Showing posts from July, 2016

Maths and proof: A Beautiful Mind

I watched the movie with Russell Crowe named "A Beautiful Mind" (2001). It's a sad and true tale of a brilliant mathematician who taught in the US and chronicles his struggles with mental illness. He was a master decoder of code after WW2.

IMDB records the movie synopsis of the movie I saw tonight. "At Princeton University, John Nash struggles to make a worthwhile contribution to serve as his legacy to the world of mathematics. He finally makes a revolutionary breakthrough that will eventually earn him the Nobel Prize. After graduate school he turns to teaching, becoming romantically involved with his student Alicia. Meanwhile the government asks his help with breaking Soviet codes, which soon gets him involved in a terrifying conspiracy plot. Nash grows more and more paranoid until a discovery that turns his entire world upside down. Now it is only with Alicia's help that he will be able to recover his mental strength and regain his status as the great mathe…

Israel and the Dems

On my Facebook page I'm hearing from many people about Hillary Clinton and her stances with Israel. Some think she's pro-Jewish state, and others are equally sure she's the worst thing with the worst record on the people of Israel. I suppose with her daughter Chelsea and son-in-law Mark, and her two grandchildren who are being raised as Jews, this dialectic is odd.

Her official page on the land of Israel is here on her site. There we read, "From the State Department and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Clinton has made support for Israel one of her top priorities." But I'm guessing that this one point is a stickler to those who only have one view on Israel. She has a commitment to "partner with Israel to advance the two-state vision of a Jewish and democratic Israel with secure and recognized borders."

I saw a button on the lapel of Bill Clinton this week at the Democratic National Convention. It reminded me of the Yiddish "Reagan" butt…

A man after God's own heart: really?

It was springtime in rural Kansas in about 1978. I was a high school mathematics teacher. After lunch I taught a group of about 25 all boys in geometry class. You have to know that most of those year 10 boys were more interested in discussing the girls and the cars they monitored during lunch rather than angles and logical theorems with me. A smallish lad was talking more than I preferred as I was trying to teach the students, and I asked him to stop. He didn't. After a couple warnings, I approached his desk and flipped it backwards. Yes, the old style with the desk and chair attached. He landed at a 90 degree angle, and I was shocked, at myself and at my actions. Oh my goodness. What did I just do? The young man jumped up from his collapse and ran to the principal's office. He was right. I was dead wrong.

At the time I was teaching, I lived about 30 minutes away in Lawrence, Kansas. There for the previous 6 years, I had built a new congregation of mostly young people named…


After another series of challenges, national voting and tearful journey speeches, a new VOICE has been crowned in Australia. Season 5 winner is Alfie Arcuri, a Sydney-based architect, and 27-year old fairly new singer. He won the hearts of tens of thousands of his loyal voting fans and captured the crown tonight in a beautiful Grand Finale on Channel 9. Congrats, mate.

Later tonight I'm planning to watch the men's final tennis match at Wimbledon between newcomer Canadian Milos Raonic and Scotsman Andy Murray who will face off for the championship. The crowd will favour Andy of course. The Brits are hoping there is no Brexit in this match, and with the loss of Wales from the Euro 2016 football series, they are putting their strawberries and cream down, picking up their champagne flutes and toasting their 2013 winner.

Later yet, we will have another final to watch. I'm weary just thinking of all these finals. Portugal vs France, Euro 2016 Final, Cristiano Ronaldo vs Anto…

Election 2016: Australia Decides

You have to wonder what system these election people use at home to keep track of things. The endless to-do lists written on a pad of paper must abound in their houses, if they can find them right next to the FAX machine and piles of carbon paper. I was astounded again this morning when I went to vote in my local polling station. Outside each venue were individuals representing each of the major parties and several lesser ones. They hand out pieces of paper to convince us to vote for their candidate. As if I'm going to read anything at the last minute. As if my reading that single sheet of information will sway my thinking.

Then I entered the building, after standing in the queue. A man with a yellow vest functioned as the concierge to the ballot issuing table, although he seemed more interested in chatting with everyone than getting us to the right table in a timely fashion. A woman sat with a book the size of a telephone book in front of her. That book contained the register …