Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I had my first lesson in the mathematics of the mal field. I was excited before we started; I thought this would be the beginning of my ability to understand The Sick Land, and the first step in helping to solve the expansion problem. I was wrong.

The models they use to describe the mal field are obtuse to the point of being incomprehensible. The simplest model, the toy example they gave me to work on, has thousands of continuous variables covering an enormous range of values. Slight differences in a single value can cause the model to generate wildly different predictions. I don't understand how anything gets done; if their sensors become slightly more accurate, the model can change dramatically.

It's even harder to get a grip on what's happening because of the computers they use. Obviously, it's impossible to solve anything by hand; I found I was just entering numbers and watching outputs, and I couldn't see any logic to the changes in the output as I changed the input.

I told myself I would try to understand, and I've spent the day studying the material they gave me. I'm none the wiser. I can't even understand the examples. I'll speak to the instructor tomorrow.

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