Saturday, September 19, 2020

Cube School

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:16 AM

The new domain http://cube.school
points to posts tagged Cube School here.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Enigma Cube

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:03 AM

Promotional material —

“Did you buckle up?” —  Harlan Kane

The publication date of The Enigma Cube  reported above was February 13, 2020.

Related material — Log24 posts around that date now tagged The Reality Bond.

Monday, February 24, 2020

For “Time Cube” Fans

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:53 AM

See also Time Cube elsewhere in this  journal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Inside the White Cube

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 11:01 AM


Monday, May 13, 2019

Star Cube

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:00 PM

"Before time began . . . ." — Optimus Prime

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Asymmetry: An Historical YA Fantasy

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:48 AM

Or:  The Discreet Charm of Stéphane

For Lisa Halliday

Supplementary images —

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On Unfairly Excluding Asymmetry

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:28 AM

A comment on the the Diamond Theorem Facebook page

Those who enjoy asymmetry may consult the "Expert's Cube" —

For further details see the previous post.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Diamond Cube

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:32 AM

The Java applets at the webpage "Diamonds and Whirls"
that illustrate Cullinane cubes may be difficult to display.

Here instead is an animated GIF that shows the basic unit
for the "design cube" pages at finitegeometry.org.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

In Memory of the Time Cube Page*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 PM

From this journal on August 18, 2015, "A Wrinkle in Terms" —

For two misuses by John Baez of the phrase “permutation group”
at the n-Category Café, see “A Wrinkle in the Mathematical Universe
and “Re: A Wrinkle…” —

“There is  such a thing as a permutation group.”
— Adapted from A Wrinkle in Time , by Madeleine L’Engle

* See RIP, Time Cube at gizmodo.com (September 1, 2015).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

“Puzzle Cube of a Novel”

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:00 AM

"To know the mind of the creator"

Or that of Orson Welles

Related material — Cube Coloring.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cube of Ultron

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The Blacklist “Pilot” Review

"There is an element of camp to this series though. Spader is
quite gleefully channeling Anthony Hopkins, complete with being
a well educated, elegant man locked away in a super-cell.
Speaking of that super-cell, it’s kind of ridiculous. They’ve got him
locked up in an abandoned post office warehouse on a little
platform with a chair inside  a giant metal cube that looks like
it could have been built by Tony Stark. And as Liz approaches
to talk to him, the entire front of the cube  opens and the whole
thing slides back to leave just the platform and chair. Really? 

Kate Reilly at Geekenstein.com (Sept. 27, 2013)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Un-Rubik Cube

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:48 AM

IMAGE- Britannica 11th edition on the symmetry axes and planes of the cube

See also Cube Symmetry Planes  in this journal.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cube Koan

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 4:56 AM

From Don DeLillo's novel Point Omega —

I knew what he was, or what he was supposed to be, a defense intellectual, without the usual credentials, and when I used the term it made him tense his jaw with a proud longing for the early weeks and months, before he began to understand that he was occupying an empty seat. "There were times when no map existed to match the reality we were trying to create."

"What reality?"

"This is something we do with every eyeblink. Human perception is a saga of created reality. But we were devising entities beyond the agreed-upon limits of recognition or interpretation. Lying is necessary. The state has to lie. There is no lie in war or in preparation for war that can't be defended. We went beyond this. We tried to create new realities overnight, careful sets of words that resemble advertising slogans in memorability and repeatability. These were words that would yield pictures eventually and then become three-dimensional. The reality stands, it walks, it squats. Except when it doesn't."

He didn't smoke but his voice had a sandlike texture, maybe just raspy with age, sometimes slipping inward, becoming nearly inaudible. We sat for some time. He was slouched in the middle of the sofa, looking off toward some point in a high corner of the room. He had scotch and water in a coffee mug secured to his midsection. Finally he said, "Haiku."

I nodded thoughtfully, idiotically, a slow series of gestures meant to indicate that I understood completely.

"Haiku means nothing beyond what it is. A pond in summer, a leaf in the wind. It's human consciousness located in nature. It's the answer to everything in a set number of lines, a prescribed syllable count. I wanted a haiku war," he said. "I wanted a war in three lines. This was not a matter of force levels or logistics. What I wanted was a set of ideas linked to transient things. This is the soul of haiku. Bare everything to plain sight. See what's there. Things in war are transient. See what's there and then be prepared to watch it disappear."

What's there—

This view of a die's faces 3, 6, and 5, in counter-
clockwise order (see previous post) suggests a way
of labeling the eight corners  of a die (or cube):

123, 135, 142, 154, 246, 263, 365, 456.

Here opposite faces of the die sum to 7, and the
three faces meeting at each corner are listed
in counter-clockwise order. (This corresponds
to a labeling of one of MacMahon's* 30 colored cubes.)
A similar vertex-labeling may be used in describing 
the automorphisms of the order-8 quaternion group.

For a more literary approach to quaternions, see
Pynchon's novel Against the Day .

* From Peter J. Cameron's weblog:

  "The big name associated with this is Major MacMahon,
   an associate of Hardy, Littlewood and Ramanujan,
   of whom Robert Kanigel said,

His expertise lay in combinatorics, a sort of
glorified dice-throwing, and in it he had made
contributions original enough to be named
a Fellow of the Royal Society.

   Glorified dice-throwing, indeed…"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cube Partitions

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:59 AM

The second Logos  figure in the previous post
summarized affine group actions on partitions
that generate a group of about 1.3 trillion
permutations of a 4x4x4 cube (shown below)—

IMAGE by Cullinane- 'Solomon's Cube' with 64 identical, but variously oriented, subcubes, and six partitions of these 64 subcubes

Click for further details.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:15 PM

(Continued from January 11, 2012)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

“Examples galore of this feeling must have arisen in the minds of the people who extended the Magic Cube concept to other polyhedra, other dimensions, other ways of slicing.  And once you have made or acquired a new ‘cube’… you will want to know how to export a known algorithm , broken up into its fundamental operators , from a familiar cube.  What is the essence of each operator?  One senses a deep invariant lying somehow ‘down underneath’ it all, something that one can’t quite verbalize but that one recognizes so clearly and unmistakably in each new example, even though that example might violate some feature one had thought necessary up to that very moment.  In fact, sometimes that violation is what makes you sure you’re seeing the same thing , because it reveals slippabilities you hadn’t sensed up till that time….

… example: There is clearly only one sensible 4 × 4 × 4 Magic Cube.  It is the  answer; it simply has the right spirit .”

— Douglas R. Hofstadter, 1985, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern  (Kindle edition, locations 11557-11572)

See also Many Dimensions in this journal and Solomon’s Cube.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quaternions on a Cube

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 5:48 AM

The following picture provides a new visual approach to
the order-8 quaternion  group's automorphisms.

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

Click the above image for some context.

Here the cube is called "eightfold" because the eight vertices,
like the eight subcubes of a 2×2×2 cube,* are thought of as
independently movable. See The Eightfold Cube.

See also…

Related material: Robin Chapman and Karen E. Smith
on the quaternion group's automorphisms.

* See Margaret Wertheim's Christmas Eve remarks on mathematics
and the following eightfold cube from an institute she co-founded—

Froebel's third gift, the eightfold cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring

Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cosmic Cube*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 12:25 PM

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins exorcises a Rubik cube

Prequel (Click to enlarge)

IMAGE- Galois vs. Rubik: Posters for Abel Prize, Oslo, 2008

Background —

IMAGE- 'Group Theory' Wikipedia article with Rubik's cube as main illustration and argument by a cuber for the image's use

See also Rubik in this journal.

* For the title, see Groups Acting.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Cube

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

IMAGE- 'The Stars My Destination' (with cover slightly changed)

Click the above image for some background.

Related material:
Skateboard legend Andy Kessler,
this morning's The Gleaming,
and But Sometimes I Hit London.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Symmetry and Automorphisms

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM

From the conclusion of Weyl's Symmetry

Weyl on symmetry and automorphisms

One example of Weyl's "structure-endowed entity" is a partition of a six-element set into three disjoint two-element sets– for instance, the partition of the six faces of a cube into three pairs of opposite faces.

The automorphism group of this faces-partition contains an order-8 subgroup that is isomorphic to the abstract group C2×C2×C2 of order eight–

Order-8 group generated by reflections in midplanes of cube parallel to faces

The action of Klein's simple group of order 168 on the Cayley diagram of C2×C2×C2 in yesterday's post furnishes an example of Weyl's statement that

"… one may ask with respect to a given abstract group: What is the group of its automorphisms…?"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Naked Art

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:48 PM

The New Yorker  on Cubism:

"The style wasn’t new, exactly— or even really a style,
in its purest instances— though it would spawn no end
of novelties in art and design. Rather, it stripped naked
certain characteristics of all pictures. Looking at a Cubist
work, you are forced to see how you see. This may be
gruelling, a gymnasium workout for eye and mind.
It pays off in sophistication."

Online "Culture Desk" weblog, posted today by Peter Schjeldahl

Non-style from 1911:

IMAGE- Britannica 11th edition on the symmetry axes and planes of the cube

See also Cube Symmetry Planes  in this  journal.

