Log in

[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in magicdragon2's LiveJournal:

Friday, July 27th, 2007
11:53 am
Second Half of 2006
Starting to catch up, first with the 2nd half of 2006, and later with the highlights of the first half of 2007.

Okay, It was pointed out on Scott Aaronson's wonderful blog Shtetl-Optimized that:

# anonymous Says:
Comment #33, posted on July 27th, 2007 at 10:05

Jonathan Vos Post, I think you need to get your own blog.

Coin Says:
Comment #34, posted on July 27th, 2007 at 10:45

"I kind of think of Jonathan Vos Post as having a “floating” blog that lives in the comments sections of other, randomly selected blogs."

My reply:

# Jonathan Vos Post Says:
Comment #35, posted on July 27th, 2007 at 12:14

Anonymous and Coin,

(1) Assume that I exist. Some bloggers assume the contrary. Google “Greatest nerd of all times” and see skeptics in the comments to the original and dig-ed blog. My wife and son are amused that I am hypothesized to be a virgin.

(2) See that I haven’t updated my livejournal blog in about 54 weeks:

(3) Conclusion: You are partially right, although “random” is another assumption, not quite correct. For example, I have met Scott Aaronson, and the hosts of several other blogs I frequent.


Protocol: I am, of course, here by the grace of Scott, whom I greatly admire, and will accept any hints that he gives me about whether or not I am a welcome guest.

Follow-up: I shall take the hints from Anonymous and Coin, some time after I pump 6 inches deep of sewage out of the storm cellar, write a final exam for my highschool students, pay some urgent utility bills, and finish reading Harry Potter 7. Thanks for the reminder.

Current Mood: nostalgic
Sunday, July 9th, 2006
8:02 pm
June and early July 2006: 20 papers/panels
June and early July 2006 was an amazingly busy and productive month. Here's a hotlinked summary.

(1) I had a poster session entitled "Toward Enumeration of All Possible Economic Systems" at the NKS-2006 Wolfram Science Conference in
Washington D.C.
16-18 June 2006.

Then, at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, my coauthor Professor Philip Vos Fellman (Southern New Hampshire University, School of Business) and I presented 4 papers at the Annual Conference of the North American Association for Computational Social and Organizational Sciences (NAACSOS), 22-23 June 2006:

(2) Philip Vos Fellman and Jonathan Vos Post, "Quantum Nash Equilibria", Thursday 22 June 2006, 9:30-11 a.m..
(3) Philip Vos Fellman, "Dynamic Modeling of Competing Technology Designs, Pricing, and Consumer Dynamics", 4-5 p.m.,
(4) Jonathan Vos Post and Philip Vos Fellman, "The Paradox of Simplicity", Friday 23 June 2006, 10:30-noon.
(5) Philip Vos Fellman and Jonathan P. Clemens, "Disrupting Terrorist Networks", 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Immediately afterwards, we flew to Boston and did 9 papers at the 6th International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006), including:
(6) Jonathan Vos Post and Philip Vos Fellman, "Complexity in the Paradox of Simplicity"
Thursday Evening Session - Concepts.
(7) Jonathan Post, Christine Carmichael, Philip Fellman, "Emergent phenomena in higher-order electrodynamics", Thursday Afternoon Session - Physical Systems [I chaired this session].
(8) Philip Fellman and Jonathan Post, "Complexity, competitive intelligence and the 'first mover' advantage", Tuesday Evening Session - Innovation.
(9) Philip Fellman, Matthew Dadmun, Neil Lanteigne, "Corporate strategy: from core competence to complexity--an evolutionary review", Monday Evening Session - Innovation
(10) Philip Fellman, "The complexity of terrorist networks", Monday Evening Session - Homeland Security
(11) Philip Fellman and Jonathan Vos Post, "Nash equilibrium and quantum computational complexity",
Tuesday Afternoon Session - Physical Systems [I chaired this session].

There I also was Chair of 3 sessions (including the opening Plenary Session], and ran the Science Fiction program, including Marvin Minsky, Dr. Stanley Schmidt (Editor, Analog), Dr. Geoffrey Landis (now NASA Professor of Astronautical Engineering, MIT), Dr. Mary Turzillo, and others. This track under my direction shall expand in the 7th International Conference on Complex Systems, ICCS-2007, probably in Europe.

In the audience, and having breakfast with me the next day, was John Forbes Nash, Jr. (you did see the film "A Beautiful Mind"?), his wife Alicia, and their son John Nash III.

