David Thompson
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June 26, 2009

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SG

"Cocaine toothache drops –instantaneous cure!"

I bet they were. But cocaine dandruff remedies?

David

“I bet they were.”

Actually, in emergencies, I think Ecstasy makes a better (albeit temporary) toothache cure. I’m sure I, er, read it somewhere.

Candice

I love the Nembutol suppositories for the little ones. Also, "When Crisis Demands Quick-Acting Hypnotics." Both of those must have been aimed at physcians.

On a feminist note, why must all mental health meds be aimed at the hysterical woman, usually a housewife? I know what'll shut her up, some lovely barbituates!

SG

They're cheaper than jewellery.

Anna

I want a Deco-Gundam. The garters are great.

http://gigazine.jp/img/2009/06/25/gundam_most_fab/pinkgundam04.jpg

James S

Re maths and jellyfish:

"In other words, numbers exist independent of human beings."

Did we invent maths or discover it?

David

“Did we invent maths or discover it?”

It seems to me – someone who’s barely numerate – that it’s a bit of both. I think it was John Barrow who said, “In the end, one cannot help but feel that humanity is not really clever enough to have ‘invented’ mathematics.”

There’s a BBC Horizon programme (that I can’t find online), in which mathematician Marcus du Sautoy and actor Alan Davies look at prime numbers. The pattern of their distribution (which you might think of as an invention) is also found repeatedly in the physical world. Du Sautoy gets Davies to hit a lump of quartz with something heavy (a ball bearing?) and then look at the emission spectrum as the mechanical energy is converted into an electrical signal. The pattern looks remarkably similar. The same pattern emerges in the distribution of electrons in an atom of uranium, and even in analyses of traffic flow.

I defer to any passing mathematicians, but it seems to support the idea of something being discovered.

Du Sautoy appears in this, on much the same topic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4MSzfBcjOs

James S

Wow. Thanks.

JuliaM

"On a feminist note, why must all mental health meds be aimed at the hysterical woman, usually a housewife? I know what'll shut her up, some lovely barbituates!"

What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned slap? ;)

gaffee

The Multicolr Search Lab is pretty cool.

BackwardsBoy

The money quote of the century:

"Too many people have chosen to believe in what they wish to be true rather than in what is true."

This should be chiseled onto the front of schools everywhere and tattooed on the forehead of every politician.

On second thought, maybe it should be chiseled onto the foreheads of politicians.

Candice

The way I look at math is that it simply must exist, just as electrons must exist or gravity be a real force. In studying electronics I came to believe that if there are other forms of life out there in the universe that their computers or electronics would have to operate on nearly identical principles as ours. The language might be different, but the numbers and the science underlying the devices would be the same.

If one were superstitious, one might be inclined to percieve God in the numbers.

andy

David

Thanks for the link to the colour search, its very useful to me!

David

Candice,

This may be relevant, from John Barrow’s “Pi in the Sky,” regarding maths as a cultural construct:

“Arguments of this sort regarding the origin and cultural development of mathematics run into difficulty when they confront the utility of mathematics. It is easy to understand why mathematics turns out to be useful for solving problems or understanding observations of the world which were known at, or before, the invention of the mathematical concepts concerned. What we cannot understand is why mathematical concepts invented purely for aesthetic reasons, or as extensions of other mathematics invented for practical purposes, turn out to be, if anything, still more accurate in their description of the workings of the world. Cultural traditions are contexts for the development of mathematics but they cannot be its universal causes.”

P.158.

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