A comment at The New Yorker  related to Schjeldahl's phrase "stripped naked"—

"Conceptualism is the least seductive modern-art movement."

POSTED 4/11/2013, 3:54:37 PM BY CHRISKELLEY

(The "conceptualism" link was added to the quoted comment.)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Summerfield Prize

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:01 PM

“Like Coleridge” . . .

Related material:  Bloomsday 2006.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Raiders of . . .

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:34 PM

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Portrait with Holocron

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:08 PM

Novus Ordo Seclorum — Harold Bloom and the Tetrahedral Model of PG(3,2)

Sith Holocron in 'Star Wars Rebels'

For a Jedi  holocron of sorts, see this  journal on the above YouTube date

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Enigma Glyphs

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 5:53 AM

IMAGE- The Diamond Theorem

For those who  prefer fiction —

“Twenty-four glyphs, each one representing not a letter, not a word,
but a concept, arranged into four groups, written in Boris’s own hand,
an artifact that seemed to have resurrected him from the dead. It was
as if he were sitting across from Bourne now, in the dim antiquity of
the museum library.

This was what Bourne was staring at now, written on the unfolded
bit of onionskin.”

— “Robert Ludlum’s”  The Bourne Enigma , published on June 21, 2016

Passing, on June 21, 2016, into a higher dimension —

Sunday, July 5, 2020

It’s Still the Same Old Story …

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:29 PM

“He recounted the story of Adam and Eve, who were banished
from paradise because of their curiosity. Their inability to resist
the temptation of the forbidden fruit. Which itself was a metaphorical
stand-in for knowledge and power. He urged us to find the restraint
needed to resist the temptation of the cube—the biblical apple
in modern garb. He urged us to remain in Eden until we were able
to work out the knowledge the apple offered, all by ourselves.”

— Richards, Douglas E.. The Enigma Cube  (Alien Artifact Book 1)
(pp. 160-161). Paragon Press, 2020. Kindle Edition.

The biblical apple also appears in the game, and film, Assassin’s Creed .

Related material —

See the cartoon version of Alfred North Whitehead in the previous post,
and some Whitehead-related projective geometry —

Enigma Variations

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:24 PM

The previous post reported, perhaps inaccurately, a publication
date of February 13, 2020, for the novel The Enigma Cube .

A variant publication date, Jan. 21,  2020, is reported below.

This journal on that  date —

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Structure for Linguists

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:34 AM

“MIT professor of linguistics Wayne O’Neil died on March 22
at his home in Somerville, Massachusetts.”

MIT Linguistics, May 1, 2020

The “deep  structure” above is the plane cutting the cube in a hexagon
(as in my note Diamonds and Whirls of September 1984).

See also . . .

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

Eightfold Geometry: A Surface Code “Unit Cell”

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:50 AM

A unit cell in 'a lattice geometry for a surface code'

The resemblance to the eightfold cube  is, of course,
completely coincidental.

Some background from the literature —

Friday, May 22, 2020

Surface Code News

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:50 PM

From a paper cited in the above story:

“Fig. 4   A lattice geometry for a surface code.” —

The above figure suggests a search for “surface code” cube :

Related poetic remarks — “Illumination of a surface.”

Friday, February 21, 2020

To and Fro, Back and …

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:44 PM

Also on January 27, 2017 . . .

For other appearances of John Hurt here,
see 1984 Cubes.

Update of 12:45 AM Feb. 22 —

A check of later obituaries reveals that Hurt may well
have died on January 25, 2017, not January 27 as above.

Thus the following remarks may be more appropriate:

Not to mention what, why, who, and how.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Stage Direction: “Comments Off.”

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:29 AM

The previous post dealt with “magic” cubes, so called because of the
analogous “magic” squares. Douglas Hofstadter has written about a
different, physical , object, promoted as “the  Magic Cube,” that Hofstadter
felt embodied “a deep invariant”:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Artifice* of Eternity …

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:54 AM

… and Schoolgirl Space

"This poem contrasts the prosaic and sensual world of the here and now
with the transcendent and timeless world of beauty in art, and the first line,
'That is no country for old men,' refers to an artless world of impermanence
and sensual pleasure."

— "Yeats' 'Sailing to Byzantium' and McCarthy's No Country for Old Men :
Art and Artifice in the New Novel,"
Steven Frye in The Cormac McCarthy Journal ,
Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 2005), pp. 14-20.

See also Schoolgirl Space in this  journal.

* See, for instance, Lewis Hyde on the word "artifice" and . . .

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Schoolgirl Space: 1984 Revisited

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:24 PM

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

From "Tomorrowland" (2015) —

From John Baez (2018) —

See also this morning's post Perception of Space 
and yesterday's Exploring Schoolgirl Space.

Perception of Space

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 10:45 AM


The three previous posts have now been tagged . . .

Tetrahedron vs. Square  and  Triangle vs. Cube.

Related material —

Tetrahedron vs. Square:

Labeling the Tetrahedral Model  (Click to enlarge) —

Triangle vs. Cube:

and, from the date of the above John Baez remark —


Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:27 AM

“I am always the figure in someone else’s dream. I would really rather
sometimes make my own figures and make my own dreams.”

— John Malkovich at squarespace.com, January 10, 2017

Also on that date . . .


Monday, July 8, 2019

Exploring Schoolgirl Space

See also "Quantum Tesseract Theorem" and "The Crosswicks Curse."

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Schoolgirl Problem

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:18 PM

Anonymous remarks on the schoolgirl problem at Wikipedia —

"This solution has a geometric interpretation in connection with 
Galois geometry and PG(3,2). Take a tetrahedron and label its
vertices as 0001, 0010, 0100 and 1000. Label its six edge centers
as the XOR of the vertices of that edge. Label the four face centers
as the XOR of the three vertices of that face, and the body center
gets the label 1111. Then the 35 triads of the XOR solution correspond
exactly to the 35 lines of PG(3,2). Each day corresponds to a spread
and each week to a packing

See also Polster + Tetrahedron in this  journal.

There is a different "geometric interpretation in connection with
Galois geometry and PG(3,2)" that uses a square  model rather
than a tetrahedral  model. The square  model of PG(3,2) last
appeared in the schoolgirl-problem article on Feb. 11, 2017, just
before a revision that removed it.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Art Object, continued and continued

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:21 PM

Notes on a remark by Chuanming Zong

See as well posts mentioning "An Object of Beauty."

Update of 12 AM June 11 — A screenshot of this post 
is now available at  http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/hqk7-nx97 .

Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day at the Hudson Rock

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

" 'My public image is unshakably that of
America’s wholesome virgin, the girl next door,
carefree and brimming with happiness,' 
she said in Doris Day: Her Own Story
a 1976 book . . . ."

From "Angels & Demons Meet Hudson Hawk" (March 19, 2013) —

From the March 1 post "Solomon and the Image," a related figure —

Friday, March 1, 2019

Solomon and the Image

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:27 AM

"Maybe an image is too strong
Or maybe is not strong enough."

— "Solomon and the Witch,"
      by William Butler Yeats

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday the Thirteenth (Revisited)

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

For some context, see "A Riddle for Davos."

Saturday, August 25, 2018

“Waugh, Orwell. Orwell, Waugh.”

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:00 PM

Suggested by a review of Curl on Modernism —


Related material —

Waugh + Orwell in this journal and

Cube Bricks 1984

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Thursday, March 29, 2018

“Before Creation Itself . . .”

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 10:13 AM

From the Diamond Theorem Facebook page —

A question three hours ago at that page

“Is this Time Cube?”

Notes toward an answer —

And from Six-Set Geometry in this journal . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Compare and Contrast

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:28 PM

Weyl on symmetry, the eightfold cube, the Fano plane, and trigrams of the I Ching

Related material on automorphism groups —

The "Eightfold Cube" structure shown above with Weyl
competes rather directly with the "Eightfold Way" sculpture 
shown above with Bryant. The structure and the sculpture
each illustrate Klein's order-168 simple group.

Perhaps in part because of this competition, fans of the Mathematical
Sciences Research Institute (MSRI, pronounced "Misery') are less likely
to enjoy, and discuss, the eight-cube mathematical structure  above
than they are an eight-cube mechanical puzzle  like the one below.

Note also the earlier (2006) "Design Cube 2x2x2" webpage
illustrating graphic designs on the eightfold cube. This is visually,
if not mathematically, related to the (2010) "Expert's Cube."

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:30 PM

Sure, Whatever.

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:13 AM

The search for Langlands in the previous post
yields the following Toronto Star  illustration —

From a review of the recent film "Justice League" —

"Now all they need is to resurrect Superman (Henry Cavill),
stop Steppenwolf from reuniting his three Mother Cubes
(sure, whatever) and wrap things up in under two cinematic
hours (God bless)."

For other cubic adventures, see yesterday's post on A Piece of Justice 
and the block patterns in posts tagged Design Cube.

Friday, March 23, 2018


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Copy editing — From Wikipedia

"Copy editing (also copy-editing or copyediting, sometimes abbreviated ce)
is the process of reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy,
readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error,
omission, inconsistency, and repetition. . . ."

An example of the need for copy editing:

Related material:  Langlands and Reciprocity in this  journal.

