Dozenal Pi Day 11B7

Posted by hexnet ::

"Ten is doubtless a convenient number of fingers to have, though men have gotten along with less and a few people have been born with more. But as the purely arbitrary unit which determines the form of our numbers, it was a miserable choice." – F. Emerson Andrews

"Do not disturb my circles." – Archimedes

Dozenal Pi Day It's that time of year again—time to start thinking about DOZENAL PI DAY.

Overview

Regardless of its radical prejudices, Pi Day has become, in recent years, an annual cultural event of some magnitude, and the occasion for a certain nominal enthusiasm about "math" that people seem to find meaningful. At the very least, it seems to remind us of our own cleverness, which is something I have nothing against in principle.

Yet I am more convinced than ever that, unless we remain firmly mindful of what separates the arbitrary and symbolic in mathematics from the truly meaningful, Pi Day will ultimately remain a rather vacuous and misguided holiday. Thus, I once again propose the observation of DOZENAL PI DAY on 18; March (decimal 20th), to raise awareness of the superior dozenal radix, while also bringing attention to the underlying meaninglessness of our present decimal notation.

Thoughts on the hexagonal zodiac

Posted by hexnet ::

A hexagonal arrangement of the zodiac I feel something must be said about this astrological "sign shift" business that has set the 'tubes abuzz in recent days. There being twelve astrological signs ("Ophiuchus" notwithstanding) arranged around a central point, the issue is clearly one of both dozenal and hexagonal import. Despite the fact that I'm not all that into astrology (though I've learned enough over the years to inform my general fluency in Western occult symbolism), I feel the hexagonal principles at stake must be defended.

First of all, this is of course old news. I don't really understand why it keeps popping up in the media every few years, but this is simply the latest incarnation of a story that we've all been well aware of since classical antiquity, and that certainly should not come as news to anyone, anywhere. "Ophiuchus" has always been there, the twelve signs have never been symmetrically arranged in exact 30-degree sections, axial precession has always been going on, we always knew about it, nobody has ever cared, and nobody cares now.

Graphene FTVW

Posted by hexnet ::

Inanimate carbon rod This just in, from SWEDEN:

Hexagons have won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. More specifically, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the prize for their work with hexagons.

In summary, for those who do not follow such things (and I have noticed that "graphene" is among the top keywords bringing people to this site, so it is quite possible you do follow such things): Graphene was "discovered," or if you will isolated, by Geim and Novoselov in 2004, by peeling off layers of graphite with scotch tape. It is essentially an indefinitely large aromatic molecule, and the flat, two-dimensional form of the buckyball or the buckytube. For a variety of reasons I won't get into here, it has numerous potential applications in electronics and nanotechnology, and is quite interesting all around.

It had never actually occurred to me prior to 2004 that graphene needed to be "discovered." I had always been taught that graphite, as a major allotrope of carbon, consisted of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, and that this had been known for quite a while (since at least the advent of X-ray crystallography). Thus it really shouldn't have been too much of a conceptual leap to assume that, in fact, such sheets existed (though apparently the prevailing view was that the sheets would "roll up" when isolated). I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it took until 2004 to actually discover this. Particularly with all the research that's gone on with fullerenes since the '80s, you'd think somebody, somewhere, would've taken the time to actually isolate a sheet of graphite. Apparently it is somewhat difficult, but crap I have scotch tape and pencils lying around, by all rights that Nobel could've been mine.

Hexagons that should not be, yet which are

Posted by hexnet ::

Hexagon planet! I have recently been made aware of a contest being held on Kotaku Australia regarding "hexagons that should not be." Apparently inspired by the hex tiling in Civilization V, they are giving away a free copy of the same to whoever most impressively photoshops a hexagonal shape onto an object that is not normally hexagonal. Unfortunately, the contest ends Monday night, so there's very little time to spread word of this to the larger hexagonal community. I wish I'd heard about it sooner. Anyway, samples of submitted work can be found on the following pages, and are most interesting:

[Edit: The winners and runners up can be found here and here, respectively.]

I find it fascinating, obviously, both as a Civ fan (still trying to get 5 running under Wine!) and as a hexagonalist. Creative exercises of this sort, inducing people to think artistically about the roles and potential roles of hexagons in everyday life, are potentially very valuable tools in expanding hexagonal consciousness. It reminds me in some ways of last month's Interdependence Day Hexagon Project—in both cases, the hexagon is explicitly employed not for some incidental aesthetic reasons, but for its very hexagonality itself. This can only be, I think, a positive trend in our society, as we as a species come to terms with the implications of our glorious hexagonal future. I am hoping to see more and more of this sort of thing in the coming years, as hexagons rise to ever greater prominence in the collective human experience, perhaps leading at some point to the formation of an explicitly "hexagonalist" movement in art and design.

2010 crop circle roundup

Posted by hexnet ::

The Mowing-Devil As the harvest season draws nigh on to a close here in the northern climes, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at the year's HEXAGONAL CROP CIRCLES.

Now, I try not to get overly woo-woo here, so let me preface my remarks by assuring you, the gentle reader, that, pending the advent of more compelling evidence, I continue to maintain a strict agnosticism towards the phenomenon of crop formations. But I am comfortable making at least the following two assertions on the subject:

1) There are at least some crop formations from the past thirty years that simply were not made covertly, at night, by a small group of people with boards and crap. Not all of them, maybe not even most of them, but definitely some of them.

2) There is a spectrum of possible explanations for these formations between and beyond the false dichotomy of "pranksters running around fields at night with boards and wires" versus "zOMG ALIENS!" usually put forward by mainstream media and other consensus-reality-builders in our society.

Indeed, as an aside, I would like to point out that I find it highly unfortunate that both crop circles and the more well-documented UFO phenomenon have come to be associated, for little reason, with theories of extraterrestrial visitation. In the case of UFOs, the subjects are conflated so completely that you often hear people asking if one "believes in" UFOs, when they actually mean "Do you believe aliens are visiting Earth in nuts-and-bolts spacecraft from other star systems?" Which are obviously two completely different questions. (And how one could possibly "not believe" there are flying objects that are not, in fact, "identified," is itself utterly beyond my comprehension.) In the case of UFOs, at least there are actual apparent flying vehicles involved, so I can understand the conceptual leap. I have never understood at all how extraterrestrial speculation came into the crop circle issue, except by association with UFO culture, and a general lack of imagination as to the different ways intelligence may manifest itself in this universe. I mean, it could be extraterrestrials. It would be interesting if it were. But this is certainly not by default assumption, nor is it even remotely high on my list of plausible explanations.

Fullerene doodle

Posted by hexnet ::

I can only assume this infringes on any number of copyrights lol. Word on the street is that today's Google Doodle features an interactive truncated icosahedron in recognition of the 25th(.) anniversary of the discovery of the buckminsterfullerene (and, by extension, of fullerenes, nanotubes, &c. in general).

I normally don't actually pay attention to doodles—I find them rather played out at this point, and with the rise of integrated browser search fields, who even goes to Google's home page anymore. But it is worth noting that—according to sources who follow these things more closely than I do—this is ostensibly only Google's second "interactive" doodle, after this past spring's Pac-Man episode. THIS IS NOT AS INTERESTING AS PAC-MAN, but it's presumably indicative of the moral and intellectual gravity they assign to the discovery of fullerenes that they would consider the event worthy of such rarified and exotic treatment. The spinning of the fullerene here is not merely meant to amuse us for half a second, but rather to instill in us an understanding that the event being commemorated is, on balance, probably more important than, you know, the Australian federal election, or Chinese Valentine's Day, or what have you.

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