Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ultrareal nanoniblets

  • As proof there's no justice in the world, look at the shabby way the Tampa Bay Lightning treated poor Dave Andreychuk. Maybe he really was too old and too slow for the "new NHL", but when team officials openly say that to the media, that's just the height of tackiness. Maybe I'm being oversensitive, having just had a 30-somethingth birthday myself. The guy's not that much older, so he can't possibly be old. I mean, we went to see a hockey game on that birthday, and when I went on a beer run, I got carded. On my birthday. Which proves, incontrovertibly, that I am Not Old, therefore anyone who's not that much older than me is also Not Old. Note that the "Not Old" property is not fully associative, so that someone who's, say, a mere 8 years older than the 42-year-old Andreychuk would still be a plausible candidate for oldness, even though Andreychuk himself is Not Old.
  • The San Diego Zoo has a baby tapir. I don't find it all that appealing, actually, but if beady little eyes are your thing, enjoy!
  • From the usually-sedate world of classical music comes this weird legal soap opera. One member of a quartet had been fired for "incompatibility", so he sued, and two of the remaining members nearly lost their instruments to help pay legal bills, until the inevitable anonymous donor stepped in at the last moment, as they always do. You'd expect classical musicians to be calm and mature about resolving their differences, but maybe that's just because the music itself tends to be on the sedate side, and is performed for an affluent, educated, "mature" audience. But take away the tuxes and evening wear, and they're just another bunch of crazy, emotional musicians. They should all count their lucky stars that there weren't any drive-by shootings, and nobody went all Salieri on their quartet-mates.
  • It's official: Trees are bastards!!! In particular, they've been pumping out methane gas in far higher quantities than expected, and methane is a major greenhouse gas. The sneaky botanical malefactors have been doing this for years without anyone suspecting what was going on. Their motive is unclear as of yet, but they're obviously up to no good. Could Ronald Reagan have been right after all?
  • I'm getting very, very sick of cold, dark, wet winter weather. All you can really do right now is sit indoors, drum your fingers on the wall, and wait impatiently for spring. Until that happens, here are some pics of crocuses. I've always liked crocuses, primarily because they come up early, before it seems like its really a wise idea, just because they're full of enthusiasm and are unable to hold back. Or maybe I'm anthropomorphizing. Note that at least some crocus species are highly inedible. Furthermore, a crocus of any species should not be confused with the unrelated Krokus, which is an 80's metal band from Switzerland. No foolin'. They're still together, and they're touring right now. It must be tough being a Swiss metal band. You can't shock people by wearing tight leather pants, for one thing, and your fans all want to grow up to be -- or by now they've already grown up to be -- bankers or pharmaceutical executives, or possibly midlevel UN bureaucrats. You can sing to them all you like about your uniquely deep and tortured soul, and how you're one wild-n-crazy rebellious outsider, and nobody will have the foggiest clue what you're talking about.
  • A couple more fun names for peculiar types of numbers. I've come across a book with a brief treatment of ultrareal numbers, but I've only just skimmed the chapter and I can't say I understand what it's getting at so far. Meanwhile, here's a good article that mentions hypernatural numbers, which are a subset of the hyperreals (which are what the article's really about). There are a number of uses of the term "unreal number" [pdf] as well. The linked-to page uses the term as a synonym for p-adic numbers, and you have to admit "unreal" is a vastly more evocative name.

No comments :