I’ve been reading a few pages every few days in Jordan Ellenberg, *How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking* (New York: Penguin Books, 2014). Jordan Eilenberg is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Here are a couple of items from his book:

**“To paraphrase Clausewitz: Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means.” (13)**

**“Mathematics is not settled. Even concerning the basic objects of study, like numbers and geometric figures, our ignorance is much greater than our knowledge. And the things we do know were arrived at only after massive effort, contention, and confusion. All this sweat and tumult is carefully screened off in your textbook.” (14)**

And here’s an anecdote from the Second World War that Eilenberg tells and that I enjoyed and thought quite significant:

“Abraham Wald and the Missing Bullet Holes”

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A few other quotations about mathematics, which Carl Friedrich Gauss (a mathematician, naturally) called “the queen of the sciences”:

**“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.” (Bertrand Russell)**

**“You do not study mathematics because it helps you build a bridge. You study mathematics because it is the poetry of the universe. Its beauty transcends mere things.” (Jonathan David Farley)**

I actually began my undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University as a mathematics major. I decided fairly quickly that there were other things that stirred my passions more, but I can’t say that I haven’t occasionally regretted my change of major. And I retain a more than wistful interest in the subject. Life is short — but all of the roads not taken fill me with enthusiasm for the eternities ahead.

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Some news flashes from the world of science:

“We Might Need to Redefine ‘Planet’ Again”

This one is consistent with what I’ve been posting about consciousness and “mysterianism” lately:

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A nice explanation, for those who’ve wondered:

“What’s So ‘Anti’ About Antimatter?”