… well if this isn’t one of the most gorgeous sounds I’ve heard in a while …
It’s Pi day, and that’s cool. Especially:
So it’s fair to ask: Why do mathematicians care so much about pi? Is it some kind of weird circle fixation? Hardly. The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach. Even young children get this. The digits of pi never end and never show a pattern. They go on forever, seemingly at random—except that they can’t possibly be random, because they embody the order inherent in a perfect circle. This tension between order and randomness is one of the most tantalizing aspects of pi.
This shit is fascinating, but one reason I never fully immersed myself in math is the sort of cosmic scope of death an interest in numbers provides. Take, for example, this video:
While I’ve seen this many times over (my mom was a middle school math teacher, so I grew up around numbers), I think it may help people understand climate change these days.
For example: You can see the similarities of organic systems at a micro and macro level within this video. The earth, or more specifically, nature, is reacting to the changing dynamics of circumstance that—at scale—are so minor, climate change is like scratching an itch.
People, though, are the itch and to us a scratch is hurricanes leading to earthquakes and rising sea levels.
What distinguishes pi from all other numbers is its connection to cycles. For those of us interested in the applications of mathematics to the real world, this makes pi indispensable. Whenever we think about rhythms—processes that repeat periodically, with a fixed tempo, like a pulsing heart or a planet orbiting the sun—we inevitably encounter pi.
I don’t know; I think a fundamental understanding of mathematical concepts is absolutely necessary to survival. Numerical systems are the most logical to understand, and what most of our structures in society are based off of. If you can see the ideal relationships between points, angles and compounds via math, it’s easier to adjust psychologically to the relationships between economics, labor and distribution in life.
Or else that’s just my brain and I’m fucking insane.
Mystery and wonder did light up the valley to be beat back by dark clouds and a harsh reeking wind. And that battle staggered through 3 awful months there, to stop for a minute, just to start up again. Your hands like birds in the trees, if the trees themselves were all on fire. Your hips on mine make a choir singing “baruch atta adonai.”
And the river never made it to the lake so the lake surrendered to the mountain, and the mountain’s heart did fucking break at the sight of your nervous hands…
And oh my love, so gently breathing. So my heart does softly swell. So her & me did greet the evening with much red wine and giddy yells. In these times of wandering soldiers building towers on ruined land, I hold my love to my belly and feel her breath fall across my hands.
I have grown tired of the struggle and I’ve grown tired of making plans. It think i’ll quit to the valley, regain my strength and start again. Where once we were some clumsy army, now we are just lazy hens. I think i’ll quit to the valley until the light moves me again…
So, let’s link arms sisters and brothers and let’s promise not to retreat. There is glory in our failure. So let’s march to the rhythm of fatigue. To live our lives without leaders. To live in joy without fear. Let’s walk together to the valley. And let the light redeem our hearts…
Sometimes you just need something so obscenely beautiful you forget about everything else. The video is shaky, just let the music hold your wayward soul.
I have been alcohol free for fifteen months. I am retreating to the valley of America for six weeks this summer. Failure begets ambition. More info soon.
I feel like the good karma I earned by never sneaking out of the house at age 16 to go get high and skate with my friends comes full circle when I decide to do that at 32 and appear just as ridiculous. Whatever, though, fuck it:
I am basically in a personal limbo while I finish up projects for two months. I have a plan. Come summertime things will be interesting.
Meanwhile: San Francisco and Oakland this month. East coast once the snow clears. Time to get back in the air.
I’m still sorting through the mess of the loss of my iMac; all my photography archive was based on that machine. A substantial part is still missing. Some recovered today, Coney Island from a trip to New York in 2012.
Russell Westbrook makes a case of breaking down my ability to form sentences, reducing me to incoherent, half-question yelps as I watch this on repeat and wonder aloud, “What are you even doing?” In-fucking-human.
Then again, Steph Curry doesn’t need to watch the future (maybe because he is it) anymore.
(For a great comparative write up: Shoals on Curry and Westbrook via GQ.)
Everything has an ebb and flow; an equal and opposite reaction. This concept can theoretically be applied to anything.
When appreciating the complication of modern linguistics, and the evolution of language since dawn of print, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the semi-state of the written word. (I still cringe when people say brb aloud.) Looking at communication as a whole, though, our current pattern makes sense. Time is circling in on itself.
Build Then Burn
Development is first a physical feat and then an aesthetic one. Look at our basic achievements; a physical building first was a block of rocks and mud and now there are designer skyscrapers. Our minds can take on complexity and have an imagination for interpretation once we understand basic concepts.
Language did not start as the written word, however it was perfected by it. Imagery is representative enough in that a picture of a table in China will communicate the same thing as a picture of a table in Minnesota; the word table will not. The written word took our original language—pictorals—and added specificity. Illusion. Impact.
At the dawn of the internet, we had designer skyscrapers for language. Imperfect as it may be, the written word had its time in the sun while our communicative techniques favored it (and our constructed borders almost defined its necessity). As the international community evolves and we increasingly communicate over visual means, the natural ebb and flow of things will likely take the written word down a notch or two.
Dancing On Reserved Cemetery Plots
Writing, however, is far from dead. We have a new, globalized community that does not understand the technology it is playing with. Much like constructing the first buildings, or trying to speak of ideas for the first time, we’re working in pictures. We’re using easy, internationally available notions (or at least vague concepts) to see where we can take this new invention.
(Blogs are a pretty good example; the way Free Darko turned sports writing on its head with completely on point, but otherwise random, visual anchors to incredibly insightful basketball commentary laced with pop culture references.)
The word will come back, language will survive. Writing proves itself time and again the perfect counter to visual language; without the word there would be no such thing as Shakespeare, television or abstract art, after all.
For now, though, we’re shifting into a time of misunderstanding. It’s back to basics. Don’t blame the Mercury retrograde; we’re still trying to identify what color that fucking dress is.