Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Linguist Contemplates the Afterlife


Now, one or two of you might’ve maybe’ve noticed, that from time to time -- when the spirit takes me -- I let loose a comment or two  about Christian theology and Christian living.   These comments may or may not make sense -- half the time, I’ve had a few.  But fact is:  Not a one of us can avoid -- no matter how much TV we watch and stuff our brain with  in the meantime -- nary a one of us can keep from staring Mister Death, there, right in the face:  when our time comes.

So -- whether you’re a priest, or an atheist, or just a ramblin’ gamblin’ man, time comes, you’re gonna wonder about that thing (if it even is a thing) they call the Afterlife.   We have -- from time to time -- touched upon that matter here:

Funny thing about the Afterlife -- any one of us might be a sight lot closer to finding out about it, than we rightly reckon.   And for an old man like me, whose heart is still ticking, but which sometimes fails to tock -- well, any time the doorbell rings, I have to wonder:  Is it those Seventh-Days again, or is it the Guy with the Scythe ???

Fact is -- Don’t worry about it much.  Seems I trust in my Maker more deeply in my heart, than ever I can in my fretful, sinful mind.  But - be - that - as it may.  All we really need to know, in this life here below -- me ‘n’ you ‘n’ Sister Sue -- is summarized  right fine  right here:

"O Death" (Ralph Stanley)
"O-oh Death -- won't you spairrr me over till another year."



~


This frame of clay which Thou hast shaped
and quickened with Thine inblown Word,
a cloak about my spirit draped:
Mold it a little longer, Lord.

            For that I feel  the flesh grow slack,
            the inward wind  begin to leak,
            the cloak grow threadbare  on my back,
            and life's flame  gutter  on the wick.

Thou didst a sand-glass  but upend
when in the world  Thou sent'st abroad
the life  Thou didst not give,  but lend:
Lend it a little longer, Lord.

            For that  the very time grows nigh
            wherein, obedient to their fate,
            my father, and his before, did die:
            Oh Lord, do not advance the date!

Nay let me live, that with these days
I might yet pray, and pen thy praise.

You Have a Message

A message to you, from your very own great-grandpappy.


Funny thing is -- he's my great-grandpappy too !


Turns out your granddad  is of the same opinion:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuEOGMzSLoQ&feature=related

(Dang if that ain't m'own granddad, same 's you !)


Song about sorrow, make you click your heels -- make a dead-man get up and dance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldnZnjGBGXw&NR=1&feature=endscreen
 

The Riemann Conspiracy: a tearline version

Very few of you have the clearances required for even a basic-level view of the vast and deep-rooted Riemann Conspiracy ©;  but recently a tearline version, redacted down to the level of TTS//RI  (Tippy-Top Secret//Handle via Rumint Channels only) was obtained by Sneakileaks ®, a more skilled and covert organization that occasionally feeds its table-scraps to the pimpled wannabes at Wikileaks.   So deprived is the American public  of the basic facts of ... well, just about anything, that the very phrase “tearline version” seems almost unknown (or perhaps its Google hits have been suppressed: try it, there’s next to nothing).  As a service to sunshine and to our fundamental freedoms, we offer their tearline (further redacted by ourselves, to protect identities both ancient and modern) to our hordes of grateful readers.  Scan this quick before this site is taken down.  Memorize it -- do not make a copy, if they find it on you, you could be in danger.


Geneva, 3 July 1776.   At the Masonic Temple in the Rue de la [redacted], a key clique of initiates foregathered to launch the next day’s events.  Presiding was [a named Ukrainian Person], assisted by [censored], [censored], and [censored].  As soon as [section omitted for reasons of security], thus resulting in a stunning loss at Waterloo.  Yet no sooner had [pages 7 - 74 require Compartment URYSOHN for access] without alerting the Red Orchestra.  But [suppressed] without [censored, censored] resulting in [encrypted] thus astoundingly [no you can’t read that] and even [not a prayer, pal]  spiny anteaters from Mars.

Sorry, that’s as much as I’m allowed to tell you.

