Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TI-89 interpretation

The TI-89 interprets "xy" as a single variable, not the product of x and y. In the end, this was a good thing to discover: I had feared for a couple of hours that I had either broken mathematics or, more likely, my own modest cerebrum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Portland fog

Together with a welcome temperature drop for most of the day. Regrettably, the sun did return in the afternoon. I love this city, especially in the winter.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Eco and the animist

Anthropologists know that objectivity can be badly shaken by many factors. Last year I was in the land of the Dogon and asked a little boy if he was Muslim. He answered me in French, saying, "No, I'm an animist." Now, believe me, an animist doesn't describe himself as such unless he has a diploma from the École des Hautes Études in Paris. That boy was talking about his culture as it had been defined by anthropologists.
Umberto Eco, Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism (Orlando: Harcourt, 2007), p. 238-239.