Thursday, October 02, 2008

Random Musings from a Tired and Hungry Mathematician

Sometimes one starts posts by talking about complete and utter random nonsense (perhaps), and this happens to be one of them occasions. However I must warn you that due to yesterdays oscillations I didn't eat or sleep much. Well I had to skip breakfast because I had to catch the bus for a nine am lecture, and I only had time to grab two bananas to take with me. During the day all I have eaten is a chocolate muffin, half a slice of chocolate cake and drank three cups of tea. Food won't seem to go down, and even though my body is hungry for it, my brain seems to think that I can cope (which I have been doing surprisingly!).

I decided to do something, but I can't remember what because silly Po walked in and our conversation distracted me from this post. Yesterday seems surreal at the moment. Today seems quite weird as well. My Dad's back from the hospital but we're still clueless as to what's wrong and he's got to go for more check ups - the pains spontaneous, and in this case no news is not good news. He's still the same old Dad, DUH, but the eerie silence in my house this morning was very unpleasant. (He stayed overnight).

Public transport should be avoided by the way. I had to buy some food from Sainsbury and ended up waiting 30 flippin minutes for the bus. Although I would have managed to walk home in a mere twenty minutes, my body resisted that notion quite rapidly.

Today some things were cleared between Milo and myself regarding my behaviour last year. As I previously said, I believe that we are both to blame in this misunderstanding but perhaps me more so than Milo. I deal with things by initially locking them away in the closet for some time, or blogging about them (!). Other people don't and probably expect me to be more "vocal" I suppose.

Seriously though - I sometimes think that humans are unfair to another. We don't realise how something trivial we do can cause a massive impact on someone else. I am guilty of this too, but I blame myself for sometimes being able to read a persons face or body language.

[That's what sometimes makes it even more fun when I bug lecturers - watching them squirm for a way out. MUHAHAHA. Haha, only kidding!! I only ever bug my PTs intentionally for perhaps they're the only ones who can nicely say "I'm going to have to throw you out now" or "go away, I'm busy", so I know when they've had enough. Sometimes they don't even have to say that and I can see the steam coming out of their ears! Note to any of my lecturers: you can have a quick get away from me by agreeing to attend the Galois Group lecture I'm pestering you about! Ask Dr. W'' about this and other colleagues for the startling results of doing so!]

Okay - so I've had my very long "random start" of the post and must now move on. This post is a garbled mess and your exercise is to find the relevant material (- if any - is the difficult question!). Imagine that I'm a very very bad teacher and have very very bad notes. Nah - that sounds stupid - very very stupid. I've not had anything to drink by the way... . I'm just very very tired. (Any mathematician would find the "very very" part very very offensive, so in your own set of notes you may write the slightly more elegant (very)^2.)

My Measure Theory lecturer is quite cool. I gave him some top secret information which I was surprised he didn't know, and now he owes me for life (but he doesn't know about this clause). All he has to do is attend all the Galois Group lecturers I organise and I will consider us even. I only mentioned the first lecture to him for the time being, and will just bring this "clause" up in week 5! Because of him though, I seemed to mention a lot of maths in my every day conversations (mostly not making sense, for quantifiers were mentioned).

A question about mathematical consistency. Now "us" mathematicians are very very lucky. We can be both precise and quite imprecise at times. For example, we nicely write out proofs by stating the assumptions first and then going from there; all the time allowing our readers to know when we use the triangle inequality or something similar. However, at other times we can always insert forgotten information by writing a dagger symbol and some arrows. So that's the theory behind my clause with my measure theory lecturer! The star with the clause will be used when I remember that we have a Galois Group lecture on a particular Wednesday... *cue evil laugh*

Continuing this topic further. If you are not consistent or true to definitions etc, would you be a fake or just an "inconsistent mathmo"? Is that the greatest shame a mathematician can be given - inconsistency? Well I definitely believe that a mathematician should try their best to be consistent, so if you can think of a worse sin (for example, not colouring boxes at the end of proofs!) please do let me know.

An example of where my 'musings' have come from. Say I define the natural numbers to be the set N={1, 2, 3, 4, ....} that is, zero is not a natural number. Then say I go on to define a chapter of my "notes" with chapter 0. Is that allowed? Should I be shouted at for giving misleading information and fooling people into thinking that their notes only have n chapters when in fact there are n+1? Well you might argue that I was using the integers when creating a function to number my chapters, but that's no excuse.

When it comes to such non-trivial problems we must remember that it is natural to use the natural numbers to number our chapter, so care should be given to start at chapter one.

Oops. I've just realised that I was going to take these 'musing' to very very stupid grounds indeed, making me look very bad and not like a third year student! I was stupidly going to say that we need a bijection from the natural numbers to our set E of chapters, for E to be countable, which is what "mathematicians like". But if we label our chapters from the set E= {0, 1, 2, 3} we can still create the bijection where 1 -> 0, 2 ->1, 3 ->2, 4->3! (Or can we?!)

Meh. I should stop trying to sound smart. Perhaps I can't remember the precise thing I mentioned during the day, for it has been a good many hours since! Egg on my face is something I'm used to now... But yes - it is better to stay quiet and let everyone assume that you're a fool, rather than open your mouth and confirm it! (But where's the fun in that?)

That latest blunder from this very very bad teacher should mean I call it a day. But no - I don't wear a watch so can't guess when the lessons over.

You might have noticed that I mentioned Measure Theory. My timetabling woes might have been reduced to something trivial, but I need to speak to Dr. C and Dr. E to get approval; and I suppose encouragement if I'm being honest, to say that my choice is not mad and I can cope with it. I would rather not post the current settings here, for I risk compromising myself when I end up not going ahead with this plan!

I spoke to a great many people today, and it was a nice day, especially knowing that Pops was at home too! I surprisingly even managed to get the whole 30 posters stuck up for TGG lecture, but I believe it is a crime to let me anywhere near the damn things. If you can find one poster that I stuck up straight, I will take my hat off to you. All the posters look lopsided to me but someone likes the new colour scheme. (I'll be posting it here by the end of the week, and please do attend if you can.)

Sorry but there's a final thing. I ended up substituting for Fizz in her first PASS session as she forgot, which made me think that I might not do it this year. Why? Well the very first question I was asked was about stats and I had to physically stop myself from running away. I'm currently doing it part-time, so will be with Fizz and Bella every other week, but that's looking less likely. (I stink at all the first year first semester courses you see.)

That's it. The end of this lecture. Don't hurt yourself whilst leaving. I have a very very full day tomorrow (which is not as bad as Monday and Tuesday), but I'm a braveheart and I'm going to see this week out. Well actually my week will really be ending on Saturday instead (don't forget the Maths on Philosophy workshop now!).

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