A List of Articles On Diverse Topics

By Robleh Wais

Articles of General Interest

Order Of An Element in Group Theory

For students of group theory here is a short tutorial on finding the order of an element in a group.

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A Fallacious Adage

Have you ever heard this fallacious saying: The enemy of my enemy is my friend In this article we look at why this is a fallacious adage.

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Are Our Devices Becoming Sentient?

I have begun to wonder about our devices with CNNs running on them becoming sentient. Here is my rumination on the topic.

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Enemy Of The State

Released in 1998, Enemy Of The State is not anything I'd rave about, except that it oddly presages what Ed Snowden warned us of: government invasion of our privacy.

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NEW Repartir is a song by the Brazilian group 2 Reis (2 Kings) I adore this song and just had to give it an English translation.

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Reversed English Words And Graph Theory

NEW Reversed Lettering and Graph Theory: Reversed English Words and mapping the reversed letters of common English words has become a new interest to me. Read the short intro below and maybe you will be intrigued too.

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Tim's Vermeer

The comedian skeptic duo Penn and Teller have released a documentary about how one man, Tim Jenison discovered how the 17th-century Dutch realistic painter, Johannes Vermeer may have created his famous The Music Lesson. I review it and the metaphysical questions it poses in this article.

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Hidden Figures

The film Hidden Figures was a wonderful little piece of film. Not perfect, somewhat on the bombastic side, but a real ground-breaking work about a period in American history that has been overlooked.

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The Revenant and The Hateful Eight

Two films in 2015 I reviewed in this essay.

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Commercial Festival on American TV

I thought Jeopardy was a commercial festival. Wait until you see what I found happens in commercial-infested American TV. This short study focuses on CBS News, but it's the same for the other two networks.

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Additional Articles

Network National News: An Advertiser's Paradise

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Reverse Lyrics in Stairway to Heaven

I review the debate back in the 80s that the hard rock song Stairway To Heaven contained a satanic message in the form of reversed lyrics

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Dying English Words

Some words are becoming archaic in modern English. I look at 5 such words in the following essay.

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Too many Thank Yous

What's happening to the phrase you're welcome? It seems to be disappearing as a salutary greeting.

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An Affair

This story written in diarist style is about an adulterous affair I had over 20 years ago. I've given fictional names to protect her even now, but the events are true. An example of how destructive, obsessive desire can be.

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Palindromes on the 12-Hour Clock

In this article we look at palindromic numbers that occur as a 12-hour clock proceeds through its cycles. There are 57 palindromic minutes in one cycle, but what if we start adding these palindromes together will new palindromes occur? This is what I'm studying now. There is a downloadable excel file contained within to help anyone interested in further analysis.

Read more Palindromic Mappings

On Reading

I am finding that reading paper material is becoming rare for me. Do notice this too? Are we becoming a read less society?

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Strange Attractors Spreadsheet

Complexity theory is a part of mathematics and studies phenomena that are fascinating to mathematicians and others within the field of science. Douglas Hofstadter presented an equation in the subdivision of complexity theory called Strange Attractors in his book GEB, circa 1987 (look up that acronym for the full title). I've turned it into an Excel file with a graph that shows the odd behavior of this equation. Have a look, I'm sure you'll be intrigued. Download it and use the instructions I've embedded on the sheet to see how with one seed, the function tends toward a certain value.

Download the spreadsheet

Fixacao (Fixation translation)

Kid Abelha or Kid Bee is a Brazilian popular music group that makes what might be called soft rock. I like some of their songs though few have very profound lyrics. Here is one I enjoy and have translated.

Read the translation Listen to the song

The Misuse of Verb To Go

Another in my series on English Grammar. This time we look at the verb To Go and how it's misused in common speech

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What is Possession?

Possession is a concept all of us know. The latest in my series of essays on Existentialism, we look at possession from an Existentialist perspective.

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The Martian: My Pre-review

The Martian, I'm reviewing it and haven't even seen it yet. Find out why here.

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What is Nothing?

