Wednesday, July 03, 2013


I love math because it is full of very abstract concepts with implications about our world once you get passed the foundation stuff.  I'm guessing this is just as true for any of the other sciences that attempts to describe our world.

I'm rereading a book from the bookshelf, "Chaos".  It's probably very boring to most, but I find it fascinating.  The book talks about how the study of chaos began.  If nothing else, I want to remember it is a study fundamentally about perspective.

Nature has this property where no matter how much you zoom in or out things look irregular. A snapshot of a coastline at 1000 feet altitude or 1 millimeter altitude will look pretty much the same. The study of chaos has the central theme that there is a "regular irregularity" to the world.  Mind blown!

Reading this book has also got me remembering the painter's paradox or Gabriel's horn.  Basically, it's a shape that has the property that you could fill it with paint, but never have enough paint to paint the outside.  I learned about this in high school basic calculus and my reaction was probably not much deeper than "this is cool".

The point I want to takeaway from this is to remember in math and in life there are things I can and can't understand AND I need to be aware of that.

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