Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tolkien, Turing, and Nonlinear Reasoning


I just finished giving a midterm exam in one of my classes. Of course, I spent much time thinking about the bonus questions, which I call Nonlinear Reasoning, being a mixture of course topics and humor.

One of bonus questions was the following:


(The Turing Test, proposed by Alan Turing, determines whether a machine can be considered intelligent or not.)
Those who are versed in the War of the Ring could easily deduce that the correct answer to this question is "One Ring":
Sauron and Gollum are not interested in passing the Turing Test because they are only interested in the One Ring.
However, most of my students just answered "ring".

Since I am not a terror teacher, I guess I will have to give these students partial points. However, I also have to be reasonable and just in giving it to them. Since there are twenty Rings of Power in all – Three for the Elven-kings under the sky; Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone; Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die; One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne – I have decided to give them 1/20 points or 0.05 points.

As a teacher, it really is difficult at times to balance being considerate and just to students. In medio virtus: virtue is to be found at the middle, a Latin saying goes. But I think I may just have hit the middle in this recent predicament.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day: A Haiku and a Trivia


Today is Pi Day. Happy Pi Day everyone!

March 14 is celebrated in the Geek World as International Pi Day. The derivation of this celebration, being straightforward, is left for the readers [1],  following the great tradition of math textbooks.

I wish to join today's celebration by presenting an original haiku (a form of short Japanese poetry) and a well-known trivia.


Pi Haiku

Circumferential Pi
A point went around
Its distance traveled divided by twice the length of a rotating arm
Behold! Pi is in hand.


Pi Trivia

Do you want to remember the value of pi up to 14 decimal places? 
Just memorize the sentence below.

 "How I need a drink, alcoholic, of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics."

The number of letters in each word gives out the digits of pi in order. 
You should be able to get 3.14159265358979.


Photo credit: "Pumpkin Pi" by bigfoot13 in www.sxc.hu
------
[1] But we provide the solution here:
The numerical format of March 14which is 3/14, contains the first three digits of pi.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Lord of the Kings : A Christmas Movie Project - Part I



Three kings will see a great star in the bright blue sky,
Seven men will follow it and lead them far;
Nine days it shall guide them to the greatest King,
One whose kingdom shall have no end.
In the land of Judah, He shall lie,
One King to rule the world, one who'll redeem men;
One King to save the world, and from their sins release them,
In the land of Judah, He shall lie.

Following a great star, the Three Kings of the Orient are led to Rivendell. There, the Elf-Lord Elrond explained to them The Prophecy. Together with Anakin, Harry, Neo and Aragorn, they embark on a journey to bring the Crown of Prophecy to the Lord of the Kings. But the journey turns out to be perilous, for the evil KingWraights are coming after them.

THE LORD OF THE KINGS
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE KING
PART I


This is a script written for a 2005 highschool Christmas Movie Project. 
Note that this is not written according to standard scriptwriting rules.



CHARACTERS


MELCHOR : wiseman from the East with the gift of gold
GASPAR : wiseman from the East with the gift of frankincense
BALTHAZAR : wiseman from the East with the gift of myrrh
HARRY : a young wizard
NEO : The One
ANAKIN : Jedi apprentice
ARAGORN : a Ranger
ELROND : Elven Lord of Rivendell
HEROD : The Other King
HALDIR : Elf from Rivendell
WITCHKING : Leader of the KingWraiths
SEN. PAT-PATIN : Dark Jedi
SPY, WIZARD1, WIZARD2


INTRODUCTION
Soft background music (almost like the beginning of Lord of the Rings). Pitch black screen slowly revealing a dark, star-studded sky. Camera pans across the sky. Camera moves down to reveal a town; zooms in to reveal a tower; zooms in further to reveal a man studying the stars.




THE STAR
BALTHAZAR
Observes the sky,while taking notes on a desk
Let me see. There's Canis major, Canis minor, all at their proper places. And of course that will be Polaris.
Scene showing the sky panning through these constellations
Then, there's Orion's Belt and...
He sees an unusually bright star
Hmmm...
Peers at the sky
What is this star? I've never seen this before.
Runs towards the tower
Gaspar! Melchor! Come in here! Take a look at this!

MELCHOR : What is it? Have you discovered anything?

BALTHAZAR : Look! There!!! (Pointing at the sky). That is one bright star we've never seen before!
 
MELCHOR : Hmmmn..That's right! I wonder what it could be.

GASPAR : That's funny. I never knew a star could have such brightness. It could not be Venus for Venus is not yet in the hemisphere, and even Venus could not be so bright!

