Cynical Observations and Other Short Tidbits

1. The main reason I don’t saturate Abstract Nonsense with more memes, cynical observations, and primers for the languages I invent is that I’m afraid too many readers will lose interest.

2. When I criticize anti-Muslim bigots on 3QD, I draw tens of comments, ranging from mildly positive to scathingly negative. When I go after an established scientist the editors of 3QD agree with and even know personally, I only get one.

3. Last afternoon, a classmate of mine told me I should consider going to a class because it might be interesting to me. I asked her what it is about. She said, “The geometry of 3-manifolds.”

I smirked and pressed, “What applications does that have to algebraic number theory?”

She said, “Oh, I know why you like algebraic number theory – you want to work for the NSA.” In her defense, she’s a communist and I make fun of communism all the time, but I’m a) not a US citizen, b) on the other side as the privacy invaders, and c) more interested in pure mathematics than in theoretical computer science.

4. My microwave loves rice. It loves rice so much that when I just put a bowlful of rice in it, it made something like 30-40 grams jump out of the bowl so that the microwave could have a share of the food.

5. This semester, my help room sessions all take place on the Barnard campus rather than the main Columbia campus’s Mathematics building. Unfortunately, the Barnard building where I have to be, Milbank, is a large maze complex. Even the help room itself requires some skill to circumnavigate its central desk.

6. A nonstop roundtrip flight from New York to Chicago for early August cost $143 on Expedia as of yesterday. At the same time, the hotel for Yearly Kos costs $149 per night, after the discount for convention participants.

7. Wealth is relative. I discovered my annual income was going to be $21,650 after taxes rather than $20,000 a few days ago and started feeling wealthy. A friend of mine who makes $110,000 per year and has two dependents has problems paying bills.

8. I’m giving a lecture in my algebraic number theory class in eight and a half hours, about cyclotomic fields. I’d post it here, but I’m handwaving a few elementary results I can’t prove. I can get away with it in class because it’s assumed everyone knows what the ring of integers of a cyclotomic field is, but here I can’t.

9. The list of things I’ve procrastinated or am procrastinating, besides reading more books, is getting unmanageable. First, there’s my book, which I still need to edit to make publishable. On the blogosphere, I need to write my next radical pathology post (which is about extremism), an introductory post about modular arithmetic, and a meme about political priorities; in addition, I need to send Jason Rosenhouse and Mark CC an email about a Carnival of Mathematics.

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3 Responses to Cynical Observations and Other Short Tidbits

  1. Tyler DiPietro says:

    One problem with a carnival of mathematics is that it’s likely to have the exact same entries over and over again. Hell, among the math bloggers I know of, only you and Polymath are focused on pure math. Mark and I tend to focus of theoretical computer science (Mark focuses on the abuses of it for pseudoscientific purposes), and Jason tends to focus more on evolution issues (though he’s done more math blogging lately).

  2. Bruce says:

    An important question to answer (for yourself, not necessarily for anyone else) about your number 9 supra is whether the unmanageable procrastination is a design problem, condition or feature to be solved, endured or enjoyed.

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Tyler, one hopes that this carnival will encourage more people to write about math, or math education, or mathematical physics, or theoretical computer science. I don’t think a carnival needs to be just about pure math; the stuff on GM/BM, EvolutionBlog, Growth Rate n lg n, and Not Even Wrong should be included just as much as the stuff on Abstract Nonsense.

    Bruce, it’s definitely something to be solved. I suppose it’s a condition, but I’m not sure.

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