Thursday, January 30, 2014

To Infinity...

...and beyond!

Do you spend much time thinking about infinity?

Probably not since you are wasting perfectly good infinity-thinking time reading this tripe. And ponder this: you don't have an infinite amount of time to ponder infinity. Due to your lack of infinity-thinking you probably just think of infinity as a lazy eight all laid over on it's side. Might make you think $$ \infty < 8 $$ or at least that infinity is somehow inferior. Perhaps inebriated.

If you think much about infinity then like most folks you may think of infinity as the largest number there is which is not a bad definition at times. Suppose you think of a large number, larger than you ever thunk before and you can give it a name. That number still isn't infinity because infinity is the largest there is and is therefore larger than yours. In fact, it is larger than yours plus one. Or wrap your noggin' around this: infinity is larger than your largest-ever number PLUS INFINITY! In fact infinity is bigger than infinity plus infinity. All because infinity is the largest number there is and like the national debt it just keeps getting bigger and just when you think it is getting big as fast as it possibly can it starts getting bigger even faster.

Now we just bounced around some quizzical ponderings about adding a couple of numbers and comparing to infinity to get you out of that self-absorbed all-about-Dunwoody mind-trap you've been stuck in and get a few of those remaining synapses fired up. Now it's time to get a bit more formal.

Now let's be clear before this goes any further. We're not talking arithmetic here--this will tread dangerously close to math. You know. That shit you forgot. And this is not modern math--the kind that seems to always involve toothpicks or pizza--this is that classic stuff with the Greek letters and what not.

And this is not the kind of question that you're kid is gonna see on the CRCT. No siree. Nothing at like:
If Johnny has 5 reefers and gives 3 to Suzie for a peek down her sweater, what can we say about Johnny?
  1. Johnny's gonna score with Suzie.
  2. Johnny is hanging with the wrong crowd.
  3. Johnny has 2 spliffs left.
  4. Johnny IS the wrong crowd. 
  5. All of the above.
Nope. This problem has fewer and much simpler answers. In fact, it only has one answer. And the question is "What is the sum of all integers greater than or equal to one?" Or, to get your geek on:
$$\sum\limits_{i=1}^\infty i = ? $$
While all the round-eyes are headed down to Kroger to buy more toothpicks before going all Rain Man on us let's get all the Asian kids to put down their violins and talk this thing thru.

First off we know the answer just has to be big. After all we start at 1 and add every other number on top of it so how can it not? We've already learned it can't be bigger than infinity--or can it?

This really makes your head hurt.

We're adding up an infinite number of numbers all of which are greater than one and the answer cannot be greater than infinity because infinity is the biggest number there is or ever will be but that is also the number of numbers we're adding up. Can it also be that the infinite sum of numbers greater than one cannot grow faster than infinity itself? Is this the mathematical equivalent of the physics conundrum of two objects approaching one another, each traveling at three quarters the speed of light and yet each sees the oncoming speed as less than the speed of light except that in this case we're talking about infinity and infinity is actually accelerating? Can we at least agree that infinity has no mass?

So if the sum of an infinite number of numbers greater than one cannot be infinity then surely it must be something else. If it is indeed less than infinity what other number could it be less than? If it is less than one other number can it be less than others as well? Could an infinite sum of numbers itself be less than an infinite number of numbers? But since we're adding integers then surely the sum of integers must also be an integer otherwise our entire understanding of the universe would collapse--dogs would meow, cats would bathe, pigs would fly and Democrats would pay taxes. The world as we know it would be over.

And so it is.

The answer to this infinite sum of integers is indeed less than a well known though relatively recently discovered number--zero. And just for fun it is a fraction as well.

Spoiler alert!

The answer is:
$$\sum\limits_{i=1}^\infty i = -1/12 $$
Don't believe it? Why, because half the shit you read here is made up? Fine. Check this out:

Of those who actually watched this video some probably have the same feeling you get when you see David Copperfield make the Eiffel Tower disappear--it looks believable but deep down you just know it isn't true. The rest are mumbling to themselves that one sixth really is bigger than one fourth and they knew it all along.

And the math world is all a-flutter as well but not for the reason you might think. Turns out the answer is correct but there are those who disagree with the method.

But given this answer perhaps the best way to look at this is if you had a dozen eggs and Johnny steals one this number represents the egg Johnny took.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Weather Is Here...

Chords that resonate with our never ending CAD-to-CAD dramedy, other serial silliness at City Hall and now all that snow that just ain't blow...

