The Truth and Hybrid-Powered Roller-Coasters

I started writing this post yesterday, but, for some inexplicable reason, stopped in the middle, forgot about it, and wrote this instead. Sometimes, I don’t understand myself.

Today was not a good day. In fact, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I had started a new medication last night, and it was throwing me for a loop. I was rather woozy and all of joints felt tingly and weak. So I spent all day lying in bed. Thankfully, there was snow on the ground and lots of flurries to watch. I also read “Twelve Angry Men”, which is my third favorite play, after “The Crucible” and “Inherit the Wind”, of course.

So as I’m lying there feeling oh so fabulous, my mind starts to wander as it’s wont to do, and I started to think about this Vlogbrothers video that I watched on Wednesday:

Because the truth really does “resist simplicity”, and there are no easy answers. Even in maths and science. Though sometimes I really wish that there were. Because I’m no good at maths. Except not really, because if the truth were simple, life would be boring. Incredibly boring, in fact. Because we would have nothing to question, nothing to continue to test. We continue running into apparent brick walls, because we are convinced, and in many cases rightly so, that someday, we’ll be able to smash through them because we aren’t entirely sure of their durability.

But back to my ineptitude at maths (Why do Americans drop the “s”? It’s “mathematics“.). I want a simple solution; I want it to be easy. I want an entire amusement park to run on hybrid drive. But nothing works like that. Because that would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics and, well, the nature of life. Even my go-to solution of duct-tape isn’t entirely simple. Sometimes it sticks to itself and sometimes it just doesn’t work.

So as I was laying there thinking about truth and simplicity, I realized that there wasn’t a panacea for the funk that I had fallen into, because it wasn’t that simple. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of different factors and a heck of a lot of hard work to come up with a difficult solution and the truth of where the problem lies.

And that is my convoluted philosophy for the day.

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4 thoughts on “The Truth and Hybrid-Powered Roller-Coasters

  1. 1) “Why do Americans drop the “s”? It’s “mathematics“.” Because we are dropping the other last six letters. Why keep the very last?

    2) Out of curiosity, why is Inherit the Wind your favorite play?

    • 1) A quick checking of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) reveals that the word “mathematics” is a plural noun. Hence “maths” is a correct abbreviation, even if we now treat it grammatically as a singular. “Gymnastics”, “physics”, and “news” are other examples. Despite the fact that we treat them as if they were singular, we still don’t drop the “s” that signifies if they are indeed plural. Despite the fact that “math” is an abbreviation of “mathematics”, it is still a plural noun (according to the OED), and thus it should retain its “s”.

      2) I love “Inherit the Wind” because I love courtroom dramas. The fight for perennial truth and justice fascinates me for much of the reasons I listed in the post above. The foreword by the playwrights, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee pretty much sums it all up: “Inherit the Wind does not pretend to be journalism. It is theatre. It is not 1925. The stage directions set the time as ‘Not too long ago.’ It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow. ”
      Also, it has the most amazing lines. Who couldn’t love a play that ends the first act with a young girl looking at Drummond, the defense attorney and a main character, and crying out, “It’s the devil!” before running away, only to have Hornbeck, a reporter, slowly cross to him, stick out his hand, and say, “Hello, Devil. Welcome to Hell.”? (That was one ridiculously long run-on sentence)

  2. 1) Ah. See, it’s a more fundamental difference, then: “Mathematics,” as it is treated by Americans, is not a plural word (who ever heard of “a mathematic?”), but rather as a non-count noun, which happens to end in the letter “s.”

    2) Very interesting. I’m afraid I’ve never read the play. I’ll have to make an effort to do that.

    • 1) There is no correct answer to this question. The British and Australians believe that it should be spelled “maths” because it’s a plural noun, and I happen to agree with them. And you, on the other hand, agree with the Americans and believe that it should be spelled “math” because it’s a no-count noun. Both are perfectly acceptable spellings, and we’re both entirely entitled to view one or the other as correct.

      2) I highly suggest that you do.

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