Have you ever wondered what is nothing? Just what does that word mean? Is there some strange way that Nothing exists? This is what the following article is about.

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The song, Esfera (Sphere) is a mesmerizing look at loneliness and love from the point of Rosy Aragao. She is an English instructor in Brazil or so I am told. So, I just had to put this 7-minute song into English. The song hypnotizes me with reflection.

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The Difference Between Chance and Accident

How are chance and accident related? Have you ever thought about what chance is? Well, surely it's a random event. But have you ever wondered if when an accident occurs it too is a chance event? In the essay below I make the point that one is existential, and the other is contrived.

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TV Drug Commercials

TV drug advertisements drive us crazy, right? Here is my take on this form of irritation.

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Football Games And Commercials

It is true when you watch a football game you only see 11 minutes of actual gameplay Sorry, I didn't get this written during the 2015-2016 season. Have a look at my timed study.

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The Biggest Sham in America: Voting

Voting in America is a topic that has been a bone of contention with friends of mine. I have never voted and never will. In this article, I explain why.

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Inductive Logical Method

What is the difference between Inductive and Deductive Logic? In this review of the fields, I compare the two and use a fictitious example to illustrate the difference.

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Are We Finite?

It is a popular idea that all we do and make is limited and finite. We know we will die and our relatives too. But in this essay, I try to look at it from a different perspective. What if we can be infinite as a species?

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Goedel Numbering

Goedel Numbering is the basis for Kurt Goedel's famous Incompleteness Theorem. In this article, I explain it and explore its implications.

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The King Came Long Live The King

O Rei Chegou Viva O Rei

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Onde Anda O Meu Amor

This song is Jorge Ben's tribute to monarchy, I guess. It describes the kind of ruler you'd find in 18th Century Europe, but the chanting, melodic development, and driving beat takes you in when you listen, though the lyrics are shallow platitudes.

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Burn After Reading

The Coen Brothers have made so many good films. This one is called Burn After Reading. It's a comedy and boy what a good laugh it is. I of course relate it to mathematics.

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What is Prayer

Is Prayer Just Hope? Is it different from hoping? This is what this next article in the Existentialism series looks at

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Content Page

Do you like your given name? What if we could choose our names at some point after we were born? Until then, what if we had a temporary name? I think this system could work in any culture. See why.

Self Naming
Content Page

Hector Hugh Munro was a 19th-century Burmese-born British writer with the pen name Saki. He wrote many spell-binding short stories. The Interlopers is the first I'll review. There are many more to come. Here is my take on a story of men in deadly conflict that find their biggest enemy is not themselves but well... something else.

The Interlopers

Another in my continuing series of articles about contrived human conceptions. This time we examine Beauty, the idea and the perception.

What Is Beauty

When we send messages over computer networks today, we are using encryption to protect what is within them. When we want to know that the source of messages received is authentically from the person we believe is sending them, again we use encryption. RSA is one method to this. It comes from cryptography mathematics which is part of set theory and here is simplified description of it.

RSA Algorithm

Intuitionism is a form of Logic that the Dutch mathematician Luitzen Brouwer helped to create. It is a direct repudiation of the older Truth-Functional system of Logic. Its implications are far-reaching as I examine in the article below

Intuitionism, Brouwer and GÓ§del

Television advertising is turning us into consumer machines. I look at Jeopardy, the quiz to see how it's just a device to make us buy things.

Jeopardy An Advertiser's Paradise

Is music sampling plagiarism? I don't think so, see why.

Sampling Music Debate

A real science fiction novel that will have you entranced. Written in 1958 by the famous British cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle, it's about alien visitation to Earth

The Black Cloud

What if as we aged our real age from say 25 only grew by half-lives of that age in an infinite diminishing convergent series? One way to live forever for sure.

Infinite Life

James Cameron's Avatar is not worth its ticket price.


A short article about the concept of Perfection

Does Perfection Exist?

Here is the PDF of the same article

Does Perfection Exist? (PDF)

Does the Turing Test really measure if a computer is conscious? In this article, which I wrote over 10 years ago, the issue is thoroughly examined.

