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March 28, 2005

The Golden Ratio

I'm behind on putting together my notes for some of the books that I've recently read. One that I finished not long ago was “The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi. The World's Most Astonishing Number.” by Mario Livio. This book held a special interest as it is part of what makes NeoPhi what it is. I've always had a love of math and incorporating that into my domain name just seemed like a nice tie in, besides it just sounds good.

Unlike a lot of other books I've read lately, the author wasn't pushing a point of view as much as summarizing all that is currently known about the number. He does spend time discrediting various theories about where phi was used. For example the pyramids are not influenced by phi. I think you have to have some interest in math to really enjoy the book even though is it approachable to a general audience.

Below are some usually paraphrased references from the book that I think are worth mentioning:

[2] pi is the best known special number.

[3-4] Given a line AB with a point C between AB, if the ratio between AC/CB is equal to AB/AC, then the line has been cut into the Golden Ratio.

[4] This ratio is 1.6180339887...

[5] The discovery that some numbers are irrational caused some mathematics to build tombs for those making the discoveries, as if they were already dead.

[12] It isn't known if the cardinal numbers: one, two, three, ... preceded the ordinal numbers: first, second, third...

[13] The concept that two hands and two nights are both manifestations of the number two, took centuries for humans to grasp.

[14] Many early languages exhibit the counting/labeling of one, two, three, four, many. Most don't go beyond unique names for four. One theory is that four is the maximum that a human can quickly “see” without counting.

[18] Modern numerics are based around a place-value system first invented by the Babylonians.

[22] Numerology. Modern day example is the Y2K scare.

[33] Perfect numbers are equal to the sum of their divisors. 6=1+2+3, 28=1+2+4+7+14.

March 27, 2005


It is just starting to set in. I only have four days of work left at Towers Perrin... A blink of an eye and almost two and a half years have flown by. I'm reminded of a guy a met at Nick's wedding who offered the following observation: "The years and months fly by, but the weeks and days still take forever."

This also means that I haven't moved in just as long.


March 13, 2005

IQ and Marriage

From the March 2005 issue of Details:
35% increase in a man's chances of getting married for every 16-point jump in his IQ, according to a British study.
40% decrease in a woman's chances of getting married for every 16-point jump in her IQ.

March 5, 2005

Reading Spot

Now that I'm back taking classes at Northeastern, I've had to spend many hours reading my textbook and other supplemental material. I've been unable to find the perfect reading spot. There are three qualities that my perfect spot would have:

  1. The right chair. If I'm reading for a couple of hours I don't want to have to keep shifting because I'm getting uncomfortable.

  2. Good lighting. I hate having to shift a glossy magazine around when I'm reading it because the light is reflecting off the pages. The right light I find also doesn't tire out my eyes as quickly.

  3. Uniform or no noise. I can tune out fans and most other steady background noise. Random noise I find too distracting, especially when I'm reading material that doesn't have my full attention. Street traffic, provided the cars aren't honking isn't too bad.

At this point I'm still struggling to find such a spot. I almost had one, but couldn't get over the random noise caused by a TiVo.

March 3, 2005

I am from the future.

I am from the future.

I love eBay.