Monday, 25 April 2011

It's official I've got Asperger's

Courtesy of Nilo it would appear according to this test I've got Asperger's syndrome

I got 34 definitely in the Asperger's zone according to the test. A lot of my colleagues, joke at work that they have Asperger's, indeed one couldn't achieve anything in our work if we didn't have the ability to work on our own, and put up with a lot of boring tedious and repetive tasks and pay attention to detail. On a more general point if one wants to achieve anything intellectual, then one needs to spend a lot of time on one's own trying out ideas and  reading. If one has a full time job then it stands to reason that juggling the demands of OU study means that one's social life is bound to take a back burner.

As I commented on Nilo's blog it seems to me that the rise of this syndrome is partly due to the lack of appreciation of a person's intellectual abilities. Also it  reflects societies fear of people who are quite happy on their own and have an intellectual skill which they do not. It's interesting that it's scientist's mathematicians and engineers that are usually accused of having Asperger's syndrome. Whilst artist's, composer's and writer's who have the same lack of social skill's as mathematicians scientists and engineers are not considered Aspergic.

Our society seems to place a high value on superficial beauty, or wealth and a low value on things that really matter. Labelling people as Aspergic simply because they do not fit in with the norms of society does not help. As a final point muddying the waters between Asperger's and Autism will not help find a cure for Autism.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

M208 M346 M337 I saw one go out and another Two come back in

Today 1 day late, I posted my off my first TMA for M346 linear statistical modelling. I felt it was fairly straightforward essentially being exercises in interpretation of output from GENSTAT and a review of some statistical tests. Essentially revision there were one or two points I hadn't come across before. So quietly confident of a reasonable grade although one can never be sure whether I've missed out something fundamental. 

So thats one out. Also on my door step I found my returned TMA for complex variables slightly disappointed as I didn't make distinction due to some careless mistakes also some times I was quite rigorous in my arguments other times I missed out key justifications thus omitting to mention that a sequence tended to zero as it was a null sequence just stating that the sequence tended to zero.  I think it's a question of learning how to phrase arguments in analysis properly. Some times I'm guilty of making to many points other times I miss out key steps. Still one can only go on.

In contrast I seemed to have done really well with the TMA for M208 which I received earlier this week . I wonder if it will continue when I get to the analysis sections. Hopefully some of the lesson's I'm learning from M337 will help here.

As a final point talking with one of my mates Neil at the tutorial

 We both worried that in the chase to get good marks for the TMA's we were skimping on details and understanding. Still need's must Alan my tutor himself said that as far as the  first two units of linear algebra were concerned we should just concentrate on whether we have learnt the basic techniques and then concentrate on the more abstract stuff in the latter part of the block.

I think it's a question of concentrating on what you feel you need to know in detail for me this is group theory and analysis as far as M208 is concerned specifically learning how to deal with the dreaded

$$\epsilon - \delta$$ definitions of continuity and it's applications to pathological functions such as the so called blancmage function which is an iterated sequence of triangles. This function is every where continuous and no where differentiable. I'll speak more about this on another post.  Also most of M337 even though it is currently the most challenging part of pure mathematics I have tackled so far. Still as I said to Neil we are not here for an easy ride.

This means that M346 will have to take a back burner and I will be fairly pragmatic about the work I need to do for this course which means essentially working backwards from the TMA questions.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

What do I want ??

A little time to reflect from the pressures of TMA deadlines made me think what is it I really want to achieve having taken the libertry of telling someone on the  M337 forum what makes a good PhD it's a question of 'physician heal thyself'. If one wants to achieve anything in life it's a question of gettting enough background knowledge to articulate a certiain insiight which no one else has thought of, but on the other hand not getting so bogged down in a lack of confidence of one's own abilities. Obviously this meams that one has to have a certain degree of self confidence, which I lack and also a degree of realism, as to what can be achieved, Thus it is highly unlikely that I am going to solve the Riemann hypothesis, or any of the Seven Millennia problems. It is highly unlikely that I am goiing to come up with a Grand unified theory of everyhiing and it is highlly unlikely that I am going to solve the problem of a coherent quantisiation of Einstein's theory of relativity. Given that better people have been there before me and have tried to solve the problem and have not achieved anything lasting.

Ok so what is it I think I can at least aritculate, it is, it is whether or not there is  a  connection between the philosophy of language and the rejection of bivalence as enshrined with Michael Dummet ideas
and the fact that the mathematical stucture of quantum mechanics seems to imply a similar rejection of bivalence as enshrined in the Kochen Specker paradox. Both would seem to imply a rejection of realism but how far does this go ?

See for example Dummett

and Kochen Specker Paradox

For a current interpreation of quantum mechanics which tries to circumvent this dilemma see Topos theory the simplest introduction to which I know of can be accessed here.

It seems to me at least articulating what the possible connections between the three  issues namely whether

1) Does Micheal Dummet's assetion that realist theories of epsitemology or metaphysics are commited to bivalence hold water

2) Does the fact that quantum mechancs seems to imply an adherence to non realism via the Kochen Specker paradox spell the death knell for realist interpreations of quantum physics such as Bohm's intepretation or even worse the Many worlds interpretation ( I hope so).

3) How far do theories such as Topos theory circumvent the problem of realism and the implications of the Kochen Specker paradox . It seems to me that they go some way but not far enough.

 would be worthy of an MSc by research in philosophy as I've not seen any full lengrh account of the issue, but it seems to be mentioned in passing in a number of papers.

