, a mathematician, was President of the London Mathematical Society in 1951-1953. From his MacTutor biography

"In 1981 (at the age of 80) he published a book on the history of mathematics. This book 100 years of mathematics (1981) took him ten years to write and deals with, in his own words:-

those branches of mathematics in which I had been personally involved.

He declared that it was his last mathematics book, and entered the Benedictine Order as a monk. He was ordained in 1983 and entered Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. However he could not stop doing mathematics and when he died he left a manuscript on the foundations of mathematics. He claims:-

The purpose of this investigation is to carry out the primary part of Hilbert's programme, i.e. to establish the consistency of set theory, abstract arithmetic and propositional logic and the method used is to construct a new and fundamental theory from which these theories can be deduced."

For a brief review of Temple's last work, see the note by Martin Hyland in "Fundamental Mathematical Theories," by George Temple, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, A, Vol. 354, No. 1714 (Aug. 15, 1996), pp. 1941-1967.

The following remarks by Hyland are of more general interest—

"… one might crudely distinguish between philosophical and mathematical motivation. In the first case one tries to convince with a telling conceptual story; in the second one relies more on the elegance of some emergent mathematical structure. If there is a tradition in logic it favours the former, but I have a sneaking affection for the latter. Of course the distinction is not so clear cut. Elegant mathematics will of itself tell a tale, and one with the merit of simplicity. This may carry philosophical weight. But that cannot be guaranteed: in the end one cannot escape the need to form a judgement of significance."

— J. M. E. Hyland. "Proof Theory in the Abstract." (pdf)
Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 114, 2002, 43-78.

Here Hyland appears to be discussing semantic ("philosophical," or conceptual) and syntactic ("mathematical," or structural) approaches to proof theory. Some other remarks along these lines, from the late Gian-Carlo Rota

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101202-RotaChXII-sm.jpg

    (Click to enlarge.)

See also "Galois Connections" at alpheccar.org and "The Galois Connection Between Syntax and Semantics" at logicmatters.net.

* Williams's novel says the letters of The Stone  are those of the Tetragrammaton— i.e., Yod, He, Vau, He  (cf. p. 26 of the 2001 Eerdmans edition). But the letters on the 2001 edition's cover Stone  include the three-pronged letter Shin , also found on the dreidel .  What esoteric religious meaning is implied by this, I do not know.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For the Pope in Scotland

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:01 AM

From Seeing the Form, by Hans Urs von Balthasar

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100916-SeeingTheForm.jpg

Related material:

  1. "This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood…."
  2. Geometry Simplified
  3. The Diamond Archetype

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Matrix Reloaded

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

   For aficionados of mathematics and narrative

Illustration from
"The Galois Quaternion— A Story"

The Galois Quaternion

This resembles an attempt by Coxeter in 1950 to represent
a Galois geometry in the Euclidean plane—
Coxeter's 1950 representation in the Euclidean plane of the 9-point affine plane over GF(3)

The quaternion illustration above shows a more natural way to picture this geometry—
not with dots representing points in the Euclidean  plane, but rather with unit squares
representing points in a finite Galois  affine plane. The use of unit squares to
represent points in Galois space allows, in at least some cases, the actions
of finite groups to be represented more naturally than in Euclidean space.

See Galois Geometry, Geometry Simplified, and
Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Without Diamond-Blazons

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 PM

Excerpt from Wallace Stevens's
"The Pediment of Appearance"—

Young men go walking in the woods,
Hunting for the great ornament,
The pediment* of appearance.

They hunt for a form which by its form alone,
Without diamond—blazons or flashing or
Chains of circumstance,

By its form alone, by being right,
By being high, is the stone
For which they are looking:

The savage transparence.

* Pediments, triangular and curved—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100728-Pediments.jpg

— From "Stones and Their Stories," an article written
and illustrated by E.M. Barlow, copyright 1913.

Related geometry—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100728-SimplifiedPeds.gif

 (See Štefan Porubský: Pythagorean Theorem .)

A proof with  diamond-blazons—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100728-DiamondProof.gif

(See Ivars Peterson's "Square of the Hypotenuse," Nov. 27, 2000.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brightness at Noon, continued

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

"What exactly was Point Omega?"

This is Robert Wright in Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.

Wright is discussing not the novel Point Omega  by Don DeLillo,
but rather a (related) concept of  the Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

My own idiosyncratic version of a personal "point omega"—

Image- Josefine Lyche work (with 1986 figures by Cullinane) in a 2009 exhibition in Oslo

Click for further details.

The circular sculpture in the foreground
is called by the artist "The Omega Point."
This has been described as
"a portal that leads in or out of time and space."

For some other sorts of points, see the drawings
on the wall and Geometry Simplified

Image-- The trivial two-point affine space and the trivial one-point projective space, visualized

The two points of the trivial affine space are represented by squares,
and the one point of the trivial projective space is represented by
a line segment separating the affine-space squares.

For related darkness  at noon, see Derrida on différance
as a version of Plato's khôra

(Click to enlarge.)

Image-- Fordham University Press on Derrida, differance, and khora

The above excerpts are from a work on and by Derrida
published in 1997 by Fordham University,
a Jesuit institutionDeconstruction in a Nutshell

Image-- A Catholic view of Derrida

For an alternative to the Villanova view of Derrida,
see Angels in the Architecture.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Through Phenomenology to Thought

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

Part I: Phenomenology

Image-- 'Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought,' page 501, on a 'simple middle [-point]'

Part II: Thought

Geometry Simplified

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thoreau on Group Theory

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

"Instead of a million count half a dozen." —Walden

"Of all the symmetric groups, S6 is perhaps the most remarkable."
Notes 2 (Autumn 2008), apparently by Robert A. Wilson,
   for Group Theory, MTH714U

For a connection of MTH714U with Walden, see "Window, continued."

For a connection of "Window" with the remarkable S6, see Inscapes.

For some deeper background, see Wilson's "Exceptional Simplicity."

Window, continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!  I say, let your affairs
be as two or three,
and not a hundred or a thousand;
instead of a million count half a dozen,
and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail."
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This quotation is the epigraph to Section 1.1 of
Alexandre V. Borovik's
Mathematics Under the Microscope:

Notes on Cognitive Aspects of Mathematical Practice
(American Mathematical Society, Jan. 15, 2010, 317 pages).

From Peter J. Cameron's review notes for
his new course in group theory

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100705-CameronExample.jpg

From Log24 on June 24

Geometry Simplified

Image-- The Four-Point Plane: A Finite Affine Space
(an affine  space with subsquares as points
and sets  of subsquares as hyperplanes)

Image-- The Three-Point Line: A Finite Projective Space
(a projective  space with, as points, sets
  of line segments that separate subsquares)

Exercise

Show that the above geometry is a model
for the algebra discussed by Cameron.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Noon

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

Geometry Simplified

Image-- The Three-Point Line: A Finite Projective Space
(a projective space)

The above finite projective space
is the simplest nontrivial example
of a Galois geometry (i.e., a finite
geometry with coordinates in a
finite (that is, Galois) field.)

The vertical (Euclidean) line represents a
 (Galois) point, as does the horizontal line
and also the vertical-and-horizontal
cross that represents the first two points'
binary sum (i.e., symmetric difference,
if the lines are regarded as sets).

Homogeneous coordinates for the
points of this line —

(1,0), (0,1), (1,1).

Here 0 and 1 stand for the elements
of the two-element Galois field GF(2).

The 3-point line is the projective space
corresponding to the affine space
(a plane, not a line) with four points —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100624-The4PointPlane.bmp
(an affine space)

The (Galois) points of this affine plane are
  not the single and combined (Euclidean)
line segments that play the role of
  points in the 3-point projective line,
but rather the four subsquares
that the line segments separate.

For further details, see Galois Geometry.

There are, of course, also the trivial
two-point affine space and the corresponding
trivial one-point projective space —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100624-TrivialSpaces.bmp

Here again, the points of the affine space are
represented by squares, and the point of the
projective space is represented by a line segment
separating the affine-space squares.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Toward the Light

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 AM

The title is a reference to yesterday's noon post.

For the late Vladimir Igorevich Arnold

"All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according to the ordainer of order and mystical Mathematicks of the City of Heaven."

