Friday, May 30, 2014

Monsters in their Prime

Tons of stuff about monsters today on my blogger feed. I think there's a blog hop, maybe? I'll investigate this matter further. BUT, did you know there are mathematical monsters? Of course that's the first thing I thought of when I saw all these monsters. The Monster and Belphegor's Prime are the two monsters of math, named so because they're just so god-damned big.
1000000000000066600000000000001 is Belphegor's Prime. Belphegor is one of the seven princes of hell, a demon of inspiration who suggests ingenious inventions to make people rich. It's not all ideas he inspires though, just those ideas people come up with stoned and drunk then actually follow through with, later using the money and the fame to just party hard and sin like a demon. He inspires those ideas. The best ideas.
ANYWAYS, you might notice that it is an evil number, because the heart of the number is the sign of the devil, 666, surrounded on both sides by 13 zeros. It also cannot be divided by any numbers except one and itself. It falls under the class of Palindrome prime numbers, because it's the same backwards and forward. OH, oh, oh and the total number of digits? 31. Yup, 13 backwards. If math represents the structure of the universe, then this number is the basis for the evil in the world. Man, I really need to spend a week talking about primes. There are so many of them in tons of categories and are insanely fascinating.
The Monster Group is the second mathematical monster, a finite simple group in group theory. This is fairly tough to try and describe in a blog post, but here is my best attempt. A group is a mathematical system that obeys four axioms (rules)1:
  1. CLOSURE: If a and b are in the group then a • b is also in the group.
  2. ASSOCIATIVITY: If a, b and c are in the group then (a • b) • c = a • (b • c).
  3. IDENTITY: There is an element e of the group such that for any element a of the group
    a • e = e • a = a.
  4. INVERSES: For any element a of the group there is an element a-1 such that
    • a • a-1 = e
    • a-1 • a = e 
 Any system that follows the rules is a group. The Monster is a group, and more importanly it is a simple group, which just means it cannot be broken into smaller groups. Finite simple groups are the prime numbers of Group theory2.  What you should know for the purpose of this blog is this: 
The Monster is a really large finite simple group. It was first constructed by Robert Griess as a way to symmetrically rotate 196,883 dimensional space. And as much as I really, really want to get deep into both simple finite groups and prime numbers and their relation to each other, I need to keep this light for today. "Symmetry and the Monster" is an excellent book though, because he attempts to explain the Monster using history, geometry, basic algebra and simple addition. In fact, it's the only "pop math" book I know of that acknowledges people know math and enjoy geometry, algebra and simple addition.

Something now. . .

The thing that stops this thing dead is not my lack of social media presence. It is not writer's block. Sometimes it's a job or a hobby that gets in my way, but more than that is when I start to work on a harder post about math, it turns into something that can't just be written in on sitting. I just know that a mathematician or math hobbyist is going to come along, work through the math and say "You missed something, right there." I see it in all my friends though. I pick on my cousin, a guitarists, for practicing a solo DURING the song. But its pay off, and his band sounds tight. A friend of mine that does historical literature research has tons of great ideas, but take forever on putting them out until they're perfect. What I should do instead of giving up on the harder stuff and letting it rot in my draft box is to print it out and work on it by hand. Because you know that the first thing constipated mathematicians do is try to work it out with a pencil, right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sunrise over Earth

