Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mill Avenue Nights Saturday December 27th 2008

The drum circle had two drums today, they placed themselves off away from our stilt-bronze-man statue and next to the fountain. The region between the Valley Art Theater and My Big Fat Greet Restaurant has a couple strangely-placed stone blocks that just jut out of the walk, all of them good for sitting on, and they’re clustered around a waterfall/fountain—this is up against the side of Valley Art. With the echo chamber of the closely set buildings (probably about 4 meters apart) that area in particular worked really well for resonating the sound of the drums.

And a guitar.

I don’t want to forget that one of the newbies on the Ave had a guitar and was strumming along with the drums. I keep wondering about bringing my violin out and rocking out with everyone else. Not on a night as cold as this one, though, since my fingers would absolutely fail me.

Vince joked about how people had started to call it the “square drum circle” instead of the drum circle because of the presence of the bronze-stilt-man and the dais that it’s built on. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s obvious in part that the installation of this particular form of urban art was directed pretty much at disrupting the drum circle. A lot of the other acts have been as well. Expectedly, the drum circle formed around it anyway.

While I was waiting I met a young man named Raccoon—he chuckled over my makeup when he noticed it wasn’t a pair of sunglasses; Josh often jokes that I look like a raccoon myself. He had a scruffy beard and mustache, spoke a lot about Sedona, and used a mystic tone in his speech. His hair, at odds with his scruffy face, happened to be shiny and well conditioned, almost like a shampoo commercial. He happened to have a set of drums also. I hope that Raccoon comes out more often.

I also had a chance to meet a strange newcomer to Saturdays, a tall young man wearing all black, medium length hair, and an intense speech. He wanted to tell everyone about the equations that make up the universe, which he contents use imaginary numbers and division-by-zero to elaborate on philosophical principals in a theory-of-everything sort of way.

The major criticism that he received was from Omar Call’s friend, Jim—a well-dressed, straight talking presenter—who didn’t like how Weird-Math-Guy happened to be basically dismissing his wife and child (a newborn) in order to present his strange math and attempt to instruct people on Mill Ave. She didn’t look happy herself, lurking inside the doors of Urban Outfitters to keep the child out of the cold whilst her husband plied his thoughts.

I let him borrow my notepad in order to illustrate his equations.

The biggest problem that I had with them—aside from everything being zero or infinity—is that they didn’t really explain anything. Certainly he had some interesting ideas on how the imaginary numbers interacted with the universe, but each of his states could compressing into two possible states: zero (not null) or imaginary infinity. Certainly complex numbers (i.e. imaginary numbers) are used in quantum physics, but they’re used to define particular states of quanta that are orthogonal. It’s not special nor that surprising. In fact, for particular quantum mechanics orthagonality using imaginary numbers is good for describing interactions that “turn” quanta in different phase directions.

When using highly philosophical math it becomes extremely silly to set up giant, complex equations and then either multiple them by zero or divide them out of zero. The most grand equation that will always equate to zero is a lesson in frippery. I am not talking about multivariable calculus or differential equations here where multiple variables interact to becomes zero. I mean: no matter what variables it will always be zero.

(x * y) * 0 = 0

That’s a totally useless equation. It tells us nothing. Where x and y can be anything. It’s literally informationless—there is no difference in this equation that makes any difference—this is the problem with half of the equations he wanted to use.

He had some other neat stuff going on, however, in that he really wanted to explain his position. The problem became, though, that he had gigantic jargon issues. He couldn’t properly talk to a lay person because he was using too much math jargon which makes no sense to non math people (and possibly just suits to put normal people into dummy mode.) He also didn’t like that people didn’t care for his math, or had specific critical observations about how he was presenting it. And didn’t care that he wanted to say, “And don’t tell me you can’t divide by zero.” It’s not that you can’t it’s that the answer is an undefined number. To this end it’s not really a useful answer.

Even philosophically, “undefined” or indefinite is just another way of saying that we don’t know—in math a lot of these answers are distinguished as “no solution” among other interpretations of division-by-zero and it’s various paradoxes. His algebra was just a bad allegory for his attempt to collapse the universe into the philosophy.

I gave away his diagram so I will have to get it again if I want to show everyone.

Street philosophy is certainly a good place to learn and amaze.

Good night and good dreams—especially to every null to infinity out there.

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