*
Für psychologisch tiefgreifende Krimis,
in pikanter amerikanischer Mundart,
und christlich gesinnt,
klicken Sie bitte hier:

*
For a tearline version (literally -- it underwent pre-pub censorship of a peculiarly censorious sort) of a partly-true memoir, check this out:

http://www.linguasacrapublishing.com/masseyexcerptamorvincitomnia.html

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All You Really Need 2 Know about Paleontology

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsJCbprEmbo&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGWaP7Q5vCI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiWu7Csn2HY&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXLTLm0bAok&feature=related

Have a pencil ready;  take notes.)

(The sound is curiously muted on that last version -- another reflection of Minimalism ? -- but the females will definitely induce you to father-forth  further baby Neanderthals ....)

Back in Winthrop House, in 1970 (ah! how we hoped for that decade;  and how bitterly  disappointed),  I used to listen to this   over'n'over'n'over ...
The 'B' side of this 45  was:  "You Didn't Like it 'Cos U Didn't Think of It".
(Truer words were never spoke.)

Update:
A version recovered  from the bottom of the sea.
The sound quality is terrible -- but maybe that's a good thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn-aIZCzYj0

Further troglodyte musicology:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLi0ppwOOwI&feature=related
("It's writ-ten onna wee-yund ...")

Update to Azawad


[An update to this post, followed by this.]

"Azawad", écrit en tifinagh


 
(Notice that, from this alone, you can deduce that tifinagh, unlike Arabic, is written from left to right.)

From Wiki:
Le tifinagh ou libyco-berbère  est un alphabet utilisé par les Berbères.  Tifinagh est le pluriel de Tafineq qui signifie caractère d'écriture en touarègue. Tifinagh  renvoie à une racine FNQ,  rappelant l'origine phénicienne évidente, de cet alphabet.

That is to say:  The Hamito-Semitic languages (possibly like Proto-Indo-European) consist of morphological elaborations of a triliteral consonantal skeleton.  The root F-N-Q lies at the base of both the words Phoenician and Tifinagh.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
A number of scholars have been making soothing noises about the situation in Azawad;  e.g.

where a former Ambassador and CFR bigwig  proclaims “the Tuareg rebels seem to have most of the cards”.

Even sillier is this line from a well-bearded scholar:  
A secular Berber, pro-Western, nation is born 
in the middle  of Sahara.”


Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Touareg tribesmen have retreated from Timbuktu, their tails between their legs, on orders fron AQIM:


Without a fight.

As for this blossoming "secular" society-- most of the Christians in Timbuktu  have fled for their lives, so perhaps you could call that secularization of a sort.  Anyhow, religious cleansing.  For in case any of these infidels are so unwise as to hang around, Boko Haram has sent an armed contingent to do mop-up.


Nor does this desert blossom of a secular society count as a Paradise for women and children:
And lest, lulled by the Small-Small World happytalk from the likes of such scholars, you imagine that Azawad is a post-racial paradise as well --  check this out:



And as for the so-called (proposed, imaginary) Regional Force composed of ragtag elements from surrounding African countries, which is supposedly going to bring order to northern Mali:

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20120426.AFP4488/mali-un-nouveau-groupe-arme-entre-dans-tombouctou.html

they gonna get their butt whupped -- whipped and soundly shtupped.  If they ever show up to fight, which I doubt.  (As the Nouvel Observateur diplomatically puts it, "le caractère 'immédiat' du déploiement de cette force, saluée par le front anti-junte et la France, est tout relatif.")

In Talibanistan, AQ were merely uninvited guests, rather resented by most of the locals.   Now, for the first time in history, AQ may have their own wholly-owned independent nation.

Stay tuned ...

*     *     *

~ Commercial break ~
For a book-length semantic investigation,
in Arabic and the European languages,
click here

We now return you to your regularly scheduled essay.

