Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Update day: the year ahead and what I've been up to

Hi guys, long time no see. I haven't posted on update days in a while, probably 3 months without looking it up. So what have been up to? Lots of stuff, many of it posted here. Animal wise though? One stray cat.

This cat has been hanging around my apartment since the summer at least. I started keeping him fed because I noticed squirrel damage was less with him around. It started getting cold, and we, roommate and I, were able to get him a place to stay. I thought.

He's back in the neighborhood, and a limp we noticed before may be infected. I don't know since I just got a message from my roommate on facebook about this and haven't seen this first hand. I'm just gonna dump right here because whatever, that's what this is for.

I feel like I haven't done what I should or need to do for this cat. I can't have animals in my apartment, if I could this dude would be living in my place. I can't have animals, so I become more concerned with cats in the area because I've always had pets growing up. Now I work to keep myself alive and think "Man, I wish I had enough so I could move to a place to get an animal, and also have enough to keep said animal supported". Basically at this point my goal is this cat. I'm going home, finding this cat, and keeping it inside while I figure out a way to keep him well. Fun times for me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Drawing spheres on the surface of a hypercube

I could write another description of what the higher dimensions are, but personally I "A Wrinkle in Time" to describe that to me when I was 8 years old. Whatever that book left out was filled in by years of video games and movies to fill in the gaps. You know what the first dimension is, and the second and the third. You can't picture anything higher than that, but that's not a problem because the best of us can't. I'm here to talk about a much crazier, much wilder idea.

The problem with describing anything higher than 3 dimensions is that the task of imagining what a 4 dimensional cube or sphere looks like and this is impossible. Physically adding an extra dimension for the sake of modeling the 4th dimension is like blaming penguins for me being bad at analogies. This doesn't have to be the case though, because it's easier to imagine what a pyramid looks like on the surface of a hyper-sphere or a hyper-cube. This is because the surface of a 4th dimensional object has 3 dimensions. Allow to me to explain.

A cube is a 6 sided object with 12 equal edges. What makes it a cube is the fact that it has height, length, and width. Each side, or face, has only length and width thereby making it a 2 dimensional plane. A cube is a solid object bounded by a 6 equal squares. A cube is an easy place to start because it can be given to a child along with a Sharpie and they can draw all manner of shapes on its surface. Then Euclidean geometry can be explained to the child because they need to grow up sometime and understand how basic shapes can be modeled by numbers. All the shapes will fall under the basic rules: squares will have angles that add up to 360o and areas equal to their length times their height, triangles have angles that add up to 180o and have areas equal to its height times its base.

Anyone went the extra step for geometry knows that the properties of these shapes change when drawn along a curved surface, like a sphere. A sphere is a solid object bounded by equal circles, which means that a line is no longer straight, a line becomes curved. All lines are great circles and all great circles intersect. A great circle is the equator for simple reference. These lines can still draw shapes on a sphere it's just that the properties of the shapes change. A triangle angles are equal to 180o plus the area of the triangle. This makes transferring shapes from the surface of a globe to a flat map hard since the shapes are not the same.

A hyper-sphere is a catchall term referring to a sphere with more than 3 dimensions. A 3-sphere is a 4 dimensional sphere, bounded by 3 dimensional circles. All great circles on a 3-sphere are great spheres. Much like we can draw squares, circles and triangles on the surface of a ball, we could draw cubes, spheres and pyramids on the surface of a 3-sphere. A cube on the surface of hyper-dimensional object would have 12 equal curved edges, or better yet it would be the intersection of six spheres touching. As long as the distance of each edge remains the same, then distortion of the cube would be the same no matter where it is along the surface of the hyper-sphere. Along a hyper-hyperbola however, its proportions would change depending on its location along the 3 dimensional curve. Sometimes it would have finite volume, other times it would have infinite volume.

I'm stopping here for today. I've thought too hard about this for too long which feels like prolonged exposure to hallucinogenics. My advice is to picture distorted boxes, because as soon as you try to imagine yourself standing on the surface of a 4D sphere it brings up a lot of weird questions. Does a 4th dimensional light source create a 3rd dimensional shadow? Am I a 3D shadow of my 4th dimensional self? Don't think about it, it's too much.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday morning tin foil

I want to be ahead of the curve here, so I'm going to say that The Interview was actually really bad and in danger of losing money, so the NSA and Sony got together and hacked the company just so they could blame it on North Korea. Never mind that  it put hundreds of people financial security at risk, it was all just act so they could have an excuse to blame our enemies and possibly start a new war, I guess? Does this sound like a good conspiracy theory yet? Oh, wait!

Why would they do this? Well, isn't it convenient that it happens to be going on right  as protests are going on in Washington D.C. with a new civil rights movement? Or that it just happens to coincide with legalization of medical marijuana, which is like the government just giving up on the war on drugs? The hack was planned to distract us from what's really going on, much like how the Kardashian's were built in a bunker to keep us docile and stupid.

Open your eyes, sheeple! Doesn't it seem too easy, or too convenient that a country we've been enemies with for years just happened to hack us?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Post later!

I just finished a new post. It's really long and math heavy, like usual, so I'm gonna find some pictures to make it easier to read. Big walls of unformatted text is hard to read as well as my biggest weakness as a blogger.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Short today

Writing is meditation. As meditation, writing is an eyeglass used to examine and make sense of not the only the world, but also ourselves. Meditation breeds awareness. Without awareness, the world becomes a mess of emotions that come from unknown sources that passes by like a moving background. Ignorance causes confusion. Mediation is a light in the darkness, so those of us logically inclined can see the relation with writing transitively speaking.

Emotion is fine. Emotion is an interpretation of life and experiences, and a life without experiences is a dull existence in a comatose state. Learn to love. They tell me as an experience it is the happiest experience, as well as being just one hell of a high. Depression is awesome. When the inverse is behind me, happiness is less of a lifting sensation and more of powerful flying force thru the sky. Beware the valleys. Emotion is never stable, it comes on along a sine wave across the drops and dips with amplitudes of varying proportion.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Can data be stored on fungus?

There's this guy, Andrew Adamatzky from the University of West England, that I think you should know about. More importantly, it's his work that is important. He's part of the faculty of computing, but his work mostly seems to focus on cellular automata, which involves really cool fun stuff like Conway's Game of Life and using single cells as ways to solve problems. What drew me to him is his work with slime molds.

I found this yesterday, but I've been aware of his work for about a month now. This is one of the papers that have come out since Physarum polycephalum has been shown to solve shortest path problems.

It's not special to any of us that have solved a maze, it simply fills the entire maze with slime then kills whatever is not the shortest path between both oat flakes. This does have a name in computing though. It's called a flood fill algorithm, and what makes this interesting on a second watch through is that slime mold is a single cell organism with no brain and it always finds the shortest path, even if it has to create a path under the wall.

This work was done by another man, Toshiyuki Nakagaki, and it's really cool if you think about it. A single cell organism displays basic intelligence! Single cell is underselling it a little because it's a single cell with multiple nuclei. It's a fairly common yellow mold found on decaying logs and such. And it's better at solving mazes than me.

Enter Adamatzky. His work with physarum looks at it's computing potential as well as its ability to solve various problems. The link in the begining is a description of how to "program" slime mold and how to create a Komlogorov-Uspensky machine. My impression of it as a mycologist is that after reading this I'm not really sure how a KU machine works. It doesn't really seem to make me stand up and say "Oh wow, think of the possibilities!" It is mentioned that KU machines are the forefathers of RAM in modern computers, but no benefits are mentioned about slime mold over standard silicon.

In order to be a Kolmogorov-Uspensky machine, it needs to meet certain criteria, which Adamtzky outlines and shows is possible. For starters, a KU machine is said to similar to a Turing machine. Where a Turing machine is a theoretical machine that takes in a linear tape with characters on it and manipulates the characters due to a certain set of rules (citation) a Kolmogorov-Uspensky machine uses a non-linear graph. So to be a graph it needs nodes and edges connecting the nodes. This I get, but what is unclear to me is what the output is. I do understand RAM as much as a hobbyist who took a few classes in high-school can understand RAM, so I assume that the output of the machine is whatever was saved from the input, I guess?

Well, he demonstrates stationary nodes and dynamic nodes in his graph. A stationary node is a slime mold colony that grows on a oat flake or nutrient source. It will stay in the same place until the nutrition runs out. A dynamic node is a slime mold colony that appears when two or more plasmodium tubes connect. It can be removed by destroying the connecting tubes.

To be a KU machine, it needs to be able to send information back and forth between nodes. In a graph on paper, a line between group x and y can only move one way, x to y, so there needs to be a second line running y to x in order to be a KU machine. With physarum one plasmodium tube between the colonies will periodically reverse nutrient flow.

Each colony needs to have an easily identifiable address, like how computers have IP address to identify themselves on a network or computer parts have MAC addresses to tell the processor what kind of part it is. His solution is to place colors under each colonies, so there is a colony with a yellow address or green address and whatever.

