Go to Making Light's front page.
Forward to next post: Open thread 15
Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)
January 01, 2004: Sent spectral poctsarcd to past: “They say the owl was once a baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but not what we may become.”
Nice to know where that was mailed from. Been wondering for years.
What we are contains what we become, but is not bounded by it.
The year changes and we change in it (tempores mutantur, et mutamur in illis).
Much love to you, and best wishes to all here.
(I love it. Most people, once the guests are gone home and the dishes are done, just go to bed. But some of us check the weblogs.)
Joy unto you all: no matter how your 2003 treated you, I wish you a 2004 that is even better.
New Years Eve isn't over until I go to bed. I've decided.
A happy one, all.
The last of our guests have departed, and we're *very* tired, but a quick blog check is always in order.
"When it was Twenty-Oh-Four, it was a very good year..."
May you all grow toward what you wish to be.
I seem to get that postcard every few years.
Happy New Year, Teresa. Thanks for the blog. :)
Or, as it said (as I recall) in Butley, asplayed by the late Alan Bates, Our beginnings never know our ends.
Happy New Year.
but when they ask you what it means,
say you this:
"To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day"...
Which puts another puzzle in. Did the card perhaps arrive on February 13th?
Allwell to all for '04 (my "two" key won't work).
'Ah! my Lord Arthur, wither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead.
. . . . . .
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."
Thereupon he turned about and clomb,
Ev'n to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bore the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
A document in madness, -thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Although Ophelia is my favorite character in this one because if anything you must wear your rue with a difference.
Somehow, this year, the message to me was from Ecclesiastes:
What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.
I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.
For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God.
I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered.
My you all live well and enjoy life every day of this new year.
About "2004" as an integer:
2004 = 2 x 2 x 3 x 167
2004 is an EBAN NUMBER. Consider the number's English name: "Two Thousand Four." As Mathworld defines, The eban numbers are the sequence of numbers whose names (in English) do not contain the letter "e" (i.e., "e" is "banned"). The name was coined by N. J. A. Sloane around 1990. Note that this definition is imprecise insofar as special names are sometimes assigned to a few large numbers that do not follow the usual rules for the naming of such numbers.
The first few eban numbers are 2, 4, 6, 30, 32, 34, 36, 40, 42, 44, 46, 50, 52, 54, 56, 60, 62, 64, 66, 2000, 2002, 2004, ... (Sloane's A006933); i.e., two, four, six, thirty, etc. These exclude one, three, five, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, etc.
In English, every odd number contains an "e" (N. J. A. Sloane), so all eban numbers are even.
Hernandez, J. C. et al. "Characterization of Eban Numbers." J. Recr. Math. 31, 197-200, 2002-2003.
Sloane, N. J. A. Sequences A006933/M1030 in "The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences." http://www.research.att.com/~njas/sequences/.
Speaking of Number Fields (that other thread, on cryptosystems) d = 2004 has a class number h (fundamental discriminant, or Binary Quadratic Form discriminant) less than 25. Specifically,
h(-d) = 16, N = 322, Sloan A046013.
Considering Waring's Problem, we see that 167 is unusual in that it requires at least eight cubes to be summed to equal it (the maximum of 9 cubes is, of course, required for only 23 and 239).
And, for those readers who agree with the extinct Talking Barbie doll that said "I hate math", at least for advanced math as in my previous post, here's a more elementary fact about 2004 which I just found on my calculator:
1/2004 = 0.000499001996008...
Odd how that "1996" jumps out at you, nicely bookended by double zeroes. Is that because 2000 - 4 = 1996 and 2000 + 4 = 2004? (exercise left to readers). Or, is there something Year 1996-ish about Year 2004?
The past is—not the present—present in us;
We aren't slaves to it, but as we grow
We have its habits and, as mirrors twin us,
It gives us shadow selves we cannot disavow:
What we have done informs what we are now
How is the knight to know Rapunzel to need rescue, save that he hear her singing?
