Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday at the Movies: Volume 1

I've decided to initiate a weekly feature on The Big Picture. I've noticed over the past 6 or so months my media viewing experience has dramatically changed. I'm so picky when it comes to television programming and movies. I only watch a couple of television shows - none of which, I am happy to report, are remotely related to reality TV. I've been watching the internet more and more. This summer, I watched the entire series of the X-Files online. I made pickles while following the Mulder and Scully's mission through conspiracy, enigma and mystery. But what I love more are documentaries. (Isn't that what reality TV is anyway?) Google Videos are far by the best in regards to streaming - no waiting, long pauses or drop outs.

Fermat's Last Theorem.

This is one of my all time favorites. It's probably the only place you will find a mathematician get teary eyed and almost compare his calculation to an orgasm...or religious experience (pick your bliss.) He spent seven years in utter solitude calculating. And it involves geometry in the shape of donuts and something called the Taniyama Shimura Conjecture (now called the Taniyama Shimura Theorem). When I was in school, math was my worst subject. For whatever reason, I could never seem to wrap my head around things very quickly, or easily. (Maybe it was the teaching). I don't use calculations beyond addition, subtraction and multiplication. I rarely need division. Algebra? Have you used it recently? So I rather like that someone can attempt to explain this highly sophisticated mathematics, in plain language to me. I like this idea that behind the donut there is extremely complicated calculus and equations - that I would not make head or tail of otherwise. There is something about this enigma behind the simplistic explanation that is overwhelmingly attractive to me. I think as we work with Monday at the movies, you'll begin to see why. There is something about my mind that is very gnostic. On the other hand, there is something about math that seems so gratifying at the same time. I mean, one equals one, its so logical and plain. Its a language that can become ever more abstract and equally mystical, but in the end, it must behave by defined rules. In this world of relativism and interpretation, being able to find the answer, seems rather appealing.

I am always open to video recommendations, and more than happy to know your thoughts on my very odd choice of film...

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