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In the beginning there was nothing. And the Lord said "Let There Be Light!"
And still there was nothing, but at least now you could see it.
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In the beginning there was only one kind of Mathematician, created by
the Great Mathamatical Spirit form the Book: the Topologist. And they grew to
large numbers and prospered.
One day they looked up in the heavens and desired to reach up as far
as the eye could see. So they set out in building a Mathematical edifice that
was to reach up as far as "up" went. Further and further up they went ...
until one night the edifice collapsed under the weight of paradox.
The following morning saw only rubble where there once was a huge
structure reaching to the heavens. One by one, the Mathematicians climbed
out from under the rubble. It was a miracle that nobody was killed; but when
they began to speak to one another, SUPRISE of all suprises! they could not
understand each other. They all spoke different languages. They all fought
amongst themselves and each went about their own way. To this day the
Topologists remain the original Mathematicians.
-- The Story of Babel
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In the course of reading Hadamard's "The Psychology of Invention in the
Mathematical Field", I have come across evidence supporting a fact
which we coffee achievers have long appreciated: no really creative,
intelligent thought is possible without a good cup of coffee. On page
14, Hadamard is discussing Poincare's theory of fuchsian groups and
fuchsian functions, which he describes as "... one of his greatest
discoveries, the first which consecrated his glory ..." Hadamard refers
to Poincare having had a "... sleepless night which initiated all that
memorable work ..." and gives the following, very revealing quote:
"One evening, contrary to my custom, I drank black coffee and
could not sleep. Ideas rose in crowds; I felt them collide
until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable
Too bad drinking black coffee was contrary to his custom. Maybe he
could really have amounted to something as a coffee achiever.
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In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice,
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In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain.
-- Pliny the Elder
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"In this replacement Earth we're building they've given me Africa
to do and of course I'm doing it with all fjords again because I happen to
like them, and I'm old-fashioned enough to think that they give a lovely
baroque feel to a continent. And they tell me it's not equatorial enough.
Equatorial!" He gave a hollow laugh. "What does it matter? Science has
achieved some wonderful things, of course, but I'd far rather be happy than
right any day."
"And are you?"
"No. That's where it all falls down, of course."
"Pity," said Arthur with sympathy. "It sounded like quite a good
-- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
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Information is the inverse of entropy.
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Interchangeable parts won't.
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Invest in physics -- own a piece of Dirac!
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"Irrationality is the square root of all evil"
-- Douglas Hofstadter