Piece Prize

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:15 PM

The Waymark Prize from 'A Piece of Justice' (1995) by Jill Paton Walsh

The Waymark Prize Mystery - 'A Piece of Justice' (1995) p. 138

From the Personal to the Platonic

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:01 AM

On the Oslo artist Josefine Lyche —

"Josefine has taken me through beautiful stories,
ranging from the personal to the platonic
explaining the extensive use of geometry in her art.
I now know that she bursts into laughter when reading
Dostoyevsky, and that she has a weird connection
with a retired mathematician."

Ann Cathrin Andersen

Personal —

The Rushkoff Logo

— From a 2016 graphic novel by Douglas Rushkoff.

See also Rushkoff and Talisman in this journal.

Platonic —

The Diamond Cube.

Compare and contrast the shifting hexagon logo in the Rushkoff novel above 
with the hexagon-inside-a-cube in my "Diamonds and Whirls" note (1984).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

In Memoriam

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:10 PM

Also on March 18, 2015 . . .

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Unite the Seven.

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Related material —

The seven points of the Fano plane within 

The Eightfold Cube.

Weyl on symmetry, the eightfold cube, the Fano plane, and trigrams of the I Ching

"Before time began . . . ."

  — Optimus Prime

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hollywood Moment

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Matt B. Roscoe and Joe Zephyrs, both of Missoula, Montana, authors of article on quilt block symmetries

A death on the date of the above symmetry chat,
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

'Love Story' director dies

An Hispanic Hollywood moment:

Ojo de Dios —

Click for related material.

For further Hispanic entertainment,
see Ben Affleck sing 
"Aquellos Ojos Verdes "
in "Hollywoodland."

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Raiders of the Lost Stone

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:48 PM



Two Students of Structure

A comment on Sean Kelly's Christmas Morning column on "aliveness"
in the New York Times  philosophy series The Stone  —

Diana Senechal's 1999 doctoral thesis at Yale was titled
"Diabolical Structures in the Poetics of Nikolai Gogol."

Her mother, Marjorie Senechal, has written extensively on symmetry
and served as editor-in-chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer .
From a 2013 memoir by Marjorie Senechal —

"While I was in Holland my enterprising student assistant at Smith had found, in Soviet Physics – Crystallography, an article by N. N. Sheftal' on tetrahedral penetration twins. She gave it to me on my return. It was just what I was looking for. The twins Sheftal' described had evidently begun as (111) contact twins, with the two crystallites rotated 60o with respect to one another. As they grew, he suggested, each crystal overgrew the edges of the other and proceeded to spread across the adjacent facet.  When all was said and done, they looked like they'd grown through each other, but the reality was over-and-around. Brilliant! I thought. Could I apply this to cubes? No, evidently not. Cube facets are all (100) planes. But . . . these crystals might not have been cubes in their earliest stages, when twinning occurred! I wrote a paper on "The mechanism of certain growth twins of the penetration type" and sent it to Martin Buerger, editor of Neues Jarbuch für Mineralogie. This was before the Wrinch symposium; I had never met him. Buerger rejected it by return mail, mostly on the grounds that I hadn't quoted any of Buerger's many papers on twinning. And so I learned about turf wars in twin domains. In fact I hadn't read his papers but I quickly did. I added a reference to one of them, the paper was published, and we became friends.[5]

After reading Professor Sheftal's paper I wrote to him in Moscow; a warm and encouraging correspondence ensued, and we wrote a paper together long distance.[6] Then I heard about the scientific exchanges between the Academies of Science of the USSR and USA. I applied to spend a year at the Shubnikov Institute for Crystallography, where Sheftal' worked. I would, I proposed, study crystal growth with him, and color symmetry with Koptsik. To my delight, I was accepted for an 11-month stay. Of course the children, now 11 and 14, would come too and attend Russian schools and learn Russian; they'd managed in Holland, hadn't they? Diana, my older daughter, was as delighted as I was. We had gone to Holland on a Russian boat, and she had fallen in love with the language. (Today she holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from Yale.) . . . . 
. . .
 we spent the academic year 1978-79 in Moscow.

Philosophy professors and those whose only interest in mathematics
is as a path to the occult may consult the Log24 posts tagged Tsimtsum.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Summer of 1984

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 9:11 AM

The previous two posts dealt, rather indirectly, with
the notion of "cube bricks" (Cullinane, 1984) —

Group actions on partitions —

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Another mathematical remark from 1984 —

For further details, see Triangles Are Square.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Think Different

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 PM

The New York Times  online this evening

"Mr. Jobs, who died in 2011, loomed over Tuesday’s
nostalgic presentation. The Apple C.E.O., Tim Cook,
paid tribute, his voice cracking with emotion, Mr. Jobs’s
steeple-fingered image looming as big onstage as
Big Brother’s face in the classic Macintosh '1984' commercial."

James Poniewozik 

Review —

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How It Works

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags:  — m759 @ 11:00 AM 

"Design is how it works." — Steven Jobs (See Symmetry and Design.)

"By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24)."
 — "Block Designs," by Andries E. Brouwer

. . . .

See also 1984 Bricks in this journal.

Chin Music

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:45 PM

Related image suggested by "A Line for Frank" (Sept. 30, 2013) —

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

All-Spark Notes

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:55 PM


"For years, the AllSpark rested, sitting dormant
like a giant, useless art installation."

— Vinnie Mancuso at Collider.com yesterday

Related material —

Dormant cube

IMAGE- Britannica 11th edition on the symmetry axes and planes of the cube

Giant, useless art installation —

Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA.  See also LeWitt in this journal.


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Continuing the previous post's theme  

Group actions on partitions

Cube Bricks 1984 —

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Related material — Posts now tagged Device Narratives.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Contracting the Spielraum

The contraction of the title is from group actions on
the ninefold square  (with the center subsquare fixed)
to group actions on the eightfold cube.

From a post of June 4, 2014

At math.stackexchange.com on March 1-12, 2013:

Is there a geometric realization of the Quaternion group?” —

The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity.  No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note “GL(2,3) actions on a cube” of April 5, 1985).

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:27 AM

The title refers to a Log24 post of 9:45 AM ET Sunday, Oct. 2.

From the "Westworld" post of Sunday, Oct. 2 —

"It was rather like watching a play."


Sunday, October 2, 2016


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:45 AM

On a new HBO series that opens at 9 PM ET tonight —

Watching Westworld , you can sense a grand mythology unfolding before your eyes. The show’s biggest strength is its world-building, an aspect of screenwriting that many television series have botched before. Often shows will rush viewers into plot, forgetting to instill a sense of place and of history, that you’re watching something that doesn’t just exist in a vacuum but rather is part of some larger ecosystem. Not since Lost  can I remember a TV show so committed to immersing its audience into the physical space it inhabits. (Indeed, Westworld  can also be viewed as a meta commentary on the art of screenwriting itself: brainstorming narratives, building characters, all for the amusement of other people.)

Westworld  is especially impressive because it builds two worlds at once: the Western theme park and the futuristic workplace. The Western half of Westworld  might be the more purely entertaining of the two, with its shootouts and heists and chases through sublime desert vistas. Behind the scenes, the theme park’s workers show how the robot sausage is made. And as a dystopian office drama, the show does something truly original.

Adam Epstein at QUARTZ, October 1, 2016

"… committed to immersing its audience
  into the physical space it inhabits…."

See also, in this journal, the Mimsy Cube

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves,"
classic science fiction story:

"… he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm– much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block. Strange things they were, too. Miniature people, for example– They moved. Like clockwork automatons, though much more smoothly. It was rather like watching a play."

A Crystal Block —

Cube, 4x4x4

Friday, September 30, 2016

Desmic Midrash

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:19 AM

The author of the review in the previous post, Dara Horn, supplies
below a midrash on "desmic," a term derived from the Greek desme 
δεσμή , bundle, sheaf, or, in the mathematical sense, pencil —
French faisceau ), which is apparently related to the term desmos , bond 

(The term "desmic," as noted earlier, is relevant to the structure of
Heidegger's Sternwürfel .)

The Horn midrash —

(The "medieval philosopher" here is not the remembered pre-Christian
Ben Sirah (Ecclesiasticus ) but the philosopher being read — Maimonides:  
Guide for the Perplexed , 3:51.)

Here of course "that bond" may be interpreted as corresponding to the
Greek desmos  above, thus also to the desmic  structure of the
stellated octahedron, a sort of three-dimensional Star of David.

See "desmic" in this journal.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:30 PM

Cassirer vs. Heidegger at Harvard —

A remembrance for Michaelmas —

A version of Heidegger's "Sternwürfel " —

From Log24 on the upload date for the above figure —

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Star Wars

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:00 PM

See also in this journal “desmic,” a term related
to the structure of Heidegger’s Sternwürfel .


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:48 PM

Heidegger- 'The world's darkening never reaches to the light of being'

Scholia —

D. H. Lawrence quote from 'Kangaroo'

South Australia goes dark

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Solomon Golomb, 1932-2016

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:00 AM

Material related to the previous post, "Symmetry" —

This is the group of "8 rigid motions
generated by reflections in midplanes"
of "Solomon's Cube."

