Friday, October 21, 2005

Mathematical genius

Ah, some people really amuse me during lectures. Today we had a problem class, where our lecture encouraged us to speak up with our ideas, and then mercilessly mocked us when we weren't correct (and being correct in this context means not only fully understanding the ideas, but being able to express them eloquently in mathematical language). He did to me, when to be honest I'm fairly sure that I could have given an accurate answer, but whatever.

So after many people being mocked, he asked us, what do we know about the neighbourhood of epsillon (kudos points for understanding what this means. In terms of a metric space this is- using the standard metric I believe, though it does not matter.). Some... idiot... decided to venture this answer "a neighbourhood is kind of like a baloon but you don't include the skin-the boundary- and instead just the air inside". Not only is this an awful metaphor, it was also quite obviously not what he was looking for (it's open is the correct answer...).

Still, another year of this eh? Its ok, but can be very hard- all my friends agree that we have no idea about whats going on in Advanced Group theory, but meh. I checked out a careers fair yesterday. Was quite tempted by the idea of millitary intelligence- theres lots of spaces for mathematical personnal, and one can argue that what they do makes a real difference. Not one for a pacifist, but I never have been, and good intelligence means less lives are lost in general. What does everyone reckon? Is it ethical to work in millitary intelligence? It would probably involve code breaking, I think, but I dunno, theres a fair few vacanies.


At 6:16 pm, Blogger Kirbie said...

Well in a perfect world we wouldn't need a military, but this world is corrupt (hehe). So I guess we have to have one and you gotta respect the peeps that do that job. As long as the government does the right thing then I guess it's fine. Obviously if some Nazis took over you'd be have a bit of a problem, but I guess this is unlikely.
So ye if you fancy it why not I guess, it's not like you have to shoot anyone. I don't think I'd have a problem with ethics if I wanted to be an army engineer or something (my only problem would be avoid getting killed). So ye, I think it'd be ok, as long as we're on the defensive rather than offensive or maybe at least the defensive offensive.

At 2:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be extremely interesting, but your work would top secret and you wouldn't be allowed to tell anyone about it! Definately wouldn't be able to discuss it on a blog!!! So it could be a bit of a lonely job - but still, very interesting!!

At 2:27 pm, Blogger Copernicus Now said...

It seems to me a nation has a need to be able to defend itself. Not just a need, but a responsibility.

So I do not think it is wrong to join the military.

The question is, does it become wrong if the nation's military turns to unjustifiably agressive, or even evil purposes?

We expect our military people to obey their leaders, even when they disagree. At what point does obedience become complicity?

At 4:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, yeah, you're right, at the end of the day it's the Government which is in power and not the military. But surely, therefore, since the Government is elected by the people, it would be the fault of the entire nation if the Government decided to turn to evil purposes and bomb the entire world?
Saying that, I believe that the military (code breakers) provide a very important source of imformation for the Government and also hold a large amount of influence. What would happen to the Government for example, if the military decided to go on strike?!!

At 12:12 pm, Blogger Imperium child said...

They most likely would keep it as quiet as possible. I dont think you can blame the people of a country because they elect the government unless it is a perfect democracy. Alas this is impossible because for a perfect democracy you would need a party for each persons individual beliefs about the main issues with the world. Since everyone is unique, barring clones, then there would be an infinite amount of parties. My point being however that since we only have a limited number of parties then the choice to elect a government are limited and we are almost forced to pick said government. Hence it is the government that would misuse the military not the people... Hmmm, that isnt expressed as well as I'd have hoped but its the bare bones of my meaning


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