Maximum Randomness Meets Its Match

Years ago when Ernő Rubik's Cube was a hot gift idea, the brother-in-law introduced me to the mathematical concept of maximum randomness.  Apparently there is a position of the colored pieces of Rubik's Cube from which ANY move takes you closer, not farther away from, the solution: the maximum order of a single color on each face of the cube.

Maximum chaos, or maximum randomness.

Like the sign in the hands of the panhandler says: "Anything would help."

An interesting math concept.  When brother-in-law handed me his mixed-up Rubik's Cube and announced that, for once, anything I did would help, I of course had to take it on faith.  He's a bright guy and takes his mathematics quite seriously, after all.

"Maximum chaos" has bounced around in my mind [I know: "Is he talking about the concept or the usual background noise in his brain now?" And how could I tell?] since the early 1980s.  But I'm not sure I ever really believed in the idea until last week.

I have met maximum randomness in the real world!  It's not pretty.

Opening a new box of blue nitrile gloves from my usual supplier, I beheld not 100 blue nitrile powdered gloves, size medium, lying flat and docile in a stack like Kleenex; I beheld a box packed with the shriveled carcasses of withered blue cocoons, a mass grave of blue nitrile prunes preserved clutching each other in their final agony, an expended and dessicated worm-orgy of rubber gloves packed, pressed, sealed at the factory in Thailand so I could save my delicate digits from the ravages of the industrial workplace.

The picture is a handful of gloves.  Six? Eight? Hard to tell.

How do you even put these on your hand?  There's no opening.

Somebody once said, "You must find the way."  Maybe it was Lao Tzu.  Maybe it was somebody who merely looked like Lao Tzu (which come to think of it is probably most of everybody, ever, on on the planet).

At this point maximum randomness is your friend.  Reach out and pinch a little piece of blue glove anywhere.  It doesn't matter where.  with your other hand pull the wad of wrinkly glove away from the pinch.  There.  You have introduced ORDER to the system.  You will now be able to see the glove shape, to find the opening, and to introduce your hand to the inner sanctum of industrial safety.

Why did I write this?  I figured, "Anything would help!"


Bücherverbrennung 10 May 1933

It might start with burning books, but it ends with piles of corpses.  It starts with "purification" of thought and speech, and ends up with secret police enforcing the will of the State.  It starts with the self-appointed cultural elite having the "correct" ideas, and becomes a death cult. 

On this day 85 years ago, 10 May 1933, the Deutsche Studentenschaft student group staged a massive book burning at the Opera Plaza in Berlin. 

[photo credit Liz Sheld's PJ Media Morning Briefing]

German Wikipedia pompously explains:

"On May 10, 1933, in National Socialist Germany, book burnings took place as part of an action against the non-German spirit of the German student body. Tens of thousands of books by Jewish, Marxist and pacifist writers were publicly confiscated and burned in 22 university towns, beginning with the Berlin Opera Square. In June 1933, and in the months thereafter, numerous other actions followed. The staging and the cult ritual, the systematics of performance have given this auto-da-fé the rank of uniqueness in the continuity of the historical series from antiquity to the most recent present." [thanks, google translate!]

Side note. The German wiki authors seem to be hedging their bets, striving to place the late National Socialist unpleasantness in a wider historical context. "Continuity of the historical series." See! Even St. Paul condoned burning the books of the pagan sorcerers! Yeah, Acts 19. Hmpf. The big difference, though? The Mages of Ephesus voluntarily converted and brought their own books for destruction.

One thing burning is good for: totalitarians. Kill the beast, cut off its head, burn it, grind the ash and flush it down the sewers.

As Gerard says,

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.