*     *     *
[Update 1 May 2012]  Things change too quickly to keep up --- and too randomly and impermanently, even to care very much.  The following, a genuine headline, might have come from The Onion:


Mali junta overruns loyalist base in blow to counter-coup



[Update 17 May 2012]  Soon you'll need a scorecard to keep track of the action in Azawad.
Among the carpetbaggers is a group known as Ansar al-Din  -- Arabic for 'Supporters of the Faith'; that is a morphological transcription; you will also see it transcribed as Ansar Eddine, which reflects the pronunciation, roughly  on-SAHR ad-DEEN.
And here is the latest pretty face:

Iyad Ag Ghali, head of Ansar al-Din

[Update 18 May 2012]

Le Chef d’Etat-major du MNLA



 "Le point de vue de tous les Azawadiens sera respecté dans l’Azawad,  qu’ils soient Chrétiens, Juifs, ou Musulmans."

http://www.tamurt.info/droit-de-reponse-du-mnla-a-el-watan,2602?lang=fr


*
Pour d’autres friandises
de la confiserie 
du docteur Justice,
consultez:

*
[Update 27 V 2012]  MNLA and Ansar al-Din(*) announce a lash-up:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2012/05/27/97001-20120527FILWWW00031-mali-creation-d-un-etat-islamique.php
http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2012/05/27/01003-20120527ARTFIG00058-nord-mali-la-rebellion-cree-un-etat-islamique.php
http://mg.co.za/article/2012-05-27-mali-rebels-unite-found-state-of-azawad

And AQMI ?  Playing gooseberry?  Stay tuned!

[Update 9 June 2012]  Already these strange bedfellows  have had a falling-out:
http://www.elwatan.com/international/la-fusion-tourne-a-l-affrontement-09-06-2012-174026_112.php



(*) Linguistic note:  The transcription here, Ansar al-Din, directly reflects the Arabic spelling.  Wikipedia does not include this in its lists of variants:

Ansar Dine (Arabic: أنصار الدين‎, also transliterated Ançar Dine, Ançar Deen or Ansar ad-Din; meaning "Defenders of Faith"

The spelling “Dine” reflects French orthography, “Deen” the English, in rendering the Arabic long vowel.   
The "al-" is the morphological definite article, phonetically assimilated to "ad-" before "d".  You really do need it, since without it you get the misleadingly ecumentical-sounding Wiki translation "defenders of faith".  The true phrase means rather "defenders of the faith" -- i.e., the one true faith, in this case Islam.

The Algerian site El Watan uses a good transcription: 
--Ançar Eddine.  Here the c-cedilla denotes the Arabic "hard S".

[31 V 2012]  An excellent site for all things Azawadi:
http://toumastpress.com/

[4 juillet 2012]  Images of what is being destroyed during the iconoclastic outbreak:
http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2012/07/03/03004-20120703ARTFIG00941-tombouctou-quel-est-ce-patrimoine-en-danger.php

[8 VII 12] Now more here:
http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2012/07/on-profanation.html

[18 VII 12]  Refugees from Azawad -- the view from Mauretania:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/world/africa/jidhadists-fierce-justice-drives-thousands-to-flee-mali.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
Sado-Islamists, ruling with an iron hand.


[30 VII 12]  For extramarital begetting, lapidation:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/world/africa/couple-stoned-to-death-by-islamists-in-mali.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=print
[Insert predictable finger-wagging here: _______]
But consider ...
Imagine that such sanctions were applied in America;  tens of millions would die.
And yet ... absent such sanctions ... What have we come to ??

[8 Aug 2012]
Burkina Faso Official Goes to Islamist-Held Northern Mali in Effort to Avert War 
The foreign minister, Djibril Bassolé, met in the town of Kidal with a leading warlord, Iyad ag Ghali, who directs the Islamist Ansar Dine movement, which is allied with Al Qaeda’s regional franchise  ...  --> Burkina Faso — through its perennial leader, Blaise Compaoré — played a key role in picking the civilian leaders who now head up a much-contested “interim government” in Mali’s capital, Bamako.