Then my wife, son, and I unwound by doing 9 panel discussions at Conzilla - Westercon 59, in San Diego, in comjunction with the likes of retired Math Professor Vernor Vinge, Larry Niven, ex-Brit Linguist Shiela Finch, various space program folks, etc.:
(12) Saturday, 3 pm, Salon F, "Human-Machine Interface: Neural WiFi and the Telepathic Internet",
This program book is being entered by old fashioned typing. Verbal translation programs have been available for a while. But what about more advanced human input devices? What if you could directly interface with the computer with your thoughts?, Glenn Glazer, L. Blunt Jackson, Jonathan Vos Post.
(13) Saturday, 4 pm, Salon C, "Time Travel",
A presentation showing the actual science behind the theory of time and the ramifications of time travel. Jonathan Vos Post, Christine Carmichael.
(14) Sunday, 2 pm, Salon B, "Harry Potter: Rampant Speculation",
It's time for the last — well maybe — book. And Ms. Rowling certainly isn't telling us what is going to happen. But we're not going to let that stop us. Panelists speculate on how the author will resolve the various plot lines developed over the series. Andrew Carmichael Post, Lorna Freeman, Ed Green, Nora Milner.
(15) Salon C, "Is Mars the Wrong Goal?",
President Bush announced that he wanted a trillion dollar effort to get a man on Mars. Many see Mars as the logical step for humanity on its way to the stars. But is this the best route? Are there other, better ways for man to establish himself in space, or other things we should be doing in space now instead?
Ctein, Jonathan Kotas, Spring Schoenhuth, Jonathan Vos Post, Gerry Williams.
(16) Sunday, 3 pm, Salon C, "Physics of Superheroes",
What would really happen if Superman tried to lift your building by its corner? Could Magneto really levitate a human being? A scientific look at the mistakes in comics books, and what they got right.
James Hay, Jefferson Swycaffer, Andrew Carmichael Post.
(17) Sunday, 4 pm, Salon B, "It's About Time Someone Told You the Truth: Secret Histories",
That stuff the taught you in history class? Largely accurate but entirely wrong in terms of the real forces behind civilization. In The Da Vinci Code, the Catholic Church is suppressing the truth about Jesus. In The Illuminatus Trilogy pretty much everything you know is wrong. A look at literature that tries to give you the REAL truth.
Tim Powers, Allison Lonsdale, Christine Carmichael, Allison Hershey.
(18) Sunday, 5 pm, Salon B, "Diana Warrior Princess",
Based on the game, in which Princess Diana and her followers fight bizarre gods and villains in a wildly anachronistic view of the 20th century. Our panelists give their own hilarious version of the world that you lived.
Christine Carmichael, Jonathan Vos Post, Nancy Holder, James Young.
(19) Monday, 3 pm, Salon B, "Science Fiction Literature: 1940-1960",
An overview of the literature and trends in this important period.
John Hertz, James Young, Marty Massoglia, Jonathan Vos Post
(20) Monday, 5 pm, Cabrillo 2, "The Economics of MMORPGs",
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games are an international phenomenon, some hosting millions of players who spend hours and days interacting through their assumed characters in the MMORPGs? persistent worlds. These games have their own real-world economics, complex internal economies and even, thanks to Ebay and others, interaction between the two.
David Friedman, Andrew Post, Todd McCaffrey, Joe Pearce.

Now we're home, and catching up on so-called ordinary life.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2006
12:41 pm
Excerpt from GENE515
This partly answers a question asked of me when I was 21 years old, by my doctoral thesis advisor Oliver G. Selfridge. When I say "Man" I am echoing and older text, and not excluding Woman.

Excerpt from GENE515

What is Man, that he may know Number? What is Number that it may be known by Man?

As we are mathematicians, we are in the image of our creator, The Mathematician, who has other attributes beyond our comprehension, and is Transfinite.

He freely gives us this world, and the cosmos beyond, and the flora and fauna over which to be stewards, and our fellow human beings to love, which is in the image of His love, which is transfinite.

We have free will, and for those of use who choose to be mathematicians, he gives us the integers as toys, in which is His book coded.

We play with those toys, some of us in solitude, some of us playing together. And when we put aside childish things, behold, we still have the gift of Number, and they are more than first we knew.

Eureka!, and Aha!, and knowing what Mozart meant when he said that he did not write music, but it was already there and he plucked it from thin air as it blew past. And what Ramanujan said was given him by a Goddess, And what Gauss could see as a child, and Riemann in the looking glass of Primes, and Galois by candlelight in the brief hours before his fatal duel.

Euclid, alone, has looked on beauty bare. But we mathematicians today are not alone, far from it, cradled in the same Web woven of Number, binary and octal and hex, decimal and alphanumeric, vector and raster, and more in cables, trunks, and as wifi in the very air about us.

By knowing Number more deeply, we more deeply know ourselves, and our Creator.

Every word begins and ends with the empty word; the empty word begins and ends with itself.
Saturday, October 29th, 2005
11:30 am
What I've Been Up To, as of October 2005
There are blogs where I've strained the blogmasters' patience with overenthusiastic postings, yet after I've severely cut back on blog-addiction, some have actually asked "What's become of JVP?"

