Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

  • Music:

Math Has Nothing to Do With Numbers

Like the well known quote, but folded back: applying non rule-based aesthetics to something often (mis?)associated with rule-based aesthetics: Attractiveness of Numbers:

  • 0 is the most attractive number. In areas where it makes sense, -0 is not as attractive but has an evil thrill associated with it that makes it better
  • Nonzero Integers ending in 0 are very very attractive
  • Even Integers are more attractive than odd numbers
  • Integers ending in 5 are fairly attractive, provided that the tens digit is not 0
  • 4 is more attractive than 2
  • 7 is sneaky
  • 6 is less attractive than 8 and much less attractive than 4
  • Scientific notation is not attractive but it can be cute, provided it is written in E notation. 3.07E4 is cute, but 3.07×10⁴ is not. If the number after the E is 0, it is not at all cute.
  • Rational numbers are both cute and attractive when written in numerator-denominator fractions where both are integers (seems redundant, but actually isn't)
  • Standard decimal notation is ugly
  • Decimal, Oct, and Hex are the pretty bases
  • Complex numbers are attractive in a very kinky way. Transfinites are even more so.
  • Avogadro's number is like a platonic friend. It needs a cool symbol because it's only attractive in the ideal sense, not the form. Perhaps that's what makes it platonic?
  • π isn't particularly attractive for most purposes.

I took a nice jog tonight in deep darkness.

Recently I've been a bit obsessed with the wonderful voice of Orson Welles. For the real stuff, archive.org has the full "War of the Worlds" broadcasts online for free download (caution: Does not actually have lots of Welles). I learned that Maurice LaMarche (a comedian) gave the impression of Welles for many cartoons I've liked (the Critic, Pinky and the Brain (Brain had Welles's voice), Freakazoid) but his comic acts are irritating beyond belief. Tangentally related, a comic that I do like, Norman Lovett (played Holly in Red Dwarf) has very amusing episodes online of various things he's been in/written.

News-y and other short stuff:

  • Detroit's Mayor is in Jail for violating the terms of his release on bond for his trial on something else.
  • I don't remember how I came across it, but "Make" magazine looks particularly awesome.
  • Two movies I think might be interesting to see: "Red" and Kryzsztof Kieslowski's three colours trilogy look neat. They're unrelated unless you, the reader, decides they arn't.
  • My excitement with Obama is only moderate - I'm still kind of disappointed that we can't do better, but he still seems to be a good candidate - I'd say my gut feeling on him is around 70%. One of the things I think he's doing right is campaigning in every state - while in the short term it may seem a waste of money, it's important for two reasons:
    1. He would lead the entire country rather than just the solidly Democratic ones. To help push against cynicism, it's important that he connect to as much of the people as possible
    2. He opens the door for radical politican changes in states. I don't think that states really "make sense" on a deep level, especially in the presidency. Treating the states as static entities makes the problems I see worse.
  • A researcher involved in animal testing was recently attacked by members of ALF. "If you're against killing animals, but you're trying to kill humans, there's no logic to it. It doesn't make sense to hurt people. I'm just thankful no one got hurt." FAIL. That's the same reasoning that leads people not to understand capital punishment - either the reasoning of "punishment" or "prevention" for justice explain these actions. Not knowing exactly what he was doing means I'd hesitate to condemn or praise ALF in these matters, but there are many instances where I think ALF's actions would be just and appropriate.
  • There's a worrying trend in Britain for people to cut the ears off of their Pit Bull to make them look more macho. I think this should be criminal (fortunately, it seems to be, over there). Why isn't docking of dog tails criminal too? (it's banned in many countries and strongly limited in the UK)
  • Spiralscouts looks like a good non-Christian-centric alternative to Boy Scouts. Camp Quest is more specifically for seculars.
  • Why Gandhi was Wrong - Might've had a better title, a la s/Why/When/, but worthwhile. Gandhi merits respect, I think, but not for the commonly stated reasons.
  • Do not give your software a name that means that people will never be able to search for it on the internet. The EFF was delightfully clever and stupid to call their network-interference testing tool "Switzerland".
  • More cleverness of the ancient Greeks was found.
  • An interview with an internet troll. The underlying rationale seems to be an ideal for humans that suggests that any emotional vulnerability is ugliness or a marker of "fair game", to be met with whatever can be mustered to exploit it. Some form of this is sacred among much wider parts of our culture than trolls, but not in this form - I believe typically people make exceptions for certain areas of vulnerability as well as certain degrees of exploitation. Another potential factor is what the person is trying to accomplish with their actions. We can identify trolls like "Weev", Jason Scott, and Greg Deeter and see people who have little positive in their relevant acts, but what about the areas east of Trolldom like the "Anonymous" organisation, anti-islamist movements in Nederlands, etc? Is there a principled distinction? I suspect motive and pointedness of the acts makes a lot of difference, but we can find things that cross many lines we might try to draw (maybe the right lines have not yet been found) If someone says "Please don't do X, it really bugs me", someone who does not comply is not necessarily a troll, particularly if X is either somethnig that if not done would be a burden or if the hearer comes from a perspective where X is held to be a good. In many but not all cases though, someone who hears that and then does X more is probably a troll.... unless they're defending norms that the speaker is trying to subvert?
  • Governor Schwartzenegger has Banned Trans-Fats in California.
  • This advice given to a journalist preparing to interview Ahmadinejad is interesting. Number 4 is particularly amusing - I too strongly dislike American business dress and tend to distrust people wearing business suits. In a more ideal world, I think suits would only serve in certain rare/traditional roles like Opera or fancy balls.
  • Radovan Karadzic was recently caught, in a rather dramatic way. I believe I've read since that somebody bought the movie rights.