[22 Nov 2012]  Like the West, the MNLA refers to the takfiris as "terrorists":
 http://toumastpress.com/actualites/liberation-azawad/864-reprises-combats-mnla-terroristes-menaka.html
 

Hillary Clinton to launch third Mideast war ! (updated)


[Original post, from last year:]

… in her rhetoric, and febrile imagination.   Read all about it here:

A very wise man once said:  Speak softly, and carry a big stick.  Now Ms. Clinton is acting like Herman Cain, who promised to position warships off the coast of Iran  and dare  Iranians to “Make my day”:

~

Now, Ms. Clinton is more intelligent than this.  She knows that the Secretary of State is not empowered to inaugurate any such policy-shift, and she knows that everyone knows it.    Cain says stuff like that just to get noticed, as part of his Very Silly Party spoof campaign -- coolly revealed as a joke cum expenses-paid book tour, in this morning’s fine Alexandra Petri WaPo op-ed:
(And as usual, the weird WaPo website utterly buries this highly interesting article.)

So why does she do it?   She knows it makes her look foolish or unhinged, as when she repeatedly badgered General Petraeus in Congressional testimony, trying to get him to retract his modest assessment of Iran’s current danger to our troops in Iraq:  all he could do is keep mildly repeating, “No ma’am… No ma’am … No ma’am …”


My hunch is that it’s for domestic consumption -- but not in the manner of the outlandish statements and outright lies of the Republican Presidential candidates: They are whoring for the moron vote, and reckon they’ll get away with it.  No, the former and perhaps future Senator from New York is winking to her own much more well-informed and vigilant lobby, saying:  See? I’m willing to look ridiculous in public for your sake, so you know you can trust me.   (G. Gordon Liddy used to put his finger in the flame, for similar reassurance to his bosses;  hard to say which gesture is the more painful.)

It was the same when John McCain derided Obama as “naïve” for failing to subscribe to the thesis that Iran is as much an existential threat to the United States  as the Soviet bloc ever was. 
Hmm, let’s see… the whole of Eastern Europe armed to the teeth with tanks, and the oceans aswim with subs carrying nuke-tipped ICBMs, and the memory of victory in the Second World War, and a history of Soviet foreign conquest … versus a single shaky country with no nukes at all so far, and no long-range missiles to deliver them in any case… hmmm…. -- McCain was in the service, he knows that this is nuts; and the Lobby knows that he knows, but they appreciate him saying it anyway.

[Update 31 Dec 2011]
Some sane words here:

Hey -- I'm not pushing Ron Paul per se;  but these days, among the Republicans, you take sanity wherever you can find it.

[Update 2 Jan 2012]
So now Rick Santorum throws his own grenade into the ring, saying he'll "work openly with Israel" (an interesting choice of words) and, if that (lest we forget) foreign power isn't satisfied by how things are going, will drag America into yet another MidEast war:

Note that, with Iran, back to the wall from the sanctions, now threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it well could do), such outbursts on the part of a potential President  are ex-tra-ordinarily irresponsible.   He might just launch a self-fulfilling prophecy, pushing the world toward war before he is ever personally in a position to horse around with the nukes.

[Update 28 IV 2012]  שַבַ"כ
Plain talk from the former chief of Shabak:
“I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings…”

The Riemann Conspiracy Claims Another Victim


Read the transparent cover-story here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/world/europe/britain-riveted-in-death-of-spy-gareth-williams.html?ref=global-home

A Riemann Conspiracy Guide to Life


A depressing item in this morning’s Washington Post:

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.


The atavistic, almost nostalgic throwback to the spine-tingling cloak-and-dagger age of the Comintern, of “North by Northwest”, of John le Carré,  is truly touching.  If there actually is a bloc of Democrats doing a deep-entry into whatever may be left of the CPUSA, then they are as harmless as Whigs.  (Come to think of it, Ron Paul is  a Whig.)

Unfortunately, that outburst by the Florida Republican (a species that ever bodes ill) is but one in a spectrum of pathologies, birthers and Swift-Boaters and other concoctions of brains overheated in their cocoon of tinfoil,  that have flourished over the last decade or so, a time that may be known to later historians as The Decade when White Folks Went Bonkers.

Now, these days, alternate realities and the Multiverse are all the rage, and I wouldn’t dream of breathing a word against it.  But if you’re going to go confecting a parallel universe for yourself, it should at least be funny.  Problem is, these folks don’t seem to be having any fun.

