Daily Archives: 09/15/2003

Monks of Suburbia

Tibet is popping up all over the last couple days.

The Boston Globe ran a good article about Tibetan Buddhism, and the flowering of a new, secular Buddhism in the United States.

Speaking of Tibet, China is sure pushing the assimilation thing in that high, dusty land. Even CNN rang a feature on it this evening.

Finally, Is Buddhism Good for Your Health? Research at the University of Wisconsin points to the health benefits of meditation. The Dalai Lama is even talking up the cognitive research into meditation at M.I.T.

Picture �2003 New York Times
Om Mani Padme Hung

The St. Louis “Amshack