Nature Photography

Snow Images: Mathematics Without Zero

So, the birds come to the local sumac bush, chitter, chitter, cheep cheep, chirp…

P1180116… and do what birds do best (other than the chirping)…

P1180117 The Mathematics of Randomness, by Birds

I dunno. Does this look random?

P1180112 Or this?

P1180110 I think if zero were removed from the mathematical grid, any semblance of randomness would disappear…

P1180121There would be no absence. And it’s not just the sumacs. The same applies with these yellow dock seeds, catching the sun and using its heat to sink themselves through the snow to the warm ground beneath.

P1180614These Ones Were Scattered by Wind

Zero is vastly important in mathematics, for sure, but what if there were an alternate mathematics, that it obscures, one without zero, like this:


It might be that, just like literacy, the invention of zero opened doors but closed others. I remember very well the world before I learned how to read. It was not like the one full of written words. I love written words, but I love that one, too, and I love this:

P1180615I bet men knew how to read this once. I bet young children still do.



4 replies »

  1. A fascinating thought, Harold — the world without zero. Very difficult to curl one’s mind around it, or so I find.
    Have been having a bit of a fraught time in England — just back a day ago — and am woefully behind in these posts. Should life quiet down I may catch up.
    Hope the pneumonia has been thoroughly vanquished by now.


    • Hi,

      the pneumonia will take many weeks more to vanquish, but I’m not in misery anymore, so that’s good. Heck, I can even post something again.

      Of course, zero is here to stay, but I think there’s another way, that has been overlooked.

      i don’t think paths should be overlooked.

      Welcome home. I’m sad to hear your time was fraught.




  2. I’m sorry to hear your pneumonia still lingers…and I do hope the photos you’ve used here were taken another time and that you’re not wandering about in the snow right now.

    Fraught was mainly because of troubles my friends there were having, but I think things are beginning to improve now. Still, it meant that all the walks and explorations we usually manage were completely sidelined by these other concerns. Which proves, I guess, that life doesn’t take human plans as seriously as it should!


    • Yes, these are old photos. Luckily, I have lots.

      I’m not up to any wandering at the moment. This is no minor case of pneumonia.

      Mind you, wandering would be pretty fine right now!

      I’m glad to hear that your friends’ lives are clearing a little.


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