<= 2003.07.30

2003.08.01 =>

both a and not-a

Good morning sunshine, good morning summer, good morning coffee, good morning naked Iraqis and death by a thousand cuts of the Ninth Amendment, bizarre arrangement for bells of Khachaturian's Saber Dance on the radio, lawnmower outside, household fears, Gödel and Rigoberta Menchú and C.I.A. and string of anonymous Guatemalan dictators all cut from the same cloth—I have no idea how I'm meant to impose order on this.

Surreal numbers were [discovered/invented] by John Conway; it depends whether you believe that mathematical concepts are somehow objectively out there, or merely exist in our minds. You derive them from the empty set by creating recursive sets of sets ad infinitum, more or less in the same way that Cantor et al. derived the real numbers, but the rules are a little different; this allows for game-theoretic applications that I don't understand, as well as manageable infinities that you can add and subtract and square-root to your little heart's content. They also have "birthdays," indicating how many generations distant they are from the empty set, and there is of course a "Dalí function." A text exists by a Stanford CS professor, explaining surreal numbers via the story of a man and woman who go on a romantic vacation to the Indian Ocean and have an involved dialogue about food and sex and theorems. Dirty, dirty mathematicians.

 

<= 2003.07.30

2003.08.01 =>

up (2003.07)

The Warm South
The Roof Rat Review