IRON NODER: Maintaining a continued willingness in participating in the Iron Noder challenge has been challenged by Everything2 server hardware problems. I've voiced my frustrations in a previous daylog.

What is particularly ironic (erm) is that the Iron Noder happened at just the right time for many writers here, who have had a need to pour out pent up words. That the dam bursting is coming at just the right time is partly due to Aerobe's adroit timing, but it's also a matter of the onset of winter. We feel the chill coming, and we want to hunker down and write. Such is the case with me. My list of nodeshells is growing faster than my ability to write them.

No one can doubt Aerobe's finesse with which she's handling the Iron Noder. (PBUH). It takes courage not to be discouraged. My esteem for our new overlord grows daily.

My writing production has slowed, because some of the geometry series require real research. Today I'm heading over to the storage unit to attempt to dig out the ten or so textbooks that will help finish the series.

Modern geometry is amazing. The contrast is huge between high school memories and the present day mathematics of classical Euclidean geometry, as true mathematicians would say. We learned a love of proofs in high school: the angle-side-angle (ASA) theorem, Pythagoras' theorem, congruences, and theorems dealing with circles and bisectors and so forth. The marvelousness was in the method, not actually in what we learned. Geometry wasn't really useful to a working engineer or scientist, but its methods were. If geometry is measured by its efficacy, then it was 100% effective with me: I fell in love with mathematics in Mister Rubell's geometry class in Rocky River, Ohio.

Geometry was revitalized by a Canadian mathematician, H.S.M. Coxeter, about whom I cannot say enough, except that his mathematics is beautiful and elegant. Although Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius, Ptolemy and their ilk of ancients were marvelous mathematicians, it's somewhat surprising at how much they didn't discover. We're discovering it nowadays. In a real sense, there have been huge breakthroughs in the last fifty years on simple things involving just triangles and circles.

Even more amazing is the use of computers in geometry research. Programs such as Geometer's Sketchpad, Cabri, Cinderella, and the awesome professional (and free!) applications such as Z.u.L. (the German version, "Zirkel und Linie" of C.a.R. - Compass and Ruler) are useful in diagramming and even researching new theorems. At the most professional levels are sophisticated mathematical tools that determine such things as triangle centers and other facts. There are about 3500 known triangle centers, and thousands of geometrical theorems and lemmas in geometry databases. Determining whether a new theorem is in fact already an existing, and known, theorem, is something that computers are becoming good at. Somewhat more interesting, computers are beginning to generate new theorems algorithmically. Some day I hope to write more about this, but for now I only have time to cover the basics of findings I've stumbled across in this last two months of my own research on the topic.

It's been a surprise to hear the reaction to my notebook of mathematics. It's full of diagrams and formulae, theorems and so forth, and I posted one or two photos of the notebook's contents on my homenode. Many of you must keep similar notebooks full of ideas and drawings, because your reaction was visceral. I think you were delighted to find similar kindred spirits out there.

WRITING: The geometry articles are proceeding painfully slowly. I'm trying to finish off excircle, but the more work I do, the more interesting facts I am uncovering. It's going to be a case where this node doesn't get finished so much as it is abandoned, as the French poet Paul Valéry said about poetry. Ditto barycentric coordinates. I understand how to go from barycentric coordinates to finding a point in cartesian coordinates, but I can't yet do the inverse: given a point's (x,y) coordinates, find the barycentric coordinates. I mean, I can, I just don't understand the why. And therefore i can't finish the node.

After these two are done, a bunch more can be released. Such nodes as centroid, orthocenter, Nagel point, Gergonne point, Euler line, mittenpunkt, Spieker center, the famous nine-point circle, and Fermat's point will be almost trivial to finish. Then there are the medium difficulty writeups, like Geometer's Sketchpad, C.a.R., phased array (a suggestion kicked off by The Custodian, and not a geometry writeup), Triangle and Circle Geometry Problem Set, which are lengthy but not taxing.