Well!  The “World of Dr Justice” does know how to have fun;  and we have set up a rollicking, side-splitting parallel universe in which you can frolic, sleuth, and not get hurt.  The ride begins here:


Be sure to check out the additional clues in the Comments section, sent in by our distinguished readers!

For further late-breaking developments, click here.

.


An Ad from the Madmen


Among the notions in my medicine cabinet  is a tube (this one purely for research purposes) of what was known long ago as “Preparation H”.  The “H” part was a transparent allusion to what can be keenly felt, though it must not be named.   As branding goes, it was a good title.

But now everything has gone generic, and the tube in question (which my wife bought at the mini-pharmacy on the far wall of the local Giant) is labeled with a brand-X pseudo-brand,

WESTERN FAMILY hemorrhoidal ointment

“Western Family”!  Such a strange yet evocative image!  Madison Avenue perks up;  the commercial virtually writes itself.

Y’know, when a mayyun’s been rahhdin’ th’ range eight days runnin’, on a harrrd Western-style saddle  not one a them plush ‘n’ spongey  English crumpet things,  his heinie gets to hurtin’ somethin’ powerful.  So me I allus reach for  that sa-ame sov’rin remedy my Pappy used to use, like his Pappy before him:  a big thick, full-to-burstin’ jumbo-size tube o’ WESTERN FAMILY ® bejazus-cream !   Mmmm…..   Insert.... Insert deeply .... Squeeze, squeeze, rhythmically squeeze …. FASTERnFASTERnFASTERnFASTER .....  till it squirts…

“Hey, Pop, kin I use it when yore done?”

“Shore thing, Sister Sue.  Say, jist bend over, do it for ya m’self…”


[Note to the copy-editor:   Send this over to Legal prior to posting  and have it vetted for Good Taste.]

[Footnote:  For an educational video  in extraordinarily good taste,
suitable for nuns and infants, click here:

The Ontology of Logic (updated)

Since logic and set theory themselves -- at least as I imbibed them at the bosom of Quine -- are all about ontology, this may seem a queer thing to single out.   One reason to do so  is that the question of the ontological status of various abstract entities  is, in mathematics, seen through a glass darkly (typically going undiscussed unless challenged), whereas here --  face to face.

This will, like its sister essay The Ontology of Physics, be simply a corkboard for posting stray thoughts and choice quotes.  For a more general take on all this, click here.  As for the ontology of mathematics proper, we need no special post, since that is an ongoing theme in the "Theologia Mathematica" series. For that, click here.


Here we go.


Frege took all classes as rock-bottom objects  on a par with individuals.
-- W.V.O. Quine, “On Frege’s Way Out” (1954)

This is the bold, the manly path, of Cantorian Realism.   We do not merely accept sets (classes, collections) as, well, okay, “real” in some pale, some Meinongian sense, though in no wise privileged to belly up to the bar as equals with such unquestionably real individuals as Piglet:  No, they are rock-bottom objects, pardner, fit to drink with any man.


*
Commercial Break
A private detective  confronts the uncanny;
an ecclesiastical mystery:
Murphy Calls In a Specialist
*
~

If  to be is to be the value of a quantified variable, then it matters what sort of quantification we are talking about.  Quine frequently raises this knotty issue.

Substitutional quantification makes good sense … no matter what substitution class we take -- even that whose sole member is the left-hand parenthesis.  To conclude that entities are being assumed that trivially, and that far out, is simply to drop ontological questions.
-- W.V.O. Quine, “Existence and Quantification”

Quine footnotes this:  “Lesniewski’s example, from a conversation of 1933 in Warsaw.”

The heart stops cold.  1933 in in central Europe -- not a good place and time.  Yet to have been Quine, even Quine, young and thrusting, in Warsaw with Lesniewski -- very heaven!

Quine goes on: 

Lesniewski did not himself relate his kind of quantification [i.e., substitutional as opposed to objectual] to ontological commitments.

And indeed was right to do so, since

Where substitutional quantification serves, ontology lacks point.

~

Andrew Gleason,  Fundamentals of Abstract Analysis (1966), p. 1, offers a notably practical definition of set from the standpoint of a working mathematician:

A set is any collection of mathematical objects which is sufficiently well defined to be the subject of logical analysis.