The main thing that's kept me busy, although I still am without full-time employment, is the death of my
father, at age 82, of cancer. There's a thread about this, further down on this LJ. I'm the eldest of his 5 children, so I've been deeply involved in complications of wrapping up legal, financial, personal, and correspondence details. Since he was a rather influential book editor and publisher, of literary trade books (such as by Winston Churchill and Pearl S. Buck) and genre books (Science Fiction, Mystery, Sports & Entertainment), I've had to write obituaries for various writers' groups and the like. I also attended Intersection, the World Science Fiction Convention in August, which this year was in Glasgow, Scotland, next year will be in L.A., and 2007 will be in Yokohama. I was on one panel at Intersection, and then blocked from others by defamation from a panelist plus assault and battery by a high-ranking con staffer. I'd rather not air this dirty laundry in public.

I've written 100+ pages of "Complexity in the Paradox of Simplicity". This book of Mathematical Philosophy begins with a comprehensive review of the literature on Occam's razor, and concludes with some very recent, obscure, counterintuitive works of mathematical information theory which shed new light on, for instance, the long-lost Hilbert's 24th problem (about shortest possible proofs). The essence of the paradox is, given a range of differences in the definitions, usages, and justifications for simplicity (in the senses of ontological parsimony and quantitative parsimony), by what meta-criteria can one select the "simplest version of simplest?"

I also sold a screenplay, for a low-budget short feature about murder at a science fiction convention, entitled "FIAWOL" (an acronym for Fandom Is A Way Of Life), with coauthor Joel Davis. This should give him and me $10,000 (the Hollywood agent is trying to ink the oral deal) by about June 2006, and get me a step closer to membership in Writers Guild of America West.

I've been networking heavily through grad school alumni (U.Mass./Amherst) and high school alumni (Stuyvesant High School, New York) for job leads, and am preparing a 3rd round of tenure-track professorship applications. I also hang out at Caltech, where I got my first 2 degrees.

I've continued my hyperproductivity in Math, still averaging 2 "publications" per day in reputable online
edited websites. For example, I rank #5 among the most prolific contributors through 168 contributions out of a total of 6779 Prime Curios by 703 submitters contributing. Plus I've gotten one more coauthored paper in a normal Math journal:
Noe, T. D. and Post, J. V. "Primes in Fibonacci n-step and Lucas n-Step Sequences." J. Integer Seq. 8, Article
05.4.4, 2005.
I am approaching 600 web pages edited and published on the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences." I have now published more about semiprimes than anyone else alive.

My wife is till working more than full-time as a Physics professor at Woodbury University; my
16-year-old son is in his senior year at Cal State University at Los Angeles, double majoring in Computer Science and Applied Math. My wife and son and I are writing a book-length collection of science fiction short stories entitled "Oh, And Another Thing About the Universe, and Other Stories." One story is about my high school, for example, entitled "Fast Times at Stuyvesant High." This school, in fact, was the first high school in the world to have its own cyclotron (1956). So what if that had thrown some teenagers into an alternate world where Nazis were winning WW II, having continued the V-2 program to the 2-stage transatlantic A-10, with a nuclear warhead?

Life goes on.
Friday, July 22nd, 2005
10:20 am
I remember 1975 as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Ted Nelson, the mad genius who invented Hypertext and Hypermedia, spake his Revelation from a waterbed, whereon he had been noddling with an electric banjo.


In context, I knew exactly what he meant. But, today, I lightly investigated his neologism.

Eric Raymond's Jargon Database says:
adj. [Invented by Theodor Holm Nelson, prob. a blend of 'mingled' and 'intertwined'.] Connected together in a complex way; specifically, composed of one another's components."

By blend, of course, ESR means "a portmanteau word" in the sense of Lewis Carroll.

On the other hand, we have the dynamics of the:

Twingle engine on Wikipedia.

It's interesting to think of the Web as a prototype Intertwingle Engine. Several software developers have products in early versions that replicate this vision to some extent.

Life in a TEXTAREA in a blog apparently called "Everything is deeply intertwingled."

"Eric Anderson said to me, 'Relax, Adam, Everything is Deeply Intertwingled.' Good advice, I know I've heard that somewhere before."