What's great about this is it explains how it's a KU machine. It explains how to program said machine. I have no idea what this machine does or should do, though. If it's just a set up to show that can be done, well then that's awesome. If it stores data, then I want to know how to access the stored data. What this has given me though is a starting point for not only graphs, but how graphs, computer engineering, and their relation to not just slime mold but all types of mold. I'll bring more on that in the coming weeks. What's great about Adamatzky's work is that this one demonstration of slime molds relation to computer science. He also writes about how these molds can form logic gates, he explains that when two colonies absorb different dyes and connect, the dynamic node is the color of the combination of the dyes. It's a good starting point, really.

Allow me to answer the why real quick, or at least what I think the benefit is. Mold is an organism that can repair itself when damaged, remove parts of itself when needed and creates new connections in order to better solve that shortest path problem. If data could be stored and accessed on mold, then it would be able to make faster connections based on often we needed data stored at various addresses.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ISWG for yesterday

I almost forgot ISWG! It's late guys, but I think most of you should know that yesterday was a time for writers on the internet to get together and talk about the fears that keep them up at night. Brought to you by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I'm turning 27 next month. When is the official age to freak out and worry about old we are? 30 seems trivial, because only a third of a life time has gone by if I live to an average age. But my packaging isn't new and shiny anymore though. How old is old isn't the point, the point is that I like to make my own landmark years to celebrate, and I like to celebrate them the best I can. I lived in a tent when I was 21, and the stories I got from that are stories I still enjoy telling. When I was 24, I hitchhiked New Zealand, moved out of my homestate of Vermont to Pennsylvania, and changed jobs from 'farmer' to 'mushroom scientist'. Why 24? Because 24 is 42 backwards, duh. And now 27 is coming up, which is 3 cubed and also the time when a lot of rock stars I loved when I was 19 died. All told, this year is a year I will make epic because I can.

With some extra free time I had 3 weeks ago, I started a book. In three weeks, it has about 4,000 words. This is terrifying because when it comes to books I've heard stories of people talk about it take them somewhere between 3 to 8 years to finish a book. Getting a book published in that time, well fine I can deal with that. At this rate though, 50,000 words will be done somewhere about October. I would rather be editing at that point though.

1,000 words a day is a lot. I remember it being way shorter in school, when they would tell us to write an essay and once we started writing we would have a tough time keeping it below 1000 words. Maybe it's the subject matter? Non-fiction about mushrooms and math. Well, we'll see.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading list

2015 is coming up, my droogs and padrogas. I think that coming up with a list of stuff to read or just to keep my eye out for in the next year is in order. I guess these are reading goals for 2015.

First, to get it out of the way, the hard stuff:

  1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

  2. It's in my local library. I think the time is right to reexamine some of the classic stuff from a more radical time.
  3. The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard

  4. I've always avoided Kierkegaard. I think it's the name, or maybe it's that christian philosophy and ethics tends to ask the reader to assume that there is a God (That was I never made it far with Pensées by Pascal at least.) This was just suggested because he gets into some stuff about the indivual vs the group, and the quotes look good.
  5. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

  6. I need to re-read this. It has to be done.
  7. Principia Mathematica

  8. There are books I find myself returning to every now and then, because as I change, so does the book. Siddartha is that book. Bertrand Russell is an author and a thinker I find myself returning to a lot, like Kurt Vonnegut or George Carlin. For the record: George Carlin is equal to Bertrand Russell.
  9. Two treatises of Government

  10. If I have to hear John Locke argued one more time by another political pundit, I'll explode. I've already got a bit of anarchist theory under my belt, so why not throw this into the pile as well?
    Wow, that is a heavy list. 24 books are going to make this list, that's a goal of 2 books a month. If it keeps going like this, you'll find me hanging in my closet by May.
  11. When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

  12. This book, like Gödel, Escher, Bach above, has been on my "to read again" list for a few years. 2015 is as good a time as any, I think.
    Jesus, I'm boring. I'm looking through my Goodreads recommendations for something light and fun to read, and its mostly books on programming, math and eastern philosophy with some comic books thrown in there. Oh! Wait!
  13. Cyrptonomicon

  14. On my book shelf. I loved Snowcrash and I found this book for like $0.50 at a book sale.
There is the first 7. I can actually think of more, but I want to go home and find some light reading. Most of the stuff I can think of is pretty heavy, and life just isn't fun with out light fluff. Hey, maybe the next list will have some actual insights on these books.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Subtext

To think, a story with no hidden meaning. No god-awful subtext lying beneath the surface. How would a writer, a man skilled with the use of words and flow and pacing, keep the story subtext free? Easily, my dear Watson, but the fun doesn't lay in the idea that a writer can write without subtext, the fun lies with the idea that the reader cannot avoid looking for subtext.

A man went out, got laid, and afterwards got beers with male friends. In fact, it could be said that he was a real ladies man, he went out every night and got a different woman, then went out for beers later with guy friends.

A story with no subtext. Or maybe you're not looking hard enough.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How do people write?

How do you pick the right voice for writing? Is finding the right voice over rated? How the hell do you figure out who you are writing for? Once I figure out who I want to write for, writing becomes easier, but until then I'm not entirely sure what to say or how to say it. Just stuff I'm thinking about tonight. Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The final puzzle solution

My plan for this puzzle is to put the last of my findings about the treasure riddle here, then make a plug for this month's math chat.

If the trees are plotted on a Cartesian plan, the following rules are true:
  1. When tree A > B, then the treasure is at a point (x, y)
  2. When tree A < B, then the treasure is at a point (x, -y)
For experimental purposes, the 2 points on a Cartesian plane will be (0,0) and (6,0). According to the riddle, the gallows can be at any point on the plane. In effect, this makes it any random point on our Cartesian plane.

Start with the gallows at point (3, -4) and call it G1. The resulting vector G1B can be demonstrated with δy/δx, which translates to {(4 - 0)/(3 - 6)} = -4/3, which would give it a positive slope of 4/3. The directions state that a 90o turn to the right must be made, resulting in a vector equal in length to the original, but with a negative slope of 3/4, which would make the stake (S1) at point (10, -3).  The placement of the gallows was chosen for being halfway between the distance of the trees, so following the directions gives the solution mirror symmetry, placing the S2 at the inverse of S1 along the x-axis, (-10, -3). Following the directions one step further puts the point "treasure" at (3, -3) just one unit ahead of the gallows on the y-axis.

Simple ways to check to see if the answer is true is to:
  1. Pick more random points and follow the directions
  2. Put the gallows on the opposite side of the y-axis (3, 4) and follow the directions

By choosing the 2nd option, the first vector, GB, would be an extension of the second vector in the first step thereby having the same negative slope of 3/4, and a 90o turn to the right would place it at (2, -3). Again, the left turn directions for point A gives the destination of the resulting stake at a mirror point (4, -3), leaving the treasure at the point (3, -3).

What's fascinating about the solution to the problem is not that the treasure always falls at the same point no matter where the gallows are, it that the treasure ALWAYS falls along a point that is (x = (0.5 * the distance to B), y = negative (0.5 * the distance to B)) when B > A no matter what the distance between the two. I will leave this to the reader to experiment with.

When the points are reversed, that is B = (0, 0) and A = (6, 0), the location of treasure is also reversed or (x = (0.5 * the distance to B),  y = (0.5 * the distance to B)) when B < A. This is not that spectacular in itself, but visualize the problem. If one were to show up on an island with only the clues "One tree is A, and the other is B", how would one decide which tree was which when they got there? Whose to say my tree A is the same as your tree A? This gives the original puzzle two possible solutions, which means if you find a parchment with this riddle on it, it's best to bring an extra friend with their own shovel.

I'm going to take a moment to plug this months Philadelphia Math Counts Meetup. This month we have been watching Michael Starbird's videos on "How to model the Continuum." Starbird uses fairly simple math as a way a to demonstrate how build good problem solving skills, which in turn helps lead to better reasoning skills and better proof building skills. Even if you don't live in Philadelphia, I suggest you go to the link and watch the videos in the description. They are well done and are aimed for people who aren't good at math.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The answer to a riddle (is not what you would expect)

Now, you may have seen the riddle I posted yesterday, the one that I've been claiming to everyone that I had worked on all day yesterday. I just posted a link, but here is the riddle:
An old parchment describes the location of buried treasure: "On the island there are only two trees, A and B, and the remains of a gallows. Start at the gallows and count the steps required to walk in a straight line to tree A. At the tree turn 90 degrees to the left and then walk forward the same number of steps. At the point where you top drive a spike into the ground. Now return to the gallows and walk in a straight line, counting your steps, to tree B. When you reach the tree, turn 90 degrees to the right and take the same number of steps forward, placing another spike at the point where you stop. Dig at the point exactly halfway between the spikes and you will find the treasure." However, our hero when he gets to the island finds the gallows missing. Is there any way he can still get to the treasure?
I'm going to give you the website's answer in the next paragraph, so fair warning if you're coming here today and you're interested in solving this yourself. But first, a "funny" story: The reason I became so obsessed with this is because I was convinced that the traditional answer to this puzzle is bullshit. And it was the first thing I sort of proved yesterday. Then I realized I did something wrong, the answer was right, and spent an entire day working on trying to get a rule set up. The last thing I did yesterday before giving up on the post and posting what I did instead was realize that my initial hypothesis was true. Yup, it took me nine hours to go in a full circle. This is type of stuff that needs to be taught to aspiring scientists and mathematicians.