— Sir Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus, Chapter V

Arnold's own mystical mathematics may be found in his paper

"Polymathematics: Is Mathematics a Single Science or a Set of Arts?"

Page 13–
"In mathematics we always encounter mysterious analogies, and our trinities [page 8] represent only a small part of these miracles."

Also from that paper—

Page 5, footnote 2–
"The Russian way to formulate problems is to mention the first nontrivial case (in a way that no one would be able to simplify it). The French way is to formulate it in the most general form making impossible any further generalization."

Arnold died in Paris on June 3. A farewell gathering was held there on June 8—

"Celles et ceux qui le souhaitent pourront donner un dernier adieu à Vladimir Igorevitch
mardi 8 juin, de 14h a 16h, chambre mortuaire de l'hopital Saint Antoine…."

An International Blue Diamond

In Arnold's memory—  Here, in the Russian style, is a link to a "first nontrivial case" of a blue diamond— from this journal on June 8 (feast of St. Gerard Manley Hopkins). For those who prefer French style, here is a link to a blue diamond from May 18

From French cinema—

Duelle

"a 'non-existent myth' of a battle between
goddesses of the sun and the moon
for a mysterious blue diamond
that has the power to make
mortals immortal and vice versa"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Types of Ambiguity

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 AM

From Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel
The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
(1974)—

Chapter One

“There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea was real. It was important. For seven generations there had been nothing in the world more important than that wall.

Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.”

Note—

“We note that the phrase ‘instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry’ is mere fatuousness. If there is an idea here, degenerate, mere, and geometry  in concert do not fix it. They bat at it like a kitten at a piece of loose thread.”

— Samuel R. Delany, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction  (Dragon Press, 1977), page 110 of revised edition, Wesleyan University Press, 2009

(For the phrase mere geometry  elsewhere, see a note of April 22. The apparently flat figures in that note’s illustration “Galois Affine Geometry” may be regarded as degenerate  views of cubes.)

Later in the Le Guin novel—

“… The Terrans had been intellectual imperialists, jealous wall builders. Even Ainsetain, the originator of the theory, had felt compelled to give warning that his physics embraced no mode but the physical and should not be taken as implying the metaphysical, the philosophical, or the ethical. Which, of course, was superficially true; and yet he had used number, the bridge between the rational and the perceived, between psyche and matter, ‘Number the Indisputable,’ as the ancient founders of the Noble Science had called it. To employ mathematics in this sense was to employ the mode that preceded and led to all other modes. Ainsetain had known that; with endearing caution he had admitted that he believed his physics did, indeed, describe reality.

Strangeness and familiarity: in every movement of the Terran’s thought Shevek caught this combination, was constantly intrigued. And sympathetic: for Ainsetain, too, had been after a unifying field theory. Having explained the force of gravity as a function of the geometry of spacetime, he had sought to extend the synthesis to include electromagnetic forces. He had not succeeded. Even during his lifetime, and for many decades after his death, the physicists of his own world had turned away from his effort and its failure, pursuing the magnificent incoherences of quantum theory with its high technological yields, at last concentrating on the technological mode so exclusively as to arrive at a dead end, a catastrophic failure of imagination. Yet their original intuition had been sound: at the point where they had been, progress had lain in the indeterminacy which old Ainsetain had refused to accept. And his refusal had been equally correct– in the long run. Only he had lacked the tools to prove it– the Saeba variables and the theories of infinite velocity and complex cause. His unified field existed, in Cetian physics, but it existed on terms which he might not have been willing to accept; for the velocity of light as a limiting factor had been essential to his great theories. Both his Theories of Relativity were as beautiful, as valid, and as useful as ever after these centuries, and yet both depended upon a hypothesis that could not be proved true and that could be and had been proved, in certain circumstances, false.

But was not a theory of which all the elements were provably true a simple tautology? In the region of the unprovable, or even the disprovable, lay the only chance for breaking out of the circle and going ahead.

In which case, did the unprovability of the hypothesis of real coexistence– the problem which Shevek had been pounding his head against desperately for these last three days. and indeed these last ten years– really matter?

He had been groping and grabbing after certainty, as if it were something he could possess. He had been demanding a security, a guarantee, which is not granted, and which, if granted, would become a prison. By simply assuming the validity of real coexistence he was left free to use the lovely geometries of relativity; and then it would be possible to go ahead. The next step was perfectly clear. The coexistence of succession could be handled by a Saeban transformation series; thus approached, successivity and presence offered no antithesis at all. The fundamental unity of the Sequency and Simultaneity points of view became plain; the concept of interval served to connect the static and the dynamic aspect of the universe. How could he have stared at reality for ten years and not seen it? There would be no trouble at all in going on. Indeed he had already gone on. He was there. He saw all that was to come in this first, seemingly casual glimpse of the method, given him by his understanding of a failure in the distant past. The wall was down. The vision was both clear and whole. What he saw was simple, simpler than anything else. It was simplicity: and contained in it all complexity, all promise. It was revelation. It was the way clear, the way home, the light.”

Related material—

Time Fold, Halloween 2005, and May and Zan.

See also The Devil and Wallace Stevens

“In a letter to Harriet Monroe, written December 23, 1926, Stevens refers to the Sapphic fragment that invokes the genius of evening: ‘Evening star that bringest back all that lightsome Dawn hath scattered afar, thou bringest the sheep, thou bringest the goat, thou bringest the child home to the mother.’ Christmas, writes Stevens, ‘is like Sappho’s evening: it brings us all home to the fold’ (Letters of Wallace Stevens, 248).”

— “The Archangel of Evening,” Chapter 5 of Wallace Stevens: The Intensest Rendezvous, by Barbara M. Fisher, The University Press of Virginia, 1990

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Today’s Sermon —

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Simplify.

Image-- Richard Kiley with record collection in 'Blackboard Jungle,' 1955

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday School

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

"Simplify, simplify." — Henry David Thoreau

"Because of their truly fundamental role in mathematics, even the simplest diagrams concerning finite reflection groups (or finite mirror systems, or root systems– the languages are equivalent) have interpretations of cosmological proportions."

Alexandre Borovik, 2010 (See previous entry.)

Exercise: Discuss Borovik's remark
that "the languages are equivalent"
in light of the web page

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100214-Cube2x2x2.gif

A Simple Reflection Group
of Order 168
.

Background:

Theorems 15.1 and 15.2 of Borovik's book (1st ed. Nov. 10, 2009)
Mirrors and Reflections: The Geometry of Finite Reflection Groups

15.1 (p. 114): Every finite reflection group is a Coxeter group.

15.2 (p. 114): Every finite Coxeter group is isomorphic to a finite reflection group.

Consider in this context the above simple reflection group of order 168.

(Recall that "…there is only one simple Coxeter group (up to isomorphism); it has order 2…" —A.M. Cohen.)

Example

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:28 AM

From Alexandre Borovik's new book
Mathematics Under the Microscope
  (American Mathematical Society, 2010)–

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100214-Example.gif

Related material:

Finite Geometry and Physical Space
(Good Friday, 2009)

This kindergarten-level discussion of
the simple group of order 168
also illustrates Thoreau's advice:

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday May 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Design Theory

Laura A. Smit, Calvin College, "Towards an Aesthetic Teleology: Romantic Love, Imagination and the Beautiful in the Thought of Simone Weil and Charles Williams"–

"My work is motivated by a hope that there may be a way to recapture the ancient and medieval vision of both Beauty and purpose in a way which is relevant to our own century. I even dare to hope that the two ideas may be related, that Beauty is actually part of the meaning and purpose of life."

 

Hans Ludwig de Vries, "On Orthogonal Resolutions of the Classical Steiner Quadruple System SQS(16)," Designs, Codes and Cryptography Vol. 48, No. 3 (Sept. 2008) 287-292 (DOI 10.1007/s10623-008-9207-5)–

"The Reverend T. P. Kirkman knew in 1862 that there exists a group of degree 16 and order 322560 with a normal, elementary abelian, subgroup of order 16 [1, p. 108]. Frobenius identified this group in 1904 as a subgroup of the Mathieu group M24 [4, p. 570]…."

1. Biggs N.L., "T. P. Kirkman, Mathematician," Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society 13, 97–120 (1981).