"It's hard to relax when you're living in a box. I'd estimate that I spend between 10% and 20% of my life in a browser, and half of that time is spent in a
Thursday, July 14th, 2005
1:18 pm
Highlights on my postings on Others' blogs
Posted by Jonathan Vos Post to Michael Berube's blog
in response to his reply to Mark Bauerlein’s short
essay on Theory’s Empire


When I say something akin to "When someone says that
the set of all correctly transmitted and understood
messages is a subset of all imaginable messages that
can be incorrectly transmitted or misunderstood, such
that misunderstanding is the condition of possibility
of understanding," I am not making "a deconstructive
move." I cite the inventor of Information Theory, the
man who named the Bit, Claude Shannon, with whom I had
profound conversations. The probability that EVERY one
of N letters gets delivered to one of the wrong N
people becomes, in the limit of large N, precisely 1/e
where e is the base of the natural logarithms. Sokol
made an important point that there are deep structures
in the universe, whether you consider them Physics or
Mathematics, which are NOT mere social constructs
(although Physics and Mathematics are, for us, social
processes by imperfect people). Whether or not you
believe in a Platonic Ideal, it is foolish to believe
that there is NO external universe, and NO laws
without polotical contingency. You can't legislate
"pi" to be 3, and not be a fool. You can't legislate
away the law of Universal Gravitation. You can't
eliminate the Law of Supply and Demand by fiat. If you
think so, you are not a Theorist. You are a
Solipsist. In which case, why are you reading MY

Posted by Jonathan Vos Post on 07/13 at 09:01 PM


Actually, I understand that the state of Indiana
legislated the value of pi as 3.3. You wouldn’t
believe the circles they have there.

Posted by Lee on 07/13 at 09:19 PM


People have been getting that wrong for a long time.
1 Kings 7:23 in the King James Version states, “And
[Solomon] made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one
brim to the other: it was round all about, and his
height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits
did compass it round about”. 2 Chronicles 4:2 states
that the object was “round in compass” and that a line
of 30 cubits “did compass it round about”. 30 cubits
divided by 10 cubits for a shape “round in compass”
(i.e. circular) means that, since pi is the ratio of a
circle’s circumference to its diameter, pi = 3.0000.
Does that mean that the laws of geometry have changed
since the days of the Old Testament, or in the state
of Indiana? I think not. I think that the text must
be understood in the context of all possible texts, in
a lawful universe, which includes errors and
unreliable narrators. If the authors/editors of Kings
or Chronicles told us that a circle was 355 cubits
around and 113 cubits across, I’d know that they did
the same Math as the Chinese mathematician and
astronomer Zu Chongzhi did in the 5th century. I would
not deconstruct the ethnicities and relative political
systems of the Far East and Middle East. Only in Eric
Blair’s Room 101 is 2 + 2 = 5, and that took torture.

Posted by Jonathan Vos Post on 07/13 at 11:18 PM
Saturday, May 28th, 2005
6:39 pm
Back now, after Father's Funeral
I haven't updated my LJ blog since about August 2004, due to invasions from the mundane world, such as not having my Math Professor contract renewed, thus suddenly being thrust into search for a full-time professorship in Mathematics or Astronomy. More on that later.

Even more tragic, my father, the notable Science Fiction editor Samuel H. Post was slowly and painfully dying. See mini-obituaries on sfwa.org, locusmag.com, and full version on sff.net.

My father was born in a semiprime year, lived to a
semiprime age, and died in a semiprime year.

Samuel Herbert Post, aged 82, passed away at home,
from inoperable cancer, on the evening of Friday 20
May 2005 in Wickford Village, Rhode Island.

He was an editor and publisher of note in book, trade
paperback, and magazine publishing, for such authors
as Margery Allingham, Poul Anderson, Pearl S. Buck,
Taylor Caldwell, Curtis W. Casewit, Winston Churchill,
Mark Clifton, Philip K. Dick, Gordon R. Dickson,
Walter Gibson, R. C. W. Ettinger, J. Hunter Holly,
Damon Knight, Cyril M. Kornbluth, Veronica Lake,
Hedy Lamarr, Murray Leinster, John Lymington, H.
P. Lovecraft, Frank Belknap Long, George B. Mair, S.
Michael, Sam Moskowitz, Senator George Murphy, Eric
North [B. C. Cronin], Andre Norton, Alan E. Nourse,
Dorothy Sayers, Clifford Simak, Edward E. "Doc" Smith,
J. Stearn, William F. Temple, and A. E. van Vogt. One
novel of his own was published, and a number of poems.

A graduate of Harvard, cum laude, he served with
distinction in World War II as a Pilot-Instructor for
Free French pilots, including Jean-Jacques
Servan-Schreiber. He leaves a wife, Cynthia Trainer;
five children, Jonathan Vos Post, Andrew William Post,
Nicholas Charles Post, Joshua Stuart Post, Julia Hart
Post; and five grandchildren.

He had been a member of Science Fiction Writers of
America, Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers
of America, and the NRA. He worked with entertainers
such as Judy Garland, editors such as Hugo Gernsback,
poltitical leaders, poets and playrights. He had
hundreds of anecdotes about celebrities he had met,
from Neil Armstrong to T. S. Eliot, yet he believed in
heartfelt conversation with ordinary people about
subjects that mattered to him, including Art,
Literature, Philosophy, and Theology.