Now that I've made some space and allowed some of you to work on the puzzle, I'll give you both answers to the puzzles. Everyone's answer to this is: Don't think too hard on this. A simple experiment with paper, pencil and a ruler will show that the treasure is always in the same spot no matter where the gallows is. Which is true, sort of.

You are about to witness the reason why I did so poorly in high school math. On a piece of paper, label two points, A and B.  They can be at any distance, they can be at an angle, whatever floats your boat. With any random third point, following the rules (or algorithm if you prefer) will bring you to the exact same point. That is correct.

Try to actually visualize this in the real world though. Imagine yourself on an island, with only two trees. Which tree is A, and which tree is B? The riddle doesn't describe a map, it just says it "describes the location of the treasure." After working with the real answer all day, I discovered a fairly simple rule that bypasses all the crap of the directions.

Stand in a straight line with the trees, in such a way the tree in front overlaps the tree in back. With this setup in mind, the tree in front will be tree A. The treasure will always be to the right of tree A. More specifically, find the distance halfway between the trees, turn to the right of tree A, and walk that distance again. No matter what the distance is, as long as you follow the rules in the parchment, the treasure will always be here. But do you see the practical problem here?

How do you tell which is tree A, and which is tree B? A simple experiment with pencil and paper will demonstrate what I am talking about. 2 points on a graph, approximately 5 units apart. The one on the right is A, and the one on the left is B. According to the rules set out by the parchment, the treasure will be above the trees. But take the same dots, and change the names, so lefty is A and righty is B. Now the treasure is south of the dots. Same distance, same rules. 2 different answers.

The reason why I did poorly in math class was because I was the smartass who asked "How am I going to us this in the real world?" and because I thought the real world examples they used were poorly designed. I have a story about triangles and men who put up circus tents that I like to tell. Anyways, there is their answer, and there is my answer. I have a ton of math to explain why that I'm working on at the moment, but there is still a lot of unknowns in it that I'm trying to explore. For example, squares, right triangles and the fact the quadratic formula is the only formula I can think of with a positive and negative answer keeps popping up in this work time and time again. Until then, polka!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A link to a riddle for you.

I've been watching videos on how to understand problems more deeply, and it's been pointed out to me that the method described in the videos is the first steps on building proofs. I've also been reading The Book of Proof and decided to try my hand at working on some proofs for this. It, like all good problems, has a bunch of weird crap popping up in it that keeps dragging it on. Do you like riddles? Check this one out. I need to work on the wording of the post in question for the proof.

Friday, November 14, 2014


So I'm officially taking the write non-fiction challenge this month. Don't know how this will end up, since I started writing yesterday on a whim because I had a little extra time to start. It's good to announce this though, since maybe I'll get some more tips and helps from all the writers out there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More for myself, I'm afarid

So I've set a goal for myself. After one of my "fun" periods of lying in bed before I sleep and wondering if I'll ever accomplish any more of the goals in my life (Right, my worry isn't "will I accomplish anything", it's "will I accomplish more." There is something wrong with my brain) I've decided to sit down and work on my goal for next year: finally write this god-damn paper/book thing that has been in my head for two years. I'm here today to loosen my brain up so I can start thinking of something and make this flow.

The key to this is not a focus on calculation math. My favorite books and papers by the mathematicians I admired had surprisingly little calculations in them. Newton is credited with inventing calculus, and the parts of his books that aren't logic are just geometry, really. Some of the best philosophers had a mathematicans style and outlook on the world when writing. The best being Bertrand Russel, Pascal, and Chomsky, of course. The style I know, the tone to pick is key, but more importantly, what is a topic I can write 50,000 words about?

Mushrooms and math. Mushrooms, math, and chemistry. Mushrooms, math, chemistry, and philosophy. God, I may fail sometimes, but it's not because I don't dream big. I tried being a burnout that did drugs and ate chips while watching the telly, but it just didn't stick, I'm afraid.

As I think about this more and more, I can piece it together in my mind. First, maybe an outline? Ok, I think I got this. Anybody who comes across this today, have fun. I'm writing because I have the time to write and no one is bothering me at all. Next few days will be that type of attitude, since the last 2 months I wanted to write, but had a tough time sitting down to do it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

5 things you would never belive help stimulate creativy in the work place!

There are many things we all do at work which some might consider "counterproductive", "wrong", "borderline illegal", or "just plain illegal and immoral". In reality though, all things bad for you are good for you, while the inverse is also true. So here are 5 things you can do at a job which are actually good for you, and sometimes your creativity.

  1. Stretching!

    • Stretching can be good for all sorts of aliments. Done correctly, it can be a good cardiovascular workout, it can clear the mind of any stress and helps center the mind. With better focus and blood flow, the mind can flourish in a creative way. You know what else is good cardio and helps center the mind?

  2. Masturbation!

    • That's right, a date with Pamela Handerson and her five friends. I personally can't focus on work with sex on the mind, so why fight the feelings and feel embarrassed about something that is natural and we all do? Some of us may be shy about doing this deed at work, but there is a lesson that can be taken from our former presidents: if you are feeling coy about this, get an intern to help out.

  3. Stealing Office Supplies!

    • Again, why feel ashamed? It's a well know fact that if your company DOESN'T want you take things, then they should be paying you a better fee for your time. This is also a great activity for creativity. When sneaking to the closet, try imagining you're James Bond, Solid Snake, or any spy of your choosing. Practice you're speaking and manipulation skills when you are caught. It's good practice if your ever promoted and get caught in a scandal. And when you finally do get your hands on those items, are you aware of all the things you can create? Why, the Anarchist Cookbook alone has a hundred rainy day actives that can be made with items found in the office.

  4. Napping!

    • It's a tough job being a creative idea man (or idea person, whatever floats your boat). How can a person recharge their mind, without some sort of mental vacation? Dreams allow the mind to wander, it allows the mind to stretch and journey into realms unknown. It's an exploration of new, undiscovered countries, and many great men like Albert Einstein or Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz found inspiration in their dreams. You know who reportedly never had a dream, ever? Hitler. So put your feet back, relax, and put yourself down for a 2 hour nap.

  5. Hallucinogenic Drugs!

    • Not everyone works at a place that allows them time to sleep. We here at Aristotle's Mistake understand this, and we understand that maybe instead of a 2 hour nap, you simply consume an ounce of shrooms before work. This perfectly acceptable behavior, since psychotropic substances are simply the minds way of dreaming while awake. See the above entry for why dreaming, ergo tripping, is good for a creative mind. Maybe mandatory LSD breaks would help with moral and productivity? Maybe someone should try it.

Next time someone catches you on the job doing any of these things, simply explain to them how things like ethics or morals are simply a construct of a constrictive hierarchy designed to quash creativity and free spirit, and by freeing yourself from these imaginary bonds you reaching for a new plane of understanding. These are also great tips for anyone working from home, too, since you might find as a temporary freelancer after trying some of the things on this list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday morning yoga

Somewhere, out there now, is a security video of me doing yoga in a holding cell.

This idea alone is enough to take mind wrapped up in fear and doubt, and for just a moment realize that ridiculous sight is stuck in the information of the universe. There is one thing and one thing only that could make that video even more perfect: a video of me in a chicken suit doing yoga.

I want people out there who might might be reading this to picture this for a moment. Some guy, with bright red longer hair and a beard to match, doing yoga in a small cell in a chicken outfit. And when I say yoga, I don't mean "doing some stretching" I mean back bends, handstands, down ward dog, dolphin pose, all of it.

In fact, this is an opportunity for a writing exercise. Just sit down with a pencil and paper, then think about what events would lead to a man in chicken suit doing yoga in a jail cell. I know the events that lead me to having a security video of doing yoga in a holding cell, and it's god awful boring and ridiculous. Just pay your parking tickets people. And if you decide to jog at 2:30 in the morning, don't jog through closed parks in bad neighborhoods and choose your jogging clothes appropriately.

Here's my problem with that statement. When I say "choose jogging clothes appropriately" my mind automatically takes an all or nothing approach. The nothing approach is simple: t-shirt, shorts, maybe sweats. The type of boring ass stuff you think of when you think of jogger. The type of people me and George Carlin want to hit with our cars. I tend to jog, do yoga, and bike in jeans, and a flannel. It's all I own, really, and I'm not going to go out and spend a ton of money on exercise equipment to look like a fucking jogger. I won't be a part of you're system, and I refuse to give my hard earned money to Big Jogging. But this is where I'm wrong. If you're going to look different, then you really can't half ass it with jeans and a flannel. That's why I need a chicken suit.