4. Frobenius G., "Über die Charaktere der mehrfach transitiven Gruppen," Sitzungsber. Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. zu Berlin, 558–571 (1904). Reprinted in Frobenius, Gesammelte Abhandlungen III (J.-P. Serre, editor), pp. 335–348. Springer, Berlin (1968).

Olli Pottonen, "Classification of Steiner Quadruple Systems" (Master's thesis, Helsinki, 2005)–

"The concept of group actions is very useful in the study of isomorphisms of combinatorial structures."

Olli Pottonen,  'Classification of Steiner Quadruple Systems'

"Simplify, simplify."
Thoreau

"Beauty is bound up
with symmetry."
Weyl

Sixteen points in a 4x4 array

Pottonen's thesis is
 dated Nov. 16, 2005.

For some remarks on
images and theology,
see Log24 on that date.

Click on the above image
 for some further details.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday April 10, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Pilate Goes
to Kindergarten

“There is a pleasantly discursive
 treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question
‘What is truth?’.”

— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987,
introduction to Trudeau’s
 remarks on the “Story Theory
 of truth as opposed to the
Diamond Theory” of truth in
 The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Consider the following question in a paper cited by V. S. Varadarajan:

E. G. Beltrametti, “Can a finite geometry describe physical space-time?” Universita degli studi di Perugia, Atti del convegno di geometria combinatoria e sue applicazioni, Perugia 1971, 57–62.

Simplifying:

“Can a finite geometry describe physical space?”

Simplifying further:

“Yes. VideThe Eightfold Cube.'”

Froebel's 'Third Gift' to kindergarteners: the 2x2x2 cube

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday January 13, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

Something Traditional —

“German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel is the Charlemagne Prize laureate of 2008…. The prize will be awarded on 1 May, Ascension Day.”

The City of Aachen

Something Modern —

Previously undescribed in this journal:

A chess set
by F. Lanier Graham
of modular design:

Interlocking chess pieces by F. Lanier Graham, 1967

A NOTE BY THE DESIGNER

“The traditional chess set, with its naturalistic images of medieval armies, suggests a game between combatants who enjoy the winning of battles. This chess set, with its articulated images of abstract force, suggests a game between contestants who enjoy the process of thinking.
   
The primary principle of this design… is that the operating reality or function of each piece– both its value and how it moves– is embodied in a simple self-expressive form….

Chess pieces by F. Lanier Graham, 1967

Design Copyright F. Lanier Graham 1967


These pieces are designed to have the look and feel of little packages of power. The hardwoods (walnut and korina) are left unfinished, not only because of tactile values, but also to emphasize the simplicity of the design. The interlocking blocks are packaged to reflect the essential nature of the game– rational recreation, played with basic units whose fields of force continuously interact in subtle, complex patterns.”

— F. Lanier Graham, 1967

For those whose tastes in recreation are less rational, there is also the legendary chess set of Charlemagne described in novels by Katherine Neville. (See ART WARS.)

Related material: this journal on the First of May, 2008, the date of last year’s Charlemagne award.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday December 19, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 1:06 PM
Inside the
White Cube

Part I: The White Cube

The Eightfold Cube

Part II: Inside
 
The Paradise of Childhood'-- Froebel's Third Gift

Part III: Outside

Mark Tansey, 'The Key' (1984)

Click to enlarge.

Mark Tansey, The Key (1984)

For remarks on religion
related to the above, see
Log24 on the Garden of Eden
and also Mark C. Taylor,
"What Derrida Really Meant"
(New York Times, Oct. 14, 2004).

For some background on Taylor,
see Wikipedia. Taylor, Chairman
of the Department of Religion
at
Columbia University, has a
1973 doctorate in religion from
Harvard University. His opinion
of Derrida indicates that his
sympathies lie more with
the serpent than with the angel
in the Tansey picture above.

For some remarks by Taylor on
the art of Tansey relevant to the
structure of the white cube
(Part I above), see Taylor's
The Picture in Question:
Mark Tansey and the
Ends of Representation

(U. of Chicago Press, 1999):

From Chapter 3,
"Sutures* of Structures," p. 58:

"What, then, is a frame, and what is frame work?

This question is deceptive in its simplicity. A frame is, of course, 'a basic skeletal structure designed to give shape or support' (American Heritage Dictionary)…. when the frame is in question, it is difficult to determine what is inside and what is outside. Rather than being on one side or the other, the frame is neither inside nor outside. Where, then, Derrida queries, 'does the frame take place….'"

* P. 61:
"… the frame forms the suture of structure. A suture is 'a seamless [sic**] joint or line of articulation,' which, while joining two surfaces, leaves the trace of their separation."

 ** A dictionary says "a seamlike joint or line of articulation," with no mention of "trace," a term from Derrida's jargon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday November 16, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:30 AM
ART WARS
continued

From Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a fictional Communist on propaganda:

“It is necessary to hammer every sentence into the masses by repetition and simplification. What is presented as right must shine like gold; what is presented as wrong must be black as pitch.”

Thanks for this quotation to Kati Marton, author of The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World (Simon & Schuster, paperback edition Nov. 6, 2007). One of Marton’s nine was Koestler.

Paperback edition of 'The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World,' by Kati Marton

From another book related to this exodus:

“Riesz was one of the most elegant mathematical writers in the world, known for his precise, concise, and clear expositions. He was one of the originators of the theory of function spaces– an analysis which is geometrical in nature.”

— Stanislaw Ulam, Adventures of a Mathematician

And from Gian-Carlo Rota, a friend of Ulam:

“Riesz’s example is well worth following today.”

Related material: Misunderstanding in the Theory of Design and Geometry for Jews.

For a different approach to ethnicity and the number nine that is also “geometrical in nature,” see The Pope in Plato’s Cave and the four entries preceding it, as well as A Study in Art Education.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday September 10, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM
Hitler on
Democracy

The Fuehrer's wisdom seems especially appropriate today, in light of John McCain's recent "sex education for kindergarteners" and "lipstick" ads:

"… thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously…. The grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down."

Mein Kampf

From Sept. 8:
http://www.log24.com/log/pix08A/080910-Goebbels.jpg
"I'm Joseph Goebbels, and
   I approve this message."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday August 16, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Seeing the Finite Structure

The following supplies some context for remarks of Halmos on combinatorics.

From Paul Halmos: Celebrating 50 years of Mathematics, by John H. Ewing, Paul Richard Halmos, Frederick W. Gehring, published by Springer, 1991–

Interviews with Halmos, “Paul Halmos by Parts,” by Donald J. Albers–

“Part II: In Touch with God*“– on pp. 27-28:

The Root of All Deep Mathematics

Albers. In the conclusion of ‘Fifty Years of Linear Algebra,’ you wrote: ‘I am inclined to believe that at the root of all deep mathematics there is a combinatorial insight… I think that in this subject (in every subject?) the really original, really deep insights are always combinatorial, and I think for the new discoveries that we need– the pendulum needs– to swing back, and will swing back in the combinatorial direction.’ I always thought of you as an analyst.

Halmos: People call me an analyst, but I think I’m a born algebraist, and I mean the same thing, analytic versus combinatorial-algebraic. I think the finite case illustrates and guides and simplifies the infinite.

Some people called me full of baloney when I asserted that the deep problems of operator theory could all be solved if we knew the answer to every finite dimensional matrix question. I still have this religion that if you knew the answer to every matrix question, somehow you could answer every operator question. But the ‘somehow’ would require genius. The problem is not, given an operator question, to ask the same question in finite dimensions– that’s silly. The problem is– the genius is– given an infinite question, to think of the right finite question to ask. Once you thought of the finite answer, then you would know the right answer to the infinite question.

Combinatorics, the finite case, is where the genuine, deep insight is. Generalizing, making it infinite, is sometimes intricate and sometimes difficult, and I might even be willing to say that it’s sometimes deep, but it is nowhere near as fundamental as seeing the finite structure.”

Finite Structure
 on a Book Cover:

Walsh Series: An Introduction to Dyadic Harmonic Analysis, by F. Schipp et. al.

