Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunset Sutra

Much of my recent work is inspired by my studies and practice of Korean Zen. Living in the present moment takes practice and the sunset is a perfect tool to notice the power of the present moment - for if not living in the moment you will miss the sunset. The most spectacular sunset that I have ever seen was from the window of an airplane. This photographic image was shot during that sunset. The mathematical poem is in the form of what I call an ‘orthogonal space’ poem - which is always in the form of a = bc (or its syntactical equivalent e.g. b = a/c or c = a/b ). One may notice that the sunset is not as important when the time approaches zero and the phenomena of Dharma approaches infinity. One aesthetic process that excites me most comes from pondering how math functions within the mind and its particular relationship to the spectrum of all mental phenomena. I see math illuminating the logical structure of the mind and poetic metaphor being a wind blowing through that structure.

Units And Their Importance Within Mathematical Poetry

When looking at mathematical poetry one must realize that the variables are such that they provide a connotative type of mathematical unit. While in a physics problem you have units defined – they may not be as clear in a mathematical poem yet they are there if the poem is sensible. You must look at the variables the same as you would for any equation where they (the variables) perform a place for value and unit. In mathematical poetry it is important to think of the terms in the equations as a signifier to the unit.

For instance in the "Orthogonal Space Poem" equation Lucidity = confidence divided by ego we have the sense that the units for Lucidity are defined by the units of 'confidence per units of ego', even though those units in the terms have not been scientifically defined. The poem itself defines them defacto. So units play an important part while reading mathematical poetry. And units can change the meaning of things as we can see by the essay below:

 To show how important units are in our communication concerning statistics please read the following (which is an excerpt from Delancyplace.) In today's selection - people often mistrust statistics under the presumption that statistics can easily be manipulated. And they can. Particularly for those uncomfortable with numbers or unwilling to dig into the issue. (Samuel Clemens is often noted for having said "lies, damned lies, and statistics," which he in turn attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli). One form of manipulation is changing the unit of analysis, as in the two examples below: "Is globalization making income inequality around the planet better or worse? By one interpretation, globalization has merely exacerbated existing income inequalities; richer countries in 1980 (as measured by GDP per capita) tended to grow faster between 1980 and 2000 than poorer countries. The rich countries just got richer, suggesting that trade, outsourcing, foreign investment, and the other components of 'globalization' are merely tools for the developed world to extend its economic hegemony. Down with globalization! Down with globalization! "But hold on a moment. The same data can (and should) be inter¬preted entirely differently if one changes the unit of analysis. We don't care about poor countries; we care about poor people. And a high proportion of the world's poor people happen to live in China and India. Both coun¬tries are huge (with a population over a billion); each was relatively poor in 1980. Not only have China and India grown rapidly over the past sev¬eral decades, but they have done so in large part because of their increased economic integration with the rest of the world. They are 'rapid global¬izers,' as the Economist has described them. Given that our goal is to ameliorate human misery, it makes no sense to give China (population 1.3 billion) the same weight as Mauritius (population 1.3 million) when examining the effects of globalization on the poor. The unit of analysis should be people, not countries. What really happened between 1980 and 2000 is [that] ... the bulk of the world's poor happened to live in two giant countries that grew extremely fast as they became more integrated into the global economy. The proper analysis yields an entirely different conclusion about the benefits of globalization for the world's poor. As the Economist points out, 'If you consider people, not countries, global inequality is falling rapidly.' "The telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon have recently engaged in an advertising battle that exploits this kind of ambiguity about what is being described. Both companies provide cellular phone service. One of the primary concerns of most cell phone users is the quality of the service in places where they are likely to make or receive phone calls. Thus, a logical point of comparison between the two firms is the size and quality of their networks. While consumers just want decent cell phone service in lots of places, both AT&T and Verizon have come up with different metrics for measuring the somewhat amor¬phous demand for 'decent cell phone service in lots of places.' Verizon launched an aggressive advertising campaign touting the geographic cov¬erage of its network; you may remember the maps of the United States that showed the large percentage of the country covered by the Verizon network compared with the relatively paltry geographic coverage of the AT&T network. The unit of analysis chosen by Verizon is geographic area covered -- because the company has more of it. "AT&T countered by launching a campaign that changed the unit of analysis. Its billboards advertised that 'AT&T covers 97 percent of Americans.' Note the use of the word 'Americans' rather than 'America.' AT&T focused on the fact that most people don't live in rural Montana or the Arizona desert. Since the population is not evenly distributed across the physical geography of the United States, the key to good cell service (the campaign argued implicitly) is having a network in place where callers actually live and work, not necessarily where they go camp¬ing. As someone who spends a fair bit of time in rural New Hampshire, however, my sympathies are with Verizon on this one."

Author: Charles Wheelan Title: Naked Statistics Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company Date: Copyright 2013 by Charles Wheelan Pages: 41-42 Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan by W. W. Norton & Company

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two New Books

I am happy to announce that I was a part of a couple of new books that was published last summer.
My work finds itself in the intersection of many aesthetics and this is evident by looking at the content of both of these two books.  The first book mentioned specializes in the area where mathematics meets visual art. From my point of view it focuses primarily on the aesthetics of thinking but also approaches the aesthetics of direct sensory experience.  Most of the work.

in this book is done by people trained in mathematics who have a passion for making it visual. The difficult aspect of this genre is that you must have a bit of a math background.  The more background you have the more you will appreciate.

"Experience-centered Approach and Visuality in The Education of Mathematics and Physics."  ISBN 978-963-9821-52-1
Co-Authored by Javier Barrallo, Mateja Budin, Anthony Durity, Fenyvesi Kristof, Slavik Jablan, Klingne Takacs Anna, Ljiljana Radovic, Radmila Sazdanovic  and Stettner Eleonora  

The second book shown here Edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill is titled “The Last Vispo” an anthology of visual poetry spanning 20 years from 1998 to 2008  ISBN-13: 978-1-60699-626-3
The primary focus on this book is a confluence of poetics with visual art (Visual Poetry / Concrete Poetry).  Lots of interesting essays as well as a lot of good vispo.  

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