A Puritan twist in our nature makes us think that anything good for us must be twice as good if it's hard to swallow. Learning Greek and Latin used to play the role of character builder, since they were considered to be as exhausting and unrewarding as digging a trench in the morning and filling it up in the afternoon. It was what made a man, or a woman -- or more likely a robot -- of you. Now math serves that purpose in many schools: your task is to try to follow rules that make sense, perhaps, to some higher beings; and in the end to accept your failure with humbled pride. As you limp off with your aching mind and bruised soul, you know that nothing in later life will ever be as difficult.What a perverse fate for one of our kind's greatest triumphs! Think how absurd it would be were music treated this way (for math and music are both excursions into sensuous structure): suffer through playing your scales and when you're an adult you'll never have to listen to music again. And this is mathematics we're talking about, the language in which, Galileo said, the Book of the World is written. This is mathematics, which reaches down into our deepest intuitions and outward toward the nature of the universe -- mathematics, which explains the atoms as well as the stars in their courses and lets us see into the ways that rivers and arteries branch. For mathematics itself is the study of connections: how things ideally must and, in fact, do sort together -- beyond, around and within us. It doesn't just help us to balance our checkbooks; it leads us to see the balances hidden in the tumble of events and the shapes of those quiet symmetries behind the random clatter of things. At the same time, we come to savor it, like music, wholly for itself. Applied or pure, mathematics gives whoever enjoys it a matchless self-confidence, along with a sense of partaking in truths that follow neither from persuasion nor faith but stand foursquare on their own. This is why it appeals to what we will come back to again and again: our **architectural instinct** -- as deep in us as any of our urges.
Ellen Kaplan
What is the life of one person worth? Although the Supreme leader Kim Jong-un is not suicidal, life to him is relatively cheap, after all he had his half-brother murdered. The countries population of almost 25 million people is harshly subjugated and the military consists of 5,200,000 men and women both active and in the reserves. Although his military ranks as 25th of the worlds military powers, it is the development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems that makes Kim Jong-un so dangerous. It is estimated that they have about a dozen nuclear devices that could most likely be delivered as far as Japan. Of course their future targets, including the United States are more ambitious. In contrast to their troop strength, the United States has 1,400,000 personnel under arms, South Korea has only 624,465 and China has 2,333,000 personnel. Our advantage is primarily technical, however regardless of our superiority in battlefield technology, oil which they get from China, remains the lifeblood of their supporting economy and army. North Korea has threatened to fire missiles at the U. S. military bases in Okinawa and Guam. The reality of a war is that we would most likely win such a conflict but at a very high cost. The biggest losers of a war on the Korean Peninsula would be South Korea, North Korea and the United States in that order. If there were to be a winner it would be Russia. What are we thinking? Perhaps we should come up with a better strategy.
Captain Hank Bracker