Friday, November 14, 2008

To President-Elect Obama

Congratulations President-Elect Obama! 

Over the course of your campaign, the vapid "change" speeches of the early primaries were replaced by real political suggestions. What emerged was a pragmatic world view that somewhat tempered the troubling messianic imagine that some of your more ardent supporters were trying to bamboozle us with. In the end, I gave you my humble vote without too much trepidation.

But I hope the realpolitik, the pragmatism you seem to espouse does not dim the notion that real concrete change is in fact needed. But it's not Washington that needs to change. What needs to be altered is the way we all govern our world as a whole.

I can only assume that a peaceful and civil world were people are free to innovate and pursue happiness is your goal. As leader of what despite circumstance of late remains the most powerful economic and military nation on our planet, you have a responsibility not just to further a fragile Pax Americana, to maintain a Westphalian status quo.  Your responsibility is to help establish a new global framework based on the same principles that joined our bickering American states into a civil union and that in the last 50 years have guided Europe towards lasting peace. 

Hypothesis about the 4 Color Theorem: Correction

There a problem with a previous statement I made. I stated that the outer circle forms another "layer", implying that the new layer borders only the layer above and below it. This would mean every element has a single left and a single right neighbor and multiple linearly arranged neighbors above and below. This is only true for some maps. But with more complex maps, however you divide the map into "layers", you will end up with: elements that extend themselves into several layers (not just the ones above and below);  or elements that border more than one element in the same layer (what I call a "wrap around" ).

It's terribly annoying, because it's like I can sense the reason for why only 4 colors are required but I can't quite see it! I guess this is what pretty much defines a theorem versus a proof... My hope was that arranging everything into isolated and linear numeric sequences (some form of "layering") would provide me with a clear vision of the why. But these so called "wrap arounds" keep throwing me off. 

If I could just stop bouncing through Kaliningrad!