"It's always been this dream of mine, ya know? To live in the unspoiled wilderness the way man was MEANT to live. Just roughing it. And we can't find that on Earth. There's no calm, no peace. And these forests here, well, they're just so, just so, fake! Yeah! I don't want to walk in some architects IDEA of what a forest look likes. I want the real think."
Tabitha, Tabby to her friends, stared into her glass as she swirled the last remaining bit of liquor around it. Another friend with a romantic idea of Europa. Another friend who grew up on the adventure stories of men conquering the untamed cosmos, living in harmony while killing the hell out of anything not human. And another male filled with testosterone thinking this was somehow exciting to her.
As he talked on and on about the adventure and the excitement and just how classic this all is, she looked through the window behind him. She could see the sun start to rise over the rim of Earth. There's a word for this, she thought, but it doesn't matter. Tabby had been on this cruise for almost a week now for spring break; good looking guys from decent schools and fruity drinks that could knock you on your ass. She started a fling here. It was fun and exciting, and they were both young. They would probably never see each other again, but that's what made it fun. Something to keep her distracted, keep her in vacation mode. Because then it's back to school. Back to some school no one heard of on that fucking boring rock they call the moon. Her and friends laughed at the thought that once upon a time the moon was such a huge fucking deal.
"You know what's on the moon?" She once asked a boy she met from Earth. "A bar, a laundry mat, and nothing but rocks. All we do is just drink and do a ton of drugs to pass the time."
This would-be frontier man, he was kind-of cute. He was studying, 5th dimensional art or some stupid shit like that. Honestly, he could have been a janitor on some lonely space station, he was really just apart of the background at this point. She was feeling edgy, maybe? Buzzed, probably. A little horny. This was something friends had talked about so much.
"Earth is SO fabulous from orbit! Just a bright blue orb! I wanted to take it home with me. And the guys! SO hot. You will love it."
And it was cool, for a bit. And when the newness factor wore off, Tabby got drunk and got a fling. Now, she was counting the minutes before she was off this ship, and back home. Back to counting rocks.
She continued to watch the sun crest the Earth as the would-be frontiers man droned on. "My dad, he does shipping. I built some real muscles helping out on the docks. And I got to see so much of the universe before I was 10! Ever see the red spot up close? I have. And Venus. He's got a distribution center there. Sometimes, I just have to look at the sheer size of the universe and go 'Wow. This is a big Universe'."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fun math and good times in the city of brotherly love

I've been posting more again recently. I'm finding this blog thing comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I get hit by inspiration, and want a medium where people can read what I'm writing. Other times I would rather just write notes and papers to myself, or get caught up in all my other interests. This is fine though, because writing is only one of my hobbies that keeps me sane and creative.
People suggest I shouldn't try and keep so many hobbies. It's works for me, because once I feel burned out and I've hit a creative wall in one area, I can go back to an old hobby I haven't visited for a while, or start a new one. And the quality changes. Like this writing thing, I kept looking at it and thinking about what I wanted to do with it, but wasn't able. Now I have some time and inspiration, it's time to come back and see if I can make some things happen. Don't get too attached though, I'll probably just fade away again.

On the forth Saturday of the every month, I wear my best eccentric man camo (tie-dye, leather boots, dragon claw necklace, and vest), ride the train to Philadelphia, and partake in Math Counts, a monthly meetup for math enthusiasts.
The group has been running in it's current incarnation for 9 months now. I signed up around March or April of 2014, there was one meeting in July, then the woman who was the head had to step out because of other stuff going on. Here's the thing though: do you know how hard it is to find a math club? In high school and college, they exist, but good god damn it's almost impossible to find outside of that environment. Especially now that I'm in biology! Carpenters, small businesses, and farmers that I have had the pleasure of working with have way more of an appreciation for math. But a rant on how people couldn't function without using mathematical reasoning in society is for another day.
I stepped up to try and keep this going. The inspiration for this post, though, is that once a month I get to hang out in one of the coolest little cafes in Philly with people way smarter than me who take the opportunity to share and explain ideas.
I like coffee, trees, and animals. The combination of them all puts me in a nice little energized zen state that last one week or until I run from north Philly to south Philly on 3 beers and 5 hours of sleep. This little coffee shop is in view of the park with the big LOVE staute, and is 3 blocks from Franklin Institute. Now that it's warm and beautiful outside, they leave the glass walls open. This means that while I sip coffee and talk about mathematical ideas a bit over my head, I can watch birds jump around at my feet. There's two ways to make that scenario better: beautiful women with exotic accents, and ducks. Since it's a coffee shop, beautiful women come and go. I should bring a duck with me next time.
The people. Oh boy, the people. When plans were first laid down for this group, material was kept light, like "Chaos" by James Gliek. This group does not shy away from hard material. But, they can help explain it to people coming from a non-math background. I've noticed my own math skills growing in the nine months since I've started working with them. Words and formulas that were so foreign to me in papers I had to read for my job now make sense, and has helped improved what I can do. You want to change the world and become an ubermensh in the process? Just hang out with people 10 times as smart and passionate about what they do. Over time, it will just rub off on you, and you won't even recognize yourself anymore.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Something very boring. But different.

