So, August 2014: it’s been a month that brought some interesting threads into my writing here. It’s also had slightly longer gaps in my writing than I quite like, because I’d just not had the time to do as much writing as I hoped. 515 more words
Since I do need to make up for my former ignorance of John Venn's diagrams and how to use them, let me join in what looks early on like a massive Internet swarm of mentions of Venn. The Daily Nous, a philosophy-news blog, was my first hint that anything interesting was going on (as my love is a philosopher and is much more in tune with the profession than I am with mathematics), and I appreciate the way they describe Venn's interesting properties. (Also, for me at least, that page recommends I read Dungeons and Dragons and Derrida, itself pointing to an installment of philosophy-based web comic Existentialist Comics, so you get a sense of how things go over there.)https://twitter.com/saladinahmed/status/496148485092433920
And then a friend retweeted the above cartoon (available as T-shirt or hoodie), which does indeed parse as a Venn diagram if you take the left circle as representing ``things with flat tails playing guitar-like instruments'' and the right circle as representing ``things with duck bills playing keyboard-like instruments''. Remember --- my love is ``very picky'' about Venn diagram jokes --- the intersection in a Venn diagram is not a blend of the things in the two contributing circles, but is rather, properly, something which belongs to both the groups of things.https://twitter.com/mathshistory/status/496224786109198337
The 4th of is also William Rowan Hamilton's birthday. He's known for the discovery of quaternions, which are kind of to complex-valued numbers what complex-valued numbers are to the reals, but they're harder to make a fun Google Doodle about. Quaternions are a pretty good way of representing rotations in a three-dimensional space, but that just looks like rotating stuff on the computer screen.