Thank you for Making Light. May you have a good New Year!
Jonathan Vos Post: The talking Barbie didn't say "I hate math"; she said "Math is hard." She also said "Let's go shopping."
"Math is hard; let's go shopping" has become a catchphrase in my corner of the poker world, where people are given to analysis of poker situations using combinatorics and Bayes' Theorem. If you're playing cards in a public cardroom, and you hear one of your opponents say "Math is hard," he or she is lying.
Youre right, as usual.
Wasn't there a conceptual art project where someone swapped chips between Talking Barbies and Talking G.I. Joes?
Wait a minute... poker players lie?
A New Year with Hippos to you. :)
JVP: The Barbie-Joe swap ("Vengeance is mine!" "Let's go shopping!") was the work of the Barbie Liberation Organization. A laudable project if ever there was one.
JVP, you've clearly never played poker with Alan....or with me.
"Moses supposes his toeses are roses
But Moses supposes erroneously
For nobody's toeses are roses or posies
As Moses supposes his toeses to be."
Tom, I have no idea where that lovely bit of doggerel came from, but in a fine example of synchronicity, I was just telling Mary Kay about a society where the vast bulk of the population could barely count up to ten on their fingers. The rulers were those few who could, by virtue of their superior mathematical ability, manage to count up to twenty.
They had, naturally, a toe-tally-tarian government.
Of course, given that the peasants in that society spend most of their lives up to their ankles in mud, counting to twenty is a terra-fic accomplishment.
Shopping is hard; let's do math.
Jordin, I suggest renting a DVD of Singing in the Rain . . .
"...They had, naturally, a toe-tally-tarian government."
(You gotta love it though.)
Odd how that "1996" jumps out at you, nicely bookended by double zeroes. Is that because 2000 - 4 = 1996 and 2000 + 4 = 2004? (exercise left to readers). Or, is there something Year 1996-ish about Year 2004?
Or maybe it's just that vintage 1996 calendars are on special for $4.99.
I always save my old calendars, knowing that they'll eventually be on schedule again...
1996 = 4 x 499
4/2004 = 1/501 = 0.001996007984...
3/2004 = 0.001497005988...
So why did 1497 pop out?
1497: Nicolas Copernicus sees and writes down his observation that the Moon occults a star.
1497: Physician Hieronymus Brunschwygk (born ca. 1452) publishes the first book on surgical treatment of gunshot wounds.
1497: Columbus' co-traveller Romano Pane, a monk, publishes his account of Tobacco and how "Indians" smoke it.
My phone number (as a local call), divided by this year = 3981673/2004 = 1986.86277445...
and 1986 is the year my wife and I were married.
Alan and Tom: I'm not a great poker player, but I have been publishing, with Prof. Philip Fellman (University of Southern New Hampshire) a series of papers on Game Theory and Chaos Theory of Disinformation. We are trying the launch the Mathematical discipline of Disinformation Theory. Poker is a very important domain in this study (as are military history, intelligence failures, and propaganda). Now, if we can only get a grant that pays our way into the World Series of Poker...
Our work, in some sense, begins with the work behind "A Beautiful Mind" and with Stanislau Ulam pointing out that, since 2**20 > 10**6, one can always win a game of "Twenty Questions" if the opposing player has guessed an integer up to a million. THEN he asked: suppose the opposing player lies once. Now how many questions does it take? If he lies twice? If he lies 3 times? N Times? The answers were found ad hoc for 1 and 2, then someone noticed that N=3 can be done neatly with a 3-bit error-detecting-error-correctiong code.
In Business and Economics (what Fellman's Full Professorship's in), I point out that an Annual Report of a corporation has many significant values. If you DON'T lie about any of them, you are "showing your hand" without being called. If you lie about all of them, you're going down eventually (Enron, etc.). So, what is the OPTIMUM number of lies to tell in an Annual Report?