Walsh Series: An Introduction
to Dyadic Harmonic Analysis
,
by F. Schipp et al.,
Taylor & Francis, 1990

Halmos’s above remarks on combinatorics as a source of “deep mathematics” were in the context of operator theory. For connections between operator theory and harmonic analysis, see (for instance) H.S. Shapiro, “Operator Theory and Harmonic Analysis,” pp. 31-56 in Twentieth Century Harmonic Analysis– A Celebration, ed. by J.S. Byrnes, published by Springer, 2001.


Walsh Series
states that Walsh functions provide “the simplest non-trivial model for harmonic analysis.”

The patterns on the faces of the cube on the cover of Walsh Series above illustrate both the Walsh functions of order 3 and the same structure in a different guise, subspaces of the affine 3-space over the binary field. For a note on the relationship of Walsh functions to finite geometry, see Symmetry of Walsh Functions.

Whether the above sketch of the passage from operator theory to harmonic analysis to Walsh functions to finite geometry can ever help find “the right finite question to ask,” I do not know. It at least suggests that finite geometry (and my own work on models in finite geometry) may not be completely irrelevant to mathematics generally regarded as more deep.

* See the Log24 entries following Halmos’s death.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday October 16, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM
In memory of
Harish-Chandra,
who died at 60
on this date in 1983

  The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/071016-Harish-Chandra.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Harish-Chandra in 1981
(Photo by Herman Landshof)

Recent Log24 entries have parodied the use of the phrase “deep beauty” as the title of the Oct. 3-4 physics symposium of that name, which was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University.
Such parody was in part suggested by the symposium’s sources of financial and academic support. This support had, in the view of some, the effect of linking the symposium’s topic, the mathematics of quantum theory, with both religion (the Templeton Foundation) and philosophy (a field sometimes associated in popular thought– though not at Princeton— with quantum mysticism.)

As a corrective to the previous parodies here, the following material on the mathematician Harish-Chandra may help to establish that there is, in fact, such a thing as “deep beauty”– if not in physics, religion, or philosophy, at least in pure mathematics.

MacTutor History of Mathematics:

“Harish-Chandra worked at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton from 1963. He was appointed IBM-von Neumann Professor in 1968.”

R. P. Langlands (pdf, undated, apparently from a 1983 memorial talk):

“Almost immediately upon his arrival in Princeton he began working at a ferocious pace, setting standards that the rest of us may emulate but never achieve. For us there is a welter of semi-simple groups: orthogonal groups, symplectic groups, unitary groups, exceptional groups; and in our frailty we are often forced to treat them separately. For him, or so it appeared because his methods were always completely general, there was a single group. This was one of the sources of beauty of the subject in his hands, and I once asked him how he achieved it. He replied, honestly I believe, that he could think no other way. It is certainly true that he was driven back upon the simplifying properties of special examples only in desperate need and always temporarily.”

“It is difficult to communicate the grandeur of Harish-Chandra’s achievements and I have not tried to do so. The theory he created still stands– if I may be excused a clumsy simile– like a Gothic cathedral, heavily buttressed below but, in spite of its great weight, light and soaring in its upper reaches, coming as close to heaven as mathematics can. Harish, who was of a spiritual, even religious, cast and who liked to express himself in metaphors, vivid and compelling, did see, I believe, mathematics as mediating between man and what one can only call God. Occasionally, on a stroll after a seminar, usually towards evening, he would express his feelings, his fine hands slightly upraised, his eyes intent on the distant sky; but he saw as his task not to bring men closer to God but God closer to men. For those who can understand his work and who accept that God has a mathematical side, he accomplished it.”

For deeper views of his work, see

  1. Rebecca A. Herb, “Harish-Chandra and His Work” (pdf), Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, July 1991, and
  2. R. P. Langlands, “Harish-Chandra, 1923-1983” (pdf, 28 pp., Royal Society memoir, 1985)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday March 10, 2007

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

The Logic of Dreams

From A Beautiful Mind–

“How could you,” began Mackey, “how could you, a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof…how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you…?”

Nash looked up at last and fixed Mackey with an unblinking stare as cool and dispassionate as that of any bird or snake. “Because,” Nash said slowly in his soft, reasonable southern drawl, as if talking to himself, “the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously.”

Ideas:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070309-NYlottery.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070309-PAlottery.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

These numbers may, in the mad way so well portrayed by Sylvia Nasar in the above book, be regarded as telling a story… a story that should, of course, not be taken too seriously.

Friday’s New York numbers (midday 214, evening 711) suggest the dates 2/14 and 7/11.  Clicking on these dates will lead the reader to Log24 entries featuring, among others, T. S. Eliot and Stephen King– two authors not unacquainted with the bizarre logic of dreams.

A link in the 7/11 entry leads to a remark of Noel Gray on Plato’s Meno and “graphic austerity as the tool to bring to the surface, literally and figuratively, the inherent presence of geometry in the mind of the slave.”

Also Friday: an example of graphic austerity– indeed, Gray graphic austerity– in Log24:

Chessboard (Detail)

This illustration refers to chess rather than to geometry, and to the mind of an addict rather than to that of a slave, but chess and geometry, like addiction and slavery, are not unrelated.


Friday’s Pennsylvania numbers, midday 429 and evening 038, suggest that the story includes, appropriately enough in view of the above Beautiful Mind excerpt, Mackey himself.  The midday number suggests the date 4/29, which at Log24 leads to an entry in memory of Mackey.

(Related material: the Harvard Gazette of April 6, 2006, “Mathematician George W. Mackey, 90: Obituary“–  “A memorial service will be held at Harvard’s Memorial Church on April 29 at 2 p.m.“)

Friday’s Pennsylvania evening number 038 tells two other parts of the story involving Mackey…

As Mackey himself might hope, the number may be regarded as a reference to the 38 impressive pages of Varadarajan’s “Mackey Memorial Lecture” (pdf).

More in the spirit of Nash, 38 may also be taken as a reference to Harvard’s old postal address, Cambridge 38, and to the year, 1938, that Mackey entered graduate study at Harvard, having completed his undergraduate studies at what is now Rice University.

Returning to the concept of graphic austerity, we may further simplify the already abstract chessboard figure above to obtain an illustration that has been called both “the field of reason” and “the Garden of Apollo” by an architect, John Outram, discussing his work at Mackey’s undergraduate alma mater:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/grid3x3.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Let us hope that Mackey,
a devotee of reason,
is now enjoying the company
of Apollo rather than that of
Tom O’Bedlam:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050613-Crowe.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For John Nash on his birthday:

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.

Tom O’Bedlam’s Song

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday December 16, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:31 AM
 
Cubism1 as Multispeech2
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061216-Cubism.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

— From Pedagogy, Praxis, Ulysses
 

A quotation omitted from the above excerpt:

In Ulysses, there is "… the same quality of simultaneity as in cubist collage. Thus, for example, Bloom surveys the tombstones at Paddy Dignam's funeral and, in the midst of platitudinous and humorous thoughts, remembers Molly 'wanting to do it at the window'…."

Related material from quotations at the poetry journal eratio:

"The guiding law of the great variations in painting is one of disturbing simplicity.  First things are painted; then, sensations; finally, ideas.  This means that in the beginning the artist's attention was fixed on external reality; then, on the subjective; finally, on the intrasubjective.  These three stages are three points on a straight line."

— Jose Ortega y Gasset ("On Point of View in the Arts," an essay on the development of cubism)

Related material on
tombstones and windows:

Geometry's Tombstones,
Galois's Window, and
Architecture of Eternity.

 
The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/GaloisWindow.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See also the following part
of the eratio quotations:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061216-Dilemma.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Quotations arranged by
Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

1 Or hypercubism: See 10/31/06.

2 Or "Wake" speech: See 10/31/05.
 

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday February 12, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Proposition

“… a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”
Speech, A. Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863

Some are less equal than others.

Proof:
Jacques Herbrand, born on this date in 1908.

“Herbrand… worked on field theory, considering abelian extensions of algebraic number fields. In the few months on which he worked on this topic, Herbrand published ten papers. These papers simplify proofs of results by Kronecker, Heinrich Weber, Hilbert, Takagi and Artin. Herbrand also generalised some of the results by these workers in class field theory as well as proving some important new theorems of his own.” –MacTutor

See

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Wednesday February 1, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:49 AM

“Good Night and Good Luck”

— Morgan Freeman, closing remarks  
at the Screen Actors Guild Awards
on January 29, 2006

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060201-SAG1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
A History
of Death
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060201-SAG2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Review by Stephen Hunter  
of “Good Night and Good Luck”–

“The film, therefore, is like
a child’s view of these events,
untroubled by complexity,
hungry for myth and simplicity.”