Turing Test and AI

Web Piracy is everywhere on the Net and I've made a brief study of it. Here are my results.

Is Web Piracy Out of Control?

Jorge Ben Jor creates a searing hot narrative about the power of a Black slave woman in 18th century colonial Brazil: Xica Da Silva, the theme song to the movie of the same name.

Xica Da Silva

Ze do Caroco (Joe Pit) is a song about a man trapped in the "favela" or slums. It's poignant and makes you sway to the plaintive tone. She speaks of a new leader arising in the slums. Like a new paragon, or anointed hero.

I have read on some Internet pages what I consider an inaccurate English translation of this song. Some seem to have been done by transformer programs for sure. Well, here is mine:

Ze do Caroco

Jorge Ben sings about a man who wants to be a star. Or better put a Superstar.

O Astro (Superstar)

One of Ben Jor's most melodic works. A Minha Teimosa uma Arma Pra Te Conquistar.

My Plan To Win You Over

Celso Fonseca is a Brazilian artist with a Bossa Nova style and being a Carioca he knows it. The song in English means The Night is my Opium.

A Noite Meu Opio

A song by Jorge Vercilo, based on the Spider-Man comic book character.

Homem Arranha (Spider-Man, The Song)


Jorge Vercilo Inclination (Queda)

Another one by Fonseca. This time a song about adultery or the temptation to commit it. This is something I know about personally.

De Jesus de Praga

Jorge Ben Jor shows his Catholicism again with this song about the amazing boy Jesus in Prague. I like this song for his pure beauty of melody and style.

Ed Motta is to my mind the direction that Brazilian-American-Afro music should take. This guy has African-Americans down so pat, you can't help but love him

Fora da Lei (Outside the Law)

What Is Belief

An article about the philosophic idea of Belief. I explore the topic from the perspective of science and philosophy.

Um Homem Solitario

Skank is a rock group in Brazil that has made a song that speaks to my Existentialist philosophy. I love the sardonic tone of this song, even its American-influence rock thematic structure. Check out the translation.

Language and Infinity

Is language construction infinite? Can we form an infinite real world sentence? Steven Pinker, the author of The Language Instinct believes we can. I believe this idea is wrong, and explain why in this article.

Translation of Barbarella

A song from the cult classic Barbarella, starring Ann-Margaret in the late 70s, what Ben Jor does with is beyond description

L'Enfant (The Child) is a film by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne that will tear at your parental instincts.


The Wrong Man

A film by Alfred Hitchcock. Henry Fonda plays the mild-mannered musician who becomes the subject of a police investigation into a recent bank robbery.

Unique Infinity

Is there a unique infinity? This article looks at infinity from a different perspective.

A Review of John Searle's Chinese Room Argument

John Searle's Chinese Room Argument

The 4th Spatial Dimension

Is there a 4th spatial dimension? If so, are there living beings within it? This unfinished work looks at that question.

Order Of An Element in Group Theory

PDF of Order Of an Element in Group Theory

Sub-Normal translation

A song by Luiz Melodia

Sao Liebowitz translation

Jorge Ben's song based on the book The Canticle of Saint Liebowitz, A chilling work about the aftermath of nuclear war.

Elements of filmmaking

Short review of how films are made.

Typical Dreams

Dreams are strange night stories we fashion for ourselves.

Justice in America is a strange mixture of theater and ritualized procedure.

Flawed Jurisprudence

Carolina's Dream

How we can voice our opinions on radio talks with the help of set theory. Radio Programs, Sets and the Individual

Two more English words that have been used in a context for which they were not intended.

The English words High and Low

On the Day I Went Away-No Dia Que Eu Vim Embora

A poignant work, sung by the late beautiful Brazilian singer Elis Regina. She led a tragic life that parallels this song.

Tolstoy, Kafka, Life and Death, and English Idiom

In The Penal Colony is another of Kafka's grotesque stories. A prison colony that enforces its will through a deadly mechanical instrument.

In The Penal Colony