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Ever since I started writing about numbers, I've been thinking I might want to say something about squares and related subjects; then the other day I realized I'd found enough related subjects to make a whole category, and that inspired me to write it all down. It's all filed under Notes About Squares.
I also added a note to Other Bases, and wrote a little essay, The Spider Web.
The last time I wrote a whole batch about numbers, back in November, I had one correspondent ask why I was writing about numbers so much. I figure maybe other people have wondered the same thing; but even if they haven't, the question is interesting to me. So, here's the current answer.
- I spent a lot of time in junior high, high school, and college playing around with numbers, but then somehow I forgot about them. So, it's been a lot of fun remembering all the lovely things I once knew.
- But then why did I start remembering? I started writing about numbers last March, and gave the reason in April … I wanted to present my method for computing powers. And why was I thinking about that? Best guess, it was because I'd explained it to a mathematician friend of mine in New York in October 2003. It can be hard to sort these things out sometimes, even with a journal.
- The proximate cause of this batch was that I've been going through some old papers from college. A printout I found in those papers led to the series of thoughts that became Sums of Squares, and those thoughts were what brought the subject of squares to critical mass.
- Another reason I like numbers is that I find them comforting. I first noticed the effect with stars … they're eternal, and distant, and perfect, and always there doing the same old thing no matter what stupidities are happening in the world. Numbers are even more eternal and perfect, but then you can't go out and look at the numbers.
It's all academic now, because I've said just about everything I have to say about numbers. There are five more subjects that I want to address, but they don't fit into any particular pattern, so most likely I'll take care of them in ones and twos.
@ July (2005)