Shortly, we will delve into high science. If you are not scientifically oriented or do not understand that all scientific proofs are based upon all preceding proofs1, skip this post as it rates an NSFW2 alert.
The carny barker picture above illustrates today’s subject. Sadly, no bananas were available facilitating “banana for size.” Editorial staff thought to use an elephant but our elephant, Reynaldo, is on maternity leave. Go ahead, snicker. You know what it costs to lease an elephant for a photo shoot?
Science versus Math
If you are still reading, you surely love high science. Here at spwilcenwrites, we do too. Not so much Math.3 Math is not science. I mean you can see science, but you can’t see Math. Sure, one apple plus two oranges equal three fruits but after that all Math becomes quite abstract. Pi? It’s not even spelled correctly. Cosine? What’s a “cosine”? Do sines always work in pairs, hence they cooperatively sine? Irrational numbers? As far as I’m concerned, all Math after one thousand dollars is irrational. Political Math is science fiction. Military Math is high comedy.
You want further proof of Math’s inconsistency? Okay, consider this: Every time a mathematician building a theory’s equation finds it doesn’t make sense, he4 comes up with a “constant” or “variable,” named after himself usually. This makes it all right. Somehow. How? Why, look at the Swartzhaggen Constant!
Science? You can see Science. Someone suggests a speeding bullet (or freight train) will do thus and so because of gravity and this force and that force, you can see that. Stars and planets? You can see them. You see genetics at work.5
But can you see five? You can see five apples. Or so we understand. We see apples. We are left to take someone’s word that is the embodiment of five. It’s not. It’s apples. You can eat pie. What can you do with pi? Anyone ever excitedly tell you they just saw a Planck’s Constant? Anyone ever held a billion anything in his hands or in a dumptruck?6
Yes, you have the constant/variable thing at work in Science. That’s an understandable corruption in Science because scientists are too busy to come up with an alternative to Math, so using what exists, they’ve fallen into the trap of taking shortcuts with Smith’s Constant, Vincent’s Variable, Connie’s Coefficient, and Penelope’s Persistence Equivalence.7
Preliminaries dispensed, now let’s get to it
Just wanted you to understand what follows is a serious matter. Likely some high Science is necessary. Lacking an alternative pseudo-science, we may refer to numbers but that’s only in the counting sense. No arctangents or hyperbolas or any such thing, I promise.
There is a drawer in the Chez Spwilcen kitchen. We call it “the silverware drawer.” It holds no silver, only stainless steel daily-use eating tools. For neatness, there’s a bamboo (I suppose) tray-like thing to keep spoons, forks, and knives separate. For deployment speed when there’s an eating emergency. So as not to sit down to a bowl of borsch only to find you are armed with a fork.
There are compartments in the tray for other than spoons, forks, and knives, relegated to eating tools I cannot name. We’re not concerned with those tools or the trays they reside in. We’re not concerned with forks, or knives either. We’re not actually concerned with those “compartments” except, I suspect, they may play a role in solving the mystery I now describe.
Spoon and fork tools come in two sizes. I do not understand. Rarely are the larger spoons used as eating tools. No one uses the big spoons, not even big men who dine with us now and again.8 I have a blushing familiarity with “sized” forks. For reasons unclear to me, I am often given both a large and small fork when I sit to eat. It’s generally not a two-handed affair, and if it were that does not explain the size disparity.
There is a reason for the fork size difference I am sure. When I start my meal with the larger fork, others at the table frown at me for an inappropriate choice. I have committed a faux pas? Perhaps you are supposed to practice with the smaller fork before moving on to the larger one?
Forks are not named or at least I have not been informed of their names, perhaps why I error often in my fork selection. On the other hand, spoons require names. Rarely both placed on the table together, large and small spoons are inappropriately named “tablespoon” and “teaspoon.”9
Purchase of the eating tool set remains vivid in my memory, though it was years ago. In the toolbox when purchased were sixteen tablespoons and sixteen teaspoons. Grasp that abstract concept.
Over the years I have observed a strange phenomenon. Spoon populations have changed. There are now more tablespoons than teaspoons. Tablefork and teafork populations have remained constant.
Spoon census number are not available. My hesitation is for fear numbers required may become abstract, minimally, “imaginary.” Undeniably more than sixteen tablespoons hide in the silverware drawer. There is no noticeable decrease in teaspoon numbers but again, metrics do not exist. Which immediately discounts my first supposition on the tablespoon population rise:
Teaspoons have not “matured” to become tablespoons. It was at first a reasonable assumption. Given apparent stability in teaspoon numbers it is unlikely.
Tablespoon village residents are of the same ethnicity. Emigration is not at play.
