Sculpture, Youtube, and Probability

Here are a few disjointed thoughts, some scientific, some non-scientific, some coherent, some incoherent, some rational, some irrational, and some transcendental (?).

I've been checking out some of George Hart's mathematical artwork. His stuff is really pretty and really intriguing.

One sculpture that blew me away was this one made out of 72 pencils. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it for myself! So I went on Amazon and ordered a pack of pencils. I can't wait. Tomorrow will be a very zen-like afternoon of sculpture assembly.

To me, there's something irresistably beautiful about making artwork out of mundane objects – rearranging things we take for granted into an unexpected aesthetic form. All through high school, I was infamous for making chair sculptures in the quad, or for placing music stands and chairs into funny shapes. A few summers ago in New York, I decided to make a box out of (used) scratch paper, and I really liked how it looked.

Here's a picture of the box:

Whoa, Bach's Art of the Fugue is so mesmerizing.

I rewatched some of Vi Hart's classic youtube videos about mathematical doodling. They make me very nostalgic! Her videos remind me of simpler times on the internet when people created things just for the hell of it, when youtube channels were silly and unpolished, when the era of online video was fresh and exciting. But nowadays, content creation has become a business, and it's hard to find people doing things for the hell of it anymore. Ironically, the youtube format has become a set paradigm, and it doesn't seem as fun that way.

Or maybe I'm just no longer in middle school.

Well, I'm not trying to say that youtube is better or worse now, I just think that the circumstances are different than they were a decade ago. Today's videos are much more polished. And there are some truly incredible videos out there! It's honestly unbelievable how much high-quality content exists out there, free for our consumption. We live in remarkable times indeed.

Here are some of my favorite channels:

SumatraPDF is a wonderful PDF reader, holy cow! Why did it take me so long to discover its existence?

It has all the features I could ever want:

  1. Super fast, lightweight, and simple

  2. Well-mapped keyboard shortcuts for everything

  3. Touch screen support

  4. Automatically reloads the PDF file when it updates (useful for LaTeX)

  5. Did I mention how fast it is??

For years, I'd been using the default PDF reader that came with my laptop (DrawBoard PDF on Microsoft Surface), but I never consciously realized how slow and buggy it was, because I got used to it! I just thought that shitty PDF viewers were a fact of life and ‘‘rolled with it.’’ (Absurd.) And then I finally overcame the activation energy barrier and downloaded a new PDF viewer last week. Now I'm a much happier human being.

I'm getting too tired to type coherently, so I'll just bullet-point the rest of my thoughts:

I thought probability was a simple concept, but after thinking more carefully, I'm so confused that I can't even English. Hopefully one day I'll find satisfactory answers.

Anyways, I'm too tired to think anymore. Till next time.

- Jeffjar, 17 March 2019.

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