Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

I have never outed MdS

April 10, 2009

The “top searches” for this blog

matt heath, marcus du sautoy gay, (s + c) x (b + f)/t – v, where s = overall shape (“including tendency to droop”), c = circularity, b = bounce factor (not to be confused with “wobble”), f = firmness (with perfect being “like a comfy bed”), t = skin texture and v = vertical ratio (the goal: “on the top-heavy side of symmetrical”). for the male rear end, the equation replaces bounce, circularity and vertical ratio with m (muscularity), l (leanness) and o (overall symmetry), listen number, immigrant expatriate

This amused me slightly. Of course now I’ll attract people searching for these even more.

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Annoyingly brilliant comment to the last post

January 8, 2009

I can see absolutely no flaw in the following argument by Daryl McCullough.

My complaint about rephrasing Godel’s result as saying that the Godel sentence G can neither be proved nor disproved is that, to me, the ontological status of “G cannot be proved” is *exactly* the same as the status of “G is true”. To say that G is true is to say that there does not exist a natural number satisfying such and such a property. To say that G cannot be proved is to say that there does not exist a proof satisfying such and such a property. I don’t see how the latter makes any less ontological commitment than the former.

GARGH! Thus (unless someone can furnish me with a reason why it may be wrong) I probably going to have to accept that there isn’t really a good reason not to say “true”. After all there is no alternative rendering that avoids the same potential confusions and we don’t expect popularisations to define things perfectly – just to give the “shape” of the idea, so any confusion between a technical use of “true” and an everyday one is acceptable (they are different but close enough to get some understanding – it’s not like “group”).

It still seems squicky to me but I guess that’s my problem.

Joel Feinstein is blogging

December 13, 2008

Hey look! Joel Feinstein, who was my PhD supervisor, has a blog on WordPress. He briefly had it on Blogger, but I explained to him how foolish that was.
He’s using it to write about undergraduate level teaching, which he does very clearly and readably with lots of good examples of how to present complicated, abstract concepts in a way that students can absorb.

Frenchman steals Britain’s plan, tells Americans

September 21, 2008

Moving briefly off the topic of pure maths to less substantial matters, the world economy is apparently imploding. Many people seem to think the United States of America will emerge from it all with their relative importance somewhat dented.
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy has written an open letter to the next US President suggesting that if he wants to maintain the country’s importance he do the following:

First, make sure that the patents the new capitalists in Asia are working on — continue to be “made in the USA.” Second, make sure that people in Asia and elsewhere continue to think that Yale and Princeton offer the best possible education for the movers and shakers of the world. And third, ensure that American banks continue to offer the most sophisticated and secure financial services to those in possession of the world’s accrued profits.

Industries relying on science on high-technology (say pharmaceuticals, biotech…), a couple of top universities and big banking? That’s our plan for extending our time as a significant power. He stole it and didn’t even reference it!

Speaking of the old country, I’m flying back to England to visit family tomorrow. Either while I’m gone or when I get back I hope to put up post with some stuff about truth in mathematics, undecidability and Gödel’s theorems.