That scene of confronting 3 cops at 2:30 would have been made better with a chicken suit. Explaining that I'm not on drugs would be priceless. Seeing a judge for a year old traffic violation dressed as clucky would be an exercise in trying to keep a straight face. In fact, when I become George Lucas rich and powerful, and am given the power to make a special edition of my life, that entire scene will be digitally enhanced with a chicken suit. This is America, after all, and if I don't have the freedom to run in what I want, well then we are no better than those commies terrorist bastards that hate us so.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't read to deep into this

I'm hopping mad. I'm fuming. I need a place to vent, a hole to shout into while I stamp my feet and pound my fist. I need a void to talk into.

You know why we have a bully problem? Because our children look up to us and see the bullies we have to deal with day in and day out and see us put our heads down in shame and we mumble "Yes sir, no sir, would you like some fries too, sir?" And we feel better in when we are watching the news, and we see the bullies get their comeuppance. The corrupt CEO goes to jail. The priest who touches children, well, the system catches up to him. The politicians who we say are bad, the police who are taking money from drug dealers. "They'll get what they deserve." we say as we keep our eyes on the grindstone.

Why? Why are we taught that this is a system that works? Why do we except that schools are a better path to a better life? Why do we chant the mantra, "If I work hard, then then life will be better?" Why do we see criminals and lowlifes and think of them as "the left behinds"? We tuck ourselves behind the security of our setup, and there seems to be this idea that it will reward us. We don't have to be lucky, we just have to find the opportunities in life, we have to take them, and in time we will have our dreams.

Stop for a moment, though. What does luck have to do with this? What about the people who were labeled the poor, the stupid, and the trouble makers early on in life? Not everyone is told that they can make it. Bill Gates was smart, and smart people get ahead. So was Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg. Ignore the fact that they had an opportunity that even smart people aren't given: the chance to drop out out of Harvard. The chance to brush shoulders with the elite. The rest of us will just smile and we work harder to have a bit more than our parents and give a better life to our kids. Some of us are looked at and told "You come from the poor side of X-town. You may get to a state school, if you're not like your trouble making drunk of a father."

I'm mad because sometimes I feel like people see young male, long hair, long beard, tie die and a drug rug and they think "well, he's up to no good", or sometimes they try to buy drugs from me or sell drugs to me. And sometimes I think about the fact that well, I could get a haircut, wear fine clothes, shave. But then, what about the people who can't? How about a Mexican guy who has a good job and is well know in his community, but is still searched by the police for drugs? The black lawyer who get hassled? Ivy League women who still have to deal with bullshit?

Friday, November 7, 2014

One more ADHD, for the road.

The guy who has undiagnosed ADHD and takes a lot of drugs is similar to the dog that eats grass: in their mind they can feel that something is wrong and for some reason doing this activity makes them feel better, even if it makes them throw up on the carpet later.

I know people that take smoke pot or drink a beer to take the edge off. For the most part, these activities do not affect their personal relationships or their jobs, it's a way to relax at the end of the day that's not TV, or reading, or cooking. I know people who do or have done hallucinogenics as a way to connect with a higher power or unlock new parts of the mind. That wasn't me.

I smoked pot because I had a tendency to focus too much on a thought, and this caused me problems. I drank because it was a legal alternative. Sometimes when I mixed these drugs together with exercise, I could unlock amazing powers of focus that allowed me to do fun creative things. Most of the time though, I had a bit going through my system and couldn't decide if I was drunk, high or tripping. A problem with ADHD can be an inability to misread people, this problem is not helped by mixing of xanax and alcohol.

To quote this article:
Adults living with undiagnosed ADHD may engage in addictive behavior simply because they are medicating the primary diagnosis, which may be inaccurate. If they receive a proper diagnosis and proper treatment, they will be less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol and less likely to succumb to addiction.
Many articles I read that are not in medical journals have their hearts in the right place, meaning that it worrisome that so many people are diagnosed with ADHD, and it's treated with medication, and their are people who are smart enough to scam doctors for meds. These articles set me off when they either misunderstand the problem, or they have agenda in mind and misquote people. Symptoms of ADHD don't go away when adults quite their jobs and become entrepreneurs, in fact entrepreneurs tend to have ADHD because hyperactivity or hyper-focus is a huge asset.

Some people tend to work at night. Night work is awesome, actually, because the people in charge don't want to be up at night and therefore you are allowed to be wild, crazy, creative, and work at your own pace. ADHD, like any skill set really, thrives in an enviroment when it can use it like a tool and are allowed to work at their own pace and speed. This is frustrating to everyone else in the world, though.

My natural state is to keep as many projects going as I can, and adopt an organization system called "piles of stuff." To the outside observer, this looks like what is known as "being unorganized" or "being unfocused". I get to say something here that I wanted to say for a long time: "I'm sorry your pedestrian brain cannot see the link between all the stuff I am doing." I have a tendency to get bored very easily, and boredom doesn't lead to laying on the couch saying "I'm SO bored!" it leads to stuff like learning how to build a bomb. Or teaching my friends how to build a mortar. Or stealing my roommates clothes as ammunition for said mortar. All in all, unchecked boredom leads to problems for society. Using that tendency to keep a hundred projects open at once is awesome, though: I can learn about biology, math, computers, and Russian then come up with ways to connect them to make my life easier.

This is horribly frustrating at times. When I was in high school, I took AP classes because regular classes felt easy, but I also worked my ass off to be a starter in football, I needed a job for money, and girls existed, too. Most of my friends just choose 1 or 2 things, I tried to all of them. I got depressed when I couldn't be the super star and wondered what was wrong with me. Recently, this has become trying to hold a job, write this blog, involve myself in the science stuff in Philadelphia, and try and run a math group thing. It sucks that one or more things require my brain power and energy and I feel like I can't focus on the things I want to focus on. Traditionally, frustration also leads me to do stuff like punch bosses. Ah, the wonderful world of energy and impulsive behavior.

Recently, I get my projects under control. Usually it happens when I get rid of the project or person who drains my time, energy, and motivation and offers nothing in return. I know the worst offender, I just haven't figured out what to do about it yet.

Monday, November 3, 2014

ADHD is not just boredom

Hi, my name is Sam Bledsoe, and approximately 3 years and 2 months ago I was diagnosed with adult ADHD.

There has been many things that have happened to me in my 26 years. I've packed them full of life. But, without a doubt, being diagnosed with ADHD was one of the greatest things to happen to me.

I write this because of a New York Times article, A Natural Fix for ADHD . While I was looking for that link, I find that they have written many articles in the same vein. The problem is, many people are being misdiagnosed with ADHD. That is a problem, because the treatment for it is legal cocaine. Their conclusion is bunk, however: it is a real disease, and a misdiagnoses isn't "boredom".

I'm gonna get really fucking passionate here, because this is an issue near and dear to me. If you knew me before I was 23, your impression of me may have one of two things: either "Man, your very bright, inquisitive, clever and talented. Why the fuck won't apply yourself, and why are you wasting your time here?" or it may have been "Clean yourself up man. You're destroying yourself with drugs." Highschool was the definition of rough for me. I was bright, I got into classes above my grade, and I new how to work out answers. I also constantly walled myself off from people and had problems with being too focused that eventually got me a call from the police claiming I was a stalker. And that's when the drugs started, mainly because I felt like a freak, and the feeling I got on that shit normalized me. 19 thru 23 was a combination of drugs and depression. I never tried to commit suicide though, no I would just take insane risk in my life. Like climbing 50 ft trees on percocet and beer. I got over that, and then would just put on a good face for people, then when I was at home, I would sit in my barn and drink a six pack as quickly as I could. I drank 4 beers in 10 minutes. You don't feel drunk at first, but 20 minutes later the feeling hits you in the face. Then I was diagnosed with ADHD.

Now I have a job I enjoy that allows me to use my love of agriculture, science and math. Being diagnosed changed my outlook on life. So, ADHD is a real thing.

Is it misdiagnosed? Yes, a lot. There are some doctors who really just overzealous drug dealers with an expensive degree, there are some patients who are addicts looking to score, and there is a metric ton of misinformation and confusion.

The article brought up the environmental issues that could be attributed to a lack of focus. Things like hunger, not staying properly hydrated, lack of simulation in class or work, too much stimulation in the media, among others. I've seen it all before. My background with drugs made me avoid taking drugs to treat this, and I'll come back to this. But yes, before seeing a doctor or diagnosing yourself with ADHD, there are many environmental factors you should seek to change first. If those don't work, and there are still problems GET A REAL DIAGNOSES.

Mental disorders are a such a young science. The problem of a misdiagnoses is more than just "Oh, you don't have ADHD, it's just boredom". I used to have a roommate who was diagnosed ADD as a kid, because kids weren't diagnosed bipolar. It wasn't until he was much older he was found to be bipolar. This guy was definitely bipolar too, excuse me for being blunt but anyone who has dealt with bipolar off their meds or undiagnosed can attest to the fact that they are a bag of fucking crazy. Some of the symptoms of these disorders overlap with each other. Depression is a common symptom for a lot of these. An inability to focus comes into play in a few of these to. So it may not just be "boredom".

