“The year is dying in the night”…

…wrote Tennyson in “In MEMORIAM A.H.H”.
I discussed the situation in Gaza with my daughter during her sojourn home for the holidays. A busy and passionate public defender, she said, “My world is the Boulder Courthouse. I care about keeping the people in front of me out of jail. I have no time to worry about world affairs which I know nothing about.”

It made me think of Robinson Jeffers’ poem:

“You making haste on decay; not blameworthy, life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor. Meteors are not needed less than mountains: SHINE, PERISHING REPUBLIC.
But for my children I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory. When the cities lie at the monster’s feet, there left the
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant,
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught—they say—God, when he walked
on earth. “

I love “ shine, perishing republic” . That’s why I emphasized it. It’s also the title of the poem.

Happy New Year dear polymaths.


Happy New Year, all, as midnight sweeps over your time zones.

I’ve given away 20 copies of Fourmilab Fireworks for Second Life:

in the last 24 hours, so at least in the Metaverse they’re celebrating!

Let’s celebrate the possibilities of an unbounded future and remember it’s up to us to build the future in which we wish to live.

Only the past is written.


Great idea to begin 2024 with, happy New Year everyone.


Happy New Year from the Wall of Weird Clocks

1 Like

Naively, I had hoped that Public Defenders cared about making sure that Justice was Done – and was seen to be done: the innocent set free, and the guilty suitably punished with jail time or whatever. But our legal system left Justice in its wake long ago. For that, the blame attaches to we citizens, who stuck to our own knitting and allowed Big Law to dominate law-writing politicians (who disproportionately are themselves lawyers).

That said, there is a lot of value in the concept of each of us focusing on performing our own tasks as competently & honestly as possible. If we all did that, then surely the world would spin in well-oiled grooves? But arguably part of our task is making sure that those who would rule over us stay on the straight & narrow – and, on that task, we obviously have failed miserably.

We will pay the price for our failure, and yet life on this planet will go on. Life survived the meteor which ended the dinosaurs. Life survived the Ice Ages. Life will survive the collapse of “democracy”. So let’s all go into the New Year with a smile on our faces and a firm plan to keep smelling the roses for as long as the Good Lord allows us.


A smart daughter for you and a great poem for me to start the new year! Thanks @Hypatia!


Rudy Rucker (@Rudy) points out that 2024 is a tetrahedral number (OEIS A000292).


The last year which was a tetrahedral number was 1771, and the next will be 2300.


Rudy’s blog is great, particularly his photos and his interviews with Godel . I made a few comments there years ago. Back in the mid-'90s I enjoyed using his 4-D visualization and cellular automata software on my '386-40. Of course, he’s best known for his insane novels, which are well worth reading, though I especially enjoyed the more conventional style of his first novel, White Light.

In high school in 1989 I came up with a new(?) type of positional number system in which place values were based on triangles, tetrahedrons, etc. rather than squares, cubes, etc. To calculate the value of each position required a recursive summing function that, when I tried to write it out using conventional math notation, gave an explosion of sigmas. E.g., the “triangle” of 4 is 1+2+3+4, the “tetrahedron” of 4 is 1+(1+2)+(1+2+3)+(1+2+3+4). The 4-D tetrahedral numbers are formed from the sum of the 3-D tetrahedral numbers which are formed from the sum … Turns out, one can just read the n-D tetrahedral (a.k.a. n-simplex) numbers off Pascal’s triangle or calculate them using the binomial function, so the number of oranges in a tetrahedral stack 22 units on an edge is given by binomial[24,3] = 2024.

I never did anything with the n-D tetrahedral number system, but a Cornell math grad student pointed out to me that many numbers have multiple representations in that system, (especially when the numerical base = edge length is greater than 2?) which might be of some recreational mathematics interest.


I’m not even a uni- math (much less a poly-, like some Scanalysters). So, although my understanding of this topic is limited, I want to say “welcome aboard “.