Sunday, October 30, 2011

Conversation and the Information Exchange

conversation and the information exchange:

social animals that we all are, we long to talk, to learn about others, and to give voice to thoughts about our lives.

what is happening? what is going to happen? what has happened? dealing with the matter before us is often our most essential part of everyday conversation, a discussion unavoidable while we are together, for there is a need to arrive at a mutual understanding of events.

to find agreement, to share details of our lives, our personality, to help each other, to give insights into matters in which we are expert, to feel what others feel, all are the life blood of talk. it is a natural curiosity about the other person which must be satisfied. be it we are impressionable creatures, for we feel the glamour of others and their most noticeable differences, in voice and actions.

we build on what we have in common, a kind word is remembered, disagreements may pass, and a real connection is made.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Doomsday Rule and the Odd+11 Method

the doomsday rule and the odd+11 method:

the doomsday rule is an algorithm or method of calculation to find the day of the week of any given date.

it is noted that 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, 12/12 and 5/9, 9/5 and 7/11, 11/7 all fall on the same day of the week in any year. this is the "doomsday". from knowing which day of the week this is you are able to calculate the day of the week on any given date in the year relatively easily.

what about another year? it is known that with each additional non leap year, the doomsday advances by one day of the week, or two days for a leap year. if the doomsday for the start of the century is known you can calculate the drift by the odd+11 method.

1. look only at the last 2 digits of the year
2. if it is odd, add 11
3. divide by 2
4. if this result is odd, add 11
5. divide this result by 7 and subtract the remainder from 7

the result is the number of days of the week drift from the doomsday for the start of the century.

let us examine some of the number patterns involved in this algorithm. there are four possible types of numbers.

1. those that are divisible by 4 exactly
2. those even but not divisible by 4 exactly
3. those odd but when 11 is added, the result is divisible by 4 exactly
4. those odd but when 11 is added, the result is even but not divisible by 4 exactly

note that for all odd years, the doomsday is the same as 11 years later, after 3 leap years have passed. this is why 11 is added to all odd years.

note that for case 2, even years not divisible by 4 exactly, the doomsday is the same as 22 years later, after 6 leap years have passed, and which is a number divisible by 4 exactly. let us examine the calculation using the example of 14.

14/2 = 7
7 + 11 = 18

which is the same as starting with 36 as the year as

36/2 = 18

and yes

14 + 22 = 36

let us examine case 4, when 11 is added to an odd number and the result is even but not divisible by 4 exactly. we know that the doomsday is the same as 11 years later and also that for an even year not divisible by 4 exactly, the doomsday is the same as 22 years later. therefore, in this case, the doomsday is the same as 33 years later as

11 + 22 = 33

and which gives us a number again divisible by 4 exactly.

let us use the example of 15.

15 + 11 = 26 and 26 + 22 = 48

therefore 15 is the same as 26 which is the same as 48.

we can conclude that all years not divisible by 4 exactly however have an equivalent year that is divisible by 4 exactly. let us examine the years divisible by 4 exactly.


4, 2, 2, 5
8, 4, 4, 3
12, 6, 6, 1
16, 8, 1, 6
20, 10, 3, 4
24, 12, 5, 2
28, 14, 0, 0


note the drift series

5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2, 0

is recurring as 28 years, with 7 leap years, is a cycle in the calendar.

we see the algorithm holds.

note it can be stated

7 - (x/2)mod7 = (x + x/4)mod7
for x = 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28....


[1] Wikipedia contributors, "Doomsday Rule", Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[2] Chamberlain Fong, Michael K. Walters, "Methods for Accelerating Conway's Doomsday Algorithm"
[3] Chamberlain Fong, "What Day Is Doomsday? How to Mentally Calculate the Day of the Week for Any Date", Scientific American, October 18, 2011


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tracks of Time in Space

tracks of time in space:

it is assumed that everything that exists in space is made up of tiny bits of matter, which can be subdivided further to even lesser bits of matter, up to a limit at which they are indivisible further and thus individually uniform across their occupied space. posit that a least bit of matter does not move relative to surrounding least bits of matter, that all matter is fixed in its location in space, that quasi motion we see is merely a visual effect, a working of the pixels of our eyesight, a transfer of a signal. bits of matter do not break off or crash into each other, they are forever in static alignment. with time involved, least bits of matter change individually. their motion can be regarded as change over time.

all of these changes may be regarded as different incremental positions in a theoretical model of the tracks least bits of matter make over time. the concept of a start of time may actually only be relevant in referring to one common position. what of an end of time? well, there may be many ends of time in this model for a least bit of matter, as it reaches an end position, then reverts to an older position, only to reach a different end position later. you could say that time can flow in reverse in this model. to visualize these tracks time makes would conjure up a kind of maze, with many dead ends as ends of time and a central equilibrium quarter in the middle. the maze develops as time progresses.

time in this model is not a linear journey of change to infinity. what if you started seeing red and then red changed to another colour and then another, continuing to change to a new colour all the way to infinity, never to return to red? this is clearly not true!

however, what is theoretical is hard to prove! it can only be hoped that we have all thought of the truth somewhere down the line.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Before the Storm

before the storm:

....and so the last day of term came. he went to her room and exchanged addresses with the girl he had just come to know. it was a relief he had passed all his exams this year, there would be no awkward explaining to his father he had failed like the previous year. she was going abroad for her third year to study the language there. he thought he would never see her again, as he was only on a three year course.

he spent the summer with his sister in Montreal. she was four years older and working already. it was a happy summer. he had never visited Montreal before, or Canada even, and he liked it very much. by the time he returned, he had started to dread the beginning of the academic year, and the idyllic time before the emotional storm, which was about to come, was over.


Friday, October 7, 2011

The Balance of Odds

the balance of odds:

it was the time of the Asian Financial Crisis. by 1998 HSBC stock had plummeted. though he had quit gambling on the stock market for four years, he sensed an opportunity, that HSBC stock had reached a low.

now buy low and sell high is the only directive in share investment. selling high or exiting a profitable trade is probably an easier decision to make than the two harder questions of what to buy and when to buy.

interest in the stocks of young companies in new or existing industries always exists, but the probability of failure and inherent risk are always high. as long as there is an economy, there will always be banks. he was betting that HSBC would not go bust and that it would recover eventually.

probability is rather nebulous when applied to share price movements, but as HSBC fell the odds of it falling lower were reduced in his opinion.

by 2000, the price of HSBC had more than doubled, almost trebled.


When the Trend Stops Being Your Friend

when the trend stops being your friend:

the experience was one of the worst he ever had. it was 1991. the Gulf War was yet to break out. the stock market had been trending lower for months before the actual news came out that the war had begun. naively, he thought this would mean the market would only fall further. he had bought FTSE 100 put options a few days before, betting that the index would fall. this wouldn't have been so bad, but his broker allowed him to buy traded options without cash upfront. he reasoned he would close the position in a few days, and collect the difference on settlement without ever having to pay for the options. the size of the trade was more than he had in his bank account.

and then the war broke out and the horror began. the market went up. for an entire day or so, the potential loss on the trade was more money than he had in his bank account. his mind was in total turmoil. he had been given a comfortable sum of money by his father and he had used it all to gamble on the traded options market. how could this have happened?!

in conclusion, it was luck that saved him. the rebound turned later that day and he eventually closed at a smaller loss than he had feared, a loss he could cover. unfortunately, he had learned his lesson the hard way, not to believe the general opinion, not to overextend himself.


