19 May 2008

Can you believe that?

I've often heard that football fans refer to their favourite team in religious terms. This is a kind of metaphor. Or is it not?

Apparently not. I'm not a sociologist but I'm almost convinced that the type of faith certain people have towards, say, their favourite sports team or political party is very similar (biologically?) to a religious faith.

In Argentina, football fans have taken a step closer towards establishing a firm link between sports faith and religious faith. They established the Church of Maradona-God's Hand or Iglesia Maradoniana-la Mano de Dios, that reveres the football player Diego Maradona. One of its founders, Alejandro Verón, says: “I have a rational religion and that’s the Roman-catholic church, and I have a religion passed on my heart, passion, and that’s Diego Maradona."

(Why, exactly, the catholic church constitutes a rational religion requires closer examination...)

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It may be argued that reverence is not towards football but towards a specific person. So it behooves us to ask whether we can find another example of religious faith towards a living person. We don't have to go too far. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (the Queen's husband), is the God of the Vanuatu people in South Pacific.

Prince Philip is apparently well aware that he serves as God, so he makes sure that, from time to time, his photographs are shipped over to the Vanuatu people.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant