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Sunday surprise — a memorandum

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — on the angelic and poetical differences between Azaz’el, Azaz’iel and Azaz’il ]
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Beginning ignorant, and with failing memory besides, I find it difficult to keep these distinctions straight in my unaided mind. Grateful thanks, therefore, to Bartelby and Brewer, who provide me with these assists:

Azaz'el Azaz'iel and Azaz'il

Now that the matter has been clarified, my own affectionate preference goes to Azaz’iel, to be sure.

Announcing ! BLOOD SACRIFICES

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]

Blood Sacrifices: Violent Non-State Actors and Dark Magico-Religious Activities edited by Robert J. Bunker

I’m very pleased to announce the publication of Blood Sacrifices, edited by Robert J. Bunker, to which Charles Cameron and I have both contributed chapters. Dr. Bunker has done a herculean job of shepherding this controversial book, where thirteen authors explore the dreadful and totemic cultural forces operating just beneath the surface of irregular warfare and religiously motivated extreme violence.

We are proud to have been included in such a select group of authors and I’m confident that many readers of ZP will find the book to their liking . If you study criminal insurgency, terrorism, hybrid warfare, 4GW, apocalyptic sects, irregular conflict or religious extremism, then the 334 pages of Blood Sacrifices has much in store for you.

Available for order at Amazon

Sunday surprise sermon, superb

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — encapsulating a Unitarian Universalist perspective from DC in five tweets ]
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With gratitude to Kelsey D Atherton.

Namagiri and Ramanujan

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — in which we glimpse the (female) divinity hidden behind infinity ]
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Ramanujan and Namagiri

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It is one of the curiosities of mathematics that the great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan claimed to have received many, if not all, of his equations from the goddess Namagiri in dreams — and that this idea is all too often quietly omitted from discussions of his uncanny brilliance.

Now that The Man Who Knew Infinity is out in theaters, it might be wise to explore the connection between Namagiri and Ramanujan a little more closely.

Dream and waking, darshan and mathematics, inspiration and intuition, intuition and proof, quality and quantity — these polarities are all involved..

To its credit, the film contains the line:

You want to know how I get my ideas? God speaks to me.

However, the idea that “God” might be a goddess seems a reach too far for the screenwriters and director.

Viewing:

  • Matt Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity
  • Here’s one version of the trailer:

    **

    Stephen Wolfram posted a fine article on his blog last week, Who Was Ramanujan?. He was willing to mention that Ramanujan’s friend and collaborator, GH Hardy, “could be very nerdy — whether about cricket scores, proving the non-existence of God, or writing down rules for his collaboration with Littlewood” — but fails in 31 pages to mention Ramanujan’s own belief that he received his equations from a goddess.

    All of which caused me to pose a question to Wolfram’s own algorithmic genie, Wolfram Alpha:

    Did Namagiri reveal equations to Ramanujan?

    WolframAlpha skipped the words “Did Namagiri reveal” and “to” and concentrated on responding to “equations” and “Ramanujan” — not quite up to par with AlphaGo, I’m afraid, let alone Ramanujan himself, or better, Namagiri.

    Below’s the DoubleQuote I made to by way of comment — note that I’ve only had space for the first line of WolframApha’s extended response:

    Tablet DQ ramanujan namagiri wolfram 1

    **

    Readings:

  • Stephen Wolfram, Who Was Ramanujan?
  • Hinduism Today, Computing the Mathematical Face of God
  • Huffington Post, Ramanujan’s Mock Modular Forms
  • The Hindu, American mathematicians solve Ramanujan’s “deathbed” puzzle
  • Sadhguru, Doorway to the Beyond
  • Paul Chika Emekwulu, Mathematical Encounters: For the inquisitive mind
  • The Hindu, The Man Who Knew Infinity: A misunderstood mind
  • Tweet and response: polling religious interest globally?

    Saturday, April 30th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Pew — Iran? Saudis? ]
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    Here’s the tweet:

    It looks impressive, doesn’t it? The good folks at Pew have obvisouly done their homework.

    And here’s the response:

    **

    Even when people try to remember that religion is part of geopolitics, they seem to suffer from selective amnesia.

    Aha!

    Country-Survey-Map_WEB

    The white spaces are either not countries, or not surveyed — a pity either way.

    Furthermore, once we’ve got that covered, we’ll need two polls that dig deep & narrow for every one that digs wide & shallow. Oy.


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