Go Figure

I wanted a sonic screwdriver for Christmas...

But I got this instead:

Things happen for a reason, I suppose.

Or do they?

Defy Gravity!

Don't make me get the flying monkeys...

Le tour de la question

Throughout the history of mathematics, the analysis of the curvature of curves has been a prime illustration of the beauty of mathematics and an indicator of its progress.

This is the Key of the Kingdom

This is the Key of the Kingdom:
In that Kingdom is a city;
In that city is a town;
In that town there is a street;
In that street there winds a lane;
In that lane there is a yard;
In that yard there is a house;
In that house there waits a room;
In that room an empty table;
And on that table a Piecaken
A Cake of Sweet Pies:

   Of Pies, of Pies;
   A Cake of Sweet Pies

Pies in a cake;
Cake on the table;
Table in the chamber;
Chamber in the house;
House in the weedy yard;
Yard in the winding lane;
Lane in the broad street;
Street in the high town;
Town in the city;
City in the Kingdom—
This is the Key of the Kingdom.
   Of the kingdom this is the key.


T'is an old nursery rhyme, you know...

I just like cake, that's all.

Everything is complicated or not

I got this from the Physics Forum. It reads like a Zen story:

Two trains, each having a speed of 50 km/hr, are headed at each other on the same straight track. A bird that can fly 75 km/hr flies off the front of one train when they are 100 km apart and heads directly for the other train. On reaching the other train it flies directly back to the first train, and so forth. What is the total distance the bird travels?

As the speed of the bird is already known, the easy way to solve the problem of course is to figure out for how long the bird was flying (which is basically the time it takes for the trains to eventually come together): the product (speed x time) gives the total distance flown.

Of course one could try to do it the HARD way: calculate each leg back and forth and do it as an infinite series!

There is an old story, about a famous mathematician (John Von Neumann?), that a man presented him with a variant of this question (involving a fly and two bicycles), he thought for a few seconds and immediately gave the correct answer. The man chuckled and said "A lot of people try to do that by summing the infinite series." The mathematician looked puzzled and said "But I did sum an infinite series!"

For those of you into that sort of things, the math goes as follow:

Easy way:

The trains will meet in the middle since both trains are traveling at the same speed
 (i.e. total distance divided by two = 100/2 = 50 km.)

It follows that at a speed of 50 km/hr, it would have taken the trains one hour to travel that distance.
Mathematically, it goes something like this:

     The general formula is: speed x time = distance

       - d1 : distance traveled by train 1 =  50
          - d2 : distance traveled by train 2 = 50
          - D : total distance = 100
          - r : speed (km/hr) of either train = 50
          - T: time it takes the two trains to come together

           d1 + d2 = D
                 r T + r T = D
                T (r + r) = D
                T (2r) = D
                T = D/2r = 100/(2 x 50) = 100/100 = 1
                T = 1

One hour: meaning that the bird will be flying for 1 hour before the two trains meet. At a speed of 75 Km/hr, the bird will have then flown (flying back and forth for one hour) a total distance of 75 Km by the time the trains come together.

Hard Way:

         Summing the series: 

More here about that one.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 - The Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon is the name for the full moon that occurs in January (also known as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule.)

Sometimes we wear masks and sometimes we wear faces, and sometimes faces are the masks we wear.

Today we wear faces...

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
--- Oscar Wilde

Join us for a a round or two of Ultimate Werewolf.

At what time?

8 o'clock


You know the place...

There will be food...

And most definitely some birthday cake in honor of the many Capricorns, amongst us this year, who are celebrating their birthday in January.

The Practical and the Poetic—redux

"Being set on the idea
Of getting to Atlantis,
You have discovered of course
Only the Ship of Fools is
Making the voyage this year…"
---W.H. Auden

The variety of inventive ideas---and ideologies---that people can come up with never ceases to amaze me...

"The desert is a lot brighter than they portray… Some say the glare can even penetrate your skull and affect the pineal gland---that deeply buried "third eye" old-time mystics used to call a direct link to the soul. Searing light is said to reveal hidden truths. Or else make you delirious enough to find cosmic meaning in stark simplicity. No wonder deserts are the traditional abode of wild-eyed ascetics, seeking the face of God."
---David Brin, KILN people

Hidden truths or delirium? Does it truly matter? Not really.

"Words are secrets known to all. However true, nothing is really told. Freud suggested that the unconscious enters into each mental act. Dreams the rags of God, strewn to our most wakeful activities."
---A.A. Attanasio, The Answerer of Dreams

"Truth is a point of view about things."
---Marcel Proust

But, you've got to ask yourself,

"…what exactly it is that bring them together...the "music makers" and the "dreamers of dreams"...