Lets talk meds. I wanted to stay away from medication because feeling addicted to drugs usually means at one point you realize that if you don't have your drug of choice, you can't properly function in simple day to day life. And I have since met people who arn't addicted because their doctors tell them so, but still can't properly function without them. That's an unfair assessment of medication though. Meds are a fun thing. That article doesn't talk about the affects of adderol on someone with, say, schizophrenia. Impoper medication can do some really weird things to people with different brain patterns. I know a guy who tried taking adderol but it made him "hear really mean voices". I'm not sure what he's being treated for, never asked. I know a woman with bipolar that took one of the meds and had some crazy side affects that are usually seen in people who have ADHD and take that drug. Oh, actually that's something worth mentioning too. Since be properly treated for bipolar after being diagnosed in her late 40's, she's become fun to be around and has found some very late success. But her bipolar brain might have some similar patterns to ADHD. It's not a hard science, really. Like I said, it's a young science and there is still a lot to be discovered.

The point is, yeah, maybe people aren't focusing because they are under-stimulated or over-stimulated. There is so much more at stake though then to just write it off as "not a real disease." Because it may not be boredom, it may be something else. Honestly, if your diagnosed with it and your not in it for the pills, pay attention to if treatment actually helps. If it doesn't seem to be working pressure your doctor to find out what it might be. Or switch and get a second opinion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Will Lil and Bill meet at the malt shop?

Will Lil and Bill meet at the malt shop? This comes from page 38 of Digital Dice: Computational Solutions to Practical Probability Problems, by Paul J. Nahin. Check it out at amazon to get more puzzles like it.

Lil and Bill agree to meet at the malt shop sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 pm later  in the afternoon. They're pretty casual about the details, because each knows that the other, while he or she will show up during that half hour, is as likely to do so at any time during that half hour as at any other time. If Lil arrives first, she'll wait 5 minutes for Bill, and then leave if he hasn't appeared by then. If Bill arrives first, however, he'll wait seven minutes for Lil before leaving if she hasn't appeared by then. Neither will wait past 4:00. what's the probability that Bill and Lil meet? What's the probability of their meeting if Bill reduces his wait to time to match Lil's (Both times are 5 minutes)? And if both times are 7 minutes?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Answer to Monday.

import random

M = 24

totalCorrect = 0
for k in range(1, 100000):
    correct = 0
    term = random.randrange(1, M)
     for j in range(1, M):
        if term = j:
            correct += 1

    totalCorrect = totalCorrect + correct

 So here it, a python answer to Mondays problem. So far so good, aimed fro three posts this week, got three posts up this week. It's really the answer in the book, converted to a python answer. Have a good weekend, and stay safe.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lottery probablity, part 1

Once, a few years ago, a real honest-to-god doctor diagnosed me with ADHD, with less "hyper active" and more "focus" problems. I can focus too much on a task, which means other tasks and things get ignored. Isn't that cool? Anyways, I spent the morning working on a single task in coding. One task. After a while, it's not "working" on the problem. Just "deliberately breaking the code in as many ways as possible, then googling the error." It's done, and it's quite around here, so on to today's topic. The lottery.

About a month ago when I started reading the book "The Drunkards Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" someone decided to tell me how they used math to almost win the lottery. His story was:

I studied the winning numbers for the previous 6 months, made note of which number came up in which spot, then used those numbers as my guesses. I missed three numbers.
I can't do the story justice, sadly. The story didn't sit right with me, but at the time I only managed a half- assed "But the numbers should be random." Really, when it comes to random numbers in the lottery, if it is a truly random system, then with a large enough data set the probabilities start showing themselves. So, I put the question in my pocket, and decided that it would make for a semi-decent blog post for this month.

I think I'll break this post up into 2 posts, because of the aforementioned ADHD. There's a lot of ground to cover, and my mind goes weird when I focus on math and programming too much.

First things first, the parameters of the problem. According to the website for the powerball, the ticket costs two dollars, and the player picks 6 numbers. 5 numbers are 1 thru 65, and the 6th number is 1 thru 35. Then there are various combos that win money, but no one cares. They want the secret to the jackpot. Also, as I sit here staring at the rules, missed 3 numbers is not impressive at all, since that's about 50%. I wonder what he was playing?

In probability, there is independent events and dependent events. Independent events are events that don't depend on each other. Yup. Tradition states that the example used here is dice. Dice are independent, if a die is rolled, then it's reset before it's rolled again. If a die is rolled 6 times, then each time the probability doesn't depend on the previous roll. Contrast that with cards, where if a card is pulled from a deck of 52, the chance of predicting the card drawn is 1 in 52. On the second draw, it's 1 in 51. That's a dependent event. Independent is much easier to calculate. The chance of rolling a 5 is 1 in 6. To figure out the chance of rolling a 5 twice, multiply the probability. 1/6 * 1/6 is 1/36. 3 times in a row, 1/(63) or 1/216. Simple. This would only really apply to the lottery if they drew the number out of the bin, made a note of it, then put it back into the bin. It would make the calculation easy: 1/(655) for the top line, and 1/35 for the powerball, and you know what? No one talks about that possibility. I'm going to leave that alone for now, and come back in an edit, or tack it on a later post once it gets worked out.

A dependent event is more in line with cards and this powerball thing. Pick the number 4 10 18 32 12. The chance of a 4 on the first draw is 1 in 65. No matter the outcome of the first draw, the chance of a 10 on the second is 1 in 64. The 12 on the 5 draw is 1 in 60. This can be attack the same way as before with conditional probability. The idea that IF a four is pick on the first draw, then we move onto the next one. The calculation becomes 1/65 * 1/64 * 1/63 * 1/62 * 1/61 * 1/35. That gives us the probability.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Random NUmbers and intro to Stats

Thing about taking so much time off from something voluntary, it's really tough to get back in the right rhythm. It's hard to come back to a normal job, but one where I set the time to post, well that's just a new challenge.

Here is how it's going to be this month: Monday (or today, whatever) I'll post a puzzle I have from a book on Monte Carlo problems. A Monte Carlo method (or simulation, or experiment) is a "broad class of computational algorithms that rely on repeated random sampling to obtain numerical results; typically one runs simulations many times over in order to obtain the distribution of an unknown probabilistic entity."[1] This early in the morning I'm having trouble with definitions, but it's steps that a computer (or person, really) takes with random numbers in order to solve problems with random numbers. They are fairly easy to build. There are articles on how to run them in Excel or any similar spreadsheet program. Like I said, if you have the right random number generator, like a standard die or maybe some multi-sided dice, a person could do the simulation with paper and pencil. It just might be tedious.

Okay, so here is the problem, taken from the book "Digital Dice: Computational Solutions to Practical Probability Problems". I left my copy. . . somewhere. . . so this is the easy intro problem:

  1. A clueless student faced a pop quiz: a list of 24 presidents of the 19th century and another list of their terms in office, but scrambled. The object was to match the president with the term. He had to guess every time. On average, how many did he guess correctly?
  2. Imagine this scenario occurs 1000 times. On average, how many matches (of the 24 possible) would a student guess correctly?
This can easily be solved with good old fashioned brain power. What this simulation should do is 2 things, generate a random number a random number between 1 and 24, which is the guess, and count the numbers 1 thru 24 in order, then compare the two. After taking the total number of correct guesses, divide it by 1000 to get the average. Simple. I'll be back on Friday with an answer in Excel, Python, and maybe dice?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG for the month of October

I've been really quiet for the last few weeks. No family crises, no health problem, I was a little busy with my job, but the real reason I haven't been blogging is good, old fashioned humiliation. Yes, something real to talk about on this month's IWSG! Which, by the way, is brought to by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click the picture if you want to sign up. tried an experiment here. Experiments are good, they keep things fresh. What I wanted to do was use the month build up as way to further explore the subject that my math group talks about on the fourth Saturday of every month. I figured three days a week was good, I could fill in the other two days with stuff about learning programing, and the weekend would be dedicated to writing about whatever. That was really ambitious apparently.
urWhat I did right was figure out my topics in advanced. What I did wrong was not do any sort of outline as well. Life is busy, it turns out, no matter who you are. Without the proper prep everything just falls apart and it gets stressful. Having dealt with failures before, I knew at a certain point that I could drop the whole thing entirely and do other things. Page views is not worth my sanity, and I could try again in a month.

Here I am the next month to try again. Still doing three days a week with this thing, but the other 4 days will just be me talking about whatever. No attempt at anything really ambitious. That's not true. This will still tie into the math group on the fourth Saturday, and I'm working to tie this into a Nerd Nite talk I'm giving on November 5. Again, I've got an outline of my month planned, hopefully it's lose enough but strong enough I get stuff done. If I can stick to my plan of three days a week, 3 months from now I can work on making it more ambitious.