She said I can’t go back to America soon
It’s so goddamn cold it’s gonna snow until June
Yeah, they’re freezin’ in Atlanta stuck in their cars
And I’m lyin’ here ‘neath the sun and the stars
Customs man tell her that she’s gotta leave
She’s got a plan hidden up her shrewd sleeve
Wants to find her a captain, a man of strong mind
And any direction he blows will be fine

Please don’t say Mañana if you don’t mean it
I have heard those words for so very long
Don’t try to describe the ocean if you’ve never seen it
Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up being wrong

Tried and I tried but I don’t understand
Never seems to work out the way I had it planned
Hanging out at a marina when Steve Martin called
Singin’ anybody there really want to get small

But women and water are in short supply
There’s not enough dope for us all to get high
I hear it gets better, that’s what they say
As soon as we sail on to Cane Garden Bay

Please don’t say Mañana if you don’t mean it
I have heard your lines foe so very long
Don’t try to describe the scenery if you’ve never seen it
Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up in my song

Let’s Reggae Reefers!

Called all my friends on those cheap nightly rates
Sure was good to talk to the old United States
While the lights of St. Thomas about twenty miles west
I see General Electric’s still doing their best

I’ve got to head this boat south pretty soon
New album’s old and I’m fresh out of tunes
But I know that I’ll get ‘em, I know that they’ll come
Through the people and places and Caldwoods Rum

So please don’t say Mañana if you don’t mean it
I have done your lines for so very long
Don’t try to drive IT projects if you’ve never done it
Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up being gone
And I hope Warren Hutmacher never writes one of my blogs

Oh, and Billy Clyde really wasn't insane.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Legislation By Enforcement

We've all been watching, many in horror, as our President has trampled the Constitution with his post-facto executive changes to his signature "legislation". He is doing this primarily by way of selective enforcement most recently protecting existing "Cadillac Coverage" for corporate executives. Apparently it is just too hard to craft the rules that address gold plated coverage for those with golden parachutes.

This is not just an affront to the Constitution. It makes a cruel joke of the entire legislative process. What good is any law if the executive branch exercises what is effectively a line item veto subject to individual whim and fickleness? What good are any laws if they are subject to re-writes by a single individual or administration?

There is good reason for significant concern when we're talking Federal Law and the President but it is no less important when it strikes closer to home. We have ordinances that commonly go unenforced. We've all seen the rental sign for the basement apartment up the street though it is zoned single family residential. We have public statements regarding our otherwise entertaining urban chicken ban indicating it will be enforced only upon complaint. We have an overlay district in the village that bans neon signs yet this collage is but a few of the gaudy display available on any given day.

A law that goes unenforced is not a law and breeds contempt for other laws and those who enact them and unlike the situation with the feds here at home the executive (in)actions rewriting our ordinances do not come from an elected official. Consequently voters have even less say regarding this questionable practice.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Core Dumped

The AJC recently reported on the vetting of State School Superintendent wannabes by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. It should come as no surprise that the Chamber is a proponent of Common Core (or any reasonable, objective standards for that matter) as they pay the bulk of school taxes only to pay an even higher price as what few graduates Georgia Public schools produces are woefully incompetent.

All but two candidates Charlie McCarthy-ed the party line parroting the evils of Common Core. One brave soul, never to be heard from again, came out in favour of Common Core. Only one standout seems to have left the Clue Store with a purchase. He observed that it doesn't matter what he or anyone else thinks of Common Core nor does it matter what the truth of Common Core really is because Common Core is DOA. Politically it is toxic waste. He seems to be the only candidate with a reasonable grasp of the situation. Perhaps he even understands the job he's after is more about diplomacy than authority.

Many of the candidates vying for the State position were quick to join in on throwing Common Core overboard but in so doing they have sailed directly into the political horse latitudes. If not for being against Common Core then what other winds fill their sails?

Some tout "local control" but how do you position yourself for a STATEWIDE office on that? Do you propose to shut down the State level office which is already pretty impotent or are we soon to engage in semantic gymnastics and re-definitions of "local"? How do you reconcile ardent support of new schools for new cities while seeking what you otherwise suggest is a powerful statewide position? Some talk vaguely about putting more money into the classroom and are either ignorant about the position or believe the voters are. If they are public school insiders then they may have good reason to believe the latter but are probably blessed with too much self-esteem to entertain the former. If they are outsiders then perhaps they are just politically savvy which may be all it takes to win.