BALTHAZAR : It's extremely beautiful . Look! One of its rays seems to be pointing to a particular direction!

MELCHOR : That's right! I think it's leading us to something.. or to someone! Good or evil, I do not know.

GASPAR : Something as bright and attractive as that could only lead us to something good! Or even holy!

BALTHAZAR : I agree! I suggest we follow it and see where it will lead us!

MELCHOR : Alright! I already feel a longing for another adventure.


THE JOURNEY BEGINS
The 3 kings are seen packing their things for the journey. Each one is shown preparing a gift  – gold for Melchor, frankincense for Gaspar, and myrrh for Balthazar.


THE RIDE TO RIVENDELL
The kings begin their journey to Rivendell at night, always being guided by the star.

BALTHAZAR : I can't move any further, and it's almost dawn. We need to find shelter.

MELCHOR : Yes. This place is scary. I think we have to go back.

Three elves come out of the forest each pointing a spear at the kings.
HALDIR : You have entered Rivendell, realm of the great elf-lord Elrond; you cannot go back.

Go to Part II (coming soon)

The Lord of the Kings
The Fellowship of the King
Script for a High School Christmas Movie Project 2005
©2013 www.newasymptotes.blogspot.com

Photo credit : SympleArts at DeviantArt.com

The Lord of the Kings : A Christmas Movie Project - Part IV

Three kings will see a great star in the bright blue sky,
Seven men will follow it and lead them far;
Nine days it shall guide them to the greatest King,
One whose kingdom shall have no end.
In the land of Judah, He shall lie,
One King to rule the world, one who'll redeem men;
One King to save the world, and from their sins release them,
In the land of Judah, He shall lie.

THE LORD OF THE KINGS
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE KING
PART IV
  


GOLD
More shots of the fellowship traveling. The fellowship is seen resting, camera focuses on Harry and Melchor.

HARRY : So you mean you are also a King?

MELCHOR: Yes, I am.

HARRY : Wow! That means you are able to do just what you want to do? Play when you want to, have all the food and leisure that you want? You can even not follow rules from time to time! That sounds really great!

MELCHOR : Harry, being a king means being a servant. A King has to think first about the welfare of his subjects, before he thinks of himself. He has to be a good example in following the rules he has given. But don't get the idea that this is not fun. I feel happy whenever I see my subjects happy.

HARRY : If I were a king I would play Quidditch the whole day. I don't have to work since I have all the gold in the kingdom. Do you have a lot of gold in your kingdom?

MELCHOR: Well, yes, we have gold, but not as much as the other kingdoms. Here, I bought this.  (He shows the gift to Harry)

HARRY : Wow! It's really nice!

MELCHOR : Though we don't have much gold in our kingdom, we excel in craftsmanship. Our goldsmiths are the best in our region.

HARRY : I agree. What are you bringing this for?

MELCHOR : When we first saw the star, we felt a certain aura of something divine, something powerful. Gold is a symbol of kingship. I thought of bringing this as a fitting gift from a king, but little did I know that I will be bringing it to the Greatest King of all.

HARRY: Hahaha, that was funny.

A wizard in sporty attire just pops up, holding a shoe.

WIZARD : Excuse me, would you mind telling me where Jerusalem is?

MELCHOR : Oh well, it's still couple of kilometers to the West.

WIZARD : Oh, I knew it! Miscalculated again! See you!  (The wizard just pops out of sight.)

HARRY: Wow! That person just apparated and disapparated. He must be a wizard!

MELCHOR : (talking back to Harry) Well you see, gold is....

Before he finishes his sentence, another wizard just pops up, holding a shoe.

WIZARD2 : By any chance, is Jerusalem near this place?

MELCHOR : Oh well, it's still couple of kilometers to the West.

WIZARD2: Oh!

HARRY : Wait! Before you disapparate, could you tell us what's happenning in Jerusalem?

WIZARD2: You mean you still don't know? Why, it's the Quidditch World Cup!!! Great teams competing! There's Drumstrung, Beaux-batton, Hogwarts, and, a new comer- the Philippine Quidditch Team!

HARRY : The Philippines has a Quidditch Team?

WIZARD2: Why, yes! It's called Galing-Tingting!

(Looks at his hourglass.) Sorry, I'd better be going. (The wizard pops out of sight.)

HARRY : Oh, I almost forgot, yes, it is at this time that they really hold the Quidditch Cup.

MELCHOR : Quidditch?

HARRY : You see it's a game we play in the wizarding world. I was actually chosen as a Team Captain but, I had to give it up to come to this mission.

