Thursday, April 23, 2015

Math and the Simpsons

What could be further apart than high math and The Simpsons? LOTS of things, as this article explains; there are several high-math big brains on the Simpsons writing team. (And more yet on the Futurama team.)

For example, "Colonel Homer" (1992) features the first appearance of the local movie theatre, and eagle-eyed viewers would have glimpsed that it is called the Springfield Googolplex. In order to appreciate this reference, it is necessary to go back to 1938, when the American mathematician Edward Kasner was in conversation with his nephew Milton Sirotta. Kasner casually mentioned that it would be useful to have a label to describe the number 10100 (or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). The nine-year-old Milton suggested the word googol. 
 In his book Mathematics and the Imagination, Kasner recalled how the conversation with his nephew continued: "At the same time that he suggested 'googol', he gave a name for a still larger number: 'googolplex'. A googolplex is much larger than a googol, but is still finite, as the inventor of the name was quick to point out. It was first suggested that a googolplex should be 1, followed by writing zeros until you get tired." 
 The uncle rightly felt that the googolplex would then be a somewhat arbitrary and subjective number, so he redefined the googolplex as 10googol. This represents a number that is 1 followed by a googol zeros, which is far more zeros that you could fit on a piece of paper the size of the observable universe, even if you used the smallest font imaginable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tremastet beton, by Gasolin, translated. "Three-masted concrete"

I was astonished and disappointed when I could not find any translation of Gasolin's classic song. So I translated it myself. It's quite poetic in style, so the translation had to be quite conceptual at places. The text was written by Mogens Mogensen, an old poet the band had befriended. He wrote the lyrics to several of their songs, and was "a sailor like Captain Haddock". - Eolake

Lyrics in Danish and English

Tremastet Beton

Du søger solnedgangens stille hygge,
der er myg
du drages mod havet der ser du mor'ild
gennem skovene's mørke sale

Three-masted Concrete

You seek the quiet coziness of dusk
mites in the air
You are drawn towards the sea
where you see phosphorescence
through the dark cathedrals of the forests

over marker, marker med kornmodsglans
da søger du hjem i din stue
ensomheden, skæret, skæret fra de fyrre watt
du smider dig i dækstolen
dine øjne er lukkede, men du ser.

Over fields, fields with the glow of ripe harvest
You seek your home and your room
Loneliness, the glow, the glow of forty watts
you throw yourself down on your deck chair
Your eyes are closed. But you see.

Du ser drenge der søger mod havet
de kommer inde fra, langt inde fra landet
legende langs kajerne med store kraner
de kommer langvejs fra
havnepigernes fnisen på dækket
et stød i fløjten,
du skal hjem, åh hold kæft

You see boys seeking the sea
They come from inland, far far inland
they play along the habor with its great cranes
They come from far away
The girls of the habor giggling on the deck
the whistle blows
You gotta go home now. Aw, shut up

hoppen skal, den skal den du vil
sømanden gør det sgu'
lukkede øjne, sømand fjorten somre.
Store have, ensomheden og drengen
solen, bølgerne, mågerne og stjernerne
krigen, pigerne og havnene, og myggene
og feberen, feberen og pigerne, piger i mange farver

The mare must, it must, what you know
The sailor does it, I'll be damned
Closed eyes. Sailor. Fourteen summers.
Great seas, loneliness and the boy
The sun, the waves, the gulls, the stars
the war, the girls and the ports, and the mites
The fever, the fever, the girls. Girls in many colors.

navne på havne, piger derfra er der ingen
sus-dus og rotter, delfiner og marsvin og lus
kanontorden, skibe der brænder, signalflag
havene ta'r dem, de sorte sejlere
lukkede øjne der stadigvæk ser
sømand, pensionist søger mage.

Names of ports, girls, none are from there
The wild life and rats, dolphins and porpoises and lice.
The thunder of cannons, burning ships, signal flags
The seas take them away, those black sailors
Closed eyes, but seeing still
Sailor, retired, seeking soul mate

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can

I'm sure some are not interested in this, but I find it much interesting. without engineering, we would still be in the dark ages, and I find it highly interesting to find out about all the ideas which make it work.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Girocopter girl

Girocopter Girl, a video combining the pleasure of small-craft flight with the pleasure of a pretty woman in the buff.