austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

What's better than a public holiday?

Better than it being a public holiday is realizing the night before that it's a public holiday, so that you don't set the alarm and don't wake up, shower, and get out to the bus stop before piecing together that there's no need to go into work. Too bad, but then a couple hours' nap is a pretty good second-best condition.

A quiet day otherwise, seeing the completion of various minor chores and debugging a program. The debugged code still has a problem in it, but that's a conceptual problem of how a particular problem should best be solved, and not a programming error. I think I'd rather have the programming errors; I'm sure how to go about solving those.

While discussing topology in the Giants Club I noticed at least one person perk up with interest on the mention of ``topological rubber.'' The study of topology began with the study of shapes which could be stretched out, compressed, twisted, or rotated without tearing them, and examining what properties stay the same as long one doesn't tear the object -- that is, the study of a perfectly elastic rubber sheet. Purely innocent. But now I can't help thinking that inside of two years there'll be an NC-17 ``Listing's Lounge,'' where people get together and try to modify their genus (the number of non-removable holes in an object).

Trivia: William Oughtred, 1574-1660, an English mathematician worked extensively on the improvement of notations for arithmetic and algebra. His three most famous innovations today are probably the use of a cross X for multiplication; the use of double colons :: for proportionality; and the linear slide rule. He and a student, Richard Delamain, 1600-1644(?), appear to have invented the circular slide rule simultaneously and independently. Source: A History of Mathematics, Florian Cajori.

Currently Reading: Shakespeare's Kings: The great plays and the history of England in the Middle Ages, 1337-1485, John Julius Norwich.


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