“A larger poem for a larger audience….
A mythological form, a festival sphere,
A great bosom, beard and being,
alive with age.”

— Wallace Stevens, quoted in 
Log24, January 29, 2006

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060131-PolarSanta1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Stephen Hunter on Senator McCarthy:

He “forever tarnished
by association the reputations
of the security services
charged with keeping us safe
from the actual–
yes, Virginia, there was
such a thing– Red menace.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Tuesday November 1, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 PM
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051101-Seal.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 

The above seal is from an ad (pdf) for an Oct. 21 lecture, "The Nature of Space," by Sir Michael Atiyah, sponsored by the American Mathematical Society.

The picture in the seal is of Plato's Academy.

"The great philosopher Plato excluded from his Academy anyone who had not studied geometry.  He would have been delighted to admit Sir Michael Atiyah, who was for a time Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford…"

 

Would he?

Sir Michael Atiyah's
Anti-Platonism

"Mathematics is an evolution from the human brain, which is responding to outside influences, creating the machinery with which it then attacks the outside world. It is our way of trying to reduce complexity into simplicity, beauty and elegance….

I tend to think that science and mathematics are ways the human mind looks and experiences– you cannot divorce the human mind from it. Mathematics is part of the human mind. The question whether there is a reality independent of the human mind, has no meaning– at least, we cannot answer it."

— Sir Michael Atiyah, interview in Oslo, May 2004

"For Plato, the Forms represent truth, or reality…. these Forms are independent of the mind: they are eternal, unchanging and perfect."

—  Roy Jackson (pdf)

Atiyah's denial of a reality independent of the human mind may have something to do with religion:

"Socrates and Plato were considered 'Christians before Christ'; they paved the way for the coming of Christianity by providing it with philosophical and theoretical foundations that would be acceptable to the western mind.
    In the analogy of the cave, the sun represents the Form of the Good. In the same way that the sun is the source of all things and gives light to them, the Form of the Good is over and above the other Forms, giving them light and allowing us to perceive them. Therefore, when you have awareness of the Form of the Good you have achieved true enlightenment. In Christianity, the Form of the Good becomes God: the source of all things."

— Roy Jackson, The God of Philosophy (pdf)

See also the previous entry.
 

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Tuesday August 9, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Kaleidoscope

A new web page simplifies the Diamond 16 Puzzle and relates the resulting “kaleidoscope” to Hesse’s Bead Game.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tuesday June 21, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:24 PM

Art History

“I studied with Reinhardt and I found that a fantastic course. I think he was really very stimulating….

Art history was very personal through the eyes of Ad Reinhardt.”

— Robert Morris,
    Smithsonian Archives of American Art

Related material:

“The Road to Simplicity Followed by Merton’s Friends: Ad Reinhardt and Robert Lax” in The Merton Annual 13 (2000) 245-256, by Paul J. Spaeth, library director at St. Bonaventure University

The Merton here is Trappist monk Thomas Merton.  Here is Merton in a letter to poet Robert Lax on the death of their friend Ad Reinhardt, sometimes called the “black monk” of abstract art:

“Make Mass beautiful silence like big black picture speaking requiem. Tears in the shadows of hermit hatch requiems blue black tone. Sorrows for Ad in the oblation quiet peace request rest. Tomorrow is solemns in the hermit hatch for old lutheran reinhardt commie paintblack… Tomorrow is the eternal solemns and the barefoots and the ashes and the masses, oldstyle liturgy masses without the colonels… Just old black quiet requiems in hermit hatch with decent sorrows good by college chum.”

— from J. S. Porter, “Farewell to a Monk,”
    Antigonish Review, Winter 1997

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thursday January 27, 2005

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

From artbook.com:

Mies van der Rohe:
Mies in Berlin

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050127-Mies.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Winner of
The Society of Architectural Historians
2002 Philip Johnson Award
for Excellence

Exhibition Catalog

"Published to accompany
a groundbreaking 2001 exhibition at
The Museum of Modern Art, New York."

 

From Mies and the Mastodon,
by Martin Filler, The New Republic,
issue dated Aug. 6, 2001:

"It would have been wiser for the new MoMA catalog… to have addressed the issue of his politics…. By ignoring such a central subject… the show gives off a mild stench of cover-up…. Only the German-born Rosemarie Haag Bletter (full disclosure: she is my wife) alludes to the verboten topic in her [catalog] essay on Mies's flirtation with crystal imagery, drawing a sharp parallel between the architect's extensive use of Kristallglas (plate glass) and the ensuing devastation of Kristallnacht, which erupted just three months after he left for the States."

Also from Filler's essay:

"Mies's rigorously simplified structures, typified by grids of steel and glass and an absence of applied ornament, represented the Platonic ideal of modernism for many people."

For more on history, politics, and
Mies's disciple Philip Johnson,
who died Tuesday evening, see

"We Cannot Not Know History."

For more on aesthetics, see the
Log24.net entry of Tuesday noon,

Diamonds Are Forever.

For more on a Platonic ideal of sorts,
see the following figure in two versions:
 
Version A, from Plato's Meno and
Diamond Theory,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050127-MenoDiamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

and Version B,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050125-Forever.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

from the date of Johnson's death
at his "famous crystalline box."

Was less more?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday September 17, 2004

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

God is in…
The Details

From an entry for Aug. 19, 2003 on
conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale "block design" subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life.

Pope

Nicholi

Old
Testament
Logos

New
Testament
Logos

For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at

Cut-the-Knot.org.

For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

On Harvard and psychiatry: see

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

(February 24, 2004)

This is a reductio ad absurdum of the Harvard philosophy so eloquently described by Alston Chase in his study of Harvard and the making of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.  Kaczynski's time at Harvard overlapped slightly with mine, so I may have seen him in Cambridge at some point.  Chase writes that at Harvard, the Unabomber "absorbed the message of positivism, which demanded value-neutral reasoning and preached that (as Kaczynski would later express it in his journal) 'there is no logical justification for morality.'" I was less impressed by Harvard positivism, although I did benefit from a course in symbolic logic from Quine.  At that time– the early 60's– little remained at Harvard of what Robert Stone has called "our secret culture," that of the founding Puritans– exemplified by Cotton and Increase Mather.

From Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise:

"Our secret culture is as frivolous as a willow on a tombstone.  It's a wonderful thing– or it was.  It was strong and dreadful, it was majestic and ruthless.  It was a stranger to pity.  And it's not for sale, ladies and gentlemen."

Some traces of that culture:

A web page
in Australia:

A contemporary
Boston author:

Click on pictures for details.

A more appealing view of faith was offered by PBS on Wednesday night, the beginning of this year's High Holy Days:

Armand Nicholi: But how can you believe something that you don't think is true, I mean, certainly, an intelligent person can't embrace something that they don't think is true — that there's something about us that would object to that.

Jeremy Fraiberg: Well, the answer is, they probably do believe it's true.

Armand Nicholi: But how do they get there? See, that's why both Freud and Lewis was very interested in that one basic question. Is there an intelligence beyond the universe? And how do we answer that question? And how do we arrive at the answer of that question?

Michael Shermer: Well, in a way this is an empirical question, right? Either there is or there isn't.

Armand Nicholi: Exactly.

Michael Shermer: And either we can figure it out or we can't, and therefore, you just take the leap of faith or you don't.

Armand Nicholi: Yeah, now how can we figure it out?

Winifred Gallagher: I think something that was perhaps not as common in their day as is common now — this idea that we're acting as if belief and unbelief were two really radically black and white different things, and I think for most people, there's a very — it's a very fuzzy line, so that —

Margaret Klenck: It's always a struggle.

Winifred Gallagher: Rather than — I think there's some days I believe, and some days I don't believe so much, or maybe some days I don't believe at all.

Doug Holladay: Some hours.

