June 09, 2006

Diverse pursuits

With the extra time afforded me by the end of the term, in the last few days I've dusted off and posted two complete side-pursuits from my academic past.

The first is a short essay on the history of the Principle of Indifference. This is from late in grad school, and actually appears as an appendix of my thesis. Basically, I was writing one of my thesis chapters, and referred to the principle, so I figured I'd cite it. The problem was, all the books I read that talked about it either omitted the citation entirely or made some vague handwavy reference to Laplaceóbut without an actual cite. So during a time that I really should have been hard at work on real CS stuff, I was exploring Brown's sci li, pulling 300-year-old books out of the stacks and reading them, in four languages. It was great fun, and this essay was the result. (It's short, and an easy read!)

The second diverse pursuit* is even older: it dates back to my sophomore year of college. In those heady days, a bunch of us spent a lot of time putting together paper models of assorted geometric objects, and I did some calculations for some torus nets, which I assembled and then forgot about. Well, someone remembered (the whole story is over on that page), and recently I went back and revamped the original nets and wrote up an explanation of how the calculations went. The math isn't actually all that difficult, although envisioning intersecting shapes in three dimensions can always be a bit dicey. :)

*Can a single pursuit be diverse? Or are diverse pursuits like stoplight peppers, in that it describes a set of distinct and countable elements, but only in the plural?

"The adolescents and the young... must be liberated from the widespread prejudice that Christianity, with its commandments and its prohibitions, places too many obstacles to the joy of love." --Pope Benedict XVI

Posted by blahedo at 8:45pm on 9 Jun 2006
404 on the Principle of Indifference essay. :-( I think the way you're using diverse is fine, but mostly just because it pleases me aesthetically. I feel like it's an appropriate (older) usage, but I don't have access to decent dictionaries. Maybe I'll have OED access through Sue soon... Posted by Chris T. at 8:10am on 10 Jun 2006
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