Material from this journal on May 1, the date of Golomb's death —

"Weitere Informationen zu diesem Themenkreis
finden sich unter http://​www.​encyclopediaofma​th.​org/
http://​finitegeometry.​org/​sc/​gen/​coord.​html ."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

The hexagons above appear also in Gary W. Gibbons,
"The Kummer Configuration and the Geometry of Majorana Spinors," 
1993, in a cube model of the Kummer 166 configuration

From Gary W. Gibbons, 'The Kummer Configuration and the Geometry of Majorana Spinors,' 1993, a cube model of the Kummer 16_6 configuration

Related material — The Religion of Cubism (May 9, 2003).

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hint of Reality

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 12:45 PM

From an article* in Proceedings of Bridges 2014

As artists, we are particularly interested in the symmetries of real world physical objects.

Three natural questions arise:

1. Which groups can be represented as the group of symmetries of some real-world physical object?

2. Which groups have actually  been represented as the group of symmetries of some real-world physical object?

3. Are there any glaring gaps – small, beautiful groups that should have a physical representation in a symmetric object but up until now have not?

The article was cited by Evelyn Lamb in her Scientific American  
weblog on May 19, 2014.

The above three questions from the article are relevant to a more
recent (Oct. 24, 2015) remark by Lamb:

" finite projective planes [in particular, the 7-point Fano plane,
about which Lamb is writing] 
seem like a triumph of purely 
axiomatic thinking over any hint of reality…."

For related hints of reality, see Eightfold Cube  in this journal.

* "The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group," by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman

Friday, August 7, 2015


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:19 AM

Spielerei  —

"On the most recent visit, Arthur had given him
a brightly colored cube, with sides you could twist
in all directions, a new toy that had just come onto
the market."

— Daniel Kehlmann, F: A Novel  (2014),
     translated from the German by
     Carol Brown Janeway

Nicht Spielerei  —

A figure from this journal at 2 AM ET
on Monday, August 3, 2015

Also on August 3 —

FRANKFURT — "Johanna Quandt, the matriarch of the family
that controls the automaker BMW and one of the wealthiest
people in Germany, died on Monday in Bad Homburg, Germany.
She was 89."

MANHATTAN — "Carol Brown Janeway, a Scottish-born
publishing executive, editor and award-winning translator who
introduced American readers to dozens of international authors,
died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 71."

Related material —  Heisenberg on beauty, Munich, 1970                       

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Paradigm for Pedagogues

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:14 PM

Illustrations from a post of Feb. 17, 2011:

Plato’s paradigm in the Meno —


Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —


Ultron: By the Book

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:45 PM

If The New York Times interviewed Ultron for its
Sunday Book Review "By the Book" column —

What books are currently on your night stand?

Steve Fuller's Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times

Gerald Holton's Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought

John Gray's The Soul of the Marionette


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Who is Ultron? What is he?"

See too the previous post and Cube of Ultron.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 4:30 PM


See Gary Zukav, Harvard ’64, in this journal.

and damned  nonsense —

“Every institution has a soul.”

— Gerald Holton in Harvard Gazette  today

Commentary —

“The Ferris wheel came into view again….”
Malcom Lowry, Under the Volcano

See also Holton in a Jan. 1977 interview:

“If people have souls, and I think a few have, it shows….”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Continued from yesterday, the date of death for German
billionaire philanthropist Klaus Tschira —

For Tschira in this journal, see Stiftung .

For some Würfel  illustrations, see this morning's post
Manifest O.  A related webpage —

Manifest O

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:44 AM

The title was suggested by

The "O" of the title stands for the octahedral  group.

See the following, from http://finitegeometry.org/sc/map.html —

83-06-21 An invariance of symmetry The diamond theorem on a 4x4x4 cube, and a sketch of the proof.
83-10-01 Portrait of O  A table of the octahedral group O using the 24 patterns from the 2×2 case of the diamond theorem.
83-10-16 Study of O  A different way of looking at the octahedral group, using cubes that illustrate the 2x2x2 case of the diamond theorem.
84-09-15 Diamonds and whirls Block designs of a different sort — graphic figures on cubes. See also the University of Exeter page on the octahedral group O.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two Physical Models of the Fano Plane

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:23 AM

The Regular Tetrahedron

The seven symmetry axes of the regular tetrahedron
are of two types: vertex-to-face and edge-to-edge.
Take these axes as the "points" of a Fano plane.
Each of the tetrahedron's six reflection planes contains 
two vertex-to-face axes and one edge-to-edge axis.
Take these six planes as six of the "lines" of a Fano
plane. Then the seventh line is the set of three 
edge-to-edge axes.

(The Fano tetrahedron is not original with me.
See Polster's 1998 A Geometrical Picture Book pp. 16-17.)

The Cube

There are three reflection planes parallel to faces
of the cube. Take the seven nonempty subsets of
the set of these three planes as the "points" of a
Fano plane. Define the Fano "lines" as those triples
of these seven subsets in which each member of
the triple is the symmetric-difference sum of the 
other two members.

(This is the eightfold cube  discussed at finitegeometry.org.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Class Act

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:18 AM

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

For further information on the geometry in
the remarks by Eberhart below, see
pp. 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998). Polster
cites a different article by Lemay.

A search for background to the exercise in the previous post
yields a passage from the late Stephen Eberhart:

The first three primes p = 2, 3, and 5 therefore yield finite projective planes with 7, 13, and 31 points and lines, respectively. But these are just the numbers of symmetry axes of the five regular solids, as described in Plato's Timaeus : The tetrahedron has 4 pairs of face planes and comer points + 3 pairs of opposite edges, totalling 7 axes; the cube has 3 pairs of faces + 6 pairs of edges + 4 pairs of comers, totalling 13 axes (the octahedron simply interchanges the roles of faces and comers); and the pentagon dodecahedron has 6 pairs of faces + 15 pairs of edges + 10 pairs of comers, totalling 31 axes (the icosahedron again interchanging roles of faces and comers). This is such a suggestive result, one would expect to find it dealt with in most texts on related subjects; instead, while "well known to those who well know such things" (as Richard Guy likes to quip), it is scarcely to be found in the formal literature [9]. The reason for the common numbers, it turns out, is that the groups of symmetry motions of the regular solids are subgroups of the groups of collineations of the respective finite planes, a face axis being different from an edge axis of a regular solid but all points of a projective plane being alike, so the latter has more symmetries than the former.

[9] I am aware only of a series of in-house publications by Fernand Lemay of the Laboratoire de Didactique, Faculté des Sciences de I 'Éducation, Univ. Laval, Québec, in particular those collectively titled Genèse de la géométrie  I-X.

— Stephen Eberhart, Dept. of Mathematics,
California State University, Northridge, 
"Pythagorean and Platonic Bridges between
Geometry and Algebra," in BRIDGES: Mathematical
Connections in Art, Music, and Science 
, 1998,

Eberhart died of bone cancer in 2003. A memorial by his
high school class includes an Aug. 7, 2003, transcribed
letter from Eberhart to a classmate that ends…

… I earned MA’s in math (UW, Seattle) and history (UM, Missoula) where a math/history PhD program had been announced but canceled.  So 1984 to 2002 I taught math (esp. non-Euclidean geometry) at C.S.U. Northridge.  It’s been a rich life.  I’m grateful. 

See also another informative BRIDGES paper by Eberhart
on mathematics and the seven traditional liberal arts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Euclidean-Galois Interplay

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

For previous remarks on this topic, as it relates to
symmetry axes of the cube, see previous posts tagged Interplay.

The above posts discuss, among other things, the Galois
projective plane of order 3, with 13 points and 13 lines.

Oxley's 2004 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

These Galois points and lines may be modeled in Euclidean geometry
by the 13 symmetry axes and the 13 rotation planes
of the Euclidean cube. They may also be modeled in Galois geometry
by subsets of the 3x3x3 Galois cube (vector 3-space over GF(3)).


   The 3×3×3 Galois Cube 

Exercise: Is there any such analogy between the 31 points of the
order-5 Galois projective plane and the 31 symmetry axes of the
Euclidean dodecahedron and icosahedron? Also, how may the
31 projective points  be naturally pictured as lines  within the 
5x5x5 Galois cube (vector 3-space over GF(5))?

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

For background to the above exercise, see
pp. 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998), esp.
the citation to a 1983 article by Lemay.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Articulation

Tom Hanks as Indiana Langdon in Raiders of the Lost Articulation :

An unarticulated (but colored) cube:

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

A 2x2x2 articulated cube:

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

A 4x4x4 articulated cube built from subcubes like
the one viewed by Tom Hanks above:

Image-- Solomon's Cube

Solomon’s Cube

Friday, August 29, 2014


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 AM

A possible answer to the 1923 question of Walter Gropius, “Was ist Raum?“—

See also yesterday’s Source of the Finite and the image search
on the Gropius question in last night’s post.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brutalism Revisited

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:59 PM

Yesterday's 11 AM post was a requiem for a brutalist architect.

Today's LA Times  has a related obituary:

"Architectural historian Alan Hess, who has written several books on
Mid-Century Modern design, said Meyer didn't have a signature style,
'which is one reason he is not as well-known as some other architects
of the period. But whatever style he was working in, he brought a real
sense of quality to his buildings.'

