Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

Patterns in Society

One of the most intriguing things about Mathematics is the patterns that can be found within the subject. It is possible to use a formula from one equation across the board and apply it to something else. It certainly helped me to make sense of the subject when I was at school as there seemed to be connections woven throughout the area of Mathematics.

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Patterns have always fascinated me, and it’s interesting to look into previous events and try to predict what might happen in the future. In terms of society, the ‘Arab Spring’ is also something that I have become interested in over the last couple of years. It could be argued that the uprising across Africa and Western Asia stemmed from the War in Iraq, and the citizens of these countries were inspired by the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein.

From there, the citizens of countries such as Egypt and Libya revolted against their respective leaders, with varying degrees of success. The media is now obviously focused on events surrounding Syria and it remains to be seen whether there will be some sort of intervention from outside forces; of course this all depends on the Western media’s portrayal of the issue.

The uprising in Egypt was generally successful, compared with that in Libya. Although the majority of the people of Libya, and Western leaders, got what they wanted, there is still unrest in the country where opposing forces are still fighting and the newly appointed provisional parliamentary republic is having trouble enforcing their control on the country.

It is important to look at the patterns of the past to determine what the future holds for the country of Syria.

Further Information

Harry Collins – Using a VPN to Communicate in Middle East and Africa – US IP Proxy

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Math and Music


Music is written in a notational form that can be easily converted to mathematical symbols. Through doing so it soon becomes apparent that the basis of all music that is commonly thought of as ‘beautiful’ uses repetition.

A motif in music is introduced and then it is repeated and altered. The setting up of expectation of repetition in music and then fulfilling or dashing that expectation explains the dynamic of music. It is a series of patterns essentially that is behind the aesthetics of all music from chamber music to death metal.

This sets up an interesting question: is it possible to write music that is totally absent of pattern? This is different to random music – rather music that has patterns but no pattern is repeated. To do this math is needed.

John Costas was hired by the US Navy to solve the problem with the sonar ping. For the ping to work a sound with patterns where no pattern was repeated was needed. He solved the problem by using the Prime Number Theory developed by Evariste Galois. Each component of the ping was mathematically related to the next but no pattern was repeated.

The speaker in the talk (Scott Rickard) used the work of Costas that borrowed from Evariste Galois to write a piece of music without repetition. It should be the ugliest piece of music ever written as it is devoid of repeating patterns.

In a sense this music realizes the dream of the composer Schoenberg in his movement called ‘the emancipation of the dissonance’.

After listening to the talk and musical piece on TED it is worth reading the comments
(http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/scott_rickard_the_beautiful_math_behind_the_ugliest_music.html) as it details some of the key points of what is pattern? How does the mind perceive pattern? How is math converted to music?

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