I’m Not an Elementary Mathematician

by cunningstuff

Here I show my monstrous ability to embarrass myself. Mathematically.

I am not an elementary mathematician, but is it just me or does the only thing about our mathematics that seems to fit is the magnitude of ten? And even then, though it is an easy one to grasp, it does not seem to fit the natural progression of the universe. To be honest, I am not sure if anything about out math that we use day-to-day is anything but pure rubbish. Base ten math is very easy for us to grasp for one very simple reason, our hands. Nothing I can see, other than our fingers and toes, really seems to match up well. I once read we have a huge problem with infinities, because our math does not deal well with them. There is nothing simple about dealing with an infinity, and if our math does not deal well with them, then there is a lot of hogwash being created using our mathematical system. I have often wondered, and I am sure to be yelled at somewhere down the line for this, but I have often wondered why not use binary math for the basics, and discard our math entirely, until we have binary explanations for everything. Now that computers are ubiquitous across the globe and in every math department, perhaps we could set about starting from scratch, so to speak, and work our binary knowledge up to our current knowledge.

I have another problem about our math. It is ten symbols, yes, but is not one of those symbols zero? And if that is true, then why are we using base nine math? I again, think it is very simple, you have 10 fingers, and if the concept of zero is fairly new, then why is there not eleven symbols for base ten math? Count your fingers using a unique symbol for every one, say letters. No fingers is not a symbol, we are just going to ride it out as if we knew nothing of zero. So, using the alphabet, you have fingers a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,and j as the last finger. Each one of these fingers is a numeric for how many fingers you are holding up, and no matter how you cut it, there is no ten.

  1.  a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h   i   j
  2. 1  2  3  4  5  6 7  8 9 0

The zero is a stand in for another number, that is two digits, a combination of 1 and zero, but the truth of the matter is, ten is not a combination of 1 and zero, but instead, it is ten 1’s.  so if you do it on a base ten system, and acknowledge that zero is zero, why are we confusing things with another zero? 10 is not ten ones and a zero, but instead, ten apples is ten apples, and zero apples is zero. It is confusing and difficult, and we haven’t even approached the one that really gets me going about our math.

Pi or π is an irrational number. It is a number that is so common throughout the universe, and yet, in our math, it is unconfirmed as to the size and breadth of it. We use it everyday, we use it for cosmology, number theory, statistics, fractals, thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism. Humans love to break records, and the use of supercomputers has had us exceed π to over 10 trillion (1013) digits. Yet, such an irrational number can be seen, just by creating a wheel and rolling it once. It is there, it is obvious, it is not irrational at all.

This bugs me to no end, it really began with the whole movie π thing, which I loved at the time like no other. The movie is a great way to get thinking about it, because it shows such superb irrational human behavior. I think it might be the juxtaposition of the humans in the movie and the supreme hold over spherical math that makes me think perhaps our interpretation of math is wrong at a fundamental level. π is used in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, along with another interesting number that is prevalent all across the universe, Planck’s constant, h.

Let me reiterate, I am not a theoretical mathematician, I am just a high school drop out who likes to think, who likes to pose questions and see what happens with the answers. The answers have changed over time, and in my lifetime as well. I became educated about mathematics from building houses, where when nothing else seemed to work, we would use the 3, 4, 5 triangle when other measurements would not be efficient to use. Now I am talking about my step father here, a hot tempered hot rod greaser from the 50’s and 60’s, who was smart enough to run a lathe, but would never question the math behind anything we did.

I just get this sense that something is wrong, when you can take a wheel and show an irrational number. I somehow think we are missing something important, something that would explain why the universe produced 92 elements and how they eventually became life, something that would tie the electromagnetic and gravitational theories together, that would show the solution to the universal theory. It’s the same sense of excitement I get when I read about Tatiana Proskouriakoff, who broke the mayan code, or the fibonacci sequence, or the golden ratio. I do not know if I can do anything more than muse on it, to be truthful, I am more concerned with our false economy and our false pretenses of government than I am with our false math, but it does make one think at times, did we go down the wrong path the right way?

Feel free to denigrate this, or print it out and hit it with a stick, but maybe, we should start in binary and work our way around using the prodigious amount of knowledge we have gained, but using it to build a new mathematical system. I am not the first to say it, I will not be the last, but the inscrutable problems seem to be scrutable. I suggest machine language experts try it on, instead of learning the new Ivy bridge command codes.

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