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From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 02:47:20 -0800

Interesting "On This Day, Nov 14 ..." concerning "Gottfried Wilhelm
Leibnitz, German mathematician and philosopher, died
(1716)". Leibnitz, you will recall, invented the calculus,
contemporarily with, but independent of, Newton. Leibnitz was a bit of
snob, (he could not get work later in life, and ended up as a court
advisor in Poland, where he is buried-only his private secretary
attending his funeral,) and made the statement (I'm paraphrasing from
the German-and my German is not that good anymore,) that civilized
people would use the science of logic and mathematics to deduce
fact-there would be no more interpersonal arguments or disagreements,
since differences could be resolved in a sane fashion by discussing
the differences in a rational and logical sense.

The concept became a paradigm, and was held as gospel truth well into
this century. Fundamentally, the gist of the concept was that the
world operates by principles, which if understood, can make sense out
of a chaotic state of world affairs-meaning that the world operates in
a rational and predictable fashion.

In 1989, Brian Arthur, of Stanford and the Santa Fe Institute formally
proved the concept wrong.


BTW, Arthur is an Irish Economist. One of the his favorite hang outs
is a bar in Santa Fe called El Faro's, which serves Irish food. It,
also, serves as an example of why Leibnitz's rationality concepts
won't work. Suppose the bar will hold a hundred people, but it is
uncomfortable with more than 60. (An economist would say that the Nash
equilibrium of the ecology is 60 people.) What one would like to do is
to decide whether to go to the bar, or not. Note that if no one goes,
everyone should go. Likewise, if everyone goes, no one should go, ie.,
it is a self-referential system, and in 1928, the Austrian Logician
Kurt Godel proved that there can never be a science of such a
system. Logic simply won't work for such things. So much for the
concept of the world operating in a rational and predictable fashion.

If you study world cultures-either formally, or just by just kicking
around the planet-you will find that the concept of rational
understanding of such things is peculiarly an American'ism. (Look at
how axiomatized our Constitution is.) Astonishingly, most cultures,
particularly the eastern, have never believed it. And what happens
when one attempts to force a logical framework on such a system? I'll
give you a hint-the time increments have a Gaussian distribution.

And what if one makes a graph of the number of people that go to El
Faro's every day? Nice fractal with Gaussian increments. That's what.

Note that the "rational presumption" a la Leibnitz, is that the number
of people that go to El Faro's would establish an equilibrium at about
60 people-but that simply is not the case. The number of people varies
very substantially, over time, (with a range that goes up, or down
with the square root of time, to be exact,) and a probability of it
being more, or less, than 60 for extended periods of time that
decreases as the reciprocal of the square root of time, (which is a
very sluggish function-so one would expect the bar population to have
these large swings, for extended periods of time.)

Which is also the theory of programmed trading of equities-without to
much imagination, you can see that the stock market and the El Faro
bar problem are identical.

And, no I am not taking cheap shots at our man Leibnitz. His
contributions were magnificent-we still use his terminology and
symbols-to this day-when we do calculus. He just tried to push the
concept where it wouldn't go.

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Subject: Reminders for Friday, November 14, 1997
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 00:05:18 -0800

Reminders for Friday, 14th November, 1997 (today):

              Sunrise 06:45, Sunset 16:59, Moon 0.97 (Increasing)

________________________ On This Day, Nov 14 ... ________________________

"Moby Dick", by Herman Melville, is published. (1851)
1st airplane flight from the deck of a ship. (1910)
A new island, later called Surtsey boiled up through the ocean surface off the coast of Iceland (1963)
Aaron Copland, American composer (Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring) (1900)
Apollo 12 blasted off for the moon from Cape Kennedy. (1969)
Brian Keith, actor (1921)
Capt. George Vancouver is 1st Englishman to enter San Francisco Bay. (1792)
Charles J. Guiteau went on trial for the assassination of President Garfield; he was convicted and hanged the next year (1881)
Claude Monet, impressionist (1840)
Coventry, England is heavily bombed by the Germans. Coventry Cathedral is destroyed (1940)
Don Stewart, actor (1935)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, German mathematician and philosopher, died (1716)
HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, first son of Queen Elizabeth II, is born (1948)
Henri Dutrochet, discovered & named process of osmosis (1776)
Jordan's King Hussein (1935)
Kilauea's most spectacular eruption (in Hawaii). (1959)
King Hussein's Birthday (Jordan)
King Hussein's Birthday in Jordan
McLean Stevenson, actor (1929)
Nellie Bly beats Phineas Fogg's time for a trip around the world by 8 days (72 days) (1889)
President Carter freezes all Iranian assets in US Banks in response to Iranian hostage crisis (1979)
Quarter Pounder price raised from $0.53 to $0.55 in violation of Nixon price controls (but okayed by Price Commission after formal request from McDonald's) (1971)
Quarter Pounder price raised from $0.53 to $0.55 in violation of Nixon price controls (but okayed by Price Commission after formal request from McDonald's), 1971
Robert Fulton, built 1st commercial steamboat (1765)
The old Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park repaired & working again. (1981)
The world's first street car runs in New York (1832)
------- end -------

John Conover,,

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