A modest innovator in publishing, he was responsible
for the first book with a Pop Art cover, the first
book with an Op Art cover, and the first "bookazine."
He lamented the decline of book editing from the
careful lifetime nurturing of authors and their
manuscripts by professionals educated in World
Literature, to mere acquisition of "product."

A traditionally conservative Wall Street Republican
whose father, Harry Pasternak, of Budapest, had risen
from penniless immigrant to owner of a seat on the New
York Stock Exchange, Samuel H. Post refused to vote
for George W. Bush, whom he felt had betrayed the
party and America.

There was funeral in Wickford Village,
Rhode Island, on Wednesday 25 May 2005.


Further biographical and bibliographical details are available

Saturday, October 16th, 2004
12:16 pm
What's Happening Since We Fell into Fall
I've been away from LiveJournal for at least a month, working gruesomely long hours (on top of teaching and research) in writing an Appellate Opening Brief, and filing a late tax return (very complicated when you run several small businesses, have erroneous data from a mortgage company on interest paid, and have a son getting tax credits as tiny rebate for college tuition). But now that I'm back, I'll be catching up.

I've also been very busy submitting and having over 100 accepted and posted on Prime Curios!

In July, we spent a long weekend (along with over 70,000 others) at San Diego Comic-Con.

In late August I started teaching my Fall Semester classes in Intermediate Algebra (2 sections, 55 students) at Woodbury University. My family and I saw, and enjoyed, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." I coauthored a web page on my silly math discovery:

Eric W. Weisstein et al. "Emirpimes."
From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

In September, I turned 53 years old (a prime), and my brother Andy turned 51 (an emirpimes, since 51 = 3 x 17, and its reverse 15 = 3 x 5). My wife and I attended CopperCon, in Arizona. I went to a Dodgers-Padres game (before the Dodgers' season sputtered out in early postseason). My 15-year-old son

There's been academic politics galore, but I seem to have won a chunk of a big Federal Grant to rigorously test my innvoative Math teraching methods for 10 weeks in late may 2005-early August 2005, at my consulting rate ($100 to $150 per hours, triple my teaching rate). More on that as it develops.

That's my life in brief: husband, father, brother, teacher, Experimental Mathematician, baseball fan, and giver-of-panels at Science Fiction conventions. It's fun for me, and thank you for letting me share my experiences with you!
Thursday, August 12th, 2004
2:25 pm
Tomorrow is Friday the 13th...
Tomorrow is Friday the 13th... But I don't believe in Bad Luck. (knock wood!) As it says on How Stuff Works:
"Like many human beliefs, the fear of Friday the 13th (known as paraskevidekatriaphobia) isn't exactly grounded in scientific logic. But the really strange thing is that most of the people who believe the day is unlucky offer no explanation at all, logical or illogical. As with most superstitions, people fear Friday the 13th for its own sake, without any need for background information...."

I've had some good things and bad things happen since my last posting on LiveJournal.

Bad: I was offline for a couple of weeks due to an allegedly offensive anonymous posting. My wife and I guessed (early on) the twist ending of "The Village." My car was illegally towed from a Ralph's Grocery parking lot where I had the Assistant Manager's permission to park -- he forgot to inform his boss, or Security. Cost me $760 in towing and impound fees; plus $188 to repair damage from the towing. My wife and son had bad chest colds. I'm dogsitting a canine who is trying to break the Guiness Book of Records for loudest bark.

Good: I've continued to be incredibly productive in mathematical insights. As recounted in greater detail on Math Pages of Jonathan Vos Post:

Inventory Status Summary:
35 Math papers written in past year;
9 presented and accepted in proceedings of International Conferences;
4 still in editorial hands at Mathematics Magazine;
3 rejected by Mathematics Magazine, being resubmitted elsewhere;
1 still in editorial hands at Fibonacci Quarterly;
1 rejected by Fibonacci Quarterly, being resubmitted elsewhere;
2 rejected by American Mathematical Monthly, being resubmitted elsewhere;
14 still being completed/polished for first submission.

My latest theorem:

"Primes, Semiprimes, and Factorizations of
N-dimensional Centered Tetrahedral and Centered Cube


The following theorem is introduced: for nonnegative
integers X and positive integer N, the equation
NdCC(X) = X^N + (X+1)^N, which gives the
N-dimensional Centered Cube Numbers, has NO prime nor
semiprime values iff the binary representation of N
does NOT contain as substrings the binary
representations of ALL factors of N.

This paper consists of a table of prime factorizations
of N-dimensional Centered Cube Numbers for N from 1 to
12, which have the form X^N + X^(n+1); and N-dimensional Centered Tetrahedral Numbers for N from 4 to 10.

