99% useless

When asked to justify their research on abstract structures, many mathematicians will reply with some form of the argument from future utility. “Sure, semiperfect Andret complexes have no application right now” they might say,1 “but the history of science is littered with instances of pure mathematics developed with no real-world application in mind turning out to be the perfect description of some physical phenomenon”.

  1. (“beyond their obvious importance for the characteristic zero case of the automorphism tower collapse conjecture”) ↩︎

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Mike Cernovich and Achilles

I’ve noticed two or three times now, in my reading around the alt-right, some variation on:

He [Cernovich] is a genius at social media

perhaps offered up by the writer as a gesture towards even-handedness, surely a difficult impression to give when your subjects are so relentlessly awful.

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Speaking of poetry

I was good at poetry in school. Which means I was good at listening to what the teacher told us the themes of the poem were and searching the text for similes and metaphors that evidenced those themes. It wasn’t that my classmates and I didn’t enjoy reading poems: it’s that the idea of a poem as something one could enjoy didn’t occur to us. We weren’t aware it was a possibility the way it was for stories.

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Books 2017

I’m a bit late with the books round-up this year. I read 40 books in 2017—notes on some of my favourites below. Full list here if you’re interested; feel free to ask me about any of them.

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© Tom Harris 2015–2018.

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