Friday, December 19, 2003

[Edit: What once was lost and now is found].

Having made comments about rediscovering maths abilities (due to tedious work), Signal + Noise instantly decides post a load of school maths problems[1]. Oh dear. I've done the folding paper one, I think, even if I'm not sure of what some of the words mean - algorithm, that's just a sequence right? But "asymptotic"? Well looking it up on gives me a definition[2], but I've no idea how that applies to the problem.

[1] Yes I know this implies I think the world revolves around me, but in one way it pretty much does, even if I'm not quite big enough for other people to notice this (and there are the effects of various other forces which disguise the fact).
[2] It sounds an example of one is an axis in a exponential decay curve - although thinking about the words it could be any straight line with a curve approaching it (but "tends" suggests the change of the curve's points in the plane perpendicular to that axis[3] decreases as the curve approaches the axis). But how this relates to the problem I don't see.
[3] I know an axis is a line not a plane, but bear with me, as I don't know how else to describe without having to draw it, or having my head go pop.

But my way of solving the problem...while trying to explain it, I've realised my way won't work (opps). But then I have been trying to do them all in my head, without anything to write on.

Except a computer...but that doesn't count as it's so useless for manipulating information in the ways you want (why is that, and why haven't I changed it yet?).

Getting back to the paper problem - can you tear bits off? It's not cheating - it's thinking laterally.

Is isn't fair - all we had to do at school was find the most economic packing shape (if packing material is limiting, it's a sphere, but upping the effects of packing complexity and tessalation and you get into a dazzling array of cylinders, cubes, rectangles, and various forms of pyramid). I think we came to the conclusion that the world shouldn't be as it is, but is as it is because that is how it is, and it would take too much resource use to change. And then you ask why do we need packaging - why can't the products be the packaging (and got start back to the "becuase that's how it is" arguement).

Hmm, folding paper - can the sections be made of many triangles?

And I really need to experiment with bits of paper to do this, so obviously I'm missing the blatent solution that negates the need for experience.

Which might explain why I've never been good at programming - I can learn how to build things, and cope with all the sequences required. But then I discover that someone's already built what I want, which pretty much flattens my patience for doing it myself. But I never seem to think of new stuff, the stunningly obvious things that other people just seem to magically come up with.

But then I'm probably the type of person who when intending to create a computer running Windows, would come up with an etch-a-sketch and a polaroid camera (actually can you get magnitised photographic ink? So then you just press the print to the screen to make a copy).

Still can't figure it out, so I'll move on. Casino Avenue has links to the Guardian's response to the Big Read, and assorted other worthwhile stuff.

New words for the day - asymptotic and autopenotomy[4]. The latter from last night's Imagine[5], on the OED.
[4] Think Ow.
[5] Why is everything decent on too late? First Bedtime, now this. Bedtime by the way - a cruelly scripted (in a good way) comic series, which somehow is both savage and kind at the same time, and is good despite of its denouements of dubious plots.

Getting back to the it me, or do some of them not seem like there's a problem?
Brief [read many hours] interruption whilst actually doing stuff [read forms, lots of forms]. But I'm back now. And I've got a headache. And I still can't figure out either an

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