Getting My Geek On

I finally got hold of Alex Lloyd's third album, Distant Light the other day. It's the aural equivalent of me snuggling up in a blanket on a spring day: it's invigourating but also deeply comforting. However, most days I'm listening to Canadian band Alaska in Winter - their album continues to worm its way into my ears.

And most days I am passing time by harking back to my roots. My grandmother sews, knits, crochets, embroiders and works with paper; my mother crochets, works with paper and even writes songs; my uncle P. paints, does graphic design and builds small castles in his back garden.. you get the picture. We are a creative bunch. I can sew, knit, crochet, do calligraphy, work with paper, paint and dabble in photography with quite good results. Right now I crochet and am re-discovering my love for textiles, textures and multi-dimensional shapes. It is exciting to see something I have in my head suddenly begin to appear between my hands just through using a hook and some scrap yarn. Exciting, I tell you!

And then you get people who think of crocheting as a mathematical exercise. The Institure for Figuring has an entire subsite dealing with Hyperbolic Space. It's actually really damn cool:

We have created a world of rectilinearity. The rooms we inhabit, the skyscrapers we work in, the grid-like arrangement of our streets, the shelves on which we store our possessions, and the freeways we cruise on our daily commute speak to us in straight lines. But what exactly is a straight line? And how do such “objects” relate to one another?

This question, so seemingly trivial, lies at the heart of a conundrum that dates back to the dawn of the Western mathematical tradition. Though seemingly obvious, the property of “straightness” turns out to be a subtle and surprisingly fecund concept. Understanding this quality ultimately led mathematicians to discover a radical new kind of space that had hitherto seemed abhorrent and impossible.