Sunday, July 2, 2017

Practically Cubist

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:45 AM

From an Anthony Lane movie review in the April 8, 2013,
issue of The New Yorker

"When the Lord God forbade his worshippers to bow down
before any graven image, [Rosario] Dawson’s face was
exactly the kind of thing He had in mind. No other star can
boast such sculptured features—except Vincent Cassel,
who is pretty damn graven himself. When the two of them
make love, in 'Trance,' one strong bone structure pressed
against another, it’s like a clash of major religions. What if
they had a family? The kids would be practically Cubist."

As for the other film Lane reviewed in that issue, "Blancanieves" —

See Snow White + Cube in this  journal.

See as well a related cartoon graveyard, also from April 8, 2013.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:24 PM

From mathematician Izabella Laba today —

From Harry T. Antrim’s 1967 thesis on Eliot —

“That words can be made to reach across the void
left by the disappearance of God (and hence of all
Absolutes) and thereby reestablish some basis of
relation with forms existing outside the subjective
and ego-centered self has been one of the chief
concerns of the first half of the twentieth century.”

And then there is the Snow White void  —

A logo that may be interpreted as one-eighth of a 2x2x2 array
of cubes —

The figure in white above may be viewed as a subcube representing,
when the eight-cube array is coordinatized, the identity (i.e., (0, 0, 0)).

Friday, June 5, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:09 PM


See also Snow White Dance.

For those who prefer mathematics to narrative:

Object of Beauty.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Object of Beauty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:01 AM

This journal on July 5, 2007 —

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

“It is not clear why MySpace China will be successful."

— The Chinese magazine Caijing  in 2007, quoted in
Asia Sentinel  on July 12, 2011

This  journal on that same date,  July 12, 2011 —


See also the eightfold cube and kindergarten blocks
at finitegeometry.org/sc.

Friedrich Froebel, Froebel's Chief Writings on Education ,
Part II, "The Kindergarten," Ch. III, "The Third Play":

"The little ones, who always long for novelty and change,
love this simple plaything in its unvarying form and in its
constant number, even as they love their fairy tales with
the ever-recurring dwarfs…."

This journal, Group Actions, Nov. 14, 2012:

"Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics
may regard linear and affine group actions on the eight
cubes as the dance of  Snow White (representing (0,0,0))
and the Seven Dwarfs—


Edwin M. Knowles Fine China Company, 1991

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Group Actions

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:30 PM

The December 2012 Notices of the American
Mathematical Society  
has an ad on page 1564
(in a review of two books on vulgarized mathematics)
for three workshops next year on "Low-dimensional
Topology, Geometry, and Dynamics"—

(Only the top part of the ad is shown; for further details
see an ICERM page.)

(ICERM stands for Institute for Computational
and Experimental Research in Mathematics.)

The ICERM logo displays seven subcubes of
a 2x2x2 eight-cube array with one cube missing—

The logo, apparently a stylized image of the architecture 
of the Providence building housing ICERM, is not unlike
a picture of Froebel's Third Gift—


Froebel's third gift, the eightfold cube

© 2005 The Institute for Figuring

Photo by Norman Brosterman fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring (co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

The eighth cube, missing in the ICERM logo and detached in the
Froebel Cubes photo, may be regarded as representing the origin
(0,0,0) in a coordinatized version of the 2x2x2 array—
in other words the cube invariant under linear , as opposed to
more general affine , permutations of the cubes in the array.

These cubes are not without relevance to the workshops' topics—
low-dimensional exotic geometric structures, group theory, and dynamics.

See The Eightfold Cube, A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168, and 
The Quaternion Group Acting on an Eightfold Cube.

Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics may regard linear
and affine group actions on the eight cubes as the dance of
Snow White (representing (0,0,0)) and the Seven Dwarfs—


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday May 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Wechsler Cubes

 "Confusion is nothing new."
— Song lyric, Cyndi Lauper  

Part I:
Magister Ludi

Hermann Hesse's 1943 The Glass Bead Game (Picador paperback, Dec. 6, 2002, pp. 139-140)–

"For the present, the Master showed him a bulky memorandum, a proposal he had received from an organist– one of the innumerable proposals which the directorate of the Game regularly had to examine. Usually these were suggestions for the admission of new material to the Archives. One man, for example, had made a meticulous study of the history of the madrigal and discovered in the development of the style a curved that he had expressed both musically and mathematically, so that it could be included in the vocabulary of the Game. Another had examined the rhythmic structure of Julius Caesar's Latin and discovered the most striking congruences with the results of well-known studies of the intervals in Byzantine hymns. Or again some fanatic had once more unearthed some new cabala hidden in the musical notation of the fifteenth century. Then there were the tempestuous letters from abstruse experimenters who could arrive at the most astounding conclusions from, say, a comparison of the horoscopes of Goethe and Spinoza; such letters often included pretty and seemingly enlightening geometric drawings in several colors."