Ok, now I'm ready to kick ass.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is with "Princess Bride"?

I've been trying to convince a friend to watch "The Princess Bride". It's harder then it should be. But, I've found it's a hard movie to describe. It may just be me though.

As I try to describe it, I've realized something: I should despise this movie. I used to be into fantasy when I was 10. Honestly, it is not a genre that has grown with me like sci-fi. Science Fiction, once you get past the basic adventure type stories, has some amazing writers who show a side of humanity. They're up there with the classics like Dickens or Upton Sinclair or Steinbeck; it's not the scene that's important, it's the characters and how they act in a given situation that makes them timeless. Failing that, some sci-fi can be great showcases of science. Or it makes for good horror. Fantasy never felt that way to me, with the exception of Harry Potter.

The characters in Princess Bride don't seem that complex when I think about it. Wesley is all about true love. Really, that's it. He is so into the idea that he comes back from the dead for it. But beyond that, that his only motivation. And Buttercup? She just gives up on everything because her "True Love" isn't around. That's not a good character. In fact, I spend half my time yelling at songs on the radio with that premise. The "mawiage" guy is hilarious if you're 9. What, the only joke is he has a funny voice? My dad is a comedic genius then, even though he only uses the voice to tell the one joke he knows.

There is a lot of fucking dialogue in this film. Holy crap, even in the sword fighting scenes they won't shut the hell up. And there's a couple scenes that are sort of anti-climatic. The poison scene, for example. The little guy is built up to be smartest man in the world, no one can out smart him. He spends the whole scene showing how brilliant he is. Then he just. . . dies. The "To the pain speech". He gives this whole speech on how he will mutilate the villain, by cutting out his tongue and eyes and chopping off his feet and hands.  So the villain just gives up.

So what is it about this film? With all this against it, why can I watch it when I'm older and so much more sophisticated? The dialogue is great. The back and forth quips are fun to listen to and enjoy. "Never start a land war in Asia" always makes me chuckle for some reason. "To the pain" is bad-ass. "My name is Inigo Montoya" is as overused as "It's just a flesh wound". Really not the best part in that movie.

The music. I'm a sucker for music, and Mark Knopfler knocked it out of the park. Did you know Mark Knopfler did the music? The guy who wrote such classic hits as "Money for nothing" and "Sultans of Swing"?

Wesley and Inigo really don't have much back story and they both have really simple motivations. Revenge? True love? Please. Seen it before, so what. What Wesley goes through for "True Love" is insane. He comes back from the dead! Twice! And fights giants! And drinks poison! In fact, this movie seems to advance it's plot because of a couple people who are overly dedicated to very simple motivations.

I don't know. I've given up on trying to describe this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it. It's very hard to do. Here's a new challenge: Pick 2 scenes from the movie to show someone who hasn't seen it. You're favorite scenes, scenes that best sum up the movie, whatever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stuff on this month

I need to sit down and write. For too long, I've wanted to tackle larger, more complex posts, but my current style holds me back from doing this. In fact, my current style holds me back from improvement in general. I sit down, I write, and as soon as I finish, I post. This is great for small stuff, and some bigger stuff where I think of an idea at the beginning of the month, work it out in the notebook and then do one big post. I can't keep doing that, because it requires me to have time. Am I really that busy? Not all the time, and even when I'm busy, I usually have free time after work. The problem becomes tasks put aside for too long become big task that seem to be impossible. Anyway, this is all good, I've done some stuff right this month. Planing out what I want to do for the month is good, because it's one less thing I need to think of. What I need to do is write out at least an outline for the post so I can just add, edit and post. The question is, how to finish out this month?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sophie Germain Primes

Growl. Here I am, back again. It's a good thing I wrote down all the things I want to cover this month. In the past, when I got this busy, I would end up avoiding the blog all together because I would have to think up a topic, research a bit, then write it. As much as the first step seems easy, when things are busy and I end up at home tired, trying to think of a topic to write about is near impossible. And funny thing is, I finished this yesterday. But then I got my fancy math machine working, my computer I can use for just doing programming and mathematics and such. Some people go through years of schooling, go to all the right places and meet the right people, then get an amazing job at a huge company where they do the work that puts them in history with people like Einstein and Maxwell and Leibniz.  I spend all my money on stupid crap, and build crappy versions of awesome tools with parts I beg from people. I will be lucky to be in the same group with Srinivasa Ramanujan.

What is a Sophie Germain prime number? If you can multiply the prime by 2 and add 1, and the answer is prime, then it's a Sophie Germain prime. For example, take the prime 29. 29 * 2 = 58. 58 + 1 = 59. Quick trick to prove if a number is prime or not: square the number, add 17, then divide by 12. If their is a remainder of 6, or if the calculator you use has .5 after it, then it's prime. In this case, 59 2 + 17 12 has a remainder of 6. So it's prime.

In the example above, 59 is called the safe prime. There's a good s&m joke there, but I'm too mature to make it. What's really cool about Sophie primes is this: 59 * 2 + 1 = 119. 119 is prime, so therefore 59 is a Sophie prime. 119 * 2 + 1 = 239. 119 is a Sophie prime. And so is 239. Same works for other Sophie Primes.

Like I said, I finished this yesterday. I didn't post it, because I also wrote this bash script for Sophie Primes. My month isn't going exactly as planned, but damn it I can at least attempt to try!


echo "Please enter a number"
read NUMB
prime=$(($NUMB**2 + 17))
function e {
    prime=$(($1**2 + 17))
    if [ $(($NUMB)) -le 3 ]; then
       test =$(($NUMB * 2 + 1))
       echo "$NUMB is prime, and the safe prime is $test" 
    elif [ $(($prime % 12)) = 6 ]; then
       echo "$NUMB is a prime number"
       safe=$(($NUMB * 2 + 1))
       sophie=$(($safe**2 + 17))
       if [ $(($sophie % 12)) = 6 ]; then
          echo "$NUMB is a Sophie prime! The safe prime is $safe"
          echo "$NUMB is prime, but it's not a Sophie prime."
       echo "This number is not prime"

It's fairly simple code, really. It uses the prime test I discussed early to test if a number is prime or not. If it is, then it multiplies it by 2 and adds one, then tests if that number is prime. Simple. Problem is this: the prime test does not work for numbers less than or equal to three. So there is a special case to check if the number entered is < 3. This is written in bash, which is not that powerful, so it does not like big numbers. If you give it 1000000000000066600000000000001, which is prime, it just says "Not prime". This is because the result of the prime test is too large to store in it's memory.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Leave them below.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sophie Germain

Sophie Germain was a French Mathematician from the 19th century. Sophie isn't a strange name for 19th century french boys, she was a female mathematician. Women in math during the 1800's were very rare, and they were very amazing, to say the least. Today, I want to talk a bit about her life. But to many naritives focus on how hard women had it in the 19th century, not enough focus on her work. So Wednesday will be focused on her work, which deals with prime numbers.

There is two women during this time that I've done research on, and the other is a Russian women named Sophia Kovalevskaya, who became the first first woman professor of mathematics in Europe. I bring her up, because to be a woman and a mathematician you couldn't just have ambition. You also needed to come from an upper middle class family, have plenty of family friends ranging from liberal to radical, and live in a country during a time of intense political and cultural change. Kovalevskaya was mid to late 19th century Russia during the period when nihilistic and anarchist writers were forming the ideas that later inspired the Russian revolution. Germain was born in 1776 and lived during the French revolution, the Reign of Terror, and the Napoleonic Wars. Tough times make great people, I guess. They still need access to the best ideas and education.

Speaking of access to the great ideas, Germain's initial education in mathematics was by getting texts and notes of lectures from students at the Ecole Polytechnique.  This worked in her favor, as she began to come up with her own ideas and submitted a paper to the math historian, Adrien-Marie Legendre, under a boys name. He was impressed with the work and was surprised to find that the work came from a woman1.

Her real break came from the fact that she was able to keep in contact with the leading mathematicians of the day. Namely, she was able to initiate contact with Carl Friedrich Gauss (something like getting into contact with Stephen Hawking, then getting his help with problems). She used her correspondence with both men to work on her ideas of number theory, then later elasticity.

In her later years, she discovered she had breast cancer. She still worked despite the pain, then died at 55. She was not listed as a mathematician at her death, but merely "property holder". She never married, had know children, but after her death her friend Gauss was able to get an honary degree for her.

Wednesday, I'll focus on her work on prime numbers in number theory.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back from a long weekend.

Did the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival all weekend. Good times, but spent. Hope your weekend was good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

On to week 2

Well, week one done. What makes this harder than the A to Z challenge and some other posts is that this is more than 1000 words. I really need an editor. In fact, that would be really nice to have for this damn thing. It would keep me from knowing how far off topic I got, it would keep my writing tighter, and I wouldn't ramble as much. Now if I could find a friend who could do math that would be willing to read my stuff.

