Hello again! So glad you could join me in my newsletter. Please, pull up a chair next to the fire. Yes, that's it. Would you like some hot cocoa? There, now you can get all warmed up––you're dripping wet! How's the work been going this week? I see, well that's certainly something. And the family? Mm-hm, just like them isn't it? Oh don't mind old Pansy there, she loves a good scratch behind the ears. How have I been, you ask? Well…
I Made a Say, Oh Say! Twitter Account
Yes, there is now more than one way you can be notified that a new issue of Say, Oh Say! has been posted, as the Say, Oh Say! Twitter account is officially live!
In addition to notifications about the newsletter, I hope this will be a place to post some of the smaller thoughts and observations I have every now and again that don’t qualify as newsletter-worthy, and to have a chance to get to know you all better too. I’m new to the finer points of tweeting (my timing in joining is of course impeccable), so say hello and show me the ropes!
I Tried to Wrap My Head Around Topology
Have you ever seen a world map that looks like this?
Or a map of the United States that looks like this?
These maps (via Tom Scott) are “topologist’s maps,” which do not preserve the specific contours of the states and countries, but only the relationships between their borders. So, as Tom at the link writes, California is the yellow shape in the lower-left corner, and it retains its borders with its three usual neighbors: Oregon (green), Nevada (blue), and Arizona (purple). The possibilities for snazzy wall art are endless.
Topology is a branch of mathematics that looks at shapes with less specificity than we would normally think necessary; the contours that make objects recognizable to us are streamlined away in favor of emphasizing qualities like continuity and rupture. So we can stretch, crush, and twist topologically equivalent shapes and they remain equivalent.
It’s a way of looking at shapes that, famously, does not distinguish between a coffee cup and a doughnut, since both are composed of a shape with a single hole.
And, as per Wikipedia, a cow is topologically equivalent to a sphere.
Although, given the exigencies of the mammalian digestive tract, I wonder if cows (and people) aren’t actually doughnuts themselves.
Did you know you can sign up to have your name sent along on a USB drive with NASA’s next mission to Mars? I’ve got my ticket and I’m all scheduled for take-off in 2026. Maybe I’ll see you there?
That’s All for this Week
Thanks for asking! Same time next week? I’ll keep the kettle on.
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