At the base of
- the entire modern world — and I include politics, wealth, entertainment, everything — is math: pure, raw numbers.
- To call yourself powerful in this world, not some dirtbag, dirt-poor jungle bunny whose electricity browns out unreliably on the jungle edges, you must join in with your mind to the high stakes world of math. The joining and separating flows of numerals, you must become a part of it.
- Think of the big cities that are the economic generators. Visualize their high rises soaring above you. Every skyscraper was sketched out numerically by civil engineers doing the hard work of architects and developers. If poorly “mathed” the buildings would collapse. Perhaps not right away, but inevitably. When working with a simple structure like the 4-story Coliseum from Ancient Rome, you don’t need a lot of math. But tall structures blow in the wind, need to hold against earthquakes, and are infinitely more nuanced, balanced, and heavy than a little stadium from a relatively primitive time. Then think of the elevators inside. To figure out how much metal strength they need in the cable, that’s a math problem. How many people or kilograms per load over time can be sustained? Math again.
- Math has become a source of freedom if you can master it. You must invest in it, not only your heart but your energy and soul. If you approach math with fear or boredom, you’ll never get good at it, and the crowd with the skill will move quickly away from you, leaving you behind.
- When the now-all-vital automobile was first being invented in the 1890s it was a technological problem with basic ramifications. How do you get gasoline to combust? But then math intrudes, as it always does. What if you want to get fuel efficiency up? What if you want to reduce wind resistance? Again, math.
- Once a problem is solved, of course, the math “disappears.” But we live in an ever-changing, adaptable world. You always need to make corrections or new versions of things. Then the math pops right back in.
- The Toyota Prius is an interesting and cool vehicle. My father has one. He loves it. Sitting in it, you can see the flow of energy back into the car from the braking, and power generation is listed diagrammatically. It’s very cool. The computer itself, of course, is all math. I studied in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo — ostensibly for computers, but its proper home was, and always will be, math. Logic itself, even if expressed in the rigorous beauty of programming languages, can easily be viewed as a form of math. Think of an infinite loop as a way to freeze an equation in time, but while keeping its dynamic form.
- Militaries are run more and more by their logistics arms. The logistics “tail” has grown exponentially, but look at the results! Compare the performance of the U.S. Army to that of the Iraqi. It was a wholesale slaughter, led by ruggedized laptops and satellite communications, and helicopter gunships whose systems are a wonder of flying math.
- Dying in the modern age is also math. To prescribe medication takes at the very least a rudimentary grasp of math. If you’re in pain, you want just the right dosage of pain-killers. The wrong dose will kill you, although I suppose that doesn’t matter so much if you’re on the verge.
- What is math? Essentially, it is a way of realizing the complex universe in very, very simple symbols. The most famous equation — and an equation is only a linkage, a bridge, between unbridgeable symbols like an Incan chasm — is F=ma, where F is force, m is mass and a is acceleration. It’s a physics equation, but like all science, it is built solely on math. There are no alternatives to math in science. That’s why things like “social sciences” are not considered science — because the math is shaky.
- Scientific models such as for climate change combine the incredible sophistication of supercomputers with many, many intersection math equations. This is hyper-math. It takes the two-dimensional geographer’s “map” of math and elevates it to the third dimensional, and makes it sprawl wide. The problem with models is they are too complex and lose information through incomplete math for them to be totally accurate. You can see this problem all too often in economic models, which struggle vainly to describe the shifting and pushing world of business actors buying and selling and producing.
- A marketing major such as Steve Ballmer ex- of Microsoft has to learn math to understand markets. What’s the best price point to make the greatest profit? Math. The car companies allegedly killed with the Pinto based on a legal/payout analysis of sales versus lawsuits. This ramped up the payouts once known, disturbing their nefarious calculations.
- Even ordinary people, seeking to find the best soulmate, will use math. For men, dating is often a time sink and — worse — a massive emotional drain. In today’s world, with so many bitchy, useless women, you have to make subterranean calculations based on what you see in her. Is she “high management?” Your intuitive math sense will tell you — you have to engage too much with her, she drains you like an emotional vampire, et cetera.
- On the opposite side, bitches face a similar problem. You have a poor but cute guy in his early twenties. Will he ever grow into a good provider and a decent economic partner? Chicks hate to be with a man who is making less money than them. (See how Martha Stewart of household corporation fame despairs over finding the “right” billionaire to date, even though she’s an old hag and the “market” for billionaires is kinda small and — uh — by the way, billionaires like young chicks, the younger the better, preferably budding models who will hold their tits for a while.) The chick will calculate if the extrapolated future man is worth her full investment. Good for her. So much for your love.
- Children themselves make math investments based on whether they should lie. As the perennial weaker partner in any encounter, they are punished frequently and in genuinely painful ways if they are caught. Is it worth it to tell the truth, and what is the probability (statistics, math discipline) of getting a variety of levels of punishment, either for truth-telling or truth-twisting?
- As we march toward a probable mass cyborgian future, with constant cyberspace implants and built-in micro supercomputers, our math lives will become more twisted, beautiful and horrible. Count on it and expect it in your lifetimes. The liftoff has only begun from this rocket launch pad.