MELCHOR : I see. You must be a bit dissappointed. It must often be so, Harry. You have to give up some things in order to receive another thing which is more worthwhile.

HARRY : (sourly) Yes, I gave up Quidditch, to accompany a bunch of Three Kings on a journey! Some fun it is! Had I been in the Quidditch Cup, I'm sure I'd do good, even become more famous than that Viktor Krum! Yes, that's it! This is my opportunity to really show what I've got! My time to shine! I can't let this pass! I've got to be there! I've got to go to the Quidditch Cup!

MELCHOR : But Harry...

(Before he could finish his words, Harry has already flown out with his Firebolt)

MELCHOR : Gaspar! Did you see that? That boy just left us!

GASPAR : Yes. Let him be. We shall bring this Crown to the Great King with or without any of these companions. Let's go! We have to continue. Time is not on our side.



FRANKINCENSE



More shots of the fellowship traveling

GASPAR : Your sword looks odd.

ANAKIN : This is not a sword, this a light saber. This is a weapon of the Jedi.

GASPAR : Jedi?

ANAKIN : Jedi are like knights that uphold the inter-galactic law. I am one of them.

GASPAR : Oh! You seem so young.

ANAKIN : Yes, I'm just 18.

GASPAR : Eighteen and already a knight? Unbelievable!

ANAKIN : (with a sad look, flashback)

I am still an apprentice. I was only 10 when I started training as a Jedi Knight. I'm sure I'll be a Jedi Knight one day, perhaps a Jedi Master, even.

GASPAR : Oh...

ANAKIN : Now, I've been thinking...


They are suddenly attacked by storm troopers

The three kings hide while Aragorn and Anakin fight

Anakin takes the thin leader of the Dark Force named Pat-Patin


They cross swords

PAT-PATIN : It's obvious that your Master Obi Wan has been training you well.

They cross swords

PAT-PATIN : You have great skill, Young Skywalker.

They cross swords

PAT-PATIN : It's a pity you cannot get the most of your power! I know of a way to harness all the power that's in you. A path much stronger than the Force.

They cross swords

ANAKIN: There's no such path!

PAT-PATIN : Yes, there is such a path! (Unswords Anakin)

PAT-PATIN : Come with me Anakin, come to the other side of the Force. And you will be more powerful that you could ever imagine!

(Anakin looks confused but amazed at the same time)

Aragorn is still fighting, swarmed by many enemies.

ARAGORN: Ani, where are you?

Anakin is seen leaving with Pat-Patin.

ARAGORN: No, Ani!! Don't leave us.

Aragorn continues to fight, goes to the Kings and leads the kings

ARAGORN : Let's go!

They reach a bridge, Aragorn let the Kings pass and turns around to meet the enemies

ARAGORN : You, shall not, pass!

Blackout


THE LORD OF THE KINGS

Shot of the star with its ray pointing downwards, camera pans down,

Shot from the back : Joseph and Mary holding the child are seen in a manger

Camera moves to show the three Kings offering the gift



VOICE OVER : And so through their faith, courage and self-giving, the three Kings reach Bethlehem, where the Lord of the Kings, Christ our Lord, is born.

Harry, Neo and Anakin did not see the Child: their vices prevented them from seeing beyond what this world has to offer.

The Kings offered the Child gifts of gold, frankinsence and myrrh.

Aragorn gave the Child the gift of his own life, the greatest he could offer.


(What Child is This is played as background music) 
Camera zooms out, pans to the sky, zooms to the Star.
Credits.
END


The Lord of the Kings
The Fellowship of the King
Script for a High School Christmas Movie Project 2005
©2013 www.newasymptotes.blogspot.com
 

The Lord of the Kings : A Christmas Movie Project - Part II



Three kings will see a great star in the bright blue sky,
Seven men will follow it and lead them far;
Nine days it shall guide them to the greatest King,
One whose kingdom shall have no end.
In the land of Judah, He shall lie,
One King to rule the world, one who'll redeem men;
One King to save the world, and from their sins release them,
In the land of Judah, He shall lie.


THE LORD OF THE KINGS
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE KING
PART II




MEETING WITH ELROND

The three are presented before ELROND
ELROND : Hmmnn...As I have more important concerns to think about, I will go directly to the point.
(Looks at the three menacingly) Who are you and what are you doing in my realm?

BALTHAZAR : I am Balthazar and this is Gaspar and Melchor. We are Kings from the Orient.

GASPAR : We take delight in the study of the stars. Last night we saw an exceedingly bright star. We knew right away that it is not an ordinary star for we observe the sky every night.