"…wandering by lone sea breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams"

"They came because they were afraid or unafraid, happy or unhappy. There was a reason for each man. They were coming to find something or get something, or to dig up something or bury something. They were coming with small dreams or big dreams or none at all… There was comfort in number."
---Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicle

But are they "the movers and shakers of the world"?

Or are they only one half of the coin? And if so where is the other half?

This reminds me of an intriguing traditional English nursery rhyme:

"The Lion and the Unicorn
were fighting for the crown;
The lion chased the unicorn
all round the town.
Some gave them white bread,
some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum cake
and drummed them out of town."

Charmingly, the rhyme is featured in "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll ("Well, if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.")

Reportedly, the rhyme had to do with the Lion of England and the Unicorn of Scotland which can be found supporting the shield of the arms of the United Kingdom. But I much prefer the turn James Huneker gave it in "Unicorns":

"[The Unicorn] has always fought with the Lion for the crown, and he is always defeated, but invariably claims the victory. The crown is Art, and the Lion, being a realist born, is only attracted by its glitter, not the symbol. The Unicorn, an idealist, divines the inner meaning of this precious fillet of gold. Art is the modern philosopher's stone, and the most brilliant jewel in this much-contested crown. Eternal is the conflict of the Real and the Ideal; Aristotle and Plato; Alice and the Unicorn; the practical and the poetic; butterflies and geese; and rare roast-beef versus the impossible blue rose. And neither the Lion nor the Unicorn has yet fought the battle decisive. Perhaps the day may come when, weariness invading their very bones, they may realize that they are as different sides of the same coveted shield; matter and spirit, the multitude and the individual (…) The dusk of the future is washed with the silver of hope. The Lion and the Unicorn in single yoke. Strength and Beauty should represent the fusion of the Ideal and the Real. There should be no anarchy, no socialism, no Brotherhood or Sisterhood of mankind, just the millennium of sense and sentiment. What title shall we give that far-away time, that longed-for Utopia? With Alice and the Faun we forget names, so let us follow her method when in doubt, and exclaim: "Here then! Here then!" Morose and disillusioned souls may cry aloud: "Ah! To see behind us no longer, on the Lake of Eternity, the implacable Wake of Time!" nevertheless, we must believe in the reality of our Unicorn. He is Pan. He is Puck. He is Shelley. He is Ariel. He is Whim. He is Irony. And he can boast with Emerson:
'I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar's hand and Plato's brain,
Of Lord Christ's heart and Shakespeare's strain.'"

Spoken like a true Irishman!

You know who you are...


Next time around, we'll just have to remember and make sure we have some onion soup ready, for the hearty souls amongst us.

Thank you all for a most memorable evening.

You know who you are.

Saturday October 27: Early Celtic New Year Celebration - There will be crêpes!

I know. I know. People who understand anything to anything—and I never claimed to be one of them (so, I'll just take the Maiden Stone's word for it)—will tell you that Oìdhche Shamhnathe (the Celtic New Year's Eve - pronounced eech-uh how-nuh - meaning "Night of Samhain") is to take place on the evening of the 13th of November, this year, and the new Year (A’ Bhliadhna Ùr) will begin at 06:00 the next morning.

Me? I am just the guy who'll be cooking the crêpes (a Brittany tradition).

And crêpes there will be!

And mussels! And French Fries!

And apple cider! And beer!

Only, it's all going to take place on October 27.

A bit early, by a couple of weeks, for Oìdhche Shamhnathe, this year. What can I say? Blame it on that extra moon.

The way I look at it, with Halloween just a few days away, I say it's close enough and the observance of traditions should be safe.*   | * Give or take a week or two

Common Sense

Makes sense to me.

It does have some illustrious precedents:

Wait — Did Your Ears Just Move?

It’s all true: Pour L’Amour Et Liberté will be hosting a Presidential debate viewing party that will gather live reactions from selected groups equipped with Necomimi’s Brainwave Cat Ears.

Necomimi’s cat-like reactive movements show how interested or relaxed you are in real-time.

Show the world what’s really on your mind and impress your friends with some of the most advanced brainwave technology available!

The reactions will be captured live during the coming debate.

Characters Count

I don't know, Robin, sounds too much like High School to me—the part about gravitating with the in crowd.

Or Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" (aka Mitt Romney's political platform)—the part about "caring less about others."

In a simulation (as in the so-called "real" world), it would all have to depend on the nature of the game, wouldn't you say?

And on what kind of character it is one happens to be playing, of course.

Or, as Nick Bostrom posits, what kind of NPC one might possibly just so happen to be.

For in the end, when all is said and done:

Go figure . . .

This just in:

The more sex a person has, the less aging he or she will undergo.

Ah! and all that time, I thought it was just the martinis.