This table has purposes including a search for primes
and, due to related papers by this author [Post 2004
a,b,c...], a search for semiprimes. In some cases,
relating the the key theorem, we gave a polynomial
irreducibility argument for why there can be no primes
of a given form. A table of polynomial factorization
is an appendix. The paper's results are summarized in
an Extended Abstract....
Sunday, July 18th, 2004
7:44 pm
New comments on "I, Robot" and on Math as Sport
NPR (National Public Radio) just broadcast this morning a story on how Hollywood got it wrong with "I, Robot."

To my delight, they played audio clips of comments by Harlan Ellison (who wrote the greatest Science Fiction screenplay never produced) and Dr. Geoffrey Landis (award-winning Science Fiction author who has experiments on several Mars robots). NPR also and quoted Janet Jeppson Asimov.

That is, NPR got it right on how Hollywood got it wrong. I was one of the two who recommended Harlan's screenplay of "I, Robot" for a Nebula Award. Shortly afterwards, the other did the same: Isaac Asimov!

Picus Fiche comments, on the (non-LJ) "Making Light" blog:
"Oh, and back to I, Robot: It did well in the box office. A head honcho at Fox had this to say about Will Smith":

"'My God, this guy opens movies,' said Bruce Snyder, head of distribution at 20th Century Fox, which released 'I, Robot.' 'He's just so likable, he takes something like science fiction, which can be a little cold, and he makes it warm and entertaining.'"

"I hate Hollywood sometimes."

As to Math:

Is Math a Sport?
And what about target shooting, Skee-Ball, and standing on one foot?

By Jordan Ellenberg

Posted on slate.com
Thursday, July 15, 2004, at 2:20 PM PT

"Last week, the first contingent of U.S. Olympians arrived in Athens. The five men and one woman, survivors of a merciless selection process, stood ready to test themselves against the strongest competitors in the world.
Sunday, they go home."

"Their competition, the International Mathematical Olympiad, is already over. The math Olympiad may not attract a worldwide broadcast audience or demand traffic-jamming last-minute infrastructure fixes like the Olympic Games per se. But it's a contest as rigorous and rarefied as anything you'll see on NBC this August. Could mathletes someday compete alongside track stars and basketball players under the aegis of the five rings?...."

There was a discussion of this earlier this week [Thursday 15 July 2004] on slashdot.com

I believe that Math is a Sport, AND an artform.

Math is a breathmint AND a candymint.

Discussion here?
Thursday, July 1st, 2004
3:39 pm
I presented 3 papers at CMU, Pittsburgh, PA, this week
This is the longest I've been away from LiveJournal since I launched.

I was presenting these 3 papers at CASOS 2004, the annual conference of Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems:

The Implications of Peter Lynds 'Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs Discontinuity' for Mathematical Modeling
[Proceedings, North American Association for Computation in the Social and
Organizational Sciences, 2004]
Author #1 = Professor Philip V. Fellman, Southern New Hampshire University
Author #2 = Maurice Passman
Author #3 = Professor Jonathan Vos Post, Woodbury University
Author #4 = Professor Christine Carmichael, Woodbury University
Author #5 = Andrew Carmichael Post, California State University Los Angeles

The Nash Equilibrium, Polytopes, and Quantum Computing
[Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Complexity Science,
17-21 May 2004] [title may have been changed]
Author #1 = Professor Philip V. Fellman, Southern New Hampshire University
Author #2 = Professor Jonathan Vos Post, Woodbury University

'Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics' and the Arrow of Time
[Proceedings, North American Association for Computation in the Social and
Organizational Sciences, 2004]
Author #1 = Professor Philip V. Fellman, Southern New Hampshire University
Author #2 = Professor Jonathan Vos Post, Woodbury University

You can find more here about Peter Lynds
On these pages you'll find information and links relating mainly to Peter Lynds' work on the subject of time. His particular areas of interest include time and its relation to classical and quantum mechanics, relativity and cosmology, as well as to brain function and consciousness. He also has an interest in the foundations of assertion and truth.

Recent papers by Peter Lynds:

Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Discontinuity. Foundations of Physics Letters, 16(4), 2003. Lynds, Peter.

Zeno's Paradoxes: A Timely Solution. Lynds, Peter.

Subjective Perception of Time and a Progressive Present Moment: The Neurobiological Key to Unlocking Consciousness. Lynds, Peter.
Wednesday, June 16th, 2004
11:59 pm
new clues on how neurons process information
Gray Matters
by Gia Scafidi
USC News

Even after a century of research, the workings of brain cells remain somewhat mysterious. But USC scientists have uncovered new clues into how neurons process information.

Researchers from USC and the Technion Medical School in Israel have uncovered new clues into the mystery of the brain's ultra-complicated cells known as neurons.

Their findings — appearing in this month's issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience — contradict a widely accepted idea regarding the "arithmetic" neurons use to process information.

"It's amazing that after a hundred years of modern neuroscience research, we still don't know the basic information processing functions of a neuron," said Bartlett Mel, an associate professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and contributing author of the journal's article.

