Daily Update: Friday, August 21st, 2015

Pius X

Today is the Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope (died 1914).

Born as Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto in 1835 in Riese, Austria (now Italy), today’s Saint was one of eight children of an impoverished village cobbler. He early felt a calling to the priesthood, and studied at the seminary of Padua, Italy, becoming known as an exceptional student. Ordained a priest in 1858, he steadily moved up in the Church hierarchy, becoming Bishop of Mantua, Italy in 1884. He was created Cardinal-Priest of Saint Bernardo alle Terme in 1893, and three days later was named Patriarch of Venice. He was chosen as the 257th pope in 1903, taking the name Pius X. He destroyed the last vestiges of Jansenism by advocating frequent and even daily Communion, and lowered the age of first Communion from age 12 or 14 to age 7. He reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back to services. He also reorganized the Roman curia and the other administrative elements of the Church, revised the Breviary, and and revised the teaching of the Catechism. He fought Modernism, which he denounced as “the summation of all heresies,” and worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. His will read: “I was born poor; I lived poor; I wish to die poor.” He was canonized in 1954, and is the Patron Saint of pilgrims, of the Patriarchate of Venice, and of first communicants.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and did my Internet Devotional Reading on our way to work today. Once at work Richard was on Pai Gow. I was on a Blackjack table, and did the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day, but I worked a couple of 40-minute periods during the middle of the shift, so I can’t complain too much. However, my day was not helped by a drunk player who missed the 4:30 am bus, missed the 7:00 am bus (with the next bus leaving at 5:00 pm), and then asked if he could get a hotel room (which he could not). He was not a joy to deal to, by any means.

When we got home from work I read the morning paper, then spent the rest of the afternoon converting my artists/groups under the letter C from WMA to MP3 on the computer, and then moving the MP3 files to my Android and to the 128gb Flash Drive I also did some Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. Michelle came over at about 4:00 pm; we watched Jeopardy! at 5:00 pm, she gave me a check on her account, and she and Cody will come over when LSU has their season college football opener against McNeese State on September 5th (which is also my birthday). I then got a bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce, and got busy with today’s Daily Update. When I finish with dinner and with the computer I will get ready to go to bed. In the tropics, Danny is a Category 3 Hurricane, due to hit Puerto Rico at 2 pm on Tuesday, and to be over Hispaniola at 2 pm Wednesday. By then, we should know if the storm will go into the Gulf of Mexico, or make a northern curve before it reaches Florida. And when I downloaded the LSU Men’s Basketball Schedule and the LSU Women’s Basketball Schedule as ICS files to import to my Google Calendar (under Sports), I found that our LSU Men’s Basketball team has been doing an exhibition tour down under in Australia. (Geaux Tigers!)

Tomorrow is the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Being a Saturday, we will work at the casino. After we get home I will read the morning newspaper, then go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. The First Quarter Moon will arrive at 2:32 pm. I will then read and eat lunch at McDonald’s, then go to the 4:00 pm Mass. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Saints will play their second pre-season football game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the New England Patriots.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from William Thurston, American mathematician. Born in 1946 in Washington, D.C., he received his bachelors degree from New College (now New College of Florida) in 1967. For his undergraduate thesis he developed an intuitionist foundation for topology. Following this, he earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. His Ph.D. advisor was Morris W. Hirsch and his dissertation was on Foliations of Three-Manifolds which are Circle Bundles. After completing his Ph.D., he spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study, then another year at MIT as Assistant Professor. His early work, in the early 1970s, was mainly in foliation theory (a foliation is a geometric device used to study manifolds, which are topological spaces that near each point resemble Euclidean space). In fact, Thurston resolved so many outstanding problems in foliation theory in such a short period of time that it led to a kind of exodus from the field, with advisors counseling students against going into foliation theory because Thurston was “cleaning out the subject”. In 1974 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. His later work, starting around the mid-1970s, revealed that hyperbolic geometry played a far more important role in the general theory of 3-manifolds than was previously realized. The geometrization theorem has been called Thurston’s Monster Theorem, due to the length and difficulty of the proof. Complete proofs were not written up until almost 20 years later. In 1981 he announced the orbifold theorem, an extension of his geometrization theorem to the setting of 3-orbifolds. Two teams of mathematicians around 2000 finally finished their efforts to write down a complete proof, based mostly on Thurston’s lectures given in the early 1980s in Princeton. In 1991 he returned to UC-Berkeley as Professor of Mathematics and in 1993 became Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. In 1996 he moved to University of California, Davis. In 2003 he became Professor of Mathematics at Cornell University. In later years Thurston widened his attention to include mathematical education and bringing mathematics to the general public. He has served as mathematics editor for Quantum Magazine, a youth science magazine, and as head of The Geometry Center. As director of Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from 1992 to 1997, he initiated a number of programs designed to increase awareness of mathematics among the public. In 2005 Thurston won the first AMS Book Prize, for Three-dimensional Geometry and Topology. The prize “recognizes an outstanding research book that makes a seminal contribution to the research literature”. In 2012 Thurston was awarded the Leroy P Steele Prize by the AMS for seminal contribution to research. The citation described his work as having “revolutionized 3-manifold theory”. In mathematics the Erdős number describes the “collaborative distance” between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers; Thurston has an Erdös number of 2 (died 2013): “Many people have an impression that mathematics is an austere and formal subject concerned with complicated and ultimately confusing rules for the manipulation of numbers, symbols, and equations, rather like the preparation of a complicated income tax return. Good mathematics is quite opposite to this. Mathematics is an art of human understanding. … Our brains are complicated devices, with many specialized modules working behind the scenes to give us an integrated understanding of the world. Mathematical concepts are abstract, so it ends up that there are many different ways they can sit in our brains. A given mathematical concept might be primarily a symbolic equation, a picture, a rhythmic pattern, a short movie — or best of all, an integrated combination of several different representations.”

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