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Mandelbrot Birthday Set

Meant to play this last year on Mandelbrot’s birthdays but forgot so I’m doing it early this year.  Unfortunately, Mandelbrot is in heaven and no longer teaching math at Yale.  But the set is still mesmerizing.

And here’s a little ditty on doodling in math class from Vi Hart, Mathemagician:

It’s easier after you’ve had coffee.

Happy Birthday to all you November babies.

I gotta be me!!! A message for lefty blogospherian Democratic loyalists

Last night, I introduced this site to Vi Hart, the absurdly young mathemusician who produces brilliant math videos for the Khan Academy and YouTube.  And sometime during the night, 2:28am EST, to be exact, someofparts, an infrequent commenter, but one I hope will return more frequently, attempted to post another of Vi’s videos in the comment section. She was unsuccessful, but I have remedied that by careful editing.  The Vi Video she recommended is so important that I thought it is worth sharing on the front page.  So, here it is.  This video is for every lefty blogospherian Democratic loyalist who has decided to tailor the message for the commenters or other lefty blogospherian Democratic loyalists:

I didn’t know that when I tried to follow this advice that I would end up in the Oort Belt of the blogosphere, even farther away from the rest of the political world I knew than I was four years ago.  And on occasion, I’ve wondered whether I should have been more accommodating or commercial (I won’t lie, being on more blogrolls would have helped me get that 27″ apple Thunderbolt monitor I actually need.  No, really, I need better hardware for the other stuff I do.).  But I just felt that as nauseatingly repetitive and obnoxious as I sounded, I would rather be me and put it all out there as I see it than go chasing after readers.  Many readers have come and gone, mostly gone, but I gotta be me.

At some point, I realized that it was never my intention to follow the crowd or have the crowd follow me.  I write this stuff because someone has to.  Someone has to say what happened to the New Deal Democrats who were silenced in 2008.  Someone has to say what it’s like to be a formerly middle class professional who is being forced into self employment by the 1% and their Wall Street minions.  Someone has to document what happened to the research industry in New Jersey.  Someone has to explain what it’s like to be a female in 2012 who came of age in the 70s and 80s and has seen the scope of her gender’s opportunities suddenly shrink.  Someone has to act as an intermediary between the fundamentalist mind and the mind of the political junky (because this shit is real and it’s just now dawning on you how irrational it is, isn’t it?).

So, as I’ve said before, I’ll keep doing this even if I’m the only person reading it.  I’m not going to cater to my audience.  This is a blog after all, a “web log”.  It’s a journal.  Someday, probably after I’m dead, maybe someone will rediscover this hypergraphic diarrhea and decide that it has commercial value and it will make me famous a la Van Gogh.  Did Vincent paint his wheat fields and starry nights while thinking to himself, “This canvas is going to cost $40 million dollars someday and *this* one is going to be priceless.  Damn, why does it take so long for art to appreciate?  I’m almost out of cognac.  Maybe if I do something more accessible and commercially more profitable…”

You’re probably thinking, “{{snort}} She’s really dreaming if she believes that anyone will consider her writing to be some kind of masterpiece.”  Actually, that’s what *I’m* thinking.  But whatever my megalomaniacal brain or my insecure mind elf is thinking at any one time, I just gotta be me.  What else can I be than who I am?  I’m not interested in memeorandum or where I am in the blog rankings or whether I can attract advertisers (though, in retrospect, that might have gotten me that monitor by now… hmmm…).  If I don’t say it my way and relate to the reader my thoughts, then those thoughts will lose what little value they possess.  The left blogosphere may have decided that it’s better to not fight back because they’re scared or because it’s profitable or because getting hundreds of comments on a post is mind-blowingly flattering and makes the poster feel like the king of the world.  But if you’ve had to modify your message to one that you think is more palatable to your audience or one that will assure that the 1% will still employ you or so that your thoughts conform to be the same as the group to which you plan to belong because you think they are more important than you since everyone is paying attention to them, then part of the “you-ness” just got tossed away.

So, welcome to the Oort Belt.  Thanks for stopping by.  Yes, it’s pretty much always like this.  Yes, eventually I’ll get back to writing political snark, when I’m ready and the mood hits me.  You can’t force good snark.  There will probably be a lot of posts about things you may not be interested in or even knew about but that’s part of the journaling process, I guess.  I am a middle aged researcher, liberated from a dying industry that was murdered with the help of Wall Street, living in New Jersey, a child of the working class who rose into the most heavily taxed stratum of the middle class (and still remained a liberal Democrat) only to discover that to the 1%, we’re all working class, who is documenting what it’s like to be on the way back down, interpreting the fevered dreams of some of her fundamentalist relatives and trying to find the thread of her old Democratic party in the current political environment.

Take it or leave it.  And it looks like a lot of you still take it.  We’re not that far from 12,000,000 unique page hits and while the rate of unique page hits has decelerated significantly in the past four years, and we may never actually get to 12,000,000, like some infinite series concept that Vi Hart delights in talking about rapidly, 12,000,000 hits is way more than I ever expected.  Somewhere out there, some of you are thinking about strange ideas and concepts and relationships without your consent.  You may have been infuriated when you first read them here and now they’re lodged in your brain cells, and you can’t get them out.  They’re bumping up against other neurons and making new connections.  Bwahahahahahahhhhhh!  “That’s sick!”, you think, but it’s too late.  The meme has been passed to a new generation.  Whatever happens to it after this is out of my control.  But controlling you was never my intention in the first place.  I’m just a blogger.  No one special but as special as everyone who writes and has a right to write and be heard and think and spew random political stuff.

Thanks for reading.

The Stuff You Learn From Your Kids: Flex Mex

Vi Hart,  a self described mathemusician does things with tortillas:


There’s much more where that came from.

Take that Larry Summers.