I ended up missing two posts this week. The things I thought would get in the way, did. Since starting this blog, I've gotten much better at time management, but that still doesn't stop life from getting in the way. And sometimes I just can't things done if I have somebody walking up to me every 10 minutes asking me things. The best thing to try then, is to write some outlines of the posts I want to do this week today and tomorrow. That way, I can just add better wording and formatting and it should be quicker to write.

Yesterday I was going to do Belphegor's Prime, but as I was working on it and kept getting stopped it got way too late. I'll move that post to next week, then. Monday will be about Sophie Germain, a french mathematician I've wanted to write about for a while, Wednesday will be Sophie Germain primes, and more about Happy Primes, and then Belphegor on Friday. Tomorrow I'll figure out the other two days. Happy Saturday.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Types of Primes

Types of primes! Thought primes were just simple elements of multiplication? Nope, there are different types of primes, and it's what changes primes from simple number theory to number game.

For the writers and the word nerds out there, there are palindromic primes, or palprimes. It's exactly what it says on the box, they are primes that are the same backwards and forwards. 11 is palprime. 919 is palprime. My obsession, 1000000000000066600000000000001, is palprime, but I'll talk about that more tomorrow. There are plenty of programming challenges out there for writing script that produces prime numbers. It's a good challenge, really. Given an integer, produce the smallest prime that is also a palprime greater than the given integer. It's a good challenge, because not only would you have to check and see if the number has any factors, but the script would also have to check and see if it's the same number forwards and backwards. If I can get back on my schedule today, I'll take a crack at it with bash. Don't count on it though.

Numbers can be happy, and so can primes. Start with an integer, any integer. (I keep saying integer. Just pick a number that's not negative, is not a fraction, and doesn't have decimal) Say, 44. First, square both numbers, so 42 and 42. Add them together, 16 + 16 to get 32, then repeat. So, 32 + 22 = 13, and 12 + 32 is 10 and 12 + 02 is 1. If the sequence ends in one, then it is happy. If it doesn't end in one, then it loops forever. A happy prime is a happy number that is prime. The first 5 are 7, 13, 19, 23, 31. Feel free to work out the rest.

Visual Representation of Eisenstein Primes
There are Eisenstein Primes. I'm putting this at the end, otherwise everyone's eyes would glaze over and get out of here too early. Eisenstein Integers are integers with the form of Z = a + bω where ω is equal to: e 2πi/3 Heh. Look at that. π and an imaginary number! It is important in higher math, but hey, look at that  Z = a + bω again. That kind of looks like a complex number (not an oxymoron), a + bi. Complex numbers are just a larger equation for (x, y), which is coordinates on a number plane. Which means you can plot Eisenstein primes. Makes a pretty picture, doesn't it?

Primes act in strange ways. Honestly, there are many more types of primes, because primes are the elements of multiplication.

Stupid Wednesday threw me off my schedule, but whatever. The point of this month is partly to prepare for next month, so I'll work around busy stupid Wednesdays. Argh. Tomorrow will be Belphgor's prime, so If I can't do bash today, then bash will work into what I want to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG - But what DO we do with the body?

Proud Member ofBlogging is dead, therefore we should kick and desecrate its corpse. Dress it in fancy clothes and a silly hat, then hang it in the window of the downtown shops. Don't worry, that sentence doesn't cross any lines because nobody shops downtown anymore. They can't be offended if they can't see it.

Now that blogging is dead, maybe we can focus on writing? I mean, blogging left behind some pretty good stuff, and I'm sure he wouldn't mind if we took it (Blogging is masculine, btw, because it ends with a "g" not an "a" which is feminine or an "e" which is gender neutral.) The blog hops, blog fests, writers groups, and general community vibe is a pretty nifty thing. This whole group of writers have banded together to help out each other get published and advertise. People can actually make money by posting journal entries on the web for others to see! It's suggested I should post about about a topic, but come on. I've come across plenty of blogs with no original ideas, no concept of language, and the whole thing looks like it was designed with mspaint on a broken tablet. In fact, you're reading such a blog right now! These guys still have books published though. Maybe it's a good thing blogging finally died. It was starting to get grotesque and boated, and its gangrenous parts were starting to stink.

This internet thing is pretty snazzy medium. Like nothing that came before it, and perhaps like nothing after it. I don't have to learn another language, because my browser tranlates stuff automatically for me. Any of you out there read mspaint adventures? What always impressed me about it, before it became 3000 pages long, is it used the medium to its advantage. Everything is possible; sound, writing, pictures, video, games. I know one of the things lacking in my writing, besides focus and good spelling, is that it doesn't use the formatting ability. Italics, bold, and underlining can emphasize things, but sizes of words can denote volume as well.So writing can become a symphony, with sentences read at a pianissimo, then they can explode into a thunderous forte! Sadly, I still can't realize that dream on blogger. Well, work within the limits,

Insecurities today? I'm reading your comments, and I'm wondering  how I can talk math without using numbers and calculations. It's very possible, you know. The greeks were very picture and geometry oriented,then i the middle ages mathematical answers were passed along using poems. But now, if you can't decpher the symbols and calculations, you're cut completely out of a very elegant language. It's something to play with while I talk primes. My prime post is going up, later! This is quicker and simpler, sort of, and it's going up first. Now for some goals. Next month I want to say "Hey guys, I picked out my 7 to 10 favorite blog posts, and over the next year I'll work on editing them so they are able to be published!" That's my goal. Happy blog hopping.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello, World

Ok, ok, ok. I've got a busy couple of months, so I'm going to pass the stuff off onto this blog. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, prime number posts will go up. Tuesdays and Thursdays, bash script. This blog is one of the best ways for me to learn and become better at a topic. I'm actually really bad with school, surprisingly enough.

Maybe you've heard about some sort of "Linux" thing or maybe some weird "Ubuntu" thing that the dorks and nerds are talking about these days. Maybe you've heard it's free, and uses free software, or maybe you decided that the mascot, Tux the penguin,
Tux the Penguin, cuter than an Apple
  is cute, as opposed to Windows bright color thing or Apples' apple. Maybe that made you download and then you installed it with help of "the computer person" in your family. And now it's on the computer and. . . what the fuck is the big deal?

Really, this Ubuntu thing is brown. It doesn't seem to do anything different except make some task that were once easy on a Windows harder. All you keep hearing about is "How it's so easy to customize!" Well, you can change the background and the theme, whoop-ti-frickin'-do. Could do that on a PC or a Mac, and those worked 90% of the time!

Welcome to the wonderful of bash scripting. It's not much in the world of customization, not much at all really. But it's an easy place to start, and once a person get a hang of it, well I reckon that person would have all the power in their hands. And since it's a Unix thing, Mac users can join in on the fun! Windows users have to deal with the fact that Microsoft keeps pushing their own technology and it doesn't play nice with each other. Windows users have to deal with the fact that they are like Mac users in the 90's.

Lets start. Open the program called "Terminal Emulator", which should be under accessories. You'll be looking at a box that has this in it:
[username@comp ~]$
Type in the following command:
echo "Hello World"
Yup, it's the good 'ole hello world program. All it does is display the words "Hello World". For something functional, you could backup your directory file. Simple, easy, and all you need to do is type:
mkdir Backups
That makes a new Backup file. Then type:
tar -cvzf Directory-mybackup.tar.gz Backups
Now if you accidentally delete the whole directory file, you have a backup! That's it for day one. Come back Thursday for  more. And if I have time this weekend, come back then for a rant on why people should learn programming, and not just Visual-Basic. Oh, and speaking of this weekend, there is this thing called the Kennett Square Mushroom festival in Chester County, Pa. I'll be there this weekend, answering questions about how to grow mushrooms. Stop by, say the secret word (the secret word is: swordfish) and the duck comes down!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Prime numbers go on forever

Number theory is strange. Math is a hard enough subject because you can't just memorize facts and regurgitate them later. Trying to convince a young, dumb kid that math is useful is hard enough without a entire discipline devoted to studying numbers. Not how numbers show us the beauty of the universe, not the patterns the the planets make as they dance around the sun, or even how numbers can predict life events. No, it just studies. . . numbers. It studies their relationships to each other, and maybe there is infinite numbers? Or not? There might be a reason why one pattern in a set of numbers is kind of similar to another? Again, maybe not? Maybe it's just a coincidence. numbers though, those are fascinating. Prime numbers are the first introduction a student gets to the idea that something isn't right in the world of math. That math isn't perfect. It's an easy enough introduction to the world of number theory, since all it requires is the ability to factor numbers.

A quick refresher: Prime numbers are numbers that can only be produced by multiply 1 with the prime. 3 is prime since 1 * 3 = 3, but no other real integers multiply together to make 3. 6 is not prime because it has the factors of {1, 2, 3, 6} or 1 * 6 and 2 * 3. This is kindergarten stuff, really. The world of primes is much, much deeper than that though, and this month I'll be spending 3 days a week to talk about different subjects of primes.