Parmalat might have gotten away with lying about it's milk figures, but milk and cookies both? Hah!
I was gonna say. Jordin Kare has never seen Singing in the Rain?
Well we know where we're going,
But we dont know where we've been
And we know what we're knowing,
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children,
And we know what we want
And the future is certain,
Give us time to work it out
May the future be better. But it won't be on its own.
Nope, I've never seen Singing in the Rain. Mary Kay is regularly astonished by the odd gaps in my cultural background; I guess that's another one...
Some time ago, NPR ran a story about elocution, saying that "Moses supposes" was one of several known exercises back when people actually studied how to speak clearly. It may be older than Singing in the Rain, although it certainly is more remembered because of the film.
And I would never have seen SitR either if a friend with a thing for old movie musicals hadn't been housebound for most of a year; if it is possible to be so, I am less patient with commercial interruptions than Patrick, and except for the above interlude I was never into renting movies. It takes all kinds....
maybe they just want to borrow one.
YAHOOO, we've (apparently) made a successful Mars landing. Let's hope for better future progress of the landers!
Paula Helm Murray et al.,
It seems strange to be just 5 miles north of Pasadena, while The Planetary Society is throwing an Event around the Mars landing. Many of my friends came long distances to be there.
Instead, I was at a pot-luck dinner at the home of Dr. Ken Jones, who was a Visual Systems guy on the Viking lander in 1976. But he drifted into being a visual effect supervisor for Hollywood postproduction houses, working on things such as Titanic, Terminator 2: 3-D, Pirates of the Caribbean. But was he there? No, he was rushed to the airport to fly to Hong Kong and Shanghai to work on the film "Ultraviolet." After he was dropped at the airport, a phonecall arrived at his home saying not to fly yet, some negotiations were stalled. He was carrying an Asian-standard cellphone, so had to be paged. So he got his luggage back. Then another call came, saying "go ahead and fly." So he's just arriving now in Hong Kong, with no clothes. I suggested a hand-tailored suit for under $100. He hates suits.
Hollywood runs on a different track than the Road the Mars. Unless they converge at Bob Hope Airport, which is what they just renamed the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport which you've seen in "Casablanca."
But I digress. America can't be too awful a nation if we just tasted a comet's tail and bounced robots in a balloon onto Mars. Though some of us have doubts about the way we decided to terraform Iraq...
Though some of us have doubts aboutthe way we decided to terraform Iraq..."
I would have preferred that we seeded the place with some genetically modified yeasts and algae, and then waited ten thousand years.
Why the fascinating with hoarding, TNH?
You've never seen her basement, have you?
Glenn Hauman - Actually, no. I've seen their apartment, and it's no not particularly cluttered by New York City standards.
Jonathon, my understanding was that parts of "Casablanca" were filmed at the old Glendale Airport, in the industrial zone between San Fernando Road and the 5, near the Burbank/Glendale border. At least, there's a street there named "Air Way", and a building with an art-deco control tower that looks familiar.
That is, I admit, possible. Living, as I do, within a half-hour of Hollywood, the disinformation density here is as thick as New York and Washington, D.C., but glitzier.
In this town, where a hamburger stand and a carwash are judged to be historic sites, reality reflects films which reflect reality, and so forth, as if one is standing between parallel mirrors, and reflections concatenate to infinity.
Driving by Santa Anita Racetrack recently, I saw a huge sign saying "Home of Seabiscuit!"
The specific unincorporated town of Altadena, north of Pasadena, where I live has no local taxes, and lots of mansions. Beverly Hills 90210 and many other series and films are shot here. The playground where my son played as a toddler has appeared in (what's its name?) the film with Cheech Marin as the ghost of a conquistador, and the park surrounding it in Casper the Ghost, too. Across the street from my son's middle school was the site for an X-files episode. The middle school down the street from me was the location for "Apt Pupil." And so forth.
I could easily be wrong. I'll try to verify.
