Okay. So, being the knowledge-seeker all wonderfully 'human' humans are, I was watching Nova.
By the time I discovered it was about modular functions and other really weird stuff
(something incredibly above my 'typical humanities with acceptable scientific knowledge,
though struggling in Calc II' mind ), I was too immersed in it to change the channel out of
the fear which usually accompanies such floods of incomprehension. Thus a nightmare, and my
own mathematics-related conjecture was born. This is how it happened, and what I'm doing to
keep London safe.
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'...
and things were
'curiouser and curiouser'
in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy, as Odysseus began his journey to Never-Never Land... wait, no. Okay. Nova. The episode was on Andrew Wiles; the guy who, after 300 or so years, proved 'Fermat's Last Theorem':
X^n + Y^n does not equal Z^n , if n > 2.
Okay, simple stuff. A bright ten-year-old can understand that statement, so it shouldn't be that hard to prove it. But, before long, there were pictures of graphical DOUGHNUTS (is that weird?) or should I say the
graphical representations of things called elliptical curves. Then they
started with really pretty visual representations of modular functions,
which are defined as
'a bunch of maths jargon that I need not know for
ANYTHING unless I choose to Ph.D. in Maths Jargon'
being scattered across the
screen. Their only redeeming quality was the fact that they were drawn in
nice shades of purple and blue, and I wouldn't mind having them hanging on
my wall. Suddenly they were talking about conjectures, etc. etc. The Wiles
guy had his poor grad students doing maths for his 'secret' work (so they
didn't know why they were doing it, the poor things, but that's what they
get for going into maths!), INSANE stuff! Why? Oh, the HUMANITY!!!
All to prove this theory, which would probably have no impact on the rest of
the mathematical world anyway, other than being pretty damn cool. But it gave
him something to do and get paid for. So Wiles locked himself up for seven
years working on this problem and, finally, he had an answer which he then
presented, in all its glory, at a special function at Cambridge. The world
rejoiced! Wiles featured on magazines! Look at that intriguing red hair!
The proof was wrong. And who found that out? His friend who had helped him,
who was one of the only people to know in the first place. The ****!
So, on one of those oh so-touching Nova interview sessions, Wiles started
crying. This is what led me to my own, equally, if not more implicative, theory:
All people who submit themselves to torture and/or likewise submit others to
torture for pleasure, are sado-masochists.
Professional mathematicians submit themselves to torture and (if they are
*****'s, like Wiles' friend) submit others to torture, quite obviously for
All mathematicians are sado-masochists.
(Props to my homeboy Aristotle for the format.)
In a purely mathematical sense, you see.
I'm sure that even we who aren't passionate about maths, although submit
ourselves to taking classes or otherwise educating ourselves in it's evil methods,
have got a bit of this! For example, as I watched this maths programme, I felt
a sort of... interest. Awful, I know! Obviously not the natural reaction one would
expect from me concerning maths. Furthermore, when Wiles said they'd found a
problem with the proof, I was... well, in a sick way... elated. I'm sorry. Not that
there's anything wrong with that, as long as everything's consensual. Just don't make
ME study it.
I'm sorry you had to know this about your mayor.
What was funniest of all was the problem itself... Fermat, the guy who
presented it, scribbled it into the corner of his copy of one of Euclid's
books (I don't remember the name. Sorry.) along with the statement:
'I've got the proof, but it doesn't fit in this margin'.
Smart****!. I'll bet he was
lying. After all, he was French!
Anyhow, the relevance of all this to London: Higher-level Maths.
It's right under Physics on the Evil Scale. As I haven't a mathematician
'Beater-Upper', I have decided to simply make it easy on everyone: no maths will be conducted inside the city limits unless it is done directly
with one of the functions found in the 'catalogue' section of a TI - 91 calculator.
There. Simple. You can still do sine and stuff, and even linear regressions.
That's all anyone really needs, anyhow. Got a problem?. :-)
Oh yeah, and I'm sorry about all this academia-related rambling. It's
finals week, y'know. I can't handle it. Is anybody looking for a seat in the
cabinet? As the 'Mayor's Surrogate Test-Taker', perhaps?
(Next Week: Outside food in cinemas: it's about time London gets to eat
actual food while watching movies.)
And, as always: The Virtual Mayor of London is a young female
from Southern California, like that place the Mamma's and Pappa's an'
Al Jolson used to sing about. It is recommended you do not take anything
she says into serious consideration, she has no idea what she's talking about.
(I'll second that emotion! Ed.)