"Historically, it has most often been assumed that a brain cell sums up its excitatory inputs linearly, meaning that the excitation caused by two inputs A and B activated together equals the sum of excitations caused by A and B presented separately."

"We show that the cell significantly violates that rule," Mel said.

The team found that the summation of information within an individual neuron depends on where the inputs occur, relative to each other, on the surface of the cell.

To understand the team's work and the significance of its findings, it helps to know a little more about a brain cell.

All of the information processing that take place in the brain is managed by a web of neurons. These living cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often resembling trees or bushes.

A neuron receives input from other neurons at thousands of sites — called synapses — scattered across its surface. Each of the synapses generate a small local voltage response when it is activated.

According to the classical view of the neuron, synaptic responses flow down the cell's branch-like dendrites, which act like electrical cables and accumulate at the cell body. If the overall voltage response there is sufficient, an electrical spike is fired, carried down the cell's axon and communicated to hundreds or thousands of other neurons.

"Recent evidence suggests the story is not quite that simple, though," Mel said. "The input signals may interact with each other in the dendrites and may be profoundly transformed on their way to the cell body."

"In particular," Mel added, "individual branches of the dendritic tree can, under certain circumstances, generate local spikes that greatly amplify synaptic responses locally within the dendritic tree."

The team set out to establish the "arithmetic" used by the neuron to combine its many synaptic inputs, focusing on the pyramid-shaped neuron that makes up the bulk of the brain's cortical gray matter.

The experiments were conducted in Haifa, Israel by Alon Polsky, lead author of the paper and graduate student at Technion, and Jackie Schiller, contributing author and co-principal investigator.

Using slices of cortical brain tissue from rats, Polsky and Schiller located individual pyramidal neurons, filled them with dye for visualization purposes (cells are otherwise transparent) and, using extracellular electrodes, stimulated the cells very close to their dendritic branches.

While recording the voltage at the cell body, the team would deliver shocks through one or two stimulating electrodes directed to different locations in the dendritic tree, for example, to the same or different dendritic branches.

They would then compare the voltage response at the cell body as the two inputs were activated first separately and then together.

"The powerful thing about [Schiller's] method is that you can see where you're stimulating because the dye grows a little brighter wherever synapses are activated," said Mel, who worked with the team remotely from USC by collaborating on the experiment design and data analysis.

"You can direct the stimuli to very specific spatial locations on the cell and start to look at what a difference location makes. That old real estate phrase 'location, location, location' holds true for neurons as well."

The data showed that three different scenarios could occur when two electrodes A and B were used to stimulate the same dendritic branch:

• If the total response to the two inputs (electrodes A and B) falls below the branch's local firing threshold, the summation looks linear -- A plus B.

• If the two inputs are just strong enough that together they cross the local threshold, the summation looks superlinear -- more than A plus B.

• If each individual input is strong enough to cross the local threshold by itself, the summation is sublinear -- less than A plus B.

Mel explained the last point in this way: "If two people are trying to build a fire together and they each have a match, the fire isn't going burn twice as bright or twice as hot thanks to the second match, once it's already been started with the first. The second match is irrelevant."

In contrast to summation of inputs delivered to the same branch, the researchers found that summation of inputs on different dendritic branches always looked linear — like lighting two separate fires.

The findings support a 2003 modeling study carried out in Mel's lab, in which he and graduate student Panayiota Poirazi predicted that pyramidal neurons would behave in this way. This was the first experimental test of those predictions.

"So, we now think of the neuron in terms of a two-layer model," Mel said. "The first layer of processing occurs within separate dendritic branches. Each branch independently adds up the inputs to that branch, and then applies its own local thresholding non-linearity."

"In the second layer of processing," Mel added, "the results from all the different branches are added together linearly at the cell body, where they help to determine the cell's overall firing rate."

While the results are promising, the team is certain this is not the final word on the pyramidal neuron.

"Undoubtedly, this is still too simple a model," Mel said. “But the two-layer model is a better description, it seems, than to assume that the neuron is simply combining everything linearly from everywhere. That's clearly not what these data show."

According to Mel, one additional complexity that must eventually be dealt with is that synaptic inputs arriving at the most remote part of the neuron — called the apical tuft — may interact in subtle ways with inputs arriving on the basal dendrites, closer to the cell body.

"We'd now like to see if we need to extend the two-layer model in to a three-layer model," Mel said. "It may be that the basal and apical dendrites each behave as we've been saying, but when they interact with each other there's an additional nonlinear interaction that occurs between them."

Mel emphasizes that the "arithmetic" rules he and his colleagues found in pyramidal neurons may not apply to all neurons in the brain.

"There are other neurons that have different shapes, inputs, morphologies and ion channels," he said. “There might be a dozen different answers to the question, depending on what neuron you're looking at."

While much more work lies ahead, new imaging techniques, lifelike models and modern laboratory procedures are making the task of understanding the brain's complicated neurons a whole lot easier.

