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Friday, August 12, 2011

The Code - Episode 3 - Prediction ( with Marcus du Sautoy )

Just like the orbits of the planets life follows a pattern. It can be reduced to cause and effect. Everything can be represented by numbers, and thus has mathematics at his heart. Strip everything away and mathematics remains.

The Code

Beautiful TV, the BBC at it's best. Series verdict 8.5/10. Not a 10 because given previous series with Marcus du Sautoy, and the promising title "The Code", my expectations were too high. I had the idea it was mostly about physics, ( of which some say is just another branch of mathematics ).

Episode 3 starts off with a tale about Columbus, lunar tables and the moon eclipse. Given the regular movement of the planets it is possible to forecast a moon eclipse.

"The Code is such a powerful thing that I entrust my life to it" says du Sautoy. He calculates the arc of a ball which is rolled off some ramp and takes a seat close by where the ball should land. Classical mechanics is predictable.

Denmark. Flocks of starlings. A single flock can contain a million birds. The Black Sun they call them. Suprisingly flocks can be modelled mathematically.

On to America. We meet a detective with a Ph.D in mathematics hunting for serial killers. ( I would rather consult Charlie Eppes though. Charlie is an expert in -all- branches of mathematics. ) This detective said that he studied the Jack the Ripper case and worked out the address of Jack the Ripper. Not bad for a case as old as 888. My prediction is that Jack the Ripper is dead by now.

Knowing the series is part of an Open University course I am not surprised that the logistic map made an appearance. If you intend to study math at the Open University be prepared. The logistic map is hard, very hard. The logistic map is what makes mathematicians modest, humble almost. - Suppose there is a God, a creator, who used mathematics as a language in the creation of the universe. Wouldn't he/ she/ it be so clever to -secure- the creation from having it cracked from creatures like us? If you assume that then the logistic map, chaos theory, the complexity of the primes, Goedel's theorems and all that could be just firewalls.

Anyway, du Sautoy shows that we can use the logistics map to understand the dynamics of ( lemming ) populations but we won't be able to predict populations with it. Weather systems ( and I suppose stress systems related to earthquakes ) are bound in a similar manner.

New York. Patterns everywhere, of course. ( Echoes of Max Cohen? ) There seems to be a 15% rule for cities. It says that when a city doubles in size everything gets better by 15%. Then I lost it:

You have 15% more restaurants to choose from, 15% more art galleries ( .... ).

Here the producers had to show off their class, I suppose. A bit insensitive in such harsh economic times. Not good in my opinion. - The evening The Code part 3 was broadcast a friendly between England and The Netherlands was canceled. Due to class related riots in London.

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