- Listening to:
- Oscar Peterson: the song is you.
- Just read:
- David Berlinski,
A tour of the calculus.
- An exposition of the fundamental ideas in calculus,
written in a style presumably intended to be accessible,
and not dry in the way that many maths texts are.
Professional mathematicians prize a compact terseness that
forces the reader to pay a great deal of attention.
Berlinski has written something that is exactly the
opposite; he writes great wads of kerfuffle in a very
"posey" way. I found it terribly off-putting. Berlinski
clearly has a few chips on his shoulders about the
humanities as well, because he includes at least a couple
of mean-spirited digs at humanities academics that seem
completely out of place.
If it wasn't for the fact that the coverage of the
material is actually pretty reasonable, I would have found
this book very difficult to finish. As it is, his
coverage of the material is good, and I particularly liked
his discussion of continuity.
Berlinski concludes briefly to the effect that all of the
world's "hot science' is happening in biology
(contentious, for a start), and because biologists don't
need maths (definitely contentious, for a second),
calculus's heyday is over. Of course, he is muddling
calculus and maths grossly, but I don't believe it
whichever he meant.
- Granta 65: London.
- This issue of Granta is quite a fat one, and just about
all of its pieces have some connection with London.
Further, they're almost all pretty good. I particularly
liked the extracts from John Lanchester's
Mr. Phillips, Ian Buruma's Voltaire's
coconuts, and a piece by a Ugandan about his
experience claiming political asylum at Gatwick airport.
- Now reading:
- Colonel Frederick Bailey, Mission to Tashkent.
Another memoir by someone in the secret agent business. This
one is set in the period 1918 to about 1920 though.
I haven't come in today (Easter Monday holiday) solely to update this
web-log I assure you. I have work to do too! (I bought Age of
, by the way. It's pretty good, with high addiction
potential, but calling the genre "real-time strategy
" is a
bit of a misnomer in my opinion. Europa Universalis
about strategy, AoE2
is about something else entirely.)