Since the word collection itself is often used by mathematicians as a synonym of set, you might deem this definition circular.  But here collection is being used entirely informally, referring to our pre-theoretic intuitions;  he could just as well said bunch or (even better) passel.
Indeed, from this perspective, Gleason is offering what amounts to an ostensive definition.  It is comparable to such a classic ostensive scenario as this:  “See that creature over there?  Assuming that it is not a mirage or an animatronic gimmick, that is what we refer to as a capybara.”

~

In Set Theory, you start with any object, which can be anything.  Indeed, even one will do: it can be zero, x, or even Piglet, for soon you contrast the-set-containing-Piglet, and off you go.  Indeed, in the most abstract set-theory, you don’t even need objects, just start from the empty set.   Even so, the enterprise smacks of ontology, since you have … let’s call them ‘thingies’, so as not to be dragged into any philosophical presuppositions about objects (thingies being more like the Cheshire-Cat-smile memories of objects), but even so, we are forming sets which consist of such thingies, and ask which contain which, and which are equal to which, and how many of them are there -- tangible things like that.
In Category Theory, you put childish things aside, and say Goodby to All That.  As one practitioner puts it:

Since a category consists of arrows, our subject could also be described as learning how to live without elements, using arrows instead.
-- Saunders MacLane, Categories for the Working Mathematician (1971; 2nd ed. 1998), p. vii

[Update -- Lent 2013 -- Let us try, for a time, to live without elements...]

~

Of all the sciences -- nay, of all human cognitive activities -- mathematics is ontologically the most venturesome.   For among its key tools is the ancient method of reductio ad absurdum or modus tollens.  Here we work -- calmly and logically -- with Impossible Posits;  and when the smoke has cleared, all is once again as it should be, and we know something new.

Thus, take the question of how many prime numbers exist.  Lots, no doubt;  but it is not initially obvious that they go on forever.    The bigger a number gets, the harder it is for it to pass through the inflexible Sieve of Eratosthenes:  the mesh gets finer and finer as the number of primes -- of your possible submultiples -- grows and grows.

A direct way of proving the infinitude of the primes would be to come up with a formula that could serve as a primal generator:  plug in a number, out pops a prime.   But no such formula is known, and probably none exists.  

So the standard move, known already to the ancient Greeks (men like gods, like very gods) is to turn on your heel and spin about and say:  Fine!  Be like that!  Let’s assume that there are not infinitely many primes.  (Your finitist opponent -- a fat and greasy Nominalist -- emits an oily smile;  but he soon shall taste the wrath of Modus Tollens.)  So there are only finitely many (smile, nod);  so there’s a biggest one (nod, but a fading smile, as our finitist realizes that something is about to go very, very wrong);  let us call this largest one M.  (Suspecting a trap, the finitist objects;  you don’t make an issue of it; let’s call it N instead.)
Our mathematician now has what proves to be a powerful weapon: N, the Biggest Prime in the Universe.   That no such number exists (as we soon shall find out) does not lessen its devastating effect, while we hold it in mind and operate with it -- working in an anti-universe, as it were, on the far side of Alice’s looking-glass, and yet where otherwise all the usual laws continue to hold.
So we form the factorial of N and add a unit:  N! + 1.  It is larger than N;  and yet it must itself be prime, since, by elementary arithmetic, no number (let alone a prime number) no larger than N, can divide it.   Our quixotic posit of a largest prime  has managed to unhorse itself.

Modus Tollens, skewering an Impossible Posit

Note that we really have been operating according to God’s own laws of logic, yet operating -- temporarily, like Jack Bauer saving the day by working in a radioactive chamber -- in a universe not made by His hand:  namely, one in which a largest prime exists.   Like the Devil’s inventions, this universe self-destructs -- but in a fashion that is constructive for ourselves.

   "Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth."
   -- Hamlet

This process of assuming a falsity to come up with a positive result  is really quite extraordinary.  It is generally stated that, if a logical system allows you to derive a certain statement as well as its negation, then the whole system falls apart, since then you can derive anything at all,  (p & ~p) => q   being analytic.  But obviously the structure of mathematics is more resilient than that.

