## Stopping by Ft Tryon Park, Way the Heck Uptown, on a Snowy Afternoon

So you’ve got woods? Yeah, we’ve got those. Well, not exactly, but something close. A park with hills and rocks and trees That people flock to whene’er it snows. Your woods are dark, deep, and lovely? I think our park you’ll find quite comfy. Your little horse would love it here I’ve heard the woods […]

## Generalizing Circles and Ellipses

[Reading and thinking about: n-Ellipses and the Minimum Distance Sum Problem, a paper that I was able to stick pretty well with until about the last third.] 1. Generalizing Circle Definitions There often comes a point in my geometry classes where I ask students to come up with a definition that describes a circle. It’s […]

## The toilet is going to eat my pee

“I’m going to tell you that the toilet is going to eat my pee,” he said. It was my son, nearly three, standing with his pants over his ankles. He held himself, umm, firmly. “I’m going to tell you that the toilet is going to eat my pee,” he repeated. “OK.” “The toilet is going […]

## “A liquid moon”

Winter Trees – William Carlos Williams All the complicated details of the attiring and the disattiring are completed! A liquid moon moves gently among the long branches. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold.                          […]

## Chimps are better than humans at some working memory tasks

Amazing. From the research report: Chimpanzee memory has been extensively studied. The general assumption is that, as with many other cognitive functions, it is inferior to that of humans; some data, however, suggest that, in some circumstances, chimpanzee memory may indeed be superior to human memory. Here we report that young chimpanzees have an extraordinary […]

## Mathematical and Scientific Crises

[This post is wildly speculative. File under ‘playing with ideas.’] On the continuing and fascinating saga of the ABC conjecture and Mochizuki’s befuddling proof: Five years ago, Cathy O’Neil laid out a perfectly cogent case for why the (at that point recent) claims by Shinichi Mochizuki should not (yet) be regarded as constituting a proof of the […]

## My set theory book is getting kind of fascist

Definition: A set is said to be pure if no individuals belong to its transitive closure. Well there are always individuals, right? Consider now the following axiom candidate. Axiom of purity: Every set is pure Fully pure? The main reason for the [axiom of purity] is that, as was discovered fairly early, it is is not […]

## The piranha problem

A fundamental tenet of social psychology, behavioral economics, at least how it is presented in the news media, and taught and practiced in many business schools, is that small “nudges,” often the sorts of things that we might not think would affect us at all, can have big effects on behavior. Thus the claims that […]

## “Nobody is every going to invent an ethics class that makes people behave ethically.”

“Nobody is ever going to invent an ethics class that makes people behave ethically after they step out of the classroom. Classes are for riders, and riders are just going to use their knowledge to serve their elephants more effectively. If you want to make people behave more ethically, there are two ways you can […]

## When I say people, I mean mathematicians

On the wave equation and the beginnings of Fourier analysis: “Very soon after that, people began…when I say people, I mean mathematicians.” I only know Rudin from his analysis books, but come on, man! What, are you worried that someone will think mere people would be interested in this? Another not great moment comes a few […]