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Showing posts from January, 2009

I don't like that proof...

I'm not ashamed of it - I love maths. Well more specificially I love numbers. Ever since I was a kid, I've loved asking questions about numbers. I remember from any early age being irked by the fact that 2 is the only even prime number. Of course, my adult mind can rationalise that even means "is divisible by 2" and hence 2 is no different to any other prime number - the difference is a semantic one because we've given a label to the concept "divisible by 2". It's trivial, of course, that every prime is the only prime divisible by itself. There are a lot of prime numbers. An awful lot. In fact, there's an infinity of them. Even at school we were taught an easy proof that there are an infinite number of prime numbers. It went like this... Presume there's a largest prime number and call it P. Take all of the prime numbers up-to and including P and multiply them together and add one. Voila - another prime which is bigger than P. Henc

That was written about me...

Isn't it funny, that you tend to find references to your own life in to things you see and read. The other day, I was doing a crossword and almost every other answer in the grid seemed to refer to something happening in my life at the time. It's almost spooky. Except it's not, of course. Unlikely things happen all the time, of course. You just can't predict exactly which unlikely thing is going to happen. I can be certain that something statistically unlikely will happen to me in the next hour - but I can't predict what it will be. For instance, if I go out for a walk (which I am considering doing, as it happens) then I could count the number of people I see out walking. If that number was zero, then I could come back and write "it was so weird, nobody was out there today, spooky eh?". If the number was exactly 100 I could write the same thing - except with some waffle about seeing exactly 100 people. I am currently digging into my family tree ag

Why must we go outside?

There's a strange behaviour here in the UK just before midnight on 31st December, and I don't know whether it's something which infects other nations too. But there's a strange desire to go outside. Whether it's freezing cold or raining or snowing or whatever, one MUST go outside and say "Happy New Year" then come back in again. This isn't the old tradition of bringing coal in and going out the back door and in through the window or whatever that tradition says, it's just an in-built programme which fires off around quarter to midnight and before you know it, everyone in the room is wrapped up in miles of scarfing and wearing thick coats trying to marshall each other outside into the garden in time for midnight. 2009 doesn't feel any different to 2008 so far. Well, we do have a new kitchen bin, but that hardly makes the year feel special. There's a sense of optimism at midnight when the New Year arrives but then you wake up the follow