More difficult are the harder ones, like contact triangle, orthic triangle, median triangle, pedal triangle, Bevan point, Schiffler point, extangent triangle, and the problem of Apollonius. The ones I really fear, though, are the isotomic conjugate and isogonal conjugate writeups. They are essential, because they show some of the real beauty in geometry - the hidden symmetries that will delight and surprise you - but conveying this is not easy. Simpler is better. Less is more. I keep Mies van der Rohe's maxim on my lips at all times, but I fear that wordiness is a curse for me. I can't say something is beautiful - it must emerge by itself from the mathematical facts - and the beauty must be something you see. I can't force you to fall in love with a theorem. Your reactions may not be exactly like mine. And I fear ugliness in writing.



THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE 4: FERRASSIC PARK

Day:            30
Nodes written:  29

  1. Electrical Engineering & Communications Theory
    1. Radio Direction Finding
    2. The particular sequence of ten words "attack on an English writer that the character of this" is not at all unreasonable.
  2. Geometry Series
    1. Polya's Ten Commandments for Mathematics Teachers
    2. incenter
    3. incircle
    4. circumcenter
    5. circumcircle
    6. A circle is defined by three points
  3. Science in the news: New elements
    1. darmstadtium
    2. roentgenium
    3. copernicium
    4. island of stability
  4. Geometry Series
    1. Perspector
    2. Encyclopedia of Triangle Centers
    3. Semiperimeter
    4. Menelaus
    5. Giovanni Ceva
    6. Stewart's Theorem
    7. The Three Kinds of Circles Associated with a Triangle
    8. Angle Bisector Theorem
    9. altitude
    10. Equation of a Line Normal to a Second Line, and Containing a Point on the Second Line
    11. Excenter
    12. Ceva's Theorem (yeah, I think I need to rewrite that. It's pretty key to the geometrical concept of the point of concurrency, which also needs to be written. *SIGH*)
    13. Cevian
    14. Cevian triangle
    15. Contact triangle
    16. Excenter contact triangle
    17. Extangent triangle
    18. Median triangle
    19. Orthic triangle
    20. pedal triangle
    21. anticomplementary triangle
    22. Geometric Notation
    23. Excircle
    24. centroid
    25. orthocenter
    26. Gergonne point
    27. Nagel point
    28. symmedian point
    29. de Longchamps point
    30. Euler's Line
    31. Trilinear Coordinates
    32. Barycentric Coordinates
    33. Alternate Angles Theorem
    34. Test for Collinearity
    35. Test for Point Inside Triangle
    36. Confessions of A Geometry Addict
    37. Triangle and Circle Geometry
    38. Radical axis
    39. "Paradox", a poem by the mathematician Clarence Wylie
    40. Bevan point
    41. Schiffler point
    42. Brocard points
    43. Brocard angle
    44. Conway notation
    45. isotomic conjugate
    46. isogonal conjugate
    47. Clawson point
    48. Triangle center function
    49. Power of a point
    50. Miquel's Theorem
    51. Triangle and Circle Geometry - Problem Set
    52. Triangle and Circle Geometry - Solution
    53. Steiner Ellipse
    54. Coordinates of the intersection of Two Lines
    55. Coordinates of the Intersection of a Line Fit Through a Point, and a Tangent to a Circle
    56. Equation of a Line Normal to a Line and a Point
    57. Geometer's Sketchpad
    58. Cabri - Interactive Geometry Software
    59. Cinderella - Interactive Geometry Software
    60. C.a.R. - Interactive Geometry Software
    61. Cut the Knot
  5. Electrical Engineering & Communications Theory
    1. spread spectrum
    2. (noise stuff)
    3. The kTB Noise Floor
    4. Link Budget for Geostationary Communications Satellites
    5. Link Budget for LEO Satellites
    6. (Shannon bound)
    7. (coding gain)
    8. Claude Shannon
    9. Andrew J. Viterbi
  6. Reading
    1. Madame Bovary
    2. (Great Books reading list)
  7. General Math Topics
    1. Frank Ramsey
    2. Ramsey Theory
    3. geometric mean
  8. Chinese Space Program
  9. Slice of Life
    1. November 6, 2011 daylog & Iron Noder progress
    2. November 15, 2011 daylog & Iron Noder progress
    3. November 24, 2011 daylog. Rediscovering the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, which prompted thoughts which led to this
    4. November 25, 2011 frustration with server crashes
    5. November 30, 2011 daylog, mostly on my geometry nodes, which are being developed at an excruciatingly slow pace. This is turning into a damned textbook.
    6. Books you haven't read in a while, but intend to read again
    7. jessicapierce as a unit of quality A pesky idea that wouldn't go away until I wrote it down.
    8. (Great Books reading list)
    9. (Distance Running Progress)
    10. On being newly thin
  10. Jet-Poop's decaversary interview answers.... that's going to take a while to write. A novella begging to be written.

