Nov 1, 2006

## Democrats, Republicans, sportsmanship, books

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Academics & Research

**DID YOU KNOW?** The combined weight of all the termites in the world is 10 times the combined weight of all the humans in the world.

Confused thanks to Ariel '09 for sending me a text message at 2 AM with only that fact.

There exists an old joke about various scientific professions that goes like this:

"An astronomer, a physicist, and a mathematician were on vacation in Scotland. From a train window, they saw a black sheep in the middle of a field. "How interesting", observed the astronomer, "all Scottish sheep are black." To which the physicist replied "No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!" The mathematician gazed heavenward, then intoned, "In Scotland, there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black."

So today I came home and started a conversation with Mitra. "Blah blee blah blee blah." I said. "La la la la I'm going to read Interpreter of Maladies and then The Unbearable Lightness of Being." said she. "OH SNAP!" I cried. "I HAVE THAT BOOK OUT FROM THE LIBRARY RIGHT NOW!"

So what can we learn from this experience?

1. There exists at least one library at MIT.

2. There exist at least two books that are elements of this library system.

3. At least two of the books contained in this library are *The Unbearable Lightness of Being* by Milan Kundera.

4. There exist at least two students at MIT who are not only literate, but also check out works of fiction from libraries.

5. The probability that two bloggers who live next to each other would randomly check out The Unbearable Lightness of Being within four weeks of each other is nonzero.

6. Given the above hypotheses, the probability that two such bloggers would take a stupid picture involving these two library books is 1.

Seriously! People at MIT read books! QED.

## Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Posted by: Kelly on November 2, 2006

What do you think is the probability that submitting exactly one paper on ULB for which I got an A where 94OMG I LOVED the Unbearable Lightness of Being!!! Milan Kundera is my new favorite person. I read Ignorance this summer and I'm working my way (slowly) through L'Identite, in the original French.

What do you think is the probability that submitting exactly one paper on ULB for which I got an A where 94<A<97 as a supplement to my application? I read Matt's entry on submission... I'm just not sure... Doesn't say a lot about me, except to show how I write and think about literature.

Posted by: elizabeth on November 2, 2006

The doctor said that God took a rib from Adam, making surgery the oldest profession.

The engineer noted that God separated heaven and earth from chaos, so engineering was the oldest profession.

The computer scientist smiled and said, "But who do you think created the chaos?"

Posted by: Evan Broder '10 on November 2, 2006

About what we can learn from the library experience, it seems that there are some implicit assumptions in the list of conclusions. Namely, it makes the assumption that "goingToRead(X)" implies "checkOutOfLibrary(X)" .

Actually, we just read Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel The Namesake in English class, and I found her style interesting. So I'm also considering reading the Interpreter of Maladies, her collection of short stories, next. Maybe Mitra will tell us how she liked it after she finishes reading.

-- Arkajit

Posted by: Arkajit Dey on November 2, 2006

Thanks Sam!

Posted by: elizabeth on November 2, 2006

Interpreter of Maladiesis brilliant. I haven't read any Milan Kundera yet, though. SADFACE.Posted by: Colin on November 2, 2006

Posted by: Mike on November 2, 2006

Posted by: Mikey Yang on November 3, 2006

You cant assume that she checked her books out from the library, so only your book counts. If you do assume that she checked both of hers out from thelibrary, there exist atleast 3 books. While its still logically true that if 3 exist then 2 exist, its better to be specific, no? Also, you cant assume that she is literate, she said she was GOING to read, not that she WAS READING.

Posted by: Math-E-matician on November 3, 2006

Mikey -- Yes, really! I don't know, I think she looks like Beyonce in this picture for some strange reason.

Math-E-matician -- Ha, nice. This is why I switched to Chemical Engineering my sophomore year, I think. I hope Mitra does not read my comments, though.

Posted by: Sam on November 3, 2006

The Interpreter of Maladies= absolutely BRILLIANT. =)If I can only wrestle away

The Unbearable Lightness of Beingfrom my sister, I'd be... really, really happy. =PHave you tried reading Kiran Desai's new book

The Inheritance of Loss? I suggest you read it - now. It won the Man Booker Prize this year. =3 It'sgood.Go ahead and be literature eggheads - it's great to expand your mental viewpoint. Really. =D

Nice proof, btw. =)

Posted by: Michelle on November 6, 2006

Comments have been closed.