A notable example is another bank building, at South Beverly Drive
and Pico Boulevard, with massive concrete columns, a hallmark of
the New Brutalism style. 'This is a really good example of it,' Hess said."

— David Colker, 5:43 PM LA time, Aug. 28, 2014

A related search, suggested by this morning's post Source of the Finite:

(Click to enlarge.)

Source of the Finite

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:20 AM

"Die Unendlichkeit  ist die uranfängliche Tatsache: es wäre nur
zu erklären, woher das Endliche  stamme…."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Das Philosophenbuch/Le livre du philosophe
(Paris: Aubier-Flammarion, 1969), fragment 120, p. 118

Cited as above, and translated as "Infinity is the original fact;
what has to be explained is the source of the finite…." in
The Production of Space , by Henri Lefebvre. (Oxford: Blackwell,
1991 (1974)), p.  181.

This quotation was suggested by the Bauhaus-related phrase
"the laws of cubical space" (see yesterday's Schau der Gestalt )
and by the laws of cubical space discussed in the webpage
Cube Space, 1984-2003.

For a less rigorous approach to space at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design, see earlier references to Lefebvre in this journal.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not Quite

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Click image to enlarge.


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"To every man upon this earth,
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
and the temples of his gods…?"

— Macaulay, quoted in the April 2013 film "Oblivion"

"Leave a space." — Tom Stoppard, "Jumpers"

Related material: The August 16, 2014, sudden death in Scotland
of an architect of the above Cardross seminary, and a Log24 post,
Plato's Logos, from the date of the above photo: June 26, 2010.

See also…

IMAGE- T. Lux Feininger on 'Gestaltung'

Here “eidolon” should instead be “eidos .”

An example of eidos — Plato's diamond (from the Meno ) —


Schau der Gestalt

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 5:01 AM

(Continued from Aug. 19, 2014)

“Christian contemplation is the opposite
of distanced consideration of an image:
as Paul says, it is the metamorphosis of
the beholder into the image he beholds
(2 Cor 3.18), the ‘realisation’ of what the
image expresses (Newman). This is
possible only by giving up one’s own
standards and being assimilated to the
dimensions of the image.”

— Hans Urs von Balthasar,
The Glory of the Lord:
A Theological Aesthetics,

Vol. I: Seeing the Form
[ Schau der Gestalt ],
Ignatius Press, 1982, p. 485

A Bauhaus approach to Schau der Gestalt :

I prefer the I Ching ‘s approach to the laws of cubical space.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:00 AM

A sequel to the 1974 film
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot :

Contingent and Fluky

Some variations on a thunderbolt  theme:

Design Cube 2x2x2 for demonstrating Galois geometry

These variations also exemplify the larger
Verbum  theme:

Image-- Escher's 'Verbum'

Escher’s Verbum

Image-- Solomon's Cube

Solomon’s Cube

A search today for Verbum  in this journal yielded
a Georgetown 
University Chomskyite, Professor
David W. Lightfoot.

"Dr. Lightfoot writes mainly on syntactic theory,
language acquisition and historical change, which
he views as intimately related. He argues that
internal language change is contingent and fluky,
takes place in a sequence of bursts, and is best
viewed as the cumulative effect of changes in
individual grammars, where a grammar is a
'language organ' represented in a person's
mind/brain and embodying his/her language

Some syntactic work by another contingent and fluky author
is related to the visual patterns illustrated above.

See Tecumseh Fitch  in this journal.

For other material related to the large Verbum  cube,
see posts for the 18th birthday of Harry Potter.

That birthday was also the upload date for the following:

See esp. the comments section.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Monkey Business

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:48 PM

The title refers to a Scientific American weblog item
discussed here on May 31, 2014:

Some closely related material appeared here on
Dec. 30, 2011:

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

A version of the above quaternion actions appeared
at math.stackexchange.com on March 12, 2013:

"Is there a geometric realization of Quaternion group?" —

The above illustration, though neatly drawn, appeared under the
cloak of anonymity.  No source was given for the illustrated group actions.
Possibly they stem from my Log24 posts or notes such as the Jan. 4, 2012,
note on quaternion actions at finitegeometry.org/sc (hence ultimately
from my note "GL(2,3) actions on a cube" of April 5, 1985).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Quaternion Group Models:

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

The ninefold square, the eightfold cube, and monkeys.

IMAGE- Actions of the unit quaternions in finite geometry, on a ninefold square and on an eightfold cube

For posts on the models above, see quaternion
in this journal. For the monkeys, see

"Nothing Is More Fun than a Hypercube of Monkeys,"
Evelyn Lamb's Scientific American  weblog, May 19, 2014:

The Scientific American  item is about the preprint
"The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group,"
by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman (April 26, 2014):

See also  Finite Geometry and Physical Space.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Diamond Space

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:28 PM


Definition:  A diamond space  — informal phrase denoting
a subspace of AG(6, 2), the six-dimensional affine space
over the two-element Galois field.

The reason for the name:

IMAGE - The Diamond Theorem, including the 4x4x4 'Solomon's Cube' case

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Riddle for Davos

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Hexagonale Unwesen

Einstein and Thomas Mann, Princeton, 1938

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

See also the life of Diogenes Allen, a professor at Princeton
Theological Seminary, a life that reportedly ended on the date—
January 13, 2013— of the above Log24 post.

January 13 was also the dies natalis  of St. James Joyce.

Some related reflections —

"Praeterit figura huius mundi  " — I Corinthians 7:31 —

Conclusion of of "The Dead," by James Joyce—

The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one, they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover's eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.

Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Heaven Descending

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:02 PM

An I Ching  study quoted in Waiting for Ogdoad (St. Andrew’s Day, 2013)—

(Click for clearer image.)

The author of the above I Ching  study calls his lattice “Arising Heaven.”

The following lattice might, therefore, be called “Heaven Descending.”

IMAGE- Construction of 'Heaven Descending' lattice

Click for the source, mentioned in Anatomy of a Cube (Sept. 18, 2011).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nobel Jam

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 PM

From this date five years ago in The Guardian

Alice Munro: An Appreciation by Margaret Atwood

"The central Christian tenet is that
two disparate and mutually exclusive elements— 
divinity and humanity— got jammed together
in Christ, neither annihilating the other.
The result was not a demi-god, or a God
in disguise: God became totally a human being
while remaining at the same time totally divine.
To believe either that Christ was only a man or
that he was simply God was declared heretical
by the early Christian church. Christianity thus
depends on a denial of either/or classifying logic
and an acceptance of both-at-once mystery.
Logic says that A cannot be both itself and non-A
at the same time; Christianity says it can. The
formulation 'A but also non-A' is indispensable to it."

Related literary material— "Excluded Middle" and "Couple of Tots."

See also "The Divided Cube" and "Mimsy Were the Borogoves."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vril Chick

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:30 AM

Profile picture of "Jo Lyxe" (Josefine Lyche) at Vimeo

Profile picture for "Jo Lyxe" (Josefine Lyche) at Vimeo

Compare to an image of Vril muse Maria Orsitsch.

From the catalog of a current art exhibition
(25 May – 31 August, 2013) in Norway,

Josefine Lyche
Born in 1973 in Bergen, Norway.
Lives and works in Oslo and Berlin.

Keywords (to help place my artwork in the
proper context): Aliens, affine geometry, affine
planes, affine spaces, automorphisms, binary
codes, block designs, classical groups, codes,
coding theory, collineations, combinatorial,
combinatorics, conjugacy classes, the Conwell
correspondence, correlations, Cullinane,
R. T. Curtis, design theory, the diamond theorem,
diamond theory, duads, duality, error correcting
codes, esoteric, exceptional groups,
extraterrestrials, finite fields, finite geometry, finite
groups, finite rings, Galois fields, generalized
quadrangles, generators, geometry, GF(2),
GF(4), the (24,12) Golay code, group actions,
group theory, Hadamard matrices, hypercube,
hyperplanes, hyperspace, incidence structures,
invariance, Karnaugh maps, Kirkman’s schoolgirls
problem, Latin squares, Leech lattice, linear
groups, linear spaces, linear transformations,
Magick, Mathieu groups, matrix theory, Meno,
Miracle Octad Generator, MOG, multiply transitive
groups, occultism, octahedron, the octahedral
group, Orsic, orthogonal arrays, outer automorphisms,
parallelisms, partial geometries,
permutation groups, PG(3,2), Plato, Platonic
solids, polarities, Polya-Burnside theorem, projective
geometry, projective planes, projective
spaces, projectivities, Pythagoras, reincarnation,
Reed-Muller codes, the relativity problem,
reverse engineering, sacred geometry, Singer
cycle, skew lines, Socrates, sporadic simple
groups, Steiner systems, Sylvester, symmetric,
symmetry, symplectic, synthemes, synthematic,
Theosophical Society tesseract, Tessla, transvections,
Venn diagrams, Vril society, Walsh
functions, Witt designs.

(See also the original catalog page.)

