I just did more trig than I think I've done in the last 20 years put together, to figure out how to draw a regular five pointed star in PSTricks - like the one with overlapping lines, but without the overlapping lines. I guess this is an advice magnet, lol. No thanks.
It was exceedingly tedious, thoroughly painful, and I felt very sorry for everyone being made to do geometry and trig calculations in school. However I also felt extremely triumphant when I did it. I enjoyed being sure I could do it; I just didn't enjoy doing it.
And somehow when you're a pure mathematician you mostly need to know you can do things, but you don't need to do them.
A case in point is that I declared I had drawn the pentagon when I hadn't actually drawn it, just calculated the coordinates I needed!
(I mean, the star)

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More from @DrEugeniaCheng

2 May
I bought one experimental pair of stretchy pants for the summer (three quarter length) and that's it, I might just never wear non-stretchy pants again. (Previously I've only had stretchy long pants. I had stretchy shorter ones but only for home as they look like PJs.)
Well either they've managed to make these new ones not look like PJs, or my standards have changed! Or possibly a little of both.
Non-stretchy pants are doomed not to fit me one way or another, because my waist measurement is about 4 inches bigger when sitting down, so there's no way a non-stretchy pair can fit both standing up and sitting down.
Read 5 tweets
22 Feb
I am musing about why students tell me they don't know something (eg on the homework) rather than looking it up on The Internet. Have we somehow given them the impression that googling something is "cheating"? When in fact it is now an important life skill, in my opinion.
I wonder if education spends too long telling them Wikipedia doesn't count as a source, without also explaining to them that it's a perfectly good way of starting to find things out as long as you read it sensibly, and it's better than not even trying to find out.
I mean, maybe they think that pasting the homework question into google is cheating. But I carefully write homework questions so that pasting it into google will help them with background information but won't actually just tell them the answer.
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb
I really enjoy going further and further back "to scratch" like with the tiramisu... for me it's a lot like trying to go back to first principles in math, which is why I'm a category theorist.
I think to go back further "to scratch" with tiramisu I'd have to make my own brandy, raise my own cows and chickens... and also grind my own cocoa from beans, maybe grow wheat and coffee... I'm not going to do that. I think it's like the fact that I'm not a set theorist!!!
I did once try making chocolate from beans. It was...gritty. Now I make it from raw cacao butter and powder. That's as from-scratch as I'm going with chocolate.
Read 8 tweets
19 Feb
I'm doing that thing where I was just improving one line of my proof and that turned into an entire paper. And then I was fixing one line of that proof, and that turned into an entire paper. And again. I'm currently in about the 6th nesting of something I started in 2013.
Along the way, this morning I also had my sort of annual "Ooh I think I've solved that thing I've been trying to solve since 2006" - but yet again, I haven't. But I get closer each time, so I'm optimistic that I might get there in 20 or 30 years if I'm still around and lucid!
The thing I proved today might turn out to be one of those things that everyone knows and nobody bothered writing down (because everyone knows it). Which is really problematic, because then a) you can't cite anything, but b) you can't publish it because everyone already knows it.
Read 4 tweets
18 Feb
PSA: the tiramisu with my home-made mascarpone was totally bizarre. The mascarpone was extremely solid when I took it out of the fridge. When I beat it into the egg yolks it went completely runny, and just tasted of lemon, so I thought it was going to be terrible. But...
I compiled it anyway (little mini ones) and they completely firmed up again in the fridge, and taste...decent. The mascarpone is just a bit grainy. On reflection, I suspect this is because I used previously frozen cream.
I considered putting it through the cream machine after heating it and before adding the lemon, to make sure the fat and why was properly, er, back together. But I decided that the heating and lemon processes would override that.
Read 4 tweets
26 Oct 20
OK funny story related to my previous thread. It starts not-so-funny though: I was thinking about when I used to hang around in bars (when I was "young", and when there was no pandemic). Men very often tried to buy me drinks. I almost always declined.
Partly this is because I have a very low alcohol tolerance and prefer to keep my mental faculties. Partly it's because I will not accept a drink unless I have watched it being poured, straight out of a bottle. Partly it's in order not to give the wrong idea.
They almost always continued to insist. I continued to decline. Unfortunately I saw many women give in after a few rounds of the guy insisting, so of course this contributes to them thinking we don't mean it.
Read 9 tweets

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