A node you should read: The Awful German Language Part 2, by id1984, a writer new to me. This node has been around for eleven years, but I'd never run across it until just the other day. Typical for E2 - hidden gems everywhere.

Well. I haven't written in a good long while, and I suppose it's high time I changed this. Since last anyone heard of me (outside of either RL, SL or maybe Facebook), I've semi-voluntarily left the military, spent two months unemployed, and been hired again.

Technically, I had authorization to re-enlist in the Navy, but I opted not to. Thanks to my knees being all munted, I'd just have been given the old heave-ho six months to a year later, as the semi-annual fitness tests rolled around. While I suppose I could have found a way to parlay that into getting a sizable severance payout, I don't think it would have been worth the cost to my sanity. I've been through administrative separation processing before. They spend a lot of time waving nebulous and hard to substantiate threats around, like "if we classify this as a general discharge, you'll be considered a convicted felon despite never having been convicted of a felony". This one is bullshit, as far as I can tell, but let me tell you, if there's even the faintest shred of a thought that these threats might have some veracity to them, that can lead to stress that I just don't want to deal with.

So, up and out I went. Somehow, in all this arglebargle and folderol, they've mislaid my medical record, so I'm now having to jump through hoops to get the paperwork needed to file my VA disability claim. Mind you, my future's not precisely hinging on that determination, but every little bit helps. Besides, this kind of delay is pretty much exactly what I might have predicted - Finagle's Law, and all that flafadoo.

Being unemployed sucks. I mean, not at first, but once you see the bills, and the dwindling account balance, and go "umm, just how the fuck am I going to pay for this?", it starts to grate. I can't quite imagine how the folks who've been unemployed for five, six, ten months or even longer are hacking it. I'd have been in some serious cow dookie if I'd had to spend one more month out of work.

This did underscore to me, in painful terms, just how heinously, utterly buggered my personal financial state is, though. Without giving too much detail, my credit is badly dinged, my cards are maxed out, and I'm not tracking my money nearly closely enough. This is going to change. December is the turning point, and after January, no more fucking debt. I'll make an allowance for a mortgage - I don't want to rent forever, and putting 100% down for a nice house is a damn hard thing to save up for - but no more cards, no more car loans, no more installment plans. I'm paying cash from here on out. I'm putting a couple of kilobucks between Murphy and me, and I'm done living from paycheck to paycheck, relying on credit cards when I fuck up the numbers. I've drawn a line in the sand, and that's fucking that. No more.

When I got out of the Navy, I was making (very roughly) 60k/year, and yet, somehow, I was poor. Every nickel I made, I spent - and while I had some stuff, when I looked around me, I couldn't really see that I had anything to show for it. A shitty little car, a rented house, a pile of random kit, some mediocre clothes, and that's about it. Somehow, I was making enough money to be middle-class and fairly financially secure, and yet I was just one catastrophic automotive failure away from eviction. How the fuck did this happen? After I got out, I had to sell practically all the old, interesting computer stuff I'd collected just to pay the bills, and it /barely/ cut the mustard. That was the impetus that led me to say "no more". Right about the time I'd resolved to make the change, I got a call back for an interview. Less than an hour after my interview, while I was still driving home, the company called to say that they'd made a decision and wanted me to start the next week. Needless to say, I accepted. Sometimes I think the Goddess lights a path for us, once we're resolved to follow it.

So, armed with a new job, a raise, and determination to stop shooting myself in the foot, I'm forging forward. I'm fired up, because I'm fed up with being poor for no adequately defensible reason. Because it's my life, goddamn it, and I'm going to control it. Not some fuckety-skunkelwash piece of plastic.

An old soccer injury in my left knee allows me to predict sudden changes in weather before they happen.

This afternoon, when it was quite warm, my knee suddenly tightened up and I knew it was about to get really, really cold.

Sure enough, it is freezing cold right now.

The knee is never wrong.

Anyone know how this works?

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