Part II:
A Bulky Memorandum

From Siri Hustvedt, author of Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005)– What I Loved: A Novel (Picador paperback, March 1, 2004, page 168)–

A description of the work of Bill Wechsler, a fictional artist:

"Bill worked long hours on a series of autonomous pieces about numbers. Like O's Journey, the works took place inside glass cubes, but these were twice as large– about two feet square. He drew his inspiration from sources as varied as the Cabbala, physics, baseball box scores, and stock market reports. He painted, cut, sculpted, distorted, and broke the numerical signs in each work until they became unrecognizable. He included figures, objects, books, windows, and always the written word for the number. It was rambunctious art, thick with allusion– to voids, blanks, holes, to monotheism and the individual, the the dialectic and yin-yang, to the Trinity, the three fates, and three wishes, to the golden rectangle, to seven heavens, the seven lower orders of the sephiroth, the nine Muses, the nine circles of Hell, the nine worlds of Norse mythology, but also to popular references like A Better Marriage in Five Easy Lessons and Thinner Thighs in Seven Days. Twelve-step programs were referred to in both cube one and cube two. A miniature copy of a book called The Six Mistakes Parents Make Most Often lay at the bottom of cube six. Puns appeared, usually well disguised– one, won; two, too, and Tuesday; four, for, forth; ate, eight. Bill was partial to rhymes as well, both in images and words. In cube nine, the geometric figure for a line had been painted on one glass wall. In cube three, a tiny man wearing the black-and-white prison garb of cartoons and dragging a leg iron has

— End of page 168 —

opened the door to his cell. The hidden rhyme is "free." Looking closely through the walls of the cube, one can see the parallel rhyme in another language: the German word drei is scratched into one glass wall. Lying at the bottom of the same box is a tiny black-and-white photograph cut from a book that shows the entrance to Auschwitz: ARBEIT MACHT FREI. With every number, the arbitrary dance of associations worked togethere to create a tiny mental landscape that ranged in tone from wish-fulfillment dream to nightmare. Although dense, the effect of the cubes wasn't visually disorienting. Each object, painting, drawing, bit of text, or sculpted figure found its rightful place under the glass according to the necessary, if mad, logic of numerical, pictorial, and verbal connection– and the colors of each were startling. Every number had been given a thematic hue. Bill had been interested in Goethe's color wheel and in Alfred Jensen's use of it in his thick, hallucinatory paintings of numbers. He had assigned each number a color. Like Goethe, he included black and white, although he didn't bother with the poet's meanings. Zero and one were white. Two was blue. Three was red, four was yellow, and he mixed colors: pale blue for five, purples in six, oranges in seven, greens in eight, and blacks and grays in nine. Although other colors and omnipresent newsprint always intruded on the basic scheme, the myriad shades of a single color dominated each cube.

The number pieces were the work of a man at the top of his form. An organic extension of everything Bill had done before, these knots of symbols had an explosive effect. The longer I looked at them, the more the miniature constructions seemed on the brink of bursting from internal pressure. They were tightly orchestrated semantic bombs through which Bill laid bare the arbitrary roots of meaning itself– that peculiar social contract generated by little squiggles, dashes, lines, and loops on a page."

Part III:
Wechsler Cubes

(named not for
Bill Wechsler, the
fictional artist above,
but for the non-fictional
   David Wechsler) —

From 2002:

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

Part IV:
A Magic Gallery
Log24, March 4, 2004


Figures from the
Kaleidoscope Puzzle
of Steven H. Cullinane:

Poem by Eugen Jost:
Zahlen und Zeichen,
Wörter und Worte

Mit Zeichen und Zahlen
vermessen wir Himmel und Erde
auf weiss
schaffen wir neue Welten
oder gar Universen

 Numbers and Names,
Wording and Words

With numbers and names
we measure heaven and earth
on white
we create new worlds
and universes

English translation
by Catherine Schelbert

A related poem:

by Hermann Hesse

From time to time
we take our pen in hand
and scribble symbols
on a blank white sheet
Their meaning is
at everyone's command;
it is a game whose rules
are nice and neat.

But if a savage
or a moon-man came
and found a page,
a furrowed runic field,
and curiously studied
lines and frame:
How strange would be
the world that they revealed.
a magic gallery of oddities.
He would see A and B
as man and beast,
as moving tongues or
arms or legs or eyes,
now slow, now rushing,
all constraint released,
like prints of ravens'
feet upon the snow.
He'd hop about with them,
fly to and fro,
and see a thousand worlds
of might-have-been
hidden within the black
and frozen symbols,
beneath the ornate strokes,
the thick and thin.
He'd see the way love burns
and anguish trembles,
He'd wonder, laugh,
shake with fear and weep
because beyond this cipher's
cross-barred keep
he'd see the world
in all its aimless passion,
diminished, dwarfed, and
spellbound in the symbols,
and rigorously marching
He'd think: each sign
all others so resembles
that love of life and death,
or lust and anguish,
are simply twins whom
no one can distinguish…
until at last the savage
with a sound
of mortal terror
lights and stirs a fire,
chants and beats his brow
against the ground
and consecrates the writing
to his pyre.
Perhaps before his
consciousness is drowned
in slumber there will come
to him some sense
of how this world
of magic fraudulence,
this horror utterly
behind endurance,
has vanished as if
it had never been.
He'll sigh, and smile,
and feel all right again.

— Hermann Hesse (1943),
"Buchstaben," from
Das Glasperlenspiel,
translated by
Richard and Clara Winston

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