21.58, Tuesday 22 Jan 2008

Chinese mathematics, an overview: a person gains knowledge by analogy, that is, after understanding a particular line of argument they can infer various kinds of similar reasoning ... Whoever can draw inferences about other cases from one instance can generalise ... really knows how to calculate... . To be able to deduce and then generalise.. is the mark of an intelligent person.

If English was written like Chinese: The yingzi that use a particular radical will form a class of their own--a sort of meaning class. We can consider the entire English language to be divided into 214 meaning categories. For instance, every yingzi that uses the bug radical will have something to do (at least etymologically) with insects or reptiles. However, since the number of radicals is so limited, and because the choice of radical is sometimes quirky, the resulting sets will be rather vague and eccentric.

Humans have 347 different smell receptors. 347 orthogonal odours.

Adam Greenfield's Minimal Compact applies the model of different-yet-compatible Linux distributions to the simplest surface needed for states to live side-by-side. cf. coexistentialism.

The Molecule of the Month presents short accounts on selected molecules from the Protein Data Bank. Each installment includes an introduction to the structure and function of the molecule, a discussion of the relevance of the molecule to human health and welfare, and suggestions for how visitors might view these structures and access further details. Plus each is super pretty.