Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A first course in Noncommutative Rings

By Lam. An excellent text. Unlike most books which are based on lecture notes, the prose here is surpisingly clear and friendly. The book doesn't presuppose much commutative Algebra. I myself have only a nodding acquaintance with the subject and have found the book accessible and easy to navigate. Of particular interest are the author's discussion of the Jacobson radical, semisimple rings and representation theory.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mathematics Department at Minnesota

I find myself picking faults with our math department more and more as of late. Despite having taken a majority of the core undergraduate and graduate classes(Analysis,Complex Analysis,Algebra,etc...), I find myself missing the writing intensive requirement. This means I may very well have to take the 3283 class, which is a significant step down from the classes I am enrolled in now. Whose idea was it to impose this requirement on math majors? Why not make the 5000 Analysis sequence writing intensive? There is certainly a lot more (rigorous) writing taking place in both the Algebra and Analysis sequences.
Ideally one should be able to make a case for being exempt from such a requirement. This department has moved heavens to make sure a mathematics student can graduate without taking either Analysis or Algebra, yet is very adamant that every student(regardless of merit) be subject to the writing intensive course.
What is a student to do?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Writing a convincing script

The idea of writing a script for the third film in the Chinatown trilogy(as it was intended to be at conception) has been lingering in my mind for quite a while. The first two pictures-Chinatown and The Two Jakes,respectively-did a remarkable job of showing the evolution of Los Angeles. Chinatown was conspiratorial about water in the 1930's, while the Two Jakes concerned itself with Oil and Real Estate(Jews and WASPS,respectively).
More important than the traditional and historical significance of the films is the way they tap into the psychology of the times. In The Two Jakes, one gets the impression that Gittes wants more than anything to forget his past and to aclimate himself to the growing speed of life in LA. Towne suggests that this was quite impossible because while many of the citizens looked at postwar LA through a new lens, the mechanisms of the city were more or less the same as they were before the war(the events which unfold in The Two Jakes are resoundingly similar to those in Chinatown).
The problem in penning a script for a third film in this trilogy is that it has become increasingly difficult to identify modern attitudes towards life in America. The third film would take place around the end of Gittes' life(mid 1960's when the no-fault divorce rule was introduced). But while The Two Jakes had the advantage of being set in a period with an identifiable outlook on life(the postwar optimism of the 40's), the third film would have to contend with many of the social disorders of the time. Thus the film probably wouldn't have the same center of gravity as its predecessors, and this makes me think the whole thing is worthless especially given the low attention span of modern audiences.
Back to Riemannian Geometry for now....

Been a while...

After a brief hiatus from the world of blogging, I've decided to give online writing another try. I would like to think of myself as being slightly more mature and experienced since my last blogging endeavor, and it is for this reason that I'd like to share some of my impressions and thoughts. I'll confine my discussions here to Mathematics, Film, and literature(especially Proust!) because my schedule doesn't accomodate many other interests(also, I'm inherently a shallow person). However, if there is anything you would like to discuss (By "you" I mean John,Nick, or anyone else reading), please let me know.