Winifred Gallagher: It's a, it's a process. And I think for me the big developmental step in my spiritual life was that — in some way that I can't understand or explain that God is right here right now all the time, everywhere.

Armand Nicholi: How do you experience that?

Winifred Gallagher: I experience it through a glass darkly, I experience it in little bursts. I think my understanding of it is that it's, it's always true, and sometimes I can see it and sometimes I can't. Or sometimes I remember that it's true, and then everything is in Technicolor. And then most of the time it's not, and I have to go on faith until the next time I can perhaps see it again. I think of a divine reality, an ultimate reality, uh, would be my definition of God.

Winifred
Gallagher

Sangaku

Gallagher seemed to be the only participant in the PBS discussion that came close to the Montessori ideals of conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity.  Dr. Montessori intended these as ideals for teachers, but they seem also to be excellent religious values.  Just as the willow-tombstone seems suited to Geoffrey Hill's style, the Pythagorean sangaku pictured above seems appropriate to the admirable Gallagher.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Tuesday June 8, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:31 PM

Anomaly

From today’s New York Times:

Robert Quine, 61,
Punk Rock Guitarist,
Philosopher’s Nephew,
Dies

By BEN SISARIO

Robert Quine, a noted guitarist of the New York rock scene of the 1970’s and 80’s who played with Richard Hell, Lou Reed and others, died last week in his home in Manhattan. He was 61.

He was found dead by the police on Saturday, said James Marshall, a friend. The police found a note and said they believed the death was a suicide but are awaiting a medical examiner’s report.  Mr. Marshall said he believed Mr. Quine died on May 31.

In the loud world of New York punk, where crude simplicity trumped most conventional notions of musical skill, Mr. Quine stood out as a stylish virtuoso….

“He was an extraordinary mixture of taste, intelligence, and rock ‘n’ roll abilities, coupled with major technique and a scholar’s memory for every decent guitar lick ever played under the musical sun,” Mr. Reed said….

Mr. Quine was an anomaly in the punk scene. Older than most of his fellow musicians, he had a law degree and was nearly bald, and wore button-down shirts and sport coats and described his appearance as that of a “deranged insurance salesman.”….

His uncle, the philosopher W. V. Quine, died in 2000.

“Anomalies must be expected along the conceptual frontier between the temporal and the eternal.”
The Death of Adam, by Marilynne Robinson, Houghton Mifflin, 1998, essay on Marguerite de Navarre

“D’exterieur en l’interieur entre
Qui va par moi, et au milieu du centre
Me trouvera, qui suis le point unique,
La fin, le but de la mathematique;
Le cercle suis dont toute chose vient,
Le point ou tout retourne et se maintient.”
— Marguerite de Navarre

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Thursday June 3, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:17 PM

STAR WARS
Continued…

Today’s New York Times story on Richard Helms, together with my reminiscences in the entry that follows it below, suggest the following possibility for symbol-mongering:

Compare the 16-point star of the C.I.A.

with the classic 8-point star of Venus:

From today’s New York Times:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040603-Tenet.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Not even the most powerful
can alter the alignment
of the stars.

In a related story….

The Good Bad Boy
By Alison Lurie

“Today, many people have the illusion that they know who Pinocchio is. They think that he is a wooden marionette who becomes a human boy; that he was swallowed by a huge fish; and that when he told lies his nose grew longer. These people are right, but often in a very limited way. They know Pinocchio only from the sentimentalized and simplified Disney cartoon, or the condensed versions of his story that are thought more suitable for children. The original novel by Carlo Collodi, which today survives mainly in scholarly editions, is much longer, far more complex and interesting, and also much darker.”

The New York Review of Books, June 24, 2004

Monday, September 29, 2003

Monday September 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:03 PM

Magic Hawaii

Today, the birthday of singer Jerry Lee Lewis, is also the feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

In honor of Lewis:

Killer Radio, an entry of July 31, 2003, that contains the following…

“When the light came she was sitting on the bed beside an open suitcase, toying with her diamond rings.  She saw the light first in the depths of the largest stone.”

— Paul Preuss, Broken Symmetries,
    scene at Diamond Head, Oahu,
    Hawaii

In honor of the angels:

Mathematics as an Adequate Language,
by Israel Gelfand, Sept. 2, 2003, which contains the following…

“Many people consider mathematics to be a boring and formal science.  However, any really good work in mathematics always has in it: beauty, simplicity, exactness, and crazy ideas.  This is a strange combination.  I understood earlier that this combination is essential on the example of classical music and poetry.  But it is also typical in mathematics.  It is not by chance that many mathematicians enjoy serious music.

This combination of beauty, simplicity, exactness, and crazy ideas is, I think, common to both mathematics and music.”

These qualities seem also to be sought by practitioners of religion and physics… for example, by the spiritually-minded physicist in Preuss’s Broken Symmetries.  Skeptics might prefer, to the word “religion,” the word (pronounced with a sneer) “magic.”

What do we find if, following in the footsteps of Gelfand and Preuss, we do a Google search on the following words…

beauty simplicity exactness
 crazy magic Hawaii
“?

The search yields two results:

  1. The Pupil: Poems by W. S. Merwin.
    The above link is to a poem, “Prophecy,” that seems suitable for these, the High Holy Days at the end of one year and the beginning of another.

    For a follow-up to the poem, see
    The Shining of Lucero.

  2. Striking Through the Mask, or
     The Allegorical Meanings
     in Moby Dick
    .”

These two selections, both on the theme of light and darkness, offer a language that is perhaps more adequate than mathematics for dealing with the nature of the High Holy Days.  For a more lighthearted approach to these concerns, also with a Hawaiian theme, see

The Aloha Mass.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Tuesday August 19, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:23 PM

Intelligence Test

From my August 31, 2002, entry quoting Dr. Maria Montessori on conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale "block design" subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life

 

Pope

Nicholi

Old
Testament
Logos

New
Testament
Logos

For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at

Cut-the-Knot.org.

For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

For the meaning of life, see

The Gospel According to Jill St. John,

whose birthday is today.

"Some sources credit her with an I.Q. of 162."
 

Monday, August 18, 2003

Monday August 18, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:09 PM

Entries since Xanga’s
August 10 Failure:


Sunday, August 17, 2003  2:00 PM

A Thorny Crown of…

West Wing's Toby Ziegler

From the first episode of
the television series
The West Wing“:

 

Original airdate: Sept. 22, 1999
Written by Aaron Sorkin

MARY MARSH
That New York sense of humor. It always–

CALDWELL
Mary, there’s absolutely no need…

MARY MARSH
Please, Reverend, they think they’re so much smarter. They think it’s smart talk. But nobody else does.

JOSH
I’m actually from Connecticut, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I hope…

TOBY
She meant Jewish.

[A stunned silence. Everyone stares at Toby.]

TOBY (CONT.)
When she said “New York sense of humor,” she was talking about you and me.

JOSH
You know what, Toby, let’s just not even go there.

 

Going There, Part I

 

Crown of Ideas

Kirk Varnedoe, 57, art historian and former curator of the Museum of Modern Art, died Thursday, August 14, 2003.

From his New York Times obituary:

” ‘He loved life in its most tangible forms, and so for him art was as physical and pleasurable as being knocked down by a wave,’ said Adam Gopnik, the writer and a former student of his who collaborated on Mr. Varnedoe’s first big show at the Modern, ‘High & Low.’ ‘Art was always material first — it was never, ever bound by a thorny crown of ideas.’ ”

For a mini-exhibit of ideas in honor of Varnedoe, see

Fahne Hoch.

Verlyn Klinkenborg on Varnedoe:

“I was always struck by the tangibility of the words he used….  It was as if he were laying words down on the table one by one as he used them, like brushes in an artist’s studio. That was why students crowded into his classes and why the National Gallery of Art had overflow audiences for his Mellon Lectures earlier this year. Something synaptic happened when you listened to Kirk Varnedoe, and, remarkably, something synaptic happened when he listened to you. You never knew what you might discover together.”

Perhaps even a “thorny crown of ideas“?

“Crown of Thorns”
Cathedral, Brasilia

Varnedoe’s death coincided with
the Great Blackout of 2003.