So why don't I take a breather and write a research proposal for the Logic and language department of philosophy at Ediunbrgh University ?

and see whether they would take me on part time, and then get accepted by say Octobet this year or certainly October 2012 ? Instead of getting bogged down both time wise and financially in pursuing formal qualifications in mathematics and philosophy via the Open university or other sources. After all I do not need a knowledge of complex analyisis, Kant's critiique of pure reason or especially Heidegger's Being and Time or Nietszche's Genealogy of morals interesting as it would be to pursue these issues in some depth, to be able to pursue the question as  to whether there is a link between Dummet's rejection of Bivalence and realism and wheher or not quantum mechanics in it's present form implies the rejection of bivalence and as a consequence  lends some support to Dummet's ideas.  I do not need say for example the course in functional analysis offered by the OU MSc especially as it explicitly states that it does not deal with any concrete applications of the subject eg to say quantum physics.   I feel I can get such knowledge from say Kreyszig or even tackle Von Neumann directly now that being embroiled in M337 and M208 has given me a degree of confidence in handling pure mathematical concepts which I didn't have before.

Clearly I need to invesitgate these issues further the question is given time and finances whether or nor I can do this in a reasonable amount of time and financial cost ? Given that fee's are going to skyrocket over the next few years then it would seem reasonable to cut one's losses and just go for it.

On the other hand  I am handicapped by a lack of self confidence in putting this forward given the as yet lack of formal qualifications in both pure  Maths and philosophy. On the other hand waiting 5 years or so before I can gain  the qualifications to get me there isn't going to help me either. So as a compromse I wait a couple of years whilst I finish the degree in maths and my open degree in social sciences the Arts and philosophy supplemented by Geoffrey Klempner's pathway courses and his associateship. He is an expert in Dummet so at least from the philosophical side I should get some idea as to whether or not my ideas are on the right track or whether or niot I'm just talking rubbish.

After that just go for it rather than handicap myself with yet another financial and time burden just chasing after qualifications which whilst definitely worth it distract one from achieving one's real  goals. So yes I will complete my current courses and do the other pure maths course to complete the degree and also My open degree with the philosophy of mind course and Geoffrey Klempner;s pathways modules but then instead of spending circa £12000 on getting the MSc in maths and a correspoinding MA in continental philosophy spending what will be £6,000 on a parttime MSc by research (assuming I get accepted) will save me a lot of money and time to achieve the goal I really want.  So I'll finish the two degrees I'm aiming for but not bother with the MSc's and take my chances, sooner or later you have to break away, at least I am aware of what I should know and also what I want to explore.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Wow and I don't lknow how I did it but MathJAX now seems to work just as in the Forums of Moodle you have to mark off your LATEX input with two dollar signs so

$x^2$ just produces the crap you see here whereas enclosing it with two dolllar signs

where as $$x^2$$ now seems to work

Have amended my group theory post of March 6th to take into account the New LATEX facility.
Apologies if the blog takes longer to load that's the price you pay for sophistication.

Math JAX

As some of you will have seen I've tried to incorporate math JAX on this blog however I can't get it to work
thus what should appear as a nice  x squared term comes out simply as $x^2$ or even $$x^2$$

Post 11/04/11 In light of the partial success I removed the rather defunct script but I stiil hate Computers !!

For reasons only known to the guru's of cypberspace Whilst Math JAX appears to work for the visible pages it doesn't seem to be able to update old posts even though when I preview the amendments it seems to incorporate the LATEX. As a result my old post on group theory is even more incomprehensible than ever.

On a brighter note finished both TMA's for M337 and M208, but still need to make inroads into the statistics. I shall have to take at least one day off next week.

Best wishes Chris

Monday, 4 April 2011

Some times you just have to cut your losses M337 TMA01

Well my somewhat disjointed attempt at the first TMA for M337 has been completed or at least what I've been able to do. I really found this a bit of a struggle and I feel like I'm walking through treacle. Sometimes what to do is quite straightforward other times it really is a struggle. For example we had to show that a function is conformal this is defined vaguely as a function which is angle preserving. One way of showing that a function is conformal is to calculate it's derivative and show that it is non zero and analytic at a point. OK but the question did not give a specific point neither did the course material give any general criteria for showing that a function is conformal.

Another really confusing point for me and this seemed to infect a large number of the questions was the domain of Log(z) which is continuous every where apart from the negative real axis. Ok fine but again there was a lot of ambiguity in specific questions.

I really will have to go over these blocks again. In the mean time I should have done enough to get a grade 2 pass for this TMA so as the deadline is Wednesday I just have to cut my losses and put it in the post first thing tomorrow.

In contrast M208 so far is proving a real joy and light relief to M337, No doubt in a years time (fingers crossed) I'll look back at M337 and wonder what the fuss is about. It should get better as we progress as the questions appear to be more calculational (which I prefer) rather than sketch this set, sketch that set, specify the domain of this function. Why doesn't this function have an inverse whereas another one has and What is the geometric effect of this transformation and so forth all of which there seems to be an undue emphasis on in the early part of M337.  

Finish off writing the Group theory TMA for M208 tomorrow, then a few intensive days whilst I try and complete the first TMA for Statistics course. At least the statistics should be straightforward if tedious.
I'll let you know.