In the end, Mel said, the lessons learned from individual neurons will be crucial to advance researchers' understanding of the brain as a whole.

"We tend to view the brain as a computer," he said. "If we want to figure out how this computer works, we must first know how its separate parts function."
Tuesday, June 15th, 2004
10:23 am
Eric Temple Bell: Math Prof., Sci-Fi author, Liar?
I have recently acquired an archive of writings of the brilliant and controversial Eric Temple Bell, dating back to 1932. Based on Constance Reid's book (see below), he seems to have led a triple life: Math Professor at Caltech, Science Fiction author, and perhaps compulsive liar. You can find out about his most famous discovery( Bell Numbers) at any major Math site, such as mathworld.com. I shall be entering the debate on exactly what he did, when, as revised by my archives. It seems that he had his wife calculating recursive functions on some 1930-era mechanical computer. And it seems that he condemned String Theory decades before it was born!

The Search for E. T. Bell: Also Known as John Taine
by Constance Reid

An account of one of the century's most colorful mathematicians. Bell's Men of Mathematics (1937) presented mathematics and mathematicians in a way that had never been done before, fascinating many of his colleagues, irritating others, and inspiring young people to become mathematicians. Bell was also widely known as the science fiction writer John Taine. As a result of biographer Reid's discoveries about his early life, almost every statement now in print about Bell's family background and early life will have to be revised, and a new look taken at his extensive mathematical work and his science fiction.
[Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Oregon]

Eric Temple Bell (1883-1960) was a distinguished mathematician and a best selling popularizer of mathematics. His Men of Mathematics, still in print after almost sixty years, inspired scores of young readers to become mathematicians.

Under the name of John Taine, he also published science fiction novels (among them The Time Stream, Before the Dawn, and The Crystal Horde) that served to broaden the subject matter of that genre during its early years.

In The Search for E. T. Bell, Constance Reid has given us a compelling account of this complicated, difficult man who never divulged to anyone, not even to his wife and son, the story of his early life and family background. Her book is thus more of a mystery than a traditional biography. It begins with the discovery of an unexpected inscription in an English churchyard and a series of cryptic notations in a boy's schoolbook. Then comes an inadvertent revelation, by Bell himself, in a respected mathematical journal. You will have to read the book to learn the rest.

[or follow this thread on the magicdragon2 blog!]
Thursday, June 10th, 2004
9:37 pm
$1,000,000 prize for solving Riemann Hypothesis?
Purdue mathematician claims proof for Riemann hypothesis
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University mathematician claims to have proven the Riemann Hypothesis, often dubbed the greatest unsolved problem in mathematics...

As Mathematicians know, the world is divided into 3 kinds of people: the ones who prefer to look at the proof, and the ones who prefer to stick with the press release.

You may want, instead, to read Apology for the proof of the Riemann hypothesis (in pdf format). It is a sort of Mathematician's Autobiography, with in interesting diversion at the end on the Crusader who founded the family of the Mathematician in 1199 A.D., a coincidence on the heraldry, and how he intends to spend the $1,000,000 prize if his proof is verified.

Or maybe you dare to explore The measure problem (in pdf format) to get a sense of this brilliant mathematician's style in equationland.

Or maybe a modern background on Riemann zeta functions (in pdf format), which are at the heart of the century-and-a-half puzzle.

Or even Nevanlinna Factorization And The Bieberbach Conjecture (in pdf format) to see how he disposed of a lesser but still significant mathematical problem.

Or -- last but not least -- maybe you want to post something here on the Mathematics, the Social Significance of It All, or how you would spend $1,000,000 if you found yourself solving a problem that had baffled the greatest minds for generation?
Sunday, May 30th, 2004
10:08 pm
Launching *right now* via LiveJournal
MAGICDRAGON2 rolls out the red carpet, and welcomes you on our first day on LiveJournal. We have been getting 15,000,000 hits per year on our almost 9-year-old old-fashioned web domain, Magic Dragon

But now it's time to enter the 21st century, by offering a chance to air YOUR thoughts, YOUR feelings, and YOUR views on subjects of mutual interest to an emergent community.

I'd like to thank Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her wonderful friends at
Making Light
for persuading me to stop hogging their bandwidth and going directly on LiveJournal.

Today's starting topic is: can understanding social networks, such as the ones centering on Kevin Bacon (movies), Isaac Asimov (science and Science Fiction), and Paul Erdos (Mathematics) help to save civilization as we know it?

In 1950, John von Neumann said that "science and technology will shift from a past emphasis on motion, force, and energy to communication, organization, programming, and control."

That was half a century ago. Do you think he was right? And do you wonder why Kevin Bacon, Isaac Asimov, and Paul Erdos all have reasonable claims to be The Center of the Universe?
My Website   About LiveJournal.com