Procreation is doubtful. Of course, that assumes teaspoons are immature tablespoons. That suggests at least a momentary rise in the number of teaspoons. None is reportable.
Teaspoons are known to vault separating walls from the teaspoon village into the tablespoon village. It is not a matter of teaspoons hiding below tablespoons giving the appearance of tablespoon excess. Stray teaspoons are diligently returned to their proper place.
There have been no additional stainless purchases. Witness stable knife and fork (big and small) populations.
Playful pranksters are not to blame. My unwillingness to brook such foolishness is legend. No family member would risk my wrath. Fewer friends and neighbors would dare such.
Finally, almost as an aside, why are tea and table fork populations stable unlike spoon populations? Are forks incapable of offspring, mutation, spontaneous generation, and immigration?
Maths would tell me only that spoon populations have changed. I can see that, underlining somewhat another Math shortcoming. I am left then, to appeal to the Sciences for explanation of this population change.
Consider this an appeal to WordPress scientists. Not coming to an understanding of this phenomenon, thereby able to control the situation, it may soon be necessary to lease space in the “junk drawer” to accommodate surplus tablespoons.
— Notes –
1 It is necessary to remind skeptics in the audience of the original elemental proof: “Because I said so.” Republicans have difficulty with this. Democrats not so much. But it remains: all modern scientific proofs are built upon this ancient and irrefutable postulate.
2 NSFW: Non-Scientific Folks be Wary.
3 I’ve noticed people in some countries call Mathematics “Maths.” Not “Math,” “Maths.” Mathematic study is fairly-well a progression. It starts with one, two, you know the drill. That is followed by truly practical Math, good stuff: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. After that, Math crosses into absurd, pseudo-sciences like trigonometry, geometry, calculus, and certifiably insane Fibonacci-Turin-Einstein-ish stuff. Math is a progression. In college I was thrilled completing fourth year calculus. That had to be the end of it, capstone as it were. Nope. Someone read my transcript, saw “computer science” and sent me back for Advanced Algebra, Matrix Mathematics, and two other “Math” studies I’ve managed to erase from memory. By then fluent in foreign language Mathematics like Octal, Hexadecimal, and regional dialects like ASCII and EBCDIC, in retrospect, I can tell you all that Math was for nothing. Not once in almost fifty years as a computist was any “advanced” Mathematics necessary. Working some heavy-duty scientific computing on Big Bertha machines, the most complex Math I ever needed was for self-correcting exponentially smoothed forecasting. Now I am led to understand there are other Maths out there?
4 Don’t start in with that him/her, he/she Bull Schlock. (Love to use the real words but editing staff won’t allow that except for emergencies. I asked. This is not an emergency.) If you are solidly convinced language needs to be gender neutral, that that effort demands more attention than curing cancer or the common cold or stabilizing the price of a dozen eggs, get back to me when you have a workable, easily remembered solution that everyone is on board with. I suggest the solution will make writing and speaking, in English at least, altogether too difficult for the average person. (Perdaughter?) English is already a huge stretch for eighty percent of (USofA) Americans. Make English any more complicated, you stand to befuddle probably ninety percent of English-speaking populations worldwide. Further proof? Italian and French, for example went the other way insisting virtually every ‘thing’ and even emotions have gender. Small wonder Italian and French (persons/perdaughters) are the only people understanding, respectively Italian and French. Italian (m)table and (f)chair? French (m)book and (f)table? I won’t even suggest what too many little white pills in the morning would let a creative writer do with that. Going the other way – to gender neutral language – will be at least for the next five hundred years, mass confusion. After that though, androgyny will be supreme, so it could work out well. Because I’m tired of typing, I’m going to just stick with the first gender that naturally comes to mind for the rest of this discussion.
5 My editor removed this note. Said people in the state of Alabama would take offense.
6 Even politicians and other government employees, among the stupidest people on the planet, know there is no such thing as a billion or a trillion. They ever send a billion dollars anywhere? Nope. They promise constituents and each other a billion this or a trillion that with a single piece of paper. If that. It’s usually just words, which is just hot air, which politicians know a lot about.
7 Penelope’s Persistence Equivalence, which no one noticed until recently, in equations abbreviates to PPE. Lawsuits are pending, to force “mask” profiteers to find a new acronym. Too, all the neat Hebrew and Greek letters have already been scarfed-up, so a new career path opens-up: symbol design; if you know Sanskrit, your career is assured.
8 Pre-COVID but of course.
9 Neither tablespoons (the larger of the two) nor teaspoons (the smaller) are tablespoon or teaspoon measures. Metrics show this. At a loss to explain arbitrary nomenclature, let us accept it to not delay scientific pursuit. Forks are not called tableforks and teaforks. Another mystery but this pales compared to the larger one.