Clearly most of this (the non-highlighted parts) was taken
from my webpage Diamond Theory. I suppose I should be
flattered, but I am not thrilled to be associated with the
(apparently fictional) Vril Society.

For some background, see (for instance) 
Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies .

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Promotional description of a new book:

“Like Gödel, Escher, Bach  before it, Surfaces and Essences  will profoundly enrich our understanding of our own minds. By plunging the reader into an extraordinary variety of colorful situations involving language, thought, and memory, by revealing bit by bit the constantly churning cognitive mechanisms normally completely hidden from view, and by discovering in them one central, invariant core— the incessant, unconscious quest for strong analogical links to past experiences— this book puts forth a radical and deeply surprising new vision of the act of thinking.”

“Like Gödel, Escher, Bach  before it….”

Or like Metamagical Themas .

Rubik core:

Swarthmore Cube Project, 2008

Non- Rubik cores:

Of the odd  nxnxn cube:

Of the even  nxnxn cube:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/cube2x2x2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material: The Eightfold Cube and

“A core component in the construction
is a 3-dimensional vector space  over F.”

—  Page 29 of “A twist in the M24 moonshine story,”
by Anne Taormina and Katrin Wendland.
(Submitted to the arXiv on 13 Mar 2013.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mathematics and Narrative (continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:18 AM

Angels & Demons meet Hudson Hawk

Dan Brown's four-elements diamond in Angels & Demons :

IMAGE- Illuminati Diamond, pp. 359-360 in 'Angels & Demons,' Simon & Schuster Pocket Books 2005, 448 pages, ISBN 0743412397

The Leonardo Crystal from Hudson Hawk :


Mathematics may be used to relate (very loosely)
Dan Brown's fanciful diamond figure to the fanciful
Leonardo Crystal from Hudson Hawk 

"Giving himself a head rub, Hawk bears down on
the three oddly malleable objects. He TANGLES 
and BENDS and with a loud SNAP, puts them together,
forming the Crystal from the opening scene."

— A screenplay of Hudson Hawk

Happy birthday to Bruce Willis.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:24 PM

Yesterday's post Permanence dealt with the cube
as a symmetric model of the finite projective plane
PG(2,3), which has 13 points and 13 lines. The points
and lines of the finite geometry occur in the cube as
the 13 axes of symmetry and the 13 planes through
the center perpendicular to those axes. If the three
axes lying in  a plane that cuts the cube in a hexagon
are supplemented by the axis perpendicular  to that
plane, each plane is associated with four axes and,
dually, each axis is associated with four planes.

My web page on this topic, Cubist Geometries, was
written on February 27, 2010, and first saved to the
Internet Archive on Oct. 4, 2010

For a more recent treatment of this topic that makes
exactly the same points as the 2010 page, see p. 218
of Configurations from a Graphical Viewpoint , by
Tomaž Pisanski and Brigitte Servatius, published by
Springer on Sept. 23, 2012 (date from both Google
and Amazon.com):

For a similar 1998 treatment of the topic, see Burkard Polster's 
A Geometrical Picture Book  (Springer, 1998), pp. 103-104.

The Pisanski-Servatius book reinforces my argument of Jan. 13, 2013,
that the 13 planes through the cube's center that are perpendicular
to the 13 axes of symmetry of the cube should be called the cube's 
symmetry planes , contradicting the usual use of of that term.

That argument concerns the interplay  between Euclidean and
Galois geometry. Pisanski and Servatius (and, in 1998, Polster)
emphasize the Euclidean square and cube as guides* to
describing the structure of a Galois space. My Jan. 13 argument
uses Galois  structures as a guide to re-describing those of Euclid .
(For a similar strategy at a much more sophisticated level,
see a recent Harvard Math Table.)

Related material:  Remarks on configurations in this journal
during the month that saw publication of the Pisanski-Servatius book.

* Earlier guides: the diamond theorem (1978), similar theorems for
  2x2x2 (1984) and 4x4x4 cubes (1983), and Visualizing GL(2,p)
  (1985). See also Spaces as Hypercubes (2012).

Monday, February 18, 2013


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Inscribed hexagon (1984)

The well-known fact that a regular hexagon
may be inscribed in a cube was the basis
in 1984 for two ways of coloring the faces
of a cube that serve to illustrate some graphic
aspects of embodied Galois geometry

Inscribed hexagon (2013)

A redefinition of the term "symmetry plane"
also uses the well-known inscription
of a regular hexagon in the cube

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

Related material

"Here is another way to present the deep question 1984  raises…."

— "The Quest for Permanent Novelty," by Michael W. Clune,
     The Chronicle of Higher Education , Feb. 11, 2013

“What we do may be small, but it has a certain character of permanence.”

— G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spinning in Infinity

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM

A note for day 13 of 2013

How the cube's 13 symmetry planes
are related to the finite projective plane
of order 3, with 13 points and 13 lines—

IMAGE- How the cube's symmetry planes are related to the finite projective plane of order 3, with 13 points and 13 lines

For some background, see Cubist Geometries.

* This is not the standard terminology. Most sources count
   only the 9 planes fixed pointwise under reflections  as
   "symmetry planes." This of course obscures the connection
   with finite geometry.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Object Lesson

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:17 AM

Yesterday's post on the current Museum of Modern Art exhibition
"Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925" suggests a renewed look at
abstraction and a fundamental building block: the cube.

From a recent Harvard University Press philosophical treatise on symmetry

The treatise corrects Nozick's error of not crediting Weyl's 1952 remarks
on objectivity and symmetry, but repeats Weyl's error of not crediting
Cassirer's extensive 1910 (and later) remarks on this subject.

For greater depth see Cassirer's 1910 passage on Vorstellung :

IMAGE- Ernst Cassirer on 'representation' or 'Vorstellung' in 'Substance and Function' as 'the riddle of knowledge'

This of course echoes Schopenhauer, as do discussions of "Will and Idea" in this journal.

For the relationship of all this to MoMA and abstraction, see Cube Space and Inside the White Cube.

"The sacramental nature of the space becomes clear…." — Brian O'Doherty

Monday, December 24, 2012

Eternal Recreation

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , , — m759 @ 3:17 AM

Memories, Dreams, Reflections
by C. G. Jung

Recorded and edited By Aniela Jaffé, translated from the German
by Richard and Clara Winston, Vintage Books edition of April 1989

From pages 195-196:

“Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is:
‘Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.’*
And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all
goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions.”

* Faust , Part Two, trans. by Philip Wayne (Harmondsworth,
England, Penguin Books Ltd., 1959), p. 79. The original:

                   … Gestaltung, Umgestaltung, 
  Des ewigen Sinnes ewige Unterhaltung….

Jung’s “Formation, Transformation” quote is from the realm of
the Mothers (Faust Part Two, Act 1, Scene 5: A Dark Gallery).
The speaker is Mephistopheles.

See also Prof. Bruce J. MacLennan on this realm
in a Web page from his Spring 2005 seminar on Faust:

“In alchemical terms, F is descending into the dark, formless
primary matter from which all things are born. Psychologically
he is descending into the deepest regions of the
collective unconscious, to the source of life and all creation.
Mater (mother), matrix (womb, generative substance), and matter
all come from the same root. This is Faust’s next encounter with
the feminine, but it’s obviously of a very different kind than his
relationship with Gretchen.”

The phrase “Gestaltung, Umgestaltung ” suggests a more mathematical
approach to the Unterhaltung . Hence

Part I: Mothers

“The ultimate, deep symbol of motherhood raised to
the universal and the cosmic, of the birth, sending forth,
death, and return of all things in an eternal cycle,
is expressed in the Mothers, the matrices of all forms,
at the timeless, placeless originating womb or hearth
where chaos is transmuted into cosmos and whence
the forms of creation issue forth into the world of
place and time.”

— Harold Stein Jantz, The Mothers in Faust:
The Myth of Time and Creativity 
Johns Hopkins Press, 1969, page 37

Part II: Matrices


Part III: Spaces and Hypercubes

Click image for some background.

Part IV: Forms

Forms from the I Ching :

Click image for some background.

Forms from Diamond Theory :

Click image for some background.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Group Actions

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:30 PM

The December 2012 Notices of the American
Mathematical Society  
has an ad on page 1564
(in a review of two books on vulgarized mathematics)
for three workshops next year on “Low-dimensional
Topology, Geometry, and Dynamics”—

(Only the top part of the ad is shown; for further details
see an ICERM page.)

(ICERM stands for Institute for Computational
and Experimental Research in Mathematics.)

The ICERM logo displays seven subcubes of
a 2x2x2 eight-cube array with one cube missing—

The logo, apparently a stylized image of the architecture
of the Providence building housing ICERM, is not unlike
a picture of Froebel’s Third Gift—


Froebel's third gift, the eightfold cube

© 2005 The Institute for Figuring

Photo by Norman Brosterman from the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring (co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)

The eighth cube, missing in the ICERM logo and detached in the
Froebel Cubes photo, may be regarded as representing the origin
(0,0,0) in a coordinatized version of the 2x2x2 array—
in other words the cube invariant under linear , as opposed to
more general affine , permutations of the cubes in the array.

These cubes are not without relevance to the workshops’ topics—
low-dimensional exotic geometric structures, group theory, and dynamics.