“To what extent does this idea of a civic life produced by sense of adversity correspond to actual life in Brasília? I wonder if it is something which the city actually cultivates. Consider, for example the cathedral, on the monumental axis, a circular, concrete framed building whose sixteen ribs are both structural and symbolic, making a structure that reads unambiguously as a crown of thorns; other symbolic elements include the subterranean entrance, the visitor passing through a subterranean passage before emerging in the light of the body of the cathedral. And it is light, shockingly so….”

Modernist Civic Space: The Case of Brasilia, by Richard J. Williams, Department of History of Art, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Going There, Part II

Simple, Bold, Clear

Art historian Kirk Varnedoe was, of course, not the only one to die on the day of the Great Blackout.

Claude Martel, 34, a senior art director of The New York Times Magazine, also died on Thursday, August 14, 2003.

Janet Froelich, the magazine’s art director, describes below a sample of work that she and Martel did together:

“A new world of ideas”

Froelich notes that “the elements are simple, bold, and clear.”

For another example of elements with these qualities, see my journal entry

Fahne Hoch.

The flag design in that entry
might appeal to Aaron Sorkin’s
Christian antisemite:

 

Fahne,
S. H. Cullinane,
Aug. 15, 2003

Dr. Mengele,
according to
Hollywood

 

Note that the elements of the flag design have the qualities described so aptly by Froelich– simplicity, boldness, clarity:

They share these qualities with the Elements of Euclid, a treatise on geometrical ideas.

For the manner in which such concepts might serve as, in Gopnik’s memorable phrase, a “thorny crown of ideas,” see

“Geometry for Jews” in

ART WARS: Geometry as Conceptual Art.

See also the discussion of ideas in my journal entry on theology and art titled

Understanding: On Death and Truth

and the discussion of the wordidea” (as well as the word, and the concept, “Aryan”) in the following classic (introduced by poet W. H. Auden):

 

 

Saturday, August 16, 2003  6:00 AM

Varnedoe’s Crown

Kirk Varnedoe, 57, art historian and former curator of the Museum of Modern Art, died Thursday, August 14, 2003.

From his New York Times obituary:

” ‘He loved life in its most tangible forms, and so for him art was as physical and pleasurable as being knocked down by a wave,’ said Adam Gopnik, the writer and a former student of his who collaborated on Mr. Varnedoe’s first big show at the Modern, ‘High & Low.’ ‘Art was always material first — it was never, ever bound by a thorny crown of ideas.’ “

For a mini-exhibit of ideas in honor of Varnedoe, see

Fahne Hoch. 

Verlyn Klinkenborg on Varnedoe:

“I was always struck by the tangibility of the words he used….  It was as if he were laying words down on the table one by one as he used them, like brushes in an artist’s studio. That was why students crowded into his classes and why the National Gallery of Art had overflow audiences for his Mellon Lectures earlier this year. Something synaptic happened when you listened to Kirk Varnedoe, and, remarkably, something synaptic happened when he listened to you. You never knew what you might discover together.”

Perhaps even a “thorny crown of ideas”?

“Crown of Thorns”
Cathedral, Brasilia

Varnedoe’s death coincided with
the Great Blackout of 2003.

“To what extent does this idea of a civic life produced by sense of adversity correspond to actual life in Brasília? I wonder if it is something which the city actually cultivates. Consider, for example the cathedral, on the monumental axis, a circular, concrete framed building whose sixteen ribs are both structural and symbolic, making a structure that reads unambiguously as a crown of thorns; other symbolic elements include the subterranean entrance, the visitor passing through a subterranean passage before emerging in the light of the body of the cathedral. And it is light, shockingly so….”

Modernist Civic Space: The Case of Brasilia, by Richard J. Williams, Department of History of Art, University of Edinburgh, Scotland


Friday, August 15, 2003  3:30 PM

ART WARS:

The Boys from Brazil

It turns out that the elementary half-square designs used in Diamond Theory

 

also appear in the work of artist Nicole Sigaud.

Sigaud’s website The ANACOM Project  has a page that leads to the artist Athos Bulcão, famous for his work in Brasilia.

From the document

Conceptual Art in an
Authoritarian Political Context:
Brasilia, Brazil
,

by Angélica Madeira:

“Athos created unique visual plans, tiles of high poetic significance, icons inseparable from the city.”

As Sigaud notes, two-color diagonally-divided squares play a large part in the art of Bulcão.

The title of Madeira’s article, and the remarks of Anna Chave on the relationship of conceptual/minimalist art to fascist rhetoric (see my May 9, 2003, entries), suggest possible illustrations for a more politicized version of Diamond Theory:

 

Fahne,
S. H. Cullinane,
Aug. 15, 2003

Dr. Mengele,
according to
Hollywood

 

Is it safe?

These illustrations were suggested in part by the fact that today is the anniversary of the death of Macbeth, King of Scotland, and in part by the following illustrations from my journal entries of July 13, 2003 comparing a MOMA curator to Lady Macbeth:

 

Die Fahne Hoch,
Frank Stella,
1959


Dorothy Miller,
MOMA curator,
died at 99 on
July 11, 2003
.

 


Thursday, August 14, 2003  3:45 AM

Famous Last Words

The ending of an Aug. 14 Salon.com article on Mel Gibson’s new film, “The Passion”:

” ‘The Passion’ will most likely offer up the familiar puerile, stereotypical view of the evil Jew calling for Jesus’ blood and the clueless Pilate begging him to reconsider. It is a view guaranteed to stir anew the passions of the rabid Christian, and one that will send the Jews scurrying back to the dark corners of history.”

— Christopher Orlet

“Scurrying”?!  The ghost of Joseph Goebbels, who famously portrayed Jews as sewer rats doing just that, must be laughing — perhaps along with the ghost of Lady Diana Mosley (née Mitford), who died Monday.

This goes well with a story that Orlet tells at his website:

“… to me, the most genuine last words are those that arise naturally from the moment, such as

 

Joseph Goebbels

 

Voltaire’s response to a request that he foreswear Satan: ‘This is no time to make new enemies.’ ”

For a view of Satan as an old, familiar, acquaintance, see the link to Prince Ombra in my entry last October 29 for Goebbels’s birthday.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003  3:00 PM

Best Picture

For some reflections inspired in part by

click here.


Tuesday, August 12, 2003  4:44 PM

Atonement:

A sequel to my entry “Catholic Tastes” of July 27, 2003.

Some remarks of Wallace Stevens that seem appropriate on this date:

“It may be that one life is a punishment
For another, as the son’s life for the father’s.”

—  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.

“Unless we believe in the hero, what is there
To believe? ….
Devise, devise, and make him of winter’s
Iciest core, a north star, central
In our oblivion, of summer’s
Imagination, the golden rescue:
The bread and wine of the mind….”

Examination of the Hero in a Time of War, Wallace Stevens

Etymology of “Atonement”:

Middle English atonen, to be reconciled, from at one, in agreement

At One

“… We found,
If we found the central evil, the central good….
… we and the diamond globe at last were one.”

Asides on the Oboe, Wallace Stevens


Tuesday, August 12, 2003  1:52 PM

Franken & ‘Stein,
Attorneys at Law

Tue August 12, 2003 04:10 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fox News Network is suing humor writer Al Franken for trademark infringement over the phrase ‘fair and balanced’ on the cover of his upcoming book, saying it has been ‘a signature slogan’ of the network since 1996.”

Franken:
Fair?

‘Stein:
Balanced?

For answers, click on the pictures
of Franken and ‘Stein.


Sunday, April 27, 2003

Sunday April 27, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:24 PM

ART WARS:

Graphical Password

From a summary of “The Design and Analysis of Graphical Passwords“:

“Results from cognitive science show that people can remember pictures much better than words….

The 5×5 grid creates a good balance between security and memorability.”

 Ian Jermyn, New York University; Alain Mayer, Fabian Monrose, Michael K. Reiter, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies; Aviel Rubin, AT&T Labs — Research

Illustration — Warren Beatty as
a graphical password:

Town & Country,”
released April 27, 2001

Those who prefer the simplicity of a 3×3 grid are referred to my entry of Jan. 9, 2003, Balanchine’s Birthday.  For material related to the “Town & Country” theme and to Balanchine, see Leadbelly Under the Volcano (Jan. 27, 2003). (“Sometimes I live in the country, sometimes I live in town…” – Huddie Ledbetter).  Those with more sophisticated tastes may prefer the work of Stephen Ledbetter on Gershwin’s piano preludes or, in view of Warren Beatty’s architectural work in “Town & Country,” the work of Stephen R. Ledbetter on window architecture.

