Saturday, October 31, 2009


JSH: Mainly talking it out

This situation is just so weird that I think a lot of my posting is really just talking it out. Wondering about it, and trying to get some kind of a handle on it as to process it. It's one thing for some person to claim that there is a problem in academia and babble on about his supposed discoveries, it's another to be that person trying to figure out what to do.

These math guys just did not do what I expected. And it's so weird to think that your life is changed in this big way just because of a few people. I hate that. I shouldn't even need these people. But the world listens to them about math, so I do, and they didn't do their jobs, so here we are. Here I am.

And you know, and I have ambivalent feelings about the discovery. I've wanted my own discoveries and think that's a good thing, but it's like this thing. And it's just one discovery where I have others. And they're like these mystery things, like, where did they come from?

But I think about people mostly. I wonder what it's like to be some professor, probably in some musty office piled high with books and papers. Some person who sees this result and his mind just says, no. No, he won't be a part of it. He'll just go back to that research from his buddy in that area where only 3 people in the world really know what it's about, and he's one…

When I went back to Vanderbilt University when I thought there was an opening before I really thought there was when I got published before the editors retracted and the journal died, I was AMAZED when at 4:30 pm the entire math department went home. Like a freaking whistle had gone off at a factory. The factory workers—Ph.D'd mathematicians at a top university—could shuffle on home, finally. Punch a clock.

What kind of people are they. What passes through their brains as an important thought?

And I talk against academia a lot and maybe it is from those times in the past when I was around math professors and they seemed so miserable, and often were musty. So I have this mental image of these smelly, miserable out of shape men who spend so much time in cramped little offices waiting for 4:30 pm to rush for the door, like any other factory worker…

What do "those people" care about really? What could they possibly care for?

The world gave them a career—they could be these math professors. And some upstart figures out the good stuff, but hey…they can just say NOTHING. That'll show him! Thinks he's so smart. They can show him. Punish him by just saying nothing at all.

And it's brilliant! What can anyone say later? That they did it deliberately? How do they prove it? How?

The little upstart that they can find whining away on Usenet whenever a little boost is needed before turning back to the dusty papers to work on ideas that little freak has invalidated, but those are THEIR ideas, and only 3 people in the world even UNDERSTAND what they're all about…

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