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Showing posts from September, 2015

Story-telling pieces of maths

When I was wee and being taught maths in the bad standard manner, I instinctively came up with little characterisations of various mathematical objects, to protect myself from boredom:

The positive and negative numbers are mortally opposed armies; the modulus denotes the size of each army; each unit can handle one unit of the enemy before dying (evaporating together, in fact). Addition and subtraction are fair fights upon the field; multiplication and division are espionage and political overthrow. The negatives hate each other as much as they hate positives (-10 x -10 = 100). The positives are very simple and can be easily tricked into fighting for the other side (-1 x 1,000,000 = -1,000,000).
Differentiation is desecration and zoom. Integration is reconsecration and overview. Going by the basic fairy-tale story arc, then, differdesecration is never the real end-point; a calculation isn't complete until it is brought back to the initial function... (Here we see the beginning of a …

adult content miscellany

Age is at least five different things which we currently treat as the same. (We do this by using just one integer, 'years since birth', as the only measure of it.) What several things is age?

Historical periodisation. The person's place in history, extremely well covered by date of birth. Through DOB we get a sense of what cluster of opinions they will probably hold.
Biological age. A person's general senescence. The age-integer is also used a proxy for how much help a person needs or deserves, with 65 years an arbitrary threshold in most of the developing world. (Philosophically, it would make a lot of sense to collapse old-age welfare into disability welfare, since old age is disability, and since both resource allocations seek the amelioration of a difficult life. But, politically, this would be a bad move for the old, since the current climate makes it pretty easy to slash disability while pensions are relatively sacrosanct.)
Total subjective time. How much has the p…

Notable words of the past little while, Q3 2015

'primary' (n. and adj.): Useful term in the modern free-love movement: one's most significant romantic partner (n.), or most significant relationship (adj.), as measured by emotional intensity, tacit commitment, logistical entanglement (cohabitation, children, bank accounts), and their formal priority over others.

Of course, this is basically what traditional relationships mean by 'a relationship' (or, better, by 'next of kin') but it's a very good idea to be explicit about these things even if, like me, you're not especially modern. Not least, this allows us to understand what it actually means to commit oneself in the standard manner; to question the bits of it that are stupid or overgeneralised; and to think of all other-seeking humans as sharing a great deal of motivation and emotional whatnot, whether they are swinger, asexual, Bostonian, polyamorist or monogamist.
'aromantic' (adj.): Not experiencing romantic attraction (as opposed to a…