Apr. 29th, 2008

jackofallgeeks: (Geeky)
So here's a semi-interesting article on whether mathematics are discovered
or invented
. Now, at first blush I think it's kind of an absurd
question, because no one invented 2 + 2 = 4, it just is.
That's the way the world operates, so if we find something 'new,' it's just
that we never saw it before, not that we made it up. Given a little time to
thinjk about it, though, I think it becomes a more interesting question.

Now I expect no more than three of you to care in the slightest -- most of
my friends, it seems, hate math -- and I didn't read the whole article (even
I can't take math before 9am), but just a few thoughts. Someone made a
point of how they were trying to compare math and physics; I'm not sure what
his point was in making the remark, but it got me thinking about the
similarities and differences between math and physics. They both describe
the way the world works, although physics are a bit more concrete than pure
math. But a lot of times, physics is just a "best guess," and theories are
constantly being concocted, accepted, and refuted. Newton's laws were true
until Einstein proved them false (though, for the layman Newton is usually
good enough). Math, typically, doesn't have this problem; it's abstract.
If the numbers work out, you can't disprove a formula. Physics is
the application of mathematics to the world around us; the application can
be wrong, but the math simply is. You invent theories, you discover
laws when those theories prove true. Perhaps you can invent formula, but
you don't invent math.

I had a philosophy class on what knowledge is; it was really more of s
survey course because, as should be obvious, 'knowledge' is a pretty broad
topic. At one point the professor got onto the topic of the interesting
nature of mathematics. It's abstract, only in our hears, in that you can't
go into the world and find a 2, or point to a formula. But it's different
from other abstract subjects, his example being hobbits. Someone can know A
LOT about hobbits, but that knowledge can never have any read bearing on our
undetstanding of the world. If someone knows a lot about math, though, that
can actually be applied to describe, rather acurately, the world around us.
jackofallgeeks: (Euphoria)
So, I was just reading This
article questioning how people can possibly find the time to watch TV, and
it got me thinking. I haven't really watched TV in, I'd guess, close to a
decade. When O got my house, I signed up for a package deal of voice,
internet, and phone for some 'reduced' price, but I almost never use my
landline or TV -- rather, I don't use my TV to watch network broadcasts,
it's just where I was movies and play video games. Just last night,
Anastasiya and Will came over and though they suggested we "see what's on"
while playing games and eating pizza, there wasn't anything in particular we
wanted to watch and so we just put on a movie. I thought, six months ago
when I got my service, that having a DVR would let me watch what I want when
I wanted to -- and it does, I just still don't want to watch any of
it
. And especially with the disatisfaction I've been left with because
of the languishing of Heroes, I'm seriously considering cancelling my
TV service, giving them their DVR back, and using the saved money to buy an
HD-upconverter for my DVDs. The only question that remains is whether my
contract has some kind of time requirment (I wouldn't surprised if I'm
signed up for a year, and have cancellation fees before then) and if it's
significantly cheaper to just get my Internet access outside of the package
deal I have (my guess is 'yes').

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jackofallgeeks: (Default)
John Noble

August 2012

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