Friday, August 28, 2009

Thing Palette Doesn't Understand

  1. Why does a razor, which is metal, become dull after cutting hair, which is so much softer than metal? That's like saying knives get dull after cutting butter. WTF?
  2. Anything more complicated than basic algebra. There's no joke here, I simply can't wrap my brain around it. The irony is that I can understand extremely difficult mathematical concepts as long as they are explained in English rather than math. I can go on about gravity, and quantum mechanics, and spooky action from a distance, but ask me "Why?" and I can't answer because I lack the mathematical grounding to prove it. Math is sort of an article of faith for me... I know it exists but I can't prove it.
  3. Pi. No, really. True story: I once told a friend "I don't get the rationale behind Pi." Those of you who speak math are no doubt laughing your asses off at the pun I just made, but I assure you that I was being completely serious at the time.
  4. How Vampires replaced ponies for tweenage girls. I remember when liking vampires was enough to get you branded a freak, a weirdo, and have authority figures look at you funny when you walked past because you might be carrying a gun under that coat. I guess this is what happens when fans of Anne Rice have kids?
  5. Where the past week went. Wasn't it Monday just yesterday? Damn allergy hangovers...


  1. 1. A knife would become dull after cutting butter for a sufficiently long time. You always scrape off a few molecules off the surface no matter how hard your metal or how soft the material is that you're cutting.
    As for a razor cutting hair. In order to provide a comfortable shave a razor generally has a 15 degree or sharper edge. As a knifenut you should realize what that means in terms of edge durability.

    2./3. Can't help you there. Math's a logic descriptor language, and despite what they tell us the human mind isn't suited for logic (find me ONE sane mathematician that has really advanced the field of mathematics after we started dealing with stuff beyond algebra, just one). Thus the, perhaps not so logical, conclusion that if you want to look for people influenced by the elder gods, look no further than our nearest university with a math institution.

    4. I blame Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise. It's the DracoInLeatherPants effect gone haywire. Not that it's new really. Teen and Tween girls has always gone wild over the "bad boys". Before vampires it was gangmembers or bankrobbers (John dillinger anyone?), outlaws and highway men.
    It's older than steam.
    In fact, I bet that if it was possible to study the Robin Hood legend sufficiently hard you'd discover the DracoInLeatherPants effect. It's just that it's gone on for a sufficiently long time.

  2. Right there with ya on the math thing. I can speak physics, quantum theory, superstring etc no problem. I love reading about this stuff right up til the author puts in the equations. Then my brain gives me a dial tone.
    The issue with myself is numeric dyslexia. I am fine with word but numbers get screwed up in my head. I was always able to solve "word problems" from a very young age. I knew all the rules and theories about how to solve a math problem, but when I had to actually DO it, I got it wrong, every damn time.
    And not one teacher ever noticed. Public schools, gotta love em.
    I finally figured it out in college. working at the U's library. I would re-shelve a load of book, by the Dewey Decimal System, then go back and over half would be in the wrong place. Drove me nuts cause I thought I wasn't paying attention or was just stupid, then I would re-shelve them, go back and WRONG again. After weeks of this crap I finally went to the testing center and got tested and there she was. Numeric dyslexia.
    I will always wonder where my life would have gone if just one teacher had payed attention in grade school.

  3. "and despite what they tell us the human mind isn't suited for logic"

    I'm not sure whose telling you that, they've proved pretty much beyond the shadow of a doubt that (most) humans suck badly at logic.

  4. "find me ONE sane mathematician that has really advanced the field of mathematics after we started dealing with stuff beyond algebra, just one)"

    Ada Lovelace. Alan Turing (he did eventually kill himself, but that was because the British government arrested him for being gay, not from his math).

  5. I'm not sure that I'd consider Ada Lovelace work groundbreaking (I mean, even I have a fair idea what she's talking about in her published work. Brilliant, but not mindboggling. It's more about applying known mathematics to a new medium) and I'm not sure that I'd consider Alan Turing sane.


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