Sunday, 17 November 2013

S6.192 - Jumping to Conclusions

The Story So Far: The personified math-tans have been cast out of mathematics. Seeking probability in order to return, Logan and his crew made it to Fractal City - but not without cost. As his group try to understand the fractal inhabitants, the other mathematical relations struggle to come to terms with the repercussions of losing a primary function.

All eyes were now on Elizabeth Weierstrass. "Dr. Weier, exactly what do you mean when you say 'experience another galaxy'?" Logan finally inquired.

"Metaphor. For statistics and probability," Weier answered. "The world you seek is accessible through our Jump Gate. But it's password protected. To get in, you'll first need to talk with the characteristic function of a set."

"Fine. So let's meet him or her and get on with it," Radik said, gesturing vaguely.

Weier shook her head. "Not so fast," the diplomatic woman countered. "You're products of an outdated education system. The fact you made it here at all is a minor miracle. Before you move on, I ask you... can you leave everything that you are behind? Your feelings, your politics, your agendas? Are you willing to accept even your own irrelevance?"

Hevvi let out a breath. "If you're just going to insult people, can I go? We step functions aren't with this high school group anyway."

Weier turned her gaze onto the Heaviside function. "If you like. In fact, we can send you all the way home. There is a Jump Gate on your steppe."

Flora drew in a sharp breath, and Signum's eyebrows went up. "Ohmigod. That thing?" the sign function said. "The big ring with the four long rails? We could never figure out what it was! It's a Pump Gate?"

There's a connection between rings and fields?

"Hm. So you did spot it. A Jump Gate, yes - with the right dialing equipment, it is capable of opening a vortex into hyperspace. We have one here in the basement of the X-Mansion."

The three step functions exchanged glances. Then Hevvi turned back to Weierstrass. "How many of these things are there?"

"Unknown," Weier answered. "At least seven. We manage the one here in Fractal City, directing the few communications that come through it. They're mostly from humans who have stumbled upon our existence by accident, or as part of their jobs, and who have then become curious."

"Along with the one in Fractal City, the one on the steppe, and the one to probability," Howie Mandelbrot chimed in, simultaneously counting off on his fingers. "There's one leading to lesser used functions like Mink and Con, one leading to the Argand Plane, and lastly two more that act only as beacons. We haven't figured out exactly where they go."

"Some Jump Gates only work intermittently," Weier noted. "Ours included."

"Hold on a minute!" ParaB said. "Our mission is to get back to our subject of mathematics," she reminded, scanning the others in the room. "If we can use a Jump Gate to go directly there, we don't need to worry about probability."

"Math has no Jump Gate," Howie said bluntly. "Because the system you work in cares for very little beyond standardized tests."


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