We now rock at a new location: http://www.onedatumatatime.com/not-otherwise-specified/
There is a tradition of writing under constraint, the activity may take on many forms. In an estranged way, I have been living-through or re-living a sketch of a novel, the original idea for which I cannot even take credit for. It was suggested in the past (by a close friend who I’ll allow the respect of anonymity at present), that I might pursue writing (I believe, under the suspicion that I would not be good for much else and that, at any rate, it might turn my attention away from other activities that, at the time, I was participating in to the detriment of my education and life generally). While its germinal conditions were a gift, its content was not, all the obvious (but, in my defense, at the time somewhat novel) ideas and hackneyed prose of the original partial-draft were written by myself… typed into various computers and scribbled in a collection of notepads before they escaped. (Note: the link to stackexchange, and indeed to that specific post, is intentional. I will attempt to explain some aspects of the connection between what happened back when I started working on the failed novel, what it was like in the interim and what it is like now, in upcoming posts. For the time being let’s just note that there is a connection between a proto-fictional work, a pseudo-fictional life and some very real-life ambitions that almost got forgot along the way. A pointer to an online community wherein people exchange information and communicate in order to help each other learn something difficult, rather than say, the Wikipedia article on sets, is in line with the flavor of what is to come. Although we will make heavy use of Wikipedia.)
The above image is taken from the book Category Theory for the Sciences by David I. Spivak and illustrates something like the scientific method, a visual metaphor that by the end of his book, he re-writes in the language of category theory. I hope to rewrite some things “by the end of this blog” but we will see if that is possible under the constraints we must adhere to (and what the hell is the end of a blog anyway?).
The graphic above will provide us with four general types observation, hypothesis, prediction and experiment.
I am connection rich and data poor. I currently do not have the privilege of direct access to the data that others do. This may change, but that is a prediction I can not attempt at present. Given this, I will have to write from memory and some notes that I have kept along the way and use trusted sources (e.g. books, published journal articles) in order to learn new material (e.g. specific objects like particle systems, more general material related to PDE, and even more generally geometry, analysis, dynamical systems, etc.). Apart from the math that appears, this entire enterprise is a work of fiction itself, I do not think that this poses any real problems. We will focus on a cluster of problems taken from the real world however: they will be related to a creating a mathematical framework and a software implementation of a network of reaction-diffusion systems. Perhaps as I learn and document the progress other things will become apparent. Perhaps not. Perhaps I will write this alone and no one will read it. Perhaps not. At this point I am not sure if any of that matters. What does matter to me is spending time exploring something real and trying to get it right.
I say that this document is a work of fiction because I want the freedom to warp the story where I might, in order to illustrate a point or emphasize a trait for example. I will try and keep this warping to a minimum when it comes to “my character”, and never intentionally misstate any math, but I might warp liberally to protect the innocent, neutral and guilty. Framing the overarching story as a fictional one is a natural choice for me to make as the original novel was a sort of speculative or hypothetical work, a sort of desire-laden autobiography. It was basically the result of a real-life psychological fracturing that began way back when whose echoes reverberate to this day. To the the extent that pieces of it live on paper (or vibrate in audio or on video crawling about certain shady corners the internet), they are literally fragments of a dream-self that never became. We will see if I can distort my life back toward reality via writing things down, and possibly into being. I understand that this probably sounds vapid and idiotic, but that is the way things are these days.
I have put quite a bit of thought into what the appropriate style of language or vocabulary for “the story” should be and I earnestly believe that it would be best told in a sort of pidgin or textual pastiche (forgive the excessive semantic curlicues they are a bad habit I am trying to quit). Part of what I would like to accomplish here is to find, learn, define or construct that “language”. All that I am really saying is that some signs will likely take on an impregnated meaning that might not otherwise hold in the real world. The style will have features of a lexicon, a sort of specialized vocabulary that is just right for this story, full of words that read multivalently and that take on new meanings inside of this site, in addition to the meanings that they have in other contexts. I imagine the language to be something like a familiar poet’s vocabulary (but clunkier and less, um, poetic), in which phrases take on additional meaning the more time you spend with the text.
This all might sound a bit far-fetched, but I know of an existence proof of such a language and I do not believe that it is beyond our reach. I say our because a little like the online community mentioned above, I feel that there is a possibility for this to become an experience in which I learn just as much about things of interest (including myself) from the anyone who might take the time to respond to what I type, as I might transmit to you who already know so much about me. (But this is a familiar aspect of blogs and I doubt that anything groundbreaking will take place other than people pointing out mistakes in the comments section.)