See The Eightfold Cube, A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168, and
The Quaternion Group Acting on an Eightfold Cube.

Those who insist on vulgarizing their mathematics may regard linear
and affine group actions on the eight cubes as the dance of
Snow White (representing (0,0,0)) and the Seven Dwarfs—


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Congruent Group Actions

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 9:00 PM

A Google search today yielded no results
for the phrase "congruent group actions."

Places where this phrase might prove useful include—

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chiral Problem

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:06 AM

In memory of William S. Knowles, chiral chemist, who died last Wednesday (June 13, 2012)—

Detail from the Harvard Divinity School 1910 bookplate in yesterday morning's post


Detail from Knowles's obituary in this  morning's New York Times

William Standish Knowles was born in Taunton, Mass., on June 1, 1917. He graduated a year early from the Berkshire School, a boarding school in western Massachusetts, and was admitted to Harvard. But after being strongly advised that he was not socially mature enough for college, he did a second senior year of high school at another boarding school, Phillips Academy in Andover, N.H.

Dr. Knowles graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1939….

"This is the relativity problem: to fix objectively a class of equivalent coordinatizations and to ascertain the group of transformations S mediating between them."

— Hermann Weyl, The Classical Groups, Princeton University Press, 1946, p. 16

From Pilate Goes to Kindergarten

The six congruent quaternion actions illustrated above are based on the following coordinatization of the eightfold cube

Problem: Is there a different coordinatization
 that yields greater symmetry in the pictures of
quaternion group actions?

A paper written in a somewhat similar spirit—

"Chiral Tetrahedrons as Unitary Quaternions"—

ABSTRACT: Chiral tetrahedral molecules can be dealt [with] under the standard of quaternionic algebra. Specifically, non-commutativity of quaternions is a feature directly related to the chirality of molecules….

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Child’s Play

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:56 PM


“A set having three members is a single thing
wholly constituted by its members but distinct from them.
After this, the theological doctrine of the Trinity as
‘three in one’ should be child’s play.”

– Max Black, Caveats and Critiques: Philosophical Essays
in Language, Logic, and Art
, Cornell U. Press, 1975

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

Related material—

The Trinity Cube

IMAGE- The Trinity Cube (three interpenetrating planes that split the eightfold cube into its eight subcubes)

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:00 PM

"The  group of 8" is a phrase from politics, not mathematics.
Of the five groups of order 8 (see today's noon post),

the one pictured* in the center, Z2 × Z2 × Z2 , is of particular
interest. See The Eightfold Cube. For a connection of this 
group of 8 to the last of the five pictured at noon, the
quaternion group, see Finite Geometry and Physical Space.

* The picture is of the group's cycle graph.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More on Triality

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:20 PM

John Baez wrote in 1996 ("Week 91") that

"I've never quite seen anyone come right out
and admit that triality arises from the
permutations of the unit vectors i, j, and k
in 3d Euclidean space."

Baez seems to come close to doing this with a
somewhat different i , j , and kHurwitz
— in his 2005 book review
quoted here yesterday.

See also the Log24 post of Jan. 4 on quaternions,
and the following figures. The actions on cubes
in the lower figure may be viewed as illustrating
(rather indirectly) the relationship of the quaternion
group's 24 automorphisms to the 24 rotational
symmetries of the cube.

IMAGE- Actions of the unit quaternions in finite geometry, on a ninefold square and on an eightfold cube

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:09 PM

From life's box of chocolates

Happy birthday to Piper Laurie.

* Those who prefer their
souvenirs without sentiment
may consult the quaternions.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Defining Form (continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Detail of Sylvie Donmoyer picture discussed
here on January 10


The "13" tile may refer to the 13 symmetry axes
in the 3x3x3 Galois cube, or the corresponding
13 planes through the center in that cube. (See
this morning's post and Cubist Geometries.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Language Game

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:08 AM

Tension in the Common Room

IMAGE- 'Launched from Cuber' scene in 'X-Men: First Class'

In memory of population geneticist James F. Crow,
who died at 95 on January 4th.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Defining Form

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:00 AM

(Continued from Epiphany and from yesterday.)

Detail from the current American Mathematical Society homepage


Further detail, with a comparison to Dürer’s magic square—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120110-Donmoyer-Still-Life-Detail.jpg http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120110-DurerSquare.jpg

The three interpenetrating planes in the foreground of Donmoyer‘s picture
provide a clue to the structure of the the magic square array behind them.

Group the 16 elements of Donmoyer’s array into four 4-sets corresponding to the
four rows of Dürer’s square, and apply the 4-color decomposition theorem.
Note the symmetry of the set of 3 line diagrams that result.

Now consider the 4-sets 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16, and note that these
occupy the same positions in the Donmoyer square that 4-sets of
like elements occupy in the diamond-puzzle figure below—


Thus the Donmoyer array also enjoys the structural  symmetry,
invariant under 322,560 transformations, of the diamond-puzzle figure.

Just as the decomposition theorem’s interpenetrating lines  explain the structure
of a 4×4 square , the foreground’s interpenetrating planes  explain the structure
of a 2x2x2 cube .

For an application to theology, recall that interpenetration  is a technical term
in that field, and see the following post from last year—

Saturday, June 25, 2011 

Theology for Antichristmas

— m759 @ 12:00 PM

Hypostasis (philosophy)

“… the formula ‘Three Hypostases  in one Ousia
came to be everywhere accepted as an epitome
of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
This consensus, however, was not achieved
without some confusion….” —Wikipedia



Click for further details:



Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 PM

I revised the cubes image and added a new link to
an explanatory image in posts of Dec. 30 and Jan. 3
(and at finitegeometry.org). (The cubes now have
quaternion "i , j , k " labels and the cubes now
labeled "k " and "-k " were switched.)

I found some relevant remarks here and here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:48 AM

In memory of artist Ronald Searle

IMAGE- Ronald Searle, 'Pythagoras puzzled by one of my theorums,' from 'Down with Skool'

Searle reportedly died at 91 on December 30th.

From Log24 on that date

IMAGE- Quaternion group acting on an eightfold cube

Click the above image for some context.

Update of 9:29 PM EST Jan. 3, 2012



From RationalWiki

Theorum (rhymes with decorum, apparently) is a neologism proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth  to distinguish the scientific meaning of theory from the colloquial meaning. In most of the opening introduction to the show, he substitutes "theorum" for "theory" when referring to the major scientific theories such as evolution.

Problems with "theory"

Dawkins notes two general meanings for theory; the scientific one and the general sense that means a wild conjecture made up by someone as an explanation. The point of Dawkins inventing a new word is to get around the fact that the lay audience may not thoroughly understand what scientists mean when they say "theory of evolution". As many people see the phrase "I have a theory" as practically synonymous with "I have a wild guess I pulled out of my backside", there is often confusion about how thoroughly understood certain scientific ideas are. Hence the well known creationist argument that evolution is "just  a theory" – and the often cited response of "but gravity is also just  a theory".

To convey the special sense of thoroughness implied by the word theory in science, Dawkins borrowed the mathematical word "theorem". This is used to describe a well understood mathematical concept, for instance Pythagoras' Theorem regarding right angled triangles. However, Dawkins also wanted to avoid the absolute meaning of proof associated with that word, as used and understood by mathematicians. So he came up with something that looks like a spelling error. This would remove any person's emotional attachment or preconceptions of what the word "theory" means if it cropped up in the text of The Greatest Show on Earth , and so people would (in "theory ") have no other choice but to associate it with only the definition Dawkins gives.

This phrase has completely failed to catch on, that is, if Dawkins intended it to catch on rather than just be a device for use in The Greatest Show on Earth . When googled, Google will automatically correct the spelling to theorem instead, depriving this very page its rightful spot at the top of the results.

See also


Some backgound— In this journal, "Diamond Theory of Truth."

Friday, June 24, 2011

For Stephen King Fans

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:48 AM

The Gleaming


The column at left is from Galois Geometry.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beyond Forgetfulness

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:10 AM

From this journal on July 23, 2007

It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves.
We must be cured of it by a cure of the ground
Or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure

Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness.
And yet the leaves, if they broke into bud,
If they broke into bloom, if they bore fruit

And if we ate the incipient colorings
Of their fresh culls might be a cure of the ground.

– Wallace Stevens, "The Rock"

This quotation from Stevens (Harvard class of 1901) was posted here on when Daniel Radcliffe (i.e., Harry Potter) turned 18 in July 2007.

Other material from that post suggests it is time for a review of magic at Harvard.

On September 9, 2007, President Faust of Harvard

"encouraged the incoming class to explore Harvard’s many opportunities.

'Think of it as a treasure room of hidden objects Harry discovers at Hogwarts,' Faust said."

That class is now about to graduate.

It is not clear what "hidden objects" it will take from four years in the Harvard treasure room.

Perhaps the following from a book published in 1985 will help…


The March 8, 2011, Harvard Crimson  illustrates a central topic of Metamagical Themas , the Rubik's Cube


Hofstadter in 1985 offered a similar picture—


Hofstadter asks in his Metamagical  introduction, "How can both Rubik's Cube and nuclear Armageddon be discussed at equal length in one book by one author?"