Хай :)
Как дела?
Ничего. А у тебя?
Тоже. Что делешь?
Ищу какое-нибудь кино посмотреть.
Любое интересное кино?
Да, но старое, годов 1950-1960х.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Linux and the slippery slope.

Hi, my name is Samuel Bledsoe and I use linux.
I first started using linux in the winter of 2010. Like many, I was frustrated with windows. I had switched to Vista when it was first released and dealt with the problems. But my biggest frustration was that I felt I lost control of my computer. My dad had always taught that I should learn to understand the workings of mechanical systems, because it leads to new ideas, new perspectives, and a greater appreciation of the technology in our lives and the world around us. Computers seemed no different to me. When my Vista laptop died one year into owning it, I switched back to XP.
It was old, though, and new is shiny. New looks better, new smells better, and new is exciting. "Friends" and "Wise Men" told me about this other operating system. A system that has all the best technology, and if you can understand it, the possibilities are endless! A mere boy could create a computer to see the universe. Why I'm here today, 4 years later, is to speak on lessons learned.
First things first: answers are a temporary high. They give us a feeling of accomplishment, and that feeling is such an amazing feeling. It can be wrapped around us like a security blanket to protect us from the outside world. Answers are accomplishments, and accomplishments make us feel like a success, and it keeps us from seeing the bleak and dangerous world around us. But these answers, they only lead to more questions. Sure, I may have put this OS that is so light and yet so powerful compared to bloated monster that used to occupy, but what makes it so light? Can it be lighter and still be useful? It still runs into problems when I download things, are the programs I have not getting along with the programs I downloaded? Why? Well, I have control now, maybe I'll just open things up and take a look.
Answers are a slippery slope. One moment, you're trying to put this "Ubuntu" thing on your computer, then you look up and it's 4 years later and your trying to figure out why your computer isn't generating your fstab file properly while you try to build an entire OS from scratch. Your vocabulary has changed, and no one can understand you anymore. One day, you might try to ask your friends what their .config is for their IDE. They'll only look at you with confusion and pity before going off to an actual social life with people who only concern themselves with fine wine, women, and worldly possessions.
God help you if you mix this addiction with other forms of learning. Hallucinogens and abstract mathematics are similar in that no one understands what the hell your saying, but it sure sounds deep and maybe a bit paranoid. When you mix your linux with math, philosophy, and molecular chemistry, you will never see the world the same ever again. Even if you quit, you'll still see patterns in the way the world moves. You'll see the building blocks of the world. You may even see the world as nothing but points of data that can be manipulated with the right formula and equations.
If someone you know is starting to experiment with linux, stop them before it's too late.


I have a twitter now, it's @aristotlemstk. Sometimes I use it. So far, I mostly just tweet statements I find amusing when I am with my math group in Philadelphia. I help co-organize a math group in Philadelphia, and it was my hobby that has been using my time for the last 6 months. Check out the information here, and come out on the 4th Saturday of the month if you live in the area.