In vain might one seek such fruitful use of counterfactuals outside of math.  It is as though, in order to solve some particularly perplexing crime, one were to falsely accuse someone and put him on trial; then, in the course of the proceedings, the forensics and cross-examinations, the real truth would out.  (Come to think of it, that is exactly the plot of many a courtroom drama.)

[Footnote]  G. H. Hardy, in A Mathematician’s Apology, gave the classic expression of the audacity of this move:

The proof is by reductio ad absurdum,  and reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician’s finest weapons.  It is a far finer gambit  than any chess gambit:  a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece,  but a mathematician offers the game.
 
A serious-humorous example of positing an impossible object -- yet here, not with modus tollens in mind, but as a kind of calculational convenience:

Assume that the bubbles in a foam  are reglar polyhedrons, whose faces are regular polygons with n sides, and that the angles between these sides are all 109° 28’.  Since no such object exists, let us call it the ‘follyhedron’, and pretend that it does anyway.
-- Ian Stewart,  How to Cut a Cake (2006), p. 126


[Meta-footnote]

Logic … operate[s]  in terms of quite unidentified  but none the less definite ‘objects’, which then  do or do not fall into classes … I do not know whether it can deal with jelly-like or cloud-like entities, with mushy viscous messes  that do not break up into manifest units.  I suspect that nothing is beyond the technical ingenuity of men …
-- Ernest Gellner, Language and Solitude (posthum. 1998), p. 53


An expert review of Dennis Hesseling, Gnomes in the Fog:  The Reception of Brower’s Intuitionism in the 1920s (2003), by Sam Adams on Amazon, summarizes: 

Brouwer's position arises from the assertion that the ontology of mathematics is determined solely by epistemology, and thus a statement which has not been determined to be true or to be false cannot be determined to refer to a state of affairs … Since mathematical meaning derives from emergent, epistemologically generated ontology, it follows that logic itself is not a formative and central structure of cognition, but rather is itself an emergent, structural overlay.

Friday, April 27, 2012

An insidious video





“But then, one by one, all his encrypted phones began to break.”

First, lock your doors.   Next -- peep out the blinds.  Check in the street below, whether a black sedan is idling within easy view of your residence.  If so, you need to flee.  If not, click here:


Having watched this -- Destroy your computer’s hard-drive, make a will, and head for the hills.

We have never dared suggest that the whole DSK soap opera was, at a deeper level -- much deeper than that of the shenanigans of French politics -- that it was nothing more than a red herring -- a diversion -- to distract an easily-distractable populace from the depth and horror of ….


But the accumulating evidence now  is hard to ignore.

~


*     *     *
~ Annonce publicitaire ~
We now return you to your regularly scheduled essay.

*     *     *


The first thing you need to ask yourselves is … Who is the man in the raincoat ???!!?????
Enhance the image using ChloeView ®, and you will easily see that this is not DSK, but a stunt double.
And yet -- The real DSK arrives within three minutes of this bogus scenario !!!

Another point -- note -- This is time-lapse photography;  the total events covered over the course of the video  must have run some twenty minutes.  Yet during that whole time, the clot of people in front of the hotel  scarcely changes:  the same people keep milling around, mumbling "durka durka durka", as the minutes tick by.  Now -- Who stands around for twenty minutes doing nothing, especially among the overscheduled upscale clientele of Sofitel?   The obvious conclusion is that most or all of them are plants -- bodyguards, SIGINT teams, covert operators, with perhaps a sprinkling of pickpockets.
-- Truly, they take us for fools.

Meanwhile  Epstein -- a known agent of the Knights of Malta -- isn’t talking.


~     ~

FLASH UPDATE

Cette infecte espèce de Dialloïde n’est qu’un travesti, qui travaille pour le המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים  depuis bien longtemps:
In-croy-able ….

~     ~     ~

Mise à jour époustiflante

M. DSK vient d’accepter le poste de Ministre de Finances du nouvel état d’Azawad Libre Populaire: