Last week we celebrated Albert Einstein’s birthday (he turned 140). Now we need another cake so we can celebrate the *other* March major mathematician’s birthday — **Emmy Noether** turns 137 today.

To my regret, despite that I frequently invoke her name (she co-starred with Albert in the Special Relativity series), her work in mathematics is pretty far above my head, and I’m simply not qualified to write about it. I can say that her work connects mathematical symmetry with physical conservation laws. She also made significant contributions to abstract algebra.

Just recently, I’ve begun to nibble at the edges of the latter in the form of group theory as a part of studying rotation.

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2 Comments | tags: algebra, cube, Emmy Noether, group theory, mathematics, rotation, square, tesseract | posted in Math

Back at the start of March Mathness I promised the math would be “fun” (really!), but anyone would be forgiven for thinking the previous two posts about Special Relativity weren’t all that much “fun.” (I really enjoy stuff like that, so it’s fun for *me*, but there’s no question it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.)

Trying to reach for something a bit lighter and potentially more appealing as the promised “fun,” I present, for your dining and dancing pleasure, a trio of number games that anyone can play and which might just tug at the corners of your enjoyment.

We can start with **277777788888899** (and why it’s special).

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2 Comments | tags: 277777788888899, algorithm, calculation, Collatz conjecture, computation, Mandelbrot, mathematics, multiplicative persistence, Numberphile | posted in Math

In the March Mathness post I mentioned that one reason I love March is that it contains the **Vernal Equinox**, the official astronomical start of Spring. More importantly to me, it means six months of more daylight than darkness, and as much as I’m a night person, I prefer long, sunny days.

Well, today is the day! The equinox happened at **21:58 UTC** (two minutes before 5:00 PM locally). What’s better is that, after all the miserable bitter cold and all that snow in February and into March, the weather is indeed finally turning. Deeply embedded in our mythologies is the idea of spring rebirth; New Year’s parties aside, *this*, today, is the true new year.

And the forecast is for muon showers!

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11 Comments | tags: Albert Einstein, equinox, muon, Special Relativity, spring, spring equinox, tau, vernal equinox | posted in Physics

Speaking of **Special Relativity**, back when I wrote the SR series, one topic I left along the wayside was the concept of the *spacetime interval*. It wasn’t necessary for the goals of the series, and there’s only so much one can fit in. (And back then, the diagrams I wanted to make would have been a challenge with the tool I was using.)

But now that we’re basking in the warm, friendly glow of March Mathness and reflecting on Special Relativity *anyway*, it seems like a good time to loop back and catch up on the **spacetime interval**, because it’s an important concept in SR.

It concerns what is *invariant* to all observers when both time and space measurements depend on relative motion.

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1 Comment | tags: Albert Einstein, Einstein, faster than light, frame of reference, light, light speed, light year, simultaneity, spacetime, Special Relativity, speed of light | posted in Physics

Earlier, in the March Mathness post, I mentioned **Albert Einstein** was born on March 14th. That’s also Pi Day, which deserved its own *pi* post (about pizza *pi*), so old Al had to wait for me to address a topic I’ve needed to address for several months.

To wit: Some guy was wrong on the internet.

That guy was me.

Back in 2015 (also celebrating Einstein’s birthday), I wrote a series of posts exploring Special Relativity. Near the end of the series, writing **about FTL radio**, I said (assuming an “ansible” existed) I wasn’t convinced it violated causality *if the frames of reference were matched*.

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9 Comments | tags: Albert Einstein, ansible, causality, causality violation, Einstein, Emmy Noether, faster than light, frame of reference, FTL, FTL radio, light, light speed, light year, simultaneity, spacetime, Special Relativity, speed of light | posted in Physics

Happy Pi Day! Order some pizza and use *pi* to make sure you get the most pie possible! I made a handy chart that may change how you order pizza.

Or not. It’s something I heard about early in the year that caused a minor tweet storm (I’m not on the Twitter, so never saw nothing, which I’m fine with). It centered around how it was often better to order two smaller pizzas than one large one (depending on pricing and assuming your goal is the most pizza possible per peso).

Since *pi* is involved in this pizza pie probe, I thought it would make a fun topic for **Pi Day** (not to mention March Mathness).

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15 Comments | tags: normal number, normal sequence, pi, pi day, pizza | posted in Math

*Time for math!*

I have a special fondness for the month of March. For one thing, it contains the Vernal Equinox — one of my favorite days, because it heralds six months of light. (As a Minnesotan, Spring has much more impact than it did when I lived in Los Angeles.)

March is when the weather elves begin preparing for the April Showers that create May Flowers. It’s when baseball Spring Training is in full swing with the regular season looming (lately, even at the end of the month; this year on the 28th).

It also contains some important birthdays: Albert Einstein (3/14) and Emmy Noether (3/23), to name two, and in their honor I have myriad math posts planned!

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8 Comments | tags: 3Blue1Brown, Albert Einstein, complex numbers, Emmy Noether, mathematics, Mathologer, Numberphile, tesseract | posted in Math

If I reverse the first two words of the title (and call the question mark to attention), it removes all uncertainty, but for now I’m on the fence and asking. I’ve already reached certainty with both spin-offs (the oldest many years ago, the younger sibling just last year). Now, either I might be over their parent, *NCIS*, or just maybe the show itself is over.

I sometimes get the sense I’m more attached to the idea of *over* than many. I’ve mentioned more than once that I try to look forward, and around, rather than in the rear-view mirror. I’ve also mentioned how a primary ask of mine for stories is: *“Take me someplace new.”*

Nostalgia never had much pull for me, nor did *more-of-the-same* once a story has been finished.

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8 Comments | tags: Abby Sciuto, CBS, cop shows, Gibbs, Gibbs' Rules, Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon, Marney Gellner, Mr. Robot, NCIS, NCIS:Los Angeles, NCIS:New Orleans, Pauley Perrette, television, TV Tuesday | posted in TV

Earlier this week I posted about all the TV (5.0!) that I watched while dog-sitting Bentley. There I mentioned how days were allocated to reading in hopes of reducing what has grown to be a rather long To-Read list. (Not to mention the books in my To-Buy list; I really do need to spend more time reading.)

Central to the plan was, at long last, finishing **The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant**, by Stephen R. Donaldson. Specifically, finishing *The Last Chronicles*, the third (presumably final) set of the series (“set” because while the first two were trilogies, the third is a tetralogy, with four books).

Unfortunately, for various reasons (or various naps), I only managed to get halfway through the second book.

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5 Comments | tags: Linden Avery, Stephen R. Donaldson, Thomas Covenant, white gold ring, wild magic | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday

I don’t know if this is age, experience, or truth (likely a combination), but it feels as if storytelling in the new millennium has become superficial and shallow. Many of the movies and TV shows I’ve seen appear to be mere strings of icons so well-worn we don’t even think about them.

It’s as if the vocabulary of storytelling has expanded into LEGO® pieces connected to build colorful plastic stories lacking in nuance and detail. Special pieces (like little people or wheels) make the model a bit more real-seeming, but those same complete parts get used and reused.

And *some* of them have started to really annoy me…

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5 Comments | tags: cliches, icons, memes, storytelling, troupes, Zippo lighter | posted in Movies, TV, Writing