Okay, I'm off to the post office to mail 3 copies to Mathematics Magazine of the paper that came to me on the edge of dreams, the night of 2-3 January 2004. Are there any direct flight, by the way, from Ronald Reagan Airport to Bob Hope Airport or John Wayne Airport?
Why can't "a hamburger stand and a carwash" be historic sites, if they have some historic significance? Is there something inherently depraved about hamburger stands or carwashes?
You seem to be trying to wring something large and metaphysical out of this, something to do with mirrors and illusions, but all it looks like to me is local history.
I actually approve of these historic sites. Not trying to make a mountain out of a soapy ground-molehill.
The cheeseburger was invented at Ptomaine Tommy's (now vanished) in Eagle Rock (due West of Pasadena).
The carwash in question is a pure example of 1950-ish "Googly" architecture.
And I'm not mentioning the home of the Pluto Platter (later Frisbee) and other great monuments to pop culture.
BUT this region is self-aware in a filmic way that takes some getting used to. So "Burbank Airport" becoming "Bob Hope Airport" is inherently more ironic than historical burgers.
Architecturally, I think that Las Vegas out-weirds Los Angeles, anyway.
Besides, I got my first two university degrees at Caltech, in Pasadena, and thus in the San Gabriel Valley. And statistics prove that the San Gabriel Valley is America's capital of higher education, with more colleges (including community colleges) and universities than either Manhattan or Boston. More students, too.
But other have warned me that I wax metaphysical at the drop of a phoenix feather, so you may be right...
JvP: Are there any direct flight, by the way, from Ronald Reagan Airport to Bob Hope Airport or John Wayne Airport?
Non-stop, no; direct, maybe. National is a smaller airport, and in theory there are Rules about how far from it non-stops can go (so there's room for the short hops that are seen as making the best use of its close-in location). (Yes, I refuse to call it Reagan; some day that abominable act of Gingrich's will be undone. No, I'm not holding my breath.)
New York City and London are arguably also "self-aware in a filmic way that takes some getting used to." I suspect this is a characteristic of world-class cities that host major chunks of the entertainment industry.
Once you get away from the Strip, the architecture of Las Vegas is pretty ordinary for a southwestern desert city. (Cinderblocks and swampcoolers in the older parts, cookiecutter sheetrock developments in the more recently built-up parts.)
And I've gotten jaded, as far as the Strip goes. The really interesting buildings are the Luxor pyramid and the Stratosphere tower (for the latter, think "Space Needle on steroids"). Everything else has exotic ornamentation gussying up some fairly straightforward underlying design.
London, Tokyo, and NYC have a common feel, for me, which is entirely different than any other large city I've been in, including LA and environs. Definitely self-consciousness going on, though not necessarily filmic as far as I can see. No other cities have that special fee, but then I haven't been everywhere yet. Though I have gotten to most major US cities.
Random autobiographical factoid: I got in a conversation a couple of years ago with a very nice guy from London living in New York. I told him that my wife loved London, but hated New York, which I found odd because I find both cities very similar (for the reasons Mary Kay describes). He responded: It's the trees. London: Huge, huge parks, lots of green areas. New York: Not so much, although there is Central Park, which is not exactly small.
When people say New York City, they mean Manhattan, right? (Not people here, particularly not those of us living in the other boroughs, but seems like most non-natives, and a fair number of natives.) The reason I mention that is "New York: Not so much, although there is Central Park, which is not exactly small", that Mitch Wagner said. There's also Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, Flushing Meadows and Cunningham parks in Queens, all three of which are fairly substantial. I'm not sure about Staten Island (the forgotten borough), or the Bronx, though the Bronx does have the Zoo (pay for access, which may disqualify it).
Manhattan has a definite personality. Brooklyn has a definite personality. Bronx too. The other two, not quite.