Person and Aims

person and aims:

in a flight of fancy, i once imagined all the people in existence, as statues lined up in a row, each with their name inscribed below and a descriptive sentence below that.

perhaps there are only a few hundred or even a thousand basic types of person, it is hard to imagine you could differentiate personality to the tune of a billion. by differences in emotions from others, especially want and ambition, define a person.

to equate the other with the different is all too easy, but we have many things in common. social success, to have a friend, to agree with and to share, are needs inherent in our nature. we cannot always be together. there are lonely moments in everyone's life, which is why to share, and to talk, are so important. what often divides us are our reactions, for not everyone feels the same level of fear or enthusiasm.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Heightened Past

the heightened past:

it was the second year at university. he had moved to a new dorm. by summer he had started running into this girl who lived on the same floor pretty often. she would pass by and smile. at the time he was on the pizza diet, partly because pizza is delicious, partly because it was cheap but mainly, to avoid the dining hall. the first time she spoke to him it was time for dinner. he had just got back from the pizza place, only ten minutes walk from the dorm, carrying a box of pizza. she was coming down the stairs as he was going up. presumably she was going to the dining hall to eat with her friends. she smiled at him and said, "pizza again!"

but soon most of the summer term had passed and the exams were over with. there was no more studying to be done and the time was free.

one day, a few days before the end of term, he had gone to the kitchen to get something from the refrigerator and there she was. she was chatty and showed an interest in his life and they talked about waiting for exam results. she had a boyfriend, a big family, and an interest in linguistics.

she was someone he remembered quite clearly. at a time when he felt a huge isolation from others, she seemed friendly. she seemed a happy person. upon later reflection, perhaps many felt the same despair he did. there were so many differences on display, people too busy with their own lives, failing to find common ground.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Luck without Foresight

luck without foresight:

the fortune of good birth accounts for a lot, both to begin with and perhaps for time eternal, qualities inherent in our being which cannot be denied.

the way in which luck plays a role in our lives, when unforeseen happy events occur, when the various variables of life become so aligned favourably, is a source of wonder. the question is, do we have any material part to play in bringing luck about? we would like to think, that through intelligence and wise decision making, and perhaps hard work too, we can all achieve success, that we do not have to rely on luck.

but could we ever reach such a state of perfect awareness and power over our situation? are there not too many variables out of control, that we could never manage completely, that there will always be a concept such as luck?


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Limit of Time

a limit of time:

it is both a startling thought and yet a challenge to think that everything is possible in life, this is a broad stroke at the subject of possibility that requires much narrower definitions of terms. but of course, this is thought of and said in a positive manner! we like to think at the larger visible level, to imagine things happening, to see events both filled with people and action, and that, in another time, this or that could take place. there is no limit to imagination. whether or not time allows for all manner of things to really happen is another question.

for example, as a lighter, it has only the dual states of being unlit and lit. now usually a lighter is required, as part of the whole process of smoking, to light a cigarette. it is a small but essential part of the process. we, and all situations, are formed of millions and billions of lesser parts, not easily examined perhaps, as we are bound to think of the big picture at all times. what is possible at the basest level? do many things only have dual states, or a few more, or many?

imagine yourself in a room in an unknown house. never mind how you got there! you discover there are four other rooms in the house leading off from this one central room. you cannot ever leave this house, but certainly you can imagine other houses.

of course there are limits to time and what can actually happen, both at the littlest material level and in terms of life in general.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Questions of Time

questions of time:

it cannot be argued against that when we reference time, we use as a basis the natural cycle of the day and the year. they are the most easily observable cycles. but is this natural cycle only a small part of space and reality as a whole such that it is actually a poor measure of time? are there other things happening that make such observation irrelevant?

time involves change. now these changes spread across space. that is the fundamental effect required for communication between people.

posit that, for the sake of peace of mind, the natural cycle of the day is fixed. it will not alter, it is based on some perfectly uniform infinite cycle underlying nature. but we use this to reference every other event. what if there were distant points in space completely isolated from each other? indeed how connected up is reality? in essence, we are assuming that the cycle of the day is a large background for everything else to happen in. what if it isn't?

imagine if the day didn't exist. how would we measure time? it would be a matter of sending off a signal out into space and waiting for a response. that progress would be the measure of time.

stuck in a certain decade....
what if this were more real than popularly imagined? what if, for a time, a temporary cycle asserted itself somewhere in space. a time warp, so to speak.

assuming that we are all interconnected, literal time travel cannot happen. but theoretically, if the memory of the past were intact and could be activated, a facsimile could be recreated.

the case is that the more connected we are and the more we observe the same things, the more real time, in the commonly imagined sense of the word, is.