-ary predicates (Qomposition predicates, as John Goodrick wittily calls them) on “affine copies of groups” will haunt me for a long time, it seems…
They claim they will “now start” a new study for a subway for Bogotá. I don’t know a single person (in real life) who actually believes we will see a subway in Bogotá in our lifetimes (by subway I mean a real sub-way, under-ground – not the horrors they do in some cities where they build an elevated train and destroy the downtown areas). By the time they will end doing those studies, transportation in the world will have moved to something else altogether.
Watching Venezuela crumble almost by-the-hour is a painful activity. What seemed to remain of a dream of decency is now being demolished. Of course, Colombia crumbled also, a long time ago. These countries (where seemingly populations are “among the happiest in the world” if one believes what they claim) seem to hover perpetually between low expectation, high frantic activity that seems to lead nowhere. Brownian motion is a fair description of this part of the world. Occasionally, the odd attractor appears, and brings ever more hovering, ever more false hope, ever more disturbance, like someone who would try to move dust by banging on a table, creating a cloud, until it settles again. Hello, Latin America.
Yet we have these wonderful seminars and these enthusiastic students (and people working in cultural activities) all around. If there is any meaning here, it is there (and in the mountains, and in local initiatives of real people, such as amazing Don Benedicto – some other day, his story).
As they get older they learn less. Like students who become too old while still being students. They get too quirky. We all get too quirky.
The best book by far I have read recently is Lem’s Golem XIV. My earlier posts barely scratch the subject. His vision of Evolution (as making things worse and worse, as descending from creating algae that can do quantum photosynthesis to creating us human beings (who are just mechanical pumps and peristaltic motion machines and really really boring mechanical devices as opposed to wonderful algae), is for me, completely original). I am still recovering from reading the previous ten pages. No book recently has given me so much thought fodder. Not even reading Serre’s paper on Complex Multiplication in the famous Algebraic Number Theory volume (four pages of math that have kept my mind turning for a month now).
I can really NOT understand how people can claim that Lem was “an amalgam of some Soviet official thinkers”. If there is someone really non-Soviet (by this I do not mean anti-Soviet, I mean non-Soviet, a much more radical concept, as Taleb teaches us, when warning us about Harvard-Soviet danger), it is good old Stanisław Lem. Soviet (and official communism) is a bit like Christian thinking: scatological and Paradise-driven and… smelling of nuns in a convent. Lem is, if anything, an anarchist, a pure anarchist. Nothing less Soviet than a true anarchist. Anarchism is the state of mind of those who try to run free from slavery, like the Israelites leaving Egypt. Lem is exactly that: a pure anarchist (like Moses when he tried hard), trying to lead us (Israelite slaves) of our oppressive Egypt, unsuccessfully. We the slaves are as silly as the followers of Moses, who start adoring fake idols as soon as he (Lem, or Moses, or the few like them) turn their back on us.