three quotes from James Munkres

I found these on a post-it note from his book Topology. I took the class in spring 2000, which feels like ages ago. He ended up writing me a recommendation letter for grad school, so I suppose I have him to thank for where I am now.

  • [2/22/00] (on the topological definition of continuity) “All this exists in the never-never land of abstract set theory.”
  • [3/17/00] “History’s dead.”
  • [4/7/00] “If somebody said I was completely normal, I’d hit them.”

I have more quotes somewhere in my notes for the class, but I have no idea where those are. I have tons of juicy quotes in my probability notes, but those have been AWOL for years, more’s the pity.

cambridge and coffee

I spent the morning reading and working in the 1369 Coffeehouse in Central Square. It was like the good old days except that this time I had a laptop. Perhaps it’s just me being wistful and reminiscing, but I find the coffeehouses in Cambridge/Somerville significantly better than the ones in Berkeley. Maybe it’s because the weather makes you appreciate them more.

The music was perfect — Gotan Project, Tosca, and Django Reinhardt. I feel like I’m home.

It’s almost too easy

(via Atrios. According to the Boston Globe, Rick Santorum (R-PA) wrote about the Catholic child-abuse scandal:

When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

An aide later clarified:

”It’s an open secret that you have Harvard University and MIT that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases,” said Robert Traynham, the Santorum aide. ”I think that’s what the senator was speaking to.”

Well, naturally! Putting aside the misuse of “open secret,” the presence of a high density of leftist particle physicists in a space the size of Cambridge results in moral corruption and paedophilia. We should name this principle after its location and discoverer — the Boston-Santorum effect.

I leave it to the more physics-savvy to come up with the mathematical formulation.