It looks as if this race may offer some entertainment value but little else.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Socialism To Fail In US

Folks in favour of moving the United States more towards a Socialistic Society implemented and controlled by the federal government often point to some successful socialistic countries claiming "if they can do it so can we." What they neglect to point out is why these other countries succeed whilst we will most certainly fail.

These proponents of socialism in the US envision a simplistic yet dogmatic plan based on central government authority with its legislation and bureaucratic structures. They seem to believe that socialism by law along with adequate penalties and rigorous enforcement is all that is required for success. If that doesn't work they'll simply buy support.

What they don't understand is that where socialism works it is less a product of executive fiat and more a product of the national culture. In short socialism works in cultures where people work because the society itself enforces an equitable, bilateral social contract between the individuals in the society and the greater society of which they are an active, participating part. These cultures do provide an extensive support structure for individuals but in return require that all individuals maintain and enhance their status as contributors. No one is just a taker any more than anyone is just a maker. In a successful socialistic society you would never see anything faintly resembling the poster above and no one would ever brag about their utter dependency or seek to expand it.

A significant portion of American society is epitomized by this poster and it is a fair representation of the core mission of a major political party. This politicization is surely depressing to those who sincerely admire successful socialism as it all but guarantees failure. They understand that until posters like this and the thinking behind them is as socially UNacceptable as farting in church socialism in America will remain no more than a passing fad.

Ironically those who most ardently oppose socialism find it hardest to do the one thing to ensure that failure--give socialism's proponents everything. Except an excuse.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What's For Breakfast?

Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.
We've probably all heard the story about the chicken and the pig at breakfast--the chicken is involved but the pig is committed. For those engaged in high tech it is all too easy to see the current City Hall cock-up as yet another IT project fail and leave it at that. King Warren would certainly approve.

But that kerfuffle is just one example of the systemic problems permeating all aspects of the Hutmacher Café. It boils down (a reduction in toqued-up terms) to the fact that the City Manager and all His Staff may be involved (they certainly are when it is time for praise and a raise) but not a single one is committed. So from Executive Chef down to Bus Boy the team at the Hutmacher Café suffer inflated egos and bloated self-esteems. They gleefully serve up what they call Eggs Benedict complete with overcooked eggs and a congealed sauce atop a burned muffin but missing even a hint of anything resembling pork. Then they arrogantly proclaim it worthy of a breakfast at Brennan's. It certainly carries a Brennan's price.

And the Mayor and Council? What say they? Well, they fawn over this unsavory mess and the service that delivered it by heaping unwarranted praise on the Chef and Wait-Staff. It may well be the best rendition of Eggs Benedict they have every tasted but this says as much about them as it does the over-hyped tripe coming from the hell's kitchen of the Hutmacher Café.

Mayor and Council may be easily fooled but the public is increasingly aware that the Hutmacher Café serves up little more than a cold, slimy version of Eggs Benedict-Arnold.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Most Expensive Rental Property In America

You fly Delta don't you? Sure you do. So you must be aware of "Economy Comfort". If not this is where Delta charges you a premium for what might be as much as four (4) inches of additional leg room in coach. Allegedly this runs as little as $9.00 per leg. Now if you assume a three hour flight and the maximum seat width that Delta offers of 18.5 inches you are renting a little over one half of one square foot at a rate of $5.84 per square foot per hour.

Now compare this to a nicely sized 800 square foot apartment in a nice section of town that rents for a thousand dollars ($1000.00) per month. Not a super-high-rent district but not bad. In this case you are paying approximately 0.17 cents per square foot per hour. Double the rate and you are still below one half of a cent per square foot per hour.


No wonder Delta is scared witless about the prospect of even a piddling Paulding airport. With even the slightest competition they might be forced to offer value and service.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Founding Fathers

When you see "76" do you naturally think of the beginnings of the United States of America and our Founding Fathers? Does your mind drift to that greatest commemoration of the blessings of liberty--the Gettysburg Address? With that reverent, grateful acclamation of sacrifices made to ensure our precious freedoms:
"[...]that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
America's Founding Fathers held in highest regard the importance of self-governance, personal responsibility and individual freedoms.

Dunwoody's Founding Fathers...not so much. While the United States was originally a reaction to a distant disinterested dictatorial government Dunwoody was formed in the likeness of the very government our Patriots rebelled against. In Dunwoody we are certainly not dedicated to a government of, by and for the people. We are not to be listened to or even governed. We are to be managed.

The sooner the complainers amongst us realize this the sooner we can build Dunwoody into the kind of place our masters have planned for us.