MELCHOR : What's more, one of its rays seems to be pointing to a particular direction. We decided to follow it to find out where it could lead us. We've been following it for two nights already and this is where it has led us.

ELROND : (Pensive) Are you sure of what you are saying? Are you not making up a story?
Deceit is punished by death in this realm!

BALTHAZAR : What we say is the truth.

ELROND : (Talks to himself) Strange indeed are these days! For here before my very eyes the prophecy is being fulfilled.

MELCHOR : Prophecy?

ELROND : Yes. I will explain in due time. In the meanwhile, cast your concerns aside and rest well while you await your companions.

GASPAR : But we do not have companions!

ELROND : You... shall have.

ARAGORN
Aragorn is seen battling 3 Ringwraiths with fire (or Uruk-Hai with sword) . Haldir comes to him from nowhere (riding on a horse?) to give him a scroll. He asks leave from the Ringwraiths/Uruk-hai as he reads the scroll. He then escapes and rides back with Haldir.

HARRY
Harry is seen flying a broomstick. (with electric fan effect, etc.), or fighting a Dementor, when an owl (or any bird) comes to him and gives him a letter. He reads it and flies off with his broom.

NEO
Neo is in the middle of his Kung-fu lessons with Morpheus. He gets a phone call and disappears.

ANAKIN
Anakin turns on a machine. A hologram of Elrond comes out.

ELROND : Anakin, save us. You're our only hope.


THE COUNCIL OF ELROND
In a huge open space, people of different races are gathered with Elrond presiding. A round table is in the middle. The three kings are seated. Harry enters flying on a broomstick; Neo enters in slow motion, his cape being blown by the wind; Aragorn enters on a horse or with sword in hand; Anakin enters with his light saber.

ELROND : Strangers of distant lands, friends of old. We are at the brink of that moment in history in which we are given an opportunity to see what Kings and the Great Men of Old wanted to see but never saw (pause); to hear what they wanted to hear(pause), but never heard. (longer pause)
Bring forth the crown, Haldir!

Haldir brings in the crown. Everyone looks at it with awe.
ELROND : Behold, the Crown of Prophecy!

NEO : So it is true! It's not a legend after all!

ELROND : Yes, it is true. (His voice becomes dreamlike) For ages now we have been waiting for the coming of the One (camera focuses on Neo, his face in disbelief) who will free us from our miseries, from our bondage. (the following portion could be implemented as a flashback with voice-over) Our forefathers longed for the day of the coming of the Lord of the Kings, the Messiah. They wanted to give him a fitting gift and so they gathered all the gold and precious stones of the land and forged a great Crown. They waited for one year, then another, and another. Generations upon generations waited for this great coming. When and where it would occur, no one knew. No one, until one night, an angel appeared to the Keeper of the Crown and declared the Great Prophecy. It is written all around the Crown and it could only be read under the moonlight when the time is ripe for its fulfillment. (focus on the crown, the letters begin to appear)

ELROND :
Looks closely at the Crown and begins reading the Prophecy slowly and loudly

Three kings will see a great star in the bright blue sky,
Seven men will follow it and lead them far,
Nine days it shall guide them to the greatest King,
One whose kingdom shall have no end.
In the land of Judah, He shall lie,
One King to rule the world, one who'll redeem men,
One King to save the world, and from their sins release them,
In the land of Judah, He shall lie.

ELROND : Yesterday, three Kings appeared in my realm claiming they saw a great star. It is now plain that the prophecy is being fulfilled, even as we speak.

ELROND : The task is to bring this Crown to the Messiah, the One to whom it was made for, as a fitting gift from the whole of Creation.

NEO : That's easy! Well, let's get on with it!

HARRY : (Quickly after Neo) I can take it and fly with it with my Firebolt!

ARAGORN : (Looks at Neo and HarryBringing the Crown will not be easy!  There is another king- Herod- who regards the Messiah as a threat to his throne. He will do everything in his power to destroy Him. 

ELROND : And it is the task of the ones who saw the Great Star to bring the Crown to the Messiah. (camera shot at Harry looking dismayed)

Camera pans to the three kings, then zooms to Gaspar, looking worried)
GASPAR : We cannot do this alone!

ARAGORN : If by my life or death, I can protect you, I will. (kneels before the three Kings)
You have my sword

ANAKIN : And my light saber...

HARRY : And my wand...

NEO : If this is the will of the council, then I will see it done.

ELROND : Seven companions! So be it! You shall be the Fellowship of the King!


The Lord of the Kings
The Fellowship of the King
Script for a High School Christmas Movie Project 2005
©2013 www.newasymptotes.blogspot.com