Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Mathematics

The colonel upset at the inhumane treatment of robots (mentioned here earlier) might have a complaint against mathematicians as well. According to John Baez:

They're called "ternary rings" because they're usually described in terms of a ternary operation that generalizes xy + z. But the precise definition is too depressing for me give here. It's a classic example of what James Dolan calls "centipede mathematics", where you take a mathematical concept and see how many legs you can pull off before it can no longer walk. A ternary ring is like a division ring that can just barely limp along on its last legs.
On the other hand, some people might claim that mathematics did the torturing first.


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