Just to add to the film site thread: I'm pretty sure that the carwash down the street from me was in an Eddie Murphy movie 15-ish years ago. The Golden Child, it might have been. It (the carwash) has a circus theme on the outside: striped tents done in giant sequins, and paintings and cutout of animals and performers. Badly needs a refurbishing, however.
The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the Boro of Queens is significantly larger than any town I lived in before moving to New York. Much of it is water, but much of it is densely green wetlands.
Jonathon, I thought the first Tommy's was the one on Rampart in Hollywood? Or perhaps it was renowned just because it had the "best" ambiance?
There's still a Tommy's in Eagle Rock, which has been there at least since the 80s.
Having been born and raised on Staten Island, S.I. has the Greenbelt, which is a swath of green across the center of the island, which some have wished earnestly would be changed into the right of way for a freeway for years.
It's a substantial area of parkland and protected space, High Rock Park being the usual entry point into it.
(And not far away from that is the one of a kind Tibetan Museum of Art)
Actually, the Bronx has the most forested parkland of any borough.
"The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the Boro of Queens is significantly larger than any town I lived in before moving to New York. Much of it is water, but much of it is densely green wetlands."
I'm slapping myself in the forehead as hard as I can, because I've been to Jamaica Bay dozens of times, and my dad hundreds, and it completely and utterly slipped my mind. Gaah.
Oh-- Alley Pond park also, somewhere near the eastern side of the borough, near the border to Nassau. Fairly big also.
Paul: Thanks. When I said 'forgotten borough', I meant mainly by me, having only stopped there, er, twice in the last ten years. I knew there had to be something, though. And now that I think about it I do remember hearing something about a Buddhist-related area, like a parkground type of area-- benches, fountains, creeks, etc.-- having just (few months?) been renovated and reopened there, possibly the place you mentioned?
Sorry to nitpick, but a factiod is something that is stated as a fact but is actually untrue.
From dictionary.com: 1. A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition
Sorry to be a nudge. (noodge?)
Ptomaine Tommy's was a nickname. It seems to be unrelated to the later Tommy's local chain, which has been badly copied by "Original Tommy's" and other knockoff local chains.
Not to be confused with Bob's Big Boy, of which (I think) the one in Toluca Lake is the oldest remaining.
I also used to visit the oldest remaining McDonald's, in Downey, not far from where I worked at the Space Transportation Divisiion of Rockwell. It has, in neon, the OLD logo. It refused to use a newer recipe. McDonald's corporate retaliated by opening a crummy new franchise within a block. The old one, being better, survived.
The cheeseburger was at the defunct Eagle Rock site, and its story has been told many places. Similarly, there are the two restaurants in L.A. proper which both claim to have invented the French Dip sandwich. I prefer Philippe's, which is now a short walk from the Union Station stop of the Gold Line from Pasadena. Yummmm.
Have you seen the (PBS?) special on the best sandwich places in America, with many different versions of Best Hotdog, best Italian, original Mufaletta, and so on. Never seen it all the way through. Had to run to the kitchen...
Jonathan, the Food Network (often background noise while i work but I absorb some of it) has a very good "best of" program, but all their chefs do knock offs of it, when they wish, and I get to hear about yummy places all over the country. Heard something interesting this evening (while in my regular Tuesday night chatrooom) 'bout a guy in Bisbey, AZ who has turned Killer Bee honey (remember they're hybridized European/African bees). He also goes to infested houses, removes the bees to his hives safely located in the desert and removes any honeycombs into his production cycle. He makes flavored honeys and honey mustards of different flavors, including a grainy and smooth of each flavor. Killer Bee Honeys.
Sean - My dictionary can beat up your dictionary. From m-w.com: "1 : an invented fact believed to be true because of its appearance in print 2 : a brief and usually trivial news item."
And it's spelled "noodzh."
Look, more information is good, except when it contradicts MY information.
Has that really been spelled poctsarcd for near two weeks and I only just now noticed? A mind is a terrible thing.
I should have known.
We miss Walter.