Tag Archives: the calculus wars

Aren’t librarians “bookies”?



So it’s been like six decades since I’ve read for pleasure*, which really blows ’cause I love to read for pleasure. My 200 Books list has idled unedited for far too long.

I actually found this really cool list that was a concatenation of 13 different “Top 100 Books” lists. As I was reading it over, there were quite a few books that I think should also be on my “200” list.

So here’s the plan:
I think I’m going to re-vamp my list, then start it all over again. Which I think would be a good thing. I seriously doubt I got a whole lot out of War and Peace when I read it as a 13-year-old. And this time I’ll give a review of each book upon completion.

Yay reading!

*The Calculus Wars doesn’t count. That wasn’t for pleasure. That was for stalking studying. Yeah. It was an…assignment. I had to read it. I totally didn’t go through it and creepily highlight a bunch of key stuff about Leibniz. That’d be wrong. I just read it for an assignment. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Alliteration’s Almost Always Appropriate

I’m sorry, but I must address this issue, as I had a dream about it mere hours ago (it’s like 10 AM) and if it’s infiltrated my dreams, it must be important to me.

So as I’ve stated, I’m reading The Calculus Wars. In the blog about said book, I briefly mentioned the fact that the book used the word “invented” to describe how calculus came about. As I read on, though, the author appears to switch randomly between the words “invented” and “discovered.”
As confused as I was at the beginning over this, I’m more confused now, mainly because I’m not sure which word should really be used. Really, what sounds more accurate?
If we say that Newton and Leibniz discovered calculus, that basically means that there is some sort of preexisting system of mathematics that humans are in the process of unlocking.
But if we say that they invented calculus, then it just seems kind of strange that they were able to just invent something with such mathematical power to explain all the things it explains.
But then again, I find it rather suspicious that human beings have developed these systems called “numbers” and “math” and they somehow magically explain the workings of the universe (velocity, the speed of light, rate of acceleration, etc.). I mean, don’t you find it the least bit suspicious that we can explain these things using simple formulas? It makes sense that the universe is ordered in some fashion, I just find it kind of odd that we’ve managed to gain possession of something that seems to be able to explain the patterns. It seems too easy, you know what I’m saying?


What if it’s all arbitrary?


(See, this is why I want to take freaking Metaphysics)

Choco Leibniz: The Best of All Possible Cookies

And if any of you get that joke, freaking congratulations, ’cause no one else has gotten it yet, save Sean.

Holy crap, you guys, you’ll never guess what I found!

So as a break from the insanity that is my Spring Break (at least it’s winding down a little, I think), my mom and I went up to Spokane for the day. Whenever we go to Spokane we make sure to visit Auntie’s bookstore, mainly because it actually has a good selection of books (unlike Hastings) and because you can actually buy things from there (unlike the library, to whom I apparently owe $161, but more on that later).

Today I had the pleasure of finding the book Calculus Wars, which basically describes the entirety of Newton’s and Leibniz’s feud over which one of them first invented* calculus. The fact that I’m reading a book about calculus proves how into Leibniz I really am, people.

But this isn’t the big thing of the day. I thought to myself when I got home, “you need to get some books on Leibniz, woman!” So I got online (Amazon.com), and typed in “Leibniz.”

This is what I found. This was like the fourth item down:


I am so incredibly amazed. I want these cookies. Like, now. I will do anything for these cookies.

In fact, I was so enthralled that I looked them up on Wikipedia. This is what I read:
“The brand name
Leibniz comes from the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. The only connection between man and biscuit is that Leibniz was one of the more famous residents of Hanover, where the company is based. At the time when the biscuit was first made, there was a fashion for arbitrarily naming products after famous people.”

Dear god, that is funny. I’m so getting my hands on these cookies.

And I could make so many jokes about them with regards to Leibniz’ philosophy, you don’t even want to know.

*Now here’s a thing I’m wondering: they use the verb invented to describe the introduction of the use of calculus. If mathematics (specifically, calculus) is a tool for understanding the universe, if it is the key that we have for unlocking all understanding of all things, why do they say we invented it? Shouldn’t they say, if math indeed explains the fundamental workings of all we could possibly need to understand, that we discovered it, since a tool that explains how things work should already exist and not have to be invented, just discovered? Just a thought…