I became a mathematician because I despise knots. Mathematicians like to study knots to death. To death.
I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet most people don’t hate knots and knotting phenomena as much as I do.
Every time I see a knot I have an irresistible urge to untie it, or in the immortal words of my father, make it “straighten up and fly right.”
One manifestation of my hatred of entanglement was my childhood dread of looping around objects. Say there are two entrances to a house. If I enter by entrance A and left by entrance B, then the next time I’d enter by B, or else risk getting my life path tangled up in the house perpetually. I may very well have been certifiably OCD when I was 7.
I’m bringing this up because I read physicists in India have discovered that microwave photons don’t have any such qualms. Say a microwave photon is headed for your pizza in the microwave oven. We now know the photon is perfectly OK with waltzing around the house, climbing out a window, going to the neighborhood 7-Eleven for a hot dog, remembering it forgot to bring its wallet, coming back to your house by the front door, getting its wallet, climbing back out the window, going to the 7-Eleven to get a hot dog, remembering that microwave photons don’t eat hot dogs, shrugging, coming back to the house by the front door, and finally plunging into your pizza.
Who’s the crazy one now? Me, or the microwave photon? By the way, I may have exaggerated. But still, the researchers proved that microwave photons do loopy things. That part is science.
It now occurs to me the light coming inside this room through the holes in the window screen is not all just coming straight in and immediately lighting the room. Some of it is coming in one hole and going out another and coming back through a third. What a mess.
Speaking of messes, Trump may have figured out a way to get rid of not only a lot of fake news but close to all print news, fake or not, just by exploiting the fact that newspapers need paper.
That’s really what I dread, after all, it’s not so much knots as entanglements and being tied up to things.
Newspapers need newsprint; Real Change is tied to the making of paper. Did you know that Charles Fenerty invented newsprint in 1844 in Nova Scotia, Canada? Me neither. Did you know that a lot of printers in the United States have been getting their newsprint from Canada? I did not know that either until a week or so ago, when I found out that the Trump administration had put tariffs on cheap Canadian imports of newsprint, forcing printers of newspapers to use more expensive domestic-made newsprint.
It’s been said Canada subsidizes its paper manufacturers, which is not fair, but I haven’t seen any evidence that anyone ever looked into the possibility that our government could fight back by subsidizing our own paper manufacturers. Wouldn’t that have been a nice solution? But, no.
Trump’s answer to everything is to punish someone. And isn’t this a great opportunity? You can punish Canada for subsidizing its newsprint makers and simultaneously increase costs of publishing U.S. newspapers.
He says he’s doing it to help domestic newsprint manufacturers, but I’m sure that if he could raise taxes on them too, he would. That might destroy newspapers in this country altogether.
He says he wants to protect American jobs, but not all American jobs are equal; and if your job is, let’s say, watching what Trump does and calling him out on his actions, then your job is about the least equal of any in the country, as far as Trump is concerned.
Some additional idle thoughts to waste more paper:
• “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” Have you ever thought about the fact that the power to destroy is the power to destroy? Seriously. Power is power. Everyone should have some.
• So far it looks like the increased cost of printing a Real Change newspaper will be one-fifth of a penny per paper. Trump’s evil plan is not working, yet.
• In American colonial times, there was a duty on the import of immigrants to the colonies. The duty was a tax on the importers, not the immigrants. Another example of how you can tax a thing better if you legalize it. Stay open to the possibilities!
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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