Last week I found myself hoping, for the first time in my life, that the snow would go away. For Sunday was the Cambridge half marathon and since coming back from a period of illness over Christmas I’ve been training hard to maybe this time, finally, go below 90 minutes. I was quite confident I’d be able to do it: two weekends ago I went out and ran 15km at an average of 4:07/km, which left room to go slower and still come in below an hour and a half if I could keep it up. In fact, it raised the tantalising possibility of beating my friend and rival Dave’s all-time best of 88 minutes.

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99% useless

Many mathematicians, when asked to justify their research on abstract structures, will give some form of the argument from future utility. “Sure, semiperfect Andret complexes have no application right now” they might say,1 “but history is littered with instances of pure mathematics developed for its own sake turning out unexpectedly to be the perfect tool to solve some real-world problem”.

  1. (“beyond their obvious importance for the characteristic zero case of the endomorphism 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.

Continue reading Speaking of poetry


© Tom Harris 2015–2018.

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