The earliest work into primes comes curiosity of our old friend Euclid. He was the man who proved there are infinite primes. Working with the small primes we know, {2, 3, 5, 7} if these are multiplied together, the product is 210. Add 1, and the number becomes 211. Why add 1? Well, 210 can be factored by the primes in the list, but can 211? Nope. {105.5, 70.33, 42.2, 30.1429} is the list of numbers when 211 is divided by these primes. If a number can be factored, it will be factored by a prime number. If 211 cannot be factored by the primes in the list, then there is 2 conclusions: it can be factored by a prime NOT on the list of small primes we know, or 211 is prime number. Either way, the list is incomplete.

I'll start smaller. p = {2, 5}. 2 * 5 = 10; 10 + 1 = 11. 11 is a number I happen to know is prime, but the proof is easy, divide by every prime up 11, and you'll find they don't work. So the list becomes p = {2, 5, 11} 2 * 5 * 11 = 110, 110 + 1 = 111. Again, this cannot be divided by numbers from the list p so again the conclusion can be drawn that the list is incomplete.

The actual theorem states that given a finite list p of prime numbers, {p1, p2, p3, . . . pn} these numbers can be multiplied together with 1 added to the result. This number, p + 1, cannot be factored by any of the previous primes, so the original list is incomplete. This number is also prime, and by repeating this process ad infinitum the result is more prime numbers.

I'll be talking about primes three times a week for the next few weeks, until September 27 when the Philly Math Meetup will talk about primes. For now, I'm not so sure how to get that group up here for everyone not in Philadelphia to see, but I am working on a soundcloud thing for now. It just needs to be edited and uploaded. More primes on Wednesday, and an IWSG. Tomorrow, intro to bash script.


This is more geared towards my animal goal update, but check out this page here for some dogs in Moscow that need help with food and shelter. Page is in English. Long story short, some dogs were found and are to be euthanized. Anyone can help by donating something to help with the care for these dogs.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nope, not gonna come out today. Gonna stay inside to play.

Having a hide-away Saturday, the type of day when I know I need to do stuff, but I don't want to talk to anyone or go anywhere. I've got prime numbers coming up this week, and some programming stuff. See you tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My goal update for month three.

My Goal Update

August 29th, 2014


It's the time of the month to post an update on my goal. This month is a special month for me, only because it's month 3. My goals traditionally are set up by month milestones: 3 months, then 6, then 1 year, 3 years, and 5. This project is to become something special. This project requires the ideas and skills I've picked up, but I'm going to learn something new. That's why I love this stuff. I like to think that one day I'll be someone that has tried a bit of everything. Jack of all trades, master of some. Enough of that, have I actually done anything this month or the last three months?


Looking back at my first three posts, they're pretty dismal. The very first one that announces my intention to bring this cause back only gives 2 goals:
  • 62 shares of the cause - Not Done.
  • Put the description page back on the site - Done
The next post was made on the road and mentions making a Facebook page, which also been finished.  You can follow it here. The 3rd post rambles on, outlining my neuroses about funding animal shelters in Russia, then ends with 2 vague goals: Keep reassuring myself it's a good idea, and figure out advertising. I need to clean up my act on this stuff.

I have ads up on the site. 30% of the revenue made will go to the cause. For every $100 dollars, $30 will go towards the cause. I'm gonna be truthful here, I need the rest. BUT, I'm working on getting other forms of income coming in to help out this cause. These are freelance projects and they are way too young at the moment to actually help. At the 1 year marker, there should be a huge significant change though. At the moment, I'm still playing with the placements of the ads so people will actually, you know, CLICK them.

I have actually completed a post on Animal Rights. It's here, and it's a start. It is just an outline of some of the ideas that bug me as I start to get into the literature and ideas. Also, there is a a new shelter going up on the outside of Moscow. Facebook is here, website to donate is here, and my post is here.

Surprisingly enough, that post I did last month helped. So often it's easy to go into a new idea and new goal, then the brain gets in the way with ideas on why it won't work or why people won't support me. With actual work put into this project, good documentation, and real milestone goals, I should see progress by the 6 month mark.

My page views are up. I'm getting all sorts of spam, but when I post to IWSG, this update, and Google +, I see real numbers go up. And sometimes the people keep coming back for more! That always feels good. With my page views up, an emphasis on quality of posts, better viability for the cause, and the new share links, it should help spread the word of the cause.

I got more done in the last three months than I expected. Something to proud of. I think right now I can honestly say that this project has started back up, and it's time to set honest, concrete milestones to meet, and not just vague ideas.

For the Future:

The original goal was raise $20,000 dollars to distribute between animal shelters in Moscow. This is still a big milestone goal. To reach something like that in 1 year, I need to raise $200 a month.
  • Milestone 1 is raise $645. With this money, it can become a non-profit, and can offer real benefits to donators, like tax breaks and such.
  • Milestone 2 is make $200 a month. Better visibility for the Cause is a must. Patron is under consideration at this point. That brings a new set of goals to be considered, though.
  • Milestone 3 needs to be better advertising for myself and this cause. So, an ad needs to be made, and distributed.
  • Milestone 4 is creating and finishing a blog hop. I'm working on an idea for one, as it becomes more concrete, more details will be posted.
I just need to start talking to more people. I haven't been able to get out much to do this, but now this project is going, I have something to direct people to. There is my vague goal for the month. Let's raise a glass and hope that the next three months will be productive as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The group, part 1

Build goodwill in the community.

This is by and far the most important thing a group or an individual can do. The community and people outside the group provides a defense against others who speak out against it. The community provides greater strength and support through helpful donations. It is not the job of the Group or Individual to take advantage of this. The strength of the group is proportional to the strength of the community it is in. Take time to educate the children, because in time they are the ones who will carry on the legacy. Do not ignore the adults, at best they have a wealth of experience that can help in many projects, at worst they are jaded and cynical; they feel that nothing will or can change. Show them the fruits of their efforts.

Build structure within the group.

The idea that bothers me. In truth this is simple, with everyone from Machiavelli to Confucius  commenting on how a leader should act and how the structure should work. The ones with knowledge, a history of good decision making, and ambition is at the top, while the ones without experience are at the bottom. This is routinely messed up. A person's school does not make them a good leader, their family history does not make them creative or an intellectual. Education and ability to reason does not improve with wealth or money. How to structure the group? Find a way, because with dead weight at the top, the rewards are spent to make people feel good about themselves. And with too much weight on the bottom, there's no motivation and anarchy ensues.


Rewards aren't always money. In a society that prizes possessions,  it easy to believe that money is a reward, because money buys dreams. Money is a hell of a motivator, and money can be used well.  Money can be used for good deeds, to wield influence over others, maybe even buy happiness. For a group starting out, or maybe even an older group, rewards can come in the things that are needed. Food, a place to live, the ability to make decisions.

Thanks for sticking through a combination of the stuff I've been reading lately. This is a part one, because items need to be expanded later.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What I'm going to do next month

Hey there, have a good weekend? Same here. Did a math group thing on Saturday, then hid myself in my room for most of Sunday. Finished two books. And of course, thought about what I want to do for the next month right here on the blog!

There is an experiment I want to try in October. If it's successful, then I can try to do something more grand next year. The thing is, it's not a 100% developed idea. In fact, it's barely 30% developed idea. All I have is parts. The parts I have is this blog, a talk I'm scheduled to give on November 5th on the zombie fungus, a monthly math group that will meet to discuss "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" by Leonard Mlodinow, and a book on statistical programing as well as a good python Google + group. Back in March, I started thinking of ways I could try and combine all my current projects into one thing that also tries to knock off some life goals, and I can do that in October. I just have to read the book first. But, I own it, and it can be read! Once that's (mostly) done, I can figure out the post for 2 months for now. Or, if I realistic, make a basic outline, then write my post in 2 hours the night before.

This all just brings me to what I want to do this coming month. On September 27, Math Counts will meet to talk about Prime numbers. Prime numbers are awesome, and great, and just all around amazing, and I've grown to love them, really. The people who read this may or may not situated in the Philadelphia area spatially or temporally, as you may be reading this on the west coast or you may be reading this 5 months from now, or you may be a figment of my stressed out mind. How can I pass on my love of prime numbers to any of these 3 groups of fine people? By spending the next month talking about prime numbers of course! 3 days a week, the people coming here get to see prime number stuff. 2 days, posts on bash scripting, since I have a bash scripting project and really need to focus on that as well. Weekends, well, you'll get something. Just probably whatever.

This week, I've got the spare time to play with some other ideas and extra I want to work on. And the "Do you have a goal" bloghop is on Friday. Next week is IWSG. Just enjoy your Monday, duders.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Short saturday post for the people not around

Saturday. Does anyone come on Saturday? There's so much to do because today isn't a day I have to be at work, and I imagine it's the same for most of the Americans that visit this site. Maybe Something short today.
In a meadow with Maddow, on boat to boot the loot from Jajagaboot. Leaving now on plane with Efrain, and me and Jane sing a refrain to "Frog Jones blues hits". Ride a bike, take a hike, and eat a bag of cake. Maybe a walrus sits on a job with too many nails? Just thinking, is all.