Also, a random personal opinion: purses are very ugly/unsexy. Backpacks and computer bags both say much more awesome things about a person than a purse.. even a fanny pack/bum bag is better. I'm not sure if many other people are with me on this æsthetic judgement though...

Musings I had on work and values recently when I was too depressed to blog:Issue: values and capitalism and work

  • In theory, many of the values I care about in an employer are "inefficiencies" in capitalism - treating employees well and caring for them, and are provided, at most, because of competition - "externalities" that the system is forced to care for to a limited extent for higher-waged employees.
  • I identify more with socialist values and organisations because the welfare of all is closer to their heart
  • But... sufficiently wealthy companies/people/subculture-culture value these things too, for their own kind (a problem) and provide them even given that they're inefficiencies, while sufficiently poor organisations (even those that are not corrupt) often don't provide comprehensive care (material side of these values) because the cost is so high relative to operations.
  • Some businesses, those that rely on highly-trained/paid employees, are almost like socialism for the rich, with the hidden costs shuffled under the carpet (do the janitors get benefits? where do the raw materials come from, if any?)
  • Notion of "selling out" - break with solidarity of good of all

Strong crushes that don't want to go away and don't get fulfilled suck. I still have 3 that float around when my head isn't looking right at the ground. Damn.

Rereading Wolfram's "New Kind of Science", courtesy being given Gustavo's copy as he prepares to leave town. It's LOLtastic, alhough one gets the impression, given enough of a background on Philosophy of Science, that there are some interesting ideas buried behind the grandiose claims/interpretations and terribly kooky presentation. It is possible that changes in the process and culture of science could lead to the Institution of Science in global society doing a better job, and that there is a reluctance to adopt certain kinds of models - we might consider the adoption of and integration of statistical reasoning into science as an analogy of a past shift across different fields (perhaps we can even imagine a philosophical "camp" lightly parallel to intuitionists in mathematics that would refuse to accept most or all statistical reasoning as valid). It would be interesting to imagine under what kind of a forum such shifts/philosophy could be discussed - it would pair naturally (like a wine) with general discussion on what is accepted as valid science in each discipline and what journals of specific sciences demand (either through the editors or "enforced" through peer-review) of those who would publish.

Dotfiles.org looks pretty cool.

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