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Point Mutations

Is it possible that the BL was channeling AC?

Men pass away, but their deeds abide.

[His last words (?)]
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Revisited (Boston 1971).

“The Dude abides” (The Big Lebowski).

abide (intransitive verb)
1 : to remain stable or fixed in a state
2 : to continue in a place : sojourn

AND… now for an unrelated outburst:

Arto Lindsay is still as radical as ever!

AND… we’re back! and er, whatever than ever!



Room for Improvement

I’ve been thinking about space and shape lately, not that well mind you, but reading a bit and trying to keep up. I’m encouraged when I see quotes like the following in the “mathematical appendices” of books I am reading:

“The beginner … should not be discouraged if … he finds that he does not have the prerequisites for reading the prerequisites.” – P.Halmos

I’ve been feeling Short Style & Short Substance… There is always room for improvement. But life is finite in duration, so one might want to improve as fast as possible. I’m not going to turn the prior into a pairs trade because I never thought, and still do not believe that it is. To find or, even more luckily, to be given by those more knowledgeable than yourself, some interesting problems to work on, and to work on them diligently. To learn in a goal-free manner, ultimately, and but with goals :), that is all there is to a healthy happy life IMHO. Later.

Penultimate Post

I’ve been spending more time over in a different corner of the internet. I’d like to thank all the people that helped guide me over there, it is much better. As most of what goes on there is probably not interesting to the Effluvia Reader (assuming there is one (other than ad bots that spam my comments with trash and motivated me keeping them off) anyone scan that lexical ambiguity?), I will post a representative blog entry that one can use to get an idea of what I’m up to and where. Here it is…


Dawning of the age of Stochasticity

Statistical Topology, Probability, Persistent Homology and Data
Topology of random simplicial complexes: a survey
Persistent Homology for Random Fields and Complexes
Persistent Homology
Sample Based Geometric Modelling
Probability Theory As Extended Logic – Jaynes
Persistent Homology: Theory and Practice
Persistent Homology: Theory and Practice
The Structure of Superspace

I have been learning a lot from expository and survey articles lately, given my slow ascent into numeracy, one similarly natural language based article was an AMS interview with Mikhail Gromov that pointed out some of the history of Gromov-Hausdorf distance and shape in computer vision as well as thoughts on the role of mathematics in biology and the place for computers in mathematics. It helped me contextualize a number of concepts. (Thank you to the person who sent me it!)

Persistent Brain Network Homology From the Perspective of Dendrogram
Gromov-Hausdorff Stable Signatures for Shapes using Persistence
Hausdorff Convergence
On the use of Gromov-Hausdorff Distances for Shape Comparison

Pattern Theory
A Pattern-Theoretic Characterization of Biological Growth

Thanks again for all the humorous and gentle assistance in moving my internet digs! Have a good one.

The Mathematicians Brain

This post, what will most likely become a string of posts or a heavily back-edited post, is a correction of some previous views that I took on (with respect to math and teaching) without either 1) really knowing anything about what I was thinking about (yes this does indeed seem possible… not even wrong?) and 2) believing certain notions because I assumed that an “expert” was expounding on them. I hope to correct these notions in my brain and what a better place to start than the warm private world of a blog/website.

I am reading a beautiful book by David Ruelle at IHES:


he Mathematician’s Brain poses a provocative question about the world’s most brilliant yet eccentric mathematical minds: were they brilliant because of their eccentricities or in spite of them? In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, David Ruelle, the well-known mathematical physicist who helped create chaos theory, gives us a rare insider’s account of the celebrated mathematicians he has known-their quirks, oddities, personal tragedies, bad behavior, descents into madness, tragic ends, and the sublime, inexpressible beauty of their most breathtaking mathematical discoveries.

Consider the case of British mathematician Alan Turing. Credited with cracking the German Enigma code during World War II and conceiving of the modern computer, he was convicted of “gross indecency” for a homosexual affair and died in 1954 after eating a cyanide-laced apple–his death was ruled a suicide, though rumors of assassination still linger. Ruelle holds nothing back in his revealing and deeply personal reflections on Turing and other fellow mathematicians, including Alexander Grothendieck, René Thom, Bernhard Riemann, and Felix Klein. But this book is more than a mathematical tell-all. Each chapter examines an important mathematical idea and the visionary minds behind it. Ruelle meaningfully explores the philosophical issues raised by each, offering insights into the truly unique and creative ways mathematicians think and showing how the mathematical setting is most favorable for asking philosophical questions about meaning, beauty, and the nature of reality.

Here’s a review in Nature, mine will undoubtedly be of a lesser pedigree but I will give it “the old collage try,” if any will endure it.

Tidbit: Donal O’Shea (along with Harriet Pollatse) also has some interesting ideas about mathematical prerequsites, read about it in this article on the AMS site.

For an interesting perspective on many of the same issues check out “On proof and progress in mathematics” by William P. Thurston. The paper touches on natural language, symbols (Mathese), the visual system and many other topics also found in Ruelle’s book.

“The product of mathematics is clarity and understanding. … The real satisfaction from mathematics is in learning from others and sharing with others. … The question of who is the first person to ever set foot on some square meter of land is really secondary.”

Aaaand, maybe I was a bit premature on that whole last post thing… this might be a more appropriate one as I am moving on to other blogs (phutureshock). Jesus, it’s hard to say these days…