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Rapturous howl:
Thursday, January 8, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Thursday already? What happened to the rest of the week?

So I get this piece of email that's going around, and it's one of these Amazing Mathematical Mysteries, forwarded from person to person with comments like "Try this!" and "really bizarre!". Here's how it goes (paraphrased):

Take a seven-digit form of your phone number. Take the first three digits of this, and multiply by eighty. Add one to the result. Multiply the result by two hundred and fifty. Add the last four digits of the phone number. Add the last four digits of the phone number again. Subtract two hundred and fifty. Divide by two.

Is this your phone number?

Incredible, eh? Here are some of the rocket scientists at the "Mind Exchange" site analyzing its mysteries; and here are some of the common people.

I know you're saying to yourself, like these good folks, "how do people come up with these things?". Well, I don't know either. But this evening on the way home from basketball practice, an alien spaceship projected a few on the clouds over the highway. These are even simpler than the one above (less fancy math involved), but they're equally astounding!

Think of a three-digit number.
Add it to itself.
Divide the result by two.

Incredible, eh?

And how about this:

Think of a number between one hundred and one thousand.
Add three.
Multiply by two.
Subtract six.
Divide by two.

Darn, those space aliens have some advanced stuff!

Here's the second most astounding one:

Think of a two-digit number.
Multiply the second digit by ten.
Add the first digit.

Whoa, eh? (Note: in case you didn't notice the trick, the answer is your original number with the digits reversed!!)

But this last one is the prize-winner. You'll need a piece of paper and a pencil.

Think of an odd number between forty-seven and ninety-three.
Write it down on the paper.
Turn the paper over.
Turn the paper over again.

Isn't that amazing? (You have to be a little careful; if you don't turn the paper over right, sometimes you get back your original number upside-down. Which is pretty amazing, too, when you think about it.)

Whew, enough double-dome stuff for one night, eh?

Those artsy folks in New York that I really ought to get down and look at some time are doing another Loft Event.

One david mankins points us at a great story (especially if it's true) about how easily people will believe odd things if the people around them seem to.

Morford writes very memorably:

...hence we must smudge the lens, rearrange the furniture, kick the bee's nest and then run screaming and naked into the ice-cold lake of imminent change.

But in the Words To Live By category, our winner today must go to this spam subject line:

never be a person that irritating others the most clean

What more can I say?

Monday, January 5, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

In the future, everyone will be married to Britney Spears for fifteen minutes.

Oh, wait, wait, here's another one:

If a celebrity gets married in Las Vegas, and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Okay, so that one's a little more absurdist.

Here's a nice little piece on civil annulment; not written yesterday, but might as well have been. A good quote:

In Michigan or Mississippi, Darva could have fallen back on "idiocy" as a ground for annulment. Unfortunately, however, those states require not that the marriage be idiotic (self-evident here), but that one of the parties be an idiot -- that is, someone who is severely mentally disabled (somewhat harder to prove here).

Okay, okay, we'll stop being nasty now. But it's such fun! This is why we love celebrities.

A bit of political nastiness: Bush in 30 Seconds. (Some of them are very well done, some overly preachy, a few incomprehensible.)

I finally finished Psychohistorical Crisis: notes.

A Wiki all about intellectual property rights and p2p and the DMCA and stuff. I'm not getting all involved in that one, though, nosiree. I only get into flamewars about the nature of consciousness and the rational basis of morality, these days. Life's too short.

And if there was anything else I was going to say, I've forgotten what it was. So little much, so time to do!

Saturday, January 3, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

I was in this room at Swarthmore (I think it was Swarthmore) a long, long time ago (at least twenty years, sheesh). It was during some break and classes weren't in session, and me and the people I was visiting were just sort of lolling around the campus and flirting and stuff, and eventually we ended up in this classroom (are they called "classrooms" in Universities? doesn't sound right somehow) and on the blackboard (whiteboard) there was a place where once someone had written a version of what turns out to be (I am startled to see) a Mister Rogers song, thus:

Boys are fancy on the outside,
Girls are fancy on the inside.
Everybody's fancy,
Everybody's fine;
Your body's fancy
And so is mine!

But then someone (probably someone else) had erased selected letters, resulting in something like

Barf on the outside,
Garf on the inside.
very fancy,
very fine;
Your body's

which we all thought was pretty funny, especially given that one of the group was in fact nicknamed "Garf". No one 'fessed up (at least not in my hearing), so I never knew if it was a coincidence, or actually referring to our own Garf.

I just thought that should be recorded for posterity.

Friday, January 2, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

NASA has a thing landing on Mars also? Sheesh, no one tells me anything anymore.

I've been frittering away enormous (eDormouse) amounts of time randomly surfing around the Web, mostly on Wikis. Especially deadly for me is the combination of Wikis and semi-rational religious discussions; I should be under doctor's orders to avoid pages like this one for instance. I also have an odd fascination with cultural events and contentious interaction; here's another Wikipedia page in dispute (in fact the dispute is so longrunning that that's a FAQ about the dispute).

(Here're some things to rest your eyes on in between Wikis.)

The epic continues:

Re: YSTUJ, that stairway upon
Re: RLOPPL, the baron turned
Re: CZC, who is this
Re: KLPEMRG, the mountains turned
Re: ONA, hella was sitting
Re: ZBPTF, it's good that
Re: AANT, boorish and outrageous
Re: YRO, and flew more
Re: EIYLBLN, coat came into
Re: FMGWKSLG, i see that
Re: CSSCUNFQBQ,4411, dull reddish light
Re: EAW, by that time
Re: PLME, put on your
Re: ZJV, i protest! it's
Re: RCGMMEFG, stopping and staring
Re: OGKPRFW, change his clothes
Re: KKESFQRF, that you dont!'
Re: NZKGZS, started swelling again
Re: PXUIJTK, behind the professors
Re: YMYPR, each of them
Re: IT, but all things
Re: OZARI, was very seldom
Re: HDZ, little elongated cases

I think I preferred the light lyricism of the earlier work, but one can't deny the power that the poet brings to this longer and darker narrative.

Whadja get?

an acceptance letter from Cambridge.

another day older and deeper in debt

complete confusion about the communitarian lectures


a trip to israel, and a canon rebel ti, and a hundred rolls of film. i WANTED a digital rebel.

books, dvd, game, toy, money

Firefly DVDs, iBook battery

A new Prius. A pair of scissors. And the promise of a new dresser.

"Come on little Beagle... Talk to us" :-(


I got the third season of Babylon 5; I'm currently less than halfway through the second season. So many bits to absorb! (Lots of Firefly fans out there?) And congratulations and condolences and stuff (Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go). Too bad about that previous Mars lander, indeed; the Martians don't seem real happy about our visits. Maybe they're insulted by all the unmanned vehicles?

(The communitarian lectures entry? I have no idea. I just found it sitting there in my brain on Monday, and typed it in.)


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