As noted in Balanchine’s Birthday, Apollo (of the Balanchine ballet) has been associated by an architect with the 3×3, or “ninefold” grid.  The reader who wishes a deeper meditation on the number nine, related to the “Town & Country” theme and more suited to the fact that April is Poetry Month, is referred to my note of April 27 two years ago, Nine Gates to the Temple of Poetry.

Intermediate between the simplicity of the 3×3 square and the (apparent) complexity of the 5×5 square, the 4×4 square offers an introduction to geometrical concepts that appears deceptively simple, but is in reality fiendishly complex.  See Geometry for Jews.  The moral of this megilla?

32 + 42 = 52.

But that is another story.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Friday April 25, 2003

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

Mark

Today is the feast of Saint Mark.  It seems an appropriate day to thank Dr. Gerald McDaniel for his online cultural calendar, which is invaluable for suggesting blog topics.

Yesterday's entry "Cross-Referenced" referred to a bizarre meditation of mine titled "The Matthias Defense," which combines some thoughts of Nabokov on lunacy with some of my own thoughts on the Judeo-Christian tradition (i.e., also on lunacy).  In this connection, the following is of interest:

From a site titled Meaning of the Twentieth Century —

"Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called 'Innovation in Physics,' he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: 'We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough.' To that Freeman added: 'When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!' "

Kenneth Brower, The Starship and the Canoe, 1979, pp. 146, 147

It is my hope that the speculation, implied in The Matthias Defense, that the number 162 has astonishing mystical properties (as a page number, article number, etc.) is sufficiently crazy to satisfy Pauli and his friend Jung as well as the more conventional thinkers Bohr and Dyson.  It is no less crazy than Christianity, and has a certain mad simplicity that perhaps improves on some of that religion's lunatic doctrines. 

Some fruits of the "162 theory" —

Searching on Google for muses 162, we find the following Orphic Hymn to Apollo and a footnote of interest:

27 Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
28 With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
29 Now the last string thou tun'ft to sweet accord,
30 Divinely warbling now the highest chord….

"Page 162 Verse 29…. Now the last string…. Gesner well observes, in his notes to this Hymn, that the comparison and conjunction of the musical and astronomical elements are most ancient; being derived from Orpheus and Pythagoras, to Plato. Now, according to the Orphic and Pythagoric doctrine, the lyre of Apollo is an image of the celestial harmony…."

For the "highest chord" in a metaphorical sense, see selection 162 of the 1919 edition of The Oxford Book of English Verse (whose editor apparently had a strong religious belief in the Muses (led by Apollo)).  This selection contains the phrase "an ever-fixèd mark" — appropriately enough for this saint's day.  The word "mark," in turn, suggests a Google search for the phrase "runes to grave" Hardy, after a poem quoted in G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology.

Such a search yields a website that quotes Housman as the source of the "runes" phrase, and a further search yields what is apparently the entire poem:

Smooth Between Sea and Land

by A. E. Housman

Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave,
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine.

Shall it be Troy or Rome
I fence against the foam
Or my own name, to stay
When I depart for aye?

Nothing: too near at hand
Planing the figured sand,
Effacing clean and fast
Cities not built to last
And charms devised in vain,
Pours the confounding main.

(Said to be from More Poems (Knopf, 1936), p. 64)

Housman asks the reader to tell him of runes to grave or bastions to design.  Here, as examples, are one rune and one bastion.

 


The rune known as
"Dagaz"

Represents
the balance point or "still point."


The Nike Bastion

 Dagaz: (Pronounced thaw-gauze, but with the "th" voiced as in "the," not unvoiced as in "thick") (Day or dawn.)

From Rune Meanings:

 Dagaz means "breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet."

Also known as "the rune of transformation."

For the Dagaz rune in another context, see Geometry of the I Ching.  The geometry discussed there does, in a sense, "hold the bursting wave," through its connection with Walsh functions, hence with harmonic analysis.

 Temple of Athena Nike on the Nike Bastion, the Acropolis, Athens.  Here is a relevant passage from Paul Valéry's Eupalinos ou L'Architecte about another temple of four columns:

Et puis… Écoute, Phèdre (me disait-il encore), ce petit temple que j'ai bâti pour Hermès, à quelques pas d'ici, si tu savais ce qu'il est pour moi ! — Où le passant ne voit qu'une élégante chapelle, — c'est peu de chose: quatre colonnes, un style très simple, — j'ai mis le souvenir d'un clair jour de ma vie. Ô douce métamorphose ! Ce temple délicat, nul ne le sait, est l'image mathématique d'une fille de Corinthe que j'ai heureusement aimée. Il en reproduit fidèlement les proportions particulières. Il vit pour moi !

Four columns, in a sense more suited to Hardy's interests, are also a recurrent theme in The Diamond 16 Puzzle and Diamond Theory.

Apart from the word "mark" in The Oxford Book of English Verse, as noted above, neither the rune nor the bastion discussed has any apparent connection with the number 162… but seek and ye shall find.
 

Friday, December 6, 2002

Friday December 6, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

Great Simplicity

Frank Tall

Iaido

 

Daisetsu

 

 

Today

is the day that Daisetsu Suzuki attained satori,
according to the Zen Calendar.  “Daisetsu” is
said to mean “Great Simplicity.”

For those who prefer Harry Potter and
Diagon Alley, here is another calendar:


To Have and Have Not

Those who prefer traditional Western religions may like a site on the Trinity that contains this:

“Zen metaphysics is perhaps most succinctly set forth in the words ‘not-two.”  But even when he uses this expression, Suzuki is quick to assert that it implies no monism.  Not-two, it is claimed, is not the same as one.*  But when Suzuki discusses the relationship of Zen with Western mysticism, it is more difficult to escape the obvious monistic implications of his thinking.  Consider the following:

We are possessed of the habit of looking at Reality by dividing it into two… It is all due to the human habit of splitting one solid Reality into two, and the result is that my ‘have’ is no ‘have’ and my ‘have not’ is no ‘have not.’  While we are actually passing, we insist that the gap is impassable.**”

*See: Daisetz T. Suzuki, ‘Basic Thoughts Underlying  Eastern Ethical and Social Practice’ in Philosophy and Culture  East and West: East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective, ed. Charles A. Moore (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1968), p. 429

** Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, Mysticism Christian and Buddhist (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957, Unwin paperback, 1979), p. 57.


Personally, I am reminded by Suzuki’s satori on this date that today is the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  I am also reminded by the rather intolerant tract on the Trinity quoted above that the first atomic bomb was exploded in the New Mexico desert at a test site named Trinity.  Of course, sometimes intolerance is justified.

Concluding unscientific postscript:

On the same day in 1896 that D. T. Suzuki attained satori,
lyricist Ira Gershwin was born.

Dies irae, dies illa.

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Saturday August 31, 2002

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:36 AM
Today’s birthday: Dr. Maria Montessori

THE MONTESSORI METHOD: CHAPTER VI

HOW LESSONS SHOULD BE GIVEN

“Let all thy words be counted.”
Dante, Inf., canto X.

CONCISENESS, SIMPLICITY, OBJECTIVITY.

…Dante gives excellent advice to teachers when he says, “Let thy words be counted.” The more carefully we cut away useless words, the more perfect will become the lesson….

Another characteristic quality of the lesson… is its simplicity. It must be stripped of all that is not absolute truth…. The carefully chosen words must be the most simple it is possible to find, and must refer to the truth.

The third quality of the lesson is its objectivity. The lesson must be presented in such a way that the personality of the teacher shall disappear. There shall remain in evidence only the object to which she wishes to call the attention of the child….

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale “block design” subtest.

Mathematicians mean something different by the phrase “block design.”

A University of London site on mathematical design theory includes a link to my diamond theory site, which discusses the mathematics of the sorts of visual designs that Professor Pope is demonstrating. For an introduction to the subject that is, I hope, concise, simple, and objective, see my diamond 16 puzzle.

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