For a different approach to such a discussion, see Paradigms Lost, a post made here a few hours before the March 11, 2011, Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster—


Whether Paradigms Lost is beyond forgetfulness is open to question.

Perhaps a later post, in the lighthearted spirit of Faust, will help. See April 20th's "Ready When You Are, C.B."

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Abacus Conundrum*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:02 PM

From Das Glasperlenspiel  (Hermann Hesse, 1943) —

“Bastian Perrot… constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything, but the pupils liked it.… …what later evolved out of that students’ sport and Perrot’s bead-strung wires bears to this day the name by which it became popularly known, the Glass Bead Game.”

From “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (Lewis Padgett, 1943)—

…”Paradine looked up. He frowned, staring. What in—
…”Is that an abacus?” he asked. “Let’s see it, please.”
…Somewhat unwillingly Scott brought the gadget across to his father’s chair. Paradine blinked. The “abacus,” unfolded, was more than a foot square, composed of thin,  rigid wires that interlocked here and there. On the wires the colored beads were strung. They could be slid back and forth, and from one support to another, even at the points of jointure. But— a pierced bead couldn’t cross interlocking  wires—
…So, apparently, they weren’t pierced. Paradine looked closer. Each small sphere had a deep groove running around it, so that it could be revolved and slid along the wire at the same time. Paradine tried to pull one free. It clung as though magnetically. Iron? It looked more like plastic.
…The framework itself— Paradine wasn’t a mathematician. But the angles formed by the wires were vaguely shocking, in their ridiculous lack of Euclidean logic. They were a maze. Perhaps that’s what the gadget was— a puzzle.
…”Where’d you get this?”
…”Uncle Harry gave it to me,” Scott said on the spur of the moment. “Last Sunday, when he came over.” Uncle Harry was out of town, a circumstance Scott well knew. At the age of seven, a boy soon learns that the vagaries of adults follow a certain definite pattern, and that they are fussy about the donors of gifts. Moreover, Uncle Harry would not return for several weeks; the expiration of that period was unimaginable to Scott, or, at least, the fact that his lie would ultimately be discovered meant less to him than the advantages of being allowed to keep the toy.
…Paradine found himself growing slightly confused as he attempted to manipulate the beads. The angles were vaguely illogical. It was like a puzzle. This red bead, if slid along this  wire to that  junction, should reach there— but it didn’t. A maze, odd, but no doubt instructive. Paradine had a well-founded feeling that he’d have no patience with the thing himself.
…Scott did, however, retiring to a corner and sliding beads around with much fumbling and grunting. The beads did  sting, when Scott chose the wrong ones or tried to slide them in the wrong direction. At last he crowed exultantly.
…”I did it, dad!”
…””Eh? What? Let’s see.” The device looked exactly the same to Paradine, but Scott pointed and beamed.
…”I made it disappear.”
…”It’s still there.”
…”That blue bead. It’s gone now.”
…Paradine didn’t believe that, so he merely snorted. Scott puzzled over the framework again. He experimented. This time there were no shocks, even slight. The abacus had showed him the correct method. Now it was up to him to do it on his own. The bizarre angles of the wires seemed a little less confusing now, somehow.
…It was a most instructive toy—
…It worked, Scott thought, rather like the crystal cube.

* Title thanks to Saturday Night Live  (Dec. 4-5, 2010).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Art Object, continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 AM

Inside the White Cube

"An image comes to mind of a white, ideal space
 that, more than any single picture, may be
 the archetypal image of 20th-century art."

"May be" —


     Image from this journal
     at noon (EST) Tuesday

"The geometry of unit cubes is a meeting point
 of several different subjects in mathematics."
                                    — Chuanming Zong


    (Click to enlarge.)

"A meeting point" —


  The above death reportedly occurred "early Wednesday in Beijing."

Another meeting point —



(Click on logo and on meeting image for more details.)

See also "no ordinary venue."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cubist Geometries

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:01 PM

"The cube has…13 axes of symmetry:
  6 C2 (axes joining midpoints of opposite edges),
4 C3 (space diagonals), and
3C4 (axes joining opposite face centroids)."
–Wolfram MathWorld article on the cube

These 13 symmetry axes can be used to illustrate the interplay between Euclidean and Galois geometry in a cubic model of the 13-point Galois plane.

The geometer's 3×3×3 cube
27 separate subcubes unconnected
by any Rubik-like mechanism–

The 3x3x3 geometer's cube, with coordinates

The 13 symmetry axes of the (Euclidean) cube
exactly one axis for each pair of opposite
  subcubes in the (Galois) 3×3×3 cube

The 13 symmetry axes of the cube

A closely related structure–
the finite projective plane
with 13 points and 13 lines–

Oxley's 2004 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

A later version of the 13-point plane
by Ed Pegg Jr.–

Ed Pegg Jr.'s 2007 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

A group action on the 3×3×3 cube
as illustrated by a Wolfram program
by Ed Pegg Jr. (undated, but closely
related to a March 26, 1985 note
by Steven H. Cullinane)–

Ed Pegg Jr.'s program at Wolfram demonstrating concepts of a 1985 note by Cullinane

The above images tell a story of sorts.
The moral of the story–

Galois projective geometries can be viewed
in the context of the larger affine geometries
from which they are derived.

The standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane is that they are lines through the (arbitrarily chosen) origin in a corresponding affine 3-space converted to a vector 3-space.

If we choose the origin as the center cube in coordinatizing the 3×3×3 cube (See Weyl's relativity problem ), then the cube's 13 axes of symmetry can, if the other 26 cubes have properly (Weyl's "objectively") chosen coordinates, illustrate nicely the 13 projective points derived from the 27 affine points in the cube model.

The 13 lines of the resulting Galois projective plane may be derived from Euclidean planes  through the cube's center point that are perpendicular to the cube's 13 Euclidean symmetry axes.

The above standard definition of points in a Galois projective plane may of course also be used in a simpler structure– the eightfold cube.

(The eightfold cube also allows a less standard way to picture projective points that is related to the symmetries of "diamond" patterns formed by group actions on graphic designs.)

See also Ed Pegg Jr. on finite geometry on May 30, 2006
at the Mathematical Association of America.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mimzy vs. Mimsy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM


Deep Play:

Mimzy vs. Mimsy

From a 2007 film, "The Last Mimzy," based on
the classic 1943 story by Lewis Padgett
  "Mimsy Were the Borogoves"–


As the above mandala pictures show,
the film incorporates many New Age fashions.

The original story does not.

A more realistic version of the story
might replace the mandalas with
the following illustrations–

The Eightfold Cube and a related page from a 1906 edition of 'Paradise of Childhood'

Click to enlarge.

For a commentary, see "Non-Euclidean Blocks."

(Here "non-Euclidean" means simply
other than  Euclidean. It does not imply any
  violation of Euclid's parallel postulate.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday September 8, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Magic Box  

Box containing Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
 Continued from Dec. 7, 2008,
and from yesterday.



Passages from a classic story:

… he took from his pocket a gadget he had found in the box, and began to unfold it. The result resembled a tesseract, strung with beads….


"Your mind has been conditioned to Euclid," Holloway said. "So this– thing– bores us, and seems pointless. But a child knows nothing of Euclid. A different sort of geometry from ours wouldn't impress him as being illogical. He believes what he sees."

"Are you trying to tell me that this gadget's got a fourth dimensional extension?" Paradine demanded.
"Not visually, anyway," Holloway denied. "All I say is that our minds, conditioned to Euclid, can see nothing in this but an illogical tangle of wires. But a child– especially a baby– might see more. Not at first. It'd be a puzzle, of course. Only a child wouldn't be handicapped by too many preconceived ideas."

"Hardening of the thought-arteries," Jane interjected.

Paradine was not convinced. "Then a baby could work calculus better than Einstein? No, I don't mean that. I can see your point, more or less clearly. Only–"

"Well, look. Let's suppose there are two kinds of geometry– we'll limit it, for the sake of the example. Our kind, Euclidean, and another, which we'll call x. X hasn't much relationship to Euclid. It's based on different theorems. Two and two needn't equal four in it; they could equal y, or they might not even equal. A baby's mind is not yet conditioned, except by certain questionable factors of heredity and environment. Start the infant on Euclid–"

"Poor kid," Jane said.

Holloway shot her a quick glance. "The basis of Euclid. Alphabet blocks. Math, geometry, algebra– they come much later. We're familiar with that development. On the other hand, start the baby with the basic principles of our x logic–"

"Blocks? What kind?"

Holloway looked at the abacus. "It wouldn't make much sense to us. But we've been conditioned to Euclid."

— "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," Lewis Padgett, 1943

Padgett (pseudonym of a husband-and-wife writing team) says that alphabet blocks are the intuitive "basis of Euclid." Au contraire; they are the basis of Gutenberg.

For the intuitive basis of one type of non-Euclidean* geometry– finite geometry over the two-element Galois field– see the work of…

Friedrich Froebel
 (1782-1852), who
 invented kindergarten.

His "third gift" —

Froebel's Third Gift-- The Eightfold Cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring

Go figure.

* i.e., other than Euclidean

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