Monday, May 19, 2014

7 pm blog thoughts, and a voice lost to the void

I work hard at a task I can take pride in. At this point, I know I'm still young because time stretches before more than the time lags behind me. When I study my history, though, it's littered with lives of people who worked hard and are barely remembered. Every now and then, it's good to step back and stare at the big picture. Small exposure to it over time helps keep you from insanity. It helps focus and it helps drive. And it seems to help mental health by asking the big questions and seeing what your answer is.
What the hell is the point of life? It's a line that spans two inevitable points, birth and death. There seems to be a good chance that every dream I have will not all come true, and I will fail at many tasks. I may work hard, give to charity, try and help educate others, like others have done before me. And like so many before me, I may be forgotten; a life swept up by time whose story is left to fade in a far off place. So why try? Why not rot my mind with drugs, and waste away in a life of mediocrity?
This is a world meant to be explored. A world of experiences and people and places and sights, and there is no time to see it all. This is a world of information, and this information has been shared by beautiful poems, rousing speeches, and challenging stories. Isn't life worth it to be part of that?  To experience what is good in the world, and bad, in order to explore the corners of reality.
What kind of person do I want to be? I look around at the people around me, and I search for traits that are admirable. Curiosity, politeness, humility, friendliness, and an ability to stand up to whatever they see wrong with the world. God damn, this life works to crush my spirit. Their are people who have seen it done before, and that is not the way it is done. I won't shield myself. I will take inspiration from the people around me, and turn it into something worth doing. I will be forgotten, but not before experiencing what this world has to offer.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Here is another thing about age written by yet another stupid millennial  26 year old. Now that I have the self depreciation out of the way, let's see if I can make something with some substance or even add anything to the landscape.
The reason for the introduction is simple: I don't think I've ever seen 30 as old, and it has never dawned on me until now that my body may think other wise. I feel it, every year I feel like it's a little harder to keep up with people younger than me. But have you seen the Millennial generation?  Not many of us look it. It's never dawned on me that my body will feel old, because people in their early 30's used to look like they could fit with us young-un's. Hell, I thought the only difference between 21 and 31 was maybe kids and probably a real job. There were people older than me that complained about being old, but I was also in construction and farming, so those guys seemed to be old prematurely. They looked like somebody my age with some back problems.
The other thing is, it really does look like I have a lot of time left. I somehow didn't kill myself yet by being a dumb-ass who'll try anything, and it seems I have less and less of a desire to do so. Because every morning I wake up alive after being wild and young is another god-damn morning I have to deal with. So either I don't wake up, or I don't do the wild and young thing. Don't like my options, really.
My reason for making this is to grouse about the fact my brain seems to want to the same dumb shit I did 5 years ago. "Drugs? Fasting? Work hard for no money? Yeah, I've done it before, I can do it now." Then I do it, and I realize, it wasn't something I could do when I was young because it caused me problems then too. Also, stuff I decided was sucked when I was 18 like restaurant work and Pennsylvania, hasn't changed a bit. Being a cook is for saints, and PA. . . God, PA. I thought I was home sick when I was 18.
I'm grumpy. I'm bitching and I'm whining. Someone once told me that no one under 28 likes to go to loud clubs and bars. I'm not sure about that, but I am sure of the fact that late nights for a week straight is something that has always been problematic for me, I just blamed it on the drugs. Oh, and next time I decide to try fasting because "spiritual people have been doing it for centuries" I need a reminder that it wasn't fun when I tried it at 19, it was new. And when I was 21 and living in a tent? Well, by month three of hard work and not a lot of food I punched my friend and boss in the face. It's not fun now when I'm 26. What the fuck is the point of growing older if I can't learn from my mistakes?
Positive note - I have done this thing for a long time because the reason I started writing this (to learn science and math) seems to payed off to a degree. Working in mycology and trying to keep up with running a math group pushed this blog into "We'll see" status. And I've been working to help my friends out, Los Festingos, a band in Philadelphia. They too have been working hard for 5 years and dealing with their own dreams and struggling, and it finally seems to pay off in a small way when they release an album with 10 whole songs. Even if we all fail, we had fun in our 20's.