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I've created this journal so that I have a journal from which to comment to authors of other lj journals. My main LJ interests are fan fiction, especially sci-fi, especially adult, especially non-heteronormative. Right now, my favorite fandom is Numb3rs, which reminds me of my first one, X-Files. Got recs?

I'm no relation to the UK electronic music group Fractal Moon. I've used the moniker "Fractal Moonshine" for online fannish pursuits for a few years. It was the name of a computer-generated design on a university-hosted site that I can't find anymore. Sadly, I can't fit all those letters into LJ's journal-naming parameter.

My current favorite music:


Math Anxiety through the Ages

"The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell"

-- St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, circa 400 BCE

quoted in "Mathematics for the Nonmathematician," Morris Kline, 1985

Happy belated Pi Day

Charlie from Numb3rs wears a blue t-shirt with a white mathematical symbol for pi on it.

March 14 is Pi Day, because 3.14 is the first three digits of the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Wikipedia has a neat automated gif to explain this.

Next year will be a once-in-a-century event. Pi day will fall on 3/14/15, which is the first five numbers of pi, 3.1415.



How I miss Charlie Eppes from Numb3rs! I came across a couple of headlines yesterday that reminded me of him:

Why the Brain Sees Maths as Beauty (BBC)

The Physics of Curly Hair: Researchers develop first detailed model for a 3-D strand of curly hair (Science Daily)

The research comes from one of Charlie's alma maters, MIT:

The heroes and villains in animated films tend to be on opposite ends of the moral spectrum. But they're often similar in their hair, which is usually extremely rigid or -- if it moves at all -- is straight and swings to and fro. It's rare to see an animated character with bouncy, curly hair, since computer animators don't have a simple mathematical means for describing it. But now, researchers have developed the first detailed model for a 3-D strand of curly hair.

David Krumholtz, who played Charlie, has put on some weight since he quit smoking and had his (cancerous) thyroid removed. But I still want to run my hands through his curly hair.

Photo taken July 2013Collapse )

Learning about Jewish experiences

In the past year, I've read "The Bedwetter" by Sarah Silverman, "My Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs, and "The Story of My Life" by Moshe Dayan.

"My Year of Living Biblically" was my favorite of these three. Jacobs is a writer for Esquire who was raised in a secular Jewish household, where his few Orthodox relatives were considered kinda weird. He wrote this book as a follow-up to his book about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica all the way through, and did not expect to be as emotionally affected by his journey as he was. Though he attempted to carry out the rules of the Christian Gospels part of the bible ("New Testament") that did not require him to accept Jesus as Messiah, it was trying to apply the rules laid out in the Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament") that brought him closer to his Jewish heritage, and made him decide to raise his sons in a more observant household.

Moshe Dayan's autobiography is over 700 pages long, and after a while, the battles begin to blur, but it does describe Israel's history as a series of wars. Dayan was born on Israel's first kibbutz, south of the Sea of Galilee. As a teenager, he joined Haganah, a Zionist militia formed while the area was controlled by the British. He was a founder of the IDF after independence in 1948, and lead it in the Sinai War (1956), the Six Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973).

A few weeks ago, I rented "Waltz with Bashir", an animated film about an IDF veteran of the first Lebanon War (1982) who can't remember chunks of what happened after he arrived in Lebanon. Tracking down comrades he remembers from his incomplete dreams, he eventually reconstructs his memory of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese Christian paramilitary, which then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was fired for facilitating. "Bashir" in the title was the Christian Lebanese president whose assassination set off the Christian militia's act of revenge.

Last week, I watched "You Don't Mess With the Zohan", the only Adam Sandler movie I've ever sat through. I actually laughed at parts, particularly once the action moved from Israel to Brooklyn.

I want to read "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl this year.
I have been crying tears of laughter in front of my computer this evening, as I read excerpts from "King James Programming, "generated by a Markov chain trained on the King James Bible and 'Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs'." It's a mash-up of the King James Bible and a classic comp sci textbook by a comp sci prof in the UK. A few of my favorites:

"In APL all data are represented as arrays, and there shall they see the Son of man, in whose sight I brought them out"

"And Satan stood up against them in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the role of procedures in program design."

"But after that faith is come, we are no longer automatically serialized by the account."

"And these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, and all the abominations that be done in (log n) steps."

"Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover within any of thy cattle, and in the MIT Computation Center."

I only recognized the name "Markov Chain" because it was bandied about in a few Numb3rs episodes. I didn't understand it then, and looking at the wikipedia article about it, I couldn't tell you how it works, though it seems like a more efficient way of getting to the same results as cutting up a bunch of sentences from both works, mixing them up in a bucket, and pulling out two or three at random.

Now on Boing Boing and Slashdot as well.
Last night, I saw "Repairs", an episode of Agents of SHIELD that relies on multiple-universe theory (or was the guy caught between Midgard and another of the nine realms from the Thor movies? If so, they were never referenced). Today, I watched the first two eps of (sadly, cancelled) Primeval: New World, which relies on multiple-universe theory and time-travel for its premise. Now I want a crossover between those shows. Because any drama can only be improved by dinosaurs chasing people around. And, Niall Matter.
Last night, I saw "The World's End," a much funnier bro-medy than James Franco's "This is the End". Simon Pegg (Scottie in the NuTrek movies) plays a burnout whose life has been all downhill since high school. He remembers the apex of his life as the pub crawl he led his friends on the night they graduated, in 1990. They ran out of steam around the eighth tavern out of twelve on his list. He convinces himself that in order to get his life on track, he needs to get the gang back together to finish the pub crawl.

These guys are now 40 years old, with families and careers, but he manipulates them all into the attempt to relive his glory days. Hilarity ensues when they discover that they must use drunken logic to save themselves from the blue-ink-filled robots that have replaced the townspeople they once knew. If you've seen "Shaun of the Dead" or "Hot Fuzz" (the less famous of the two, but better, IMHO), you know how well they satirize British small town life. If you've not...rent them now!

Pegg's character has maintained his loyalty to late '80's goth band Sisters of Mercy, whose logo he has tattooed on his midriff. This song played during the end credits. 80's hair alert!

What I'm reading right now: Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order, by George Johnson. I've just read the first chapter. As I understand it, the book is supposed to be about whether scientific laws are discovered or invented. It's trippy so far. I'm not sure whether I'm better off spending the time reading about philosophy of science, or actual applications of it.

Saturday, I watched the marathon of Primeval: New World on Sy Fy. It's already been cancelled. Pity. The best thing about it, besides dinosaurs chasing people around Vancouver, is Niall Matter running around in denim and leather. He was a hottie as Zane Donovan in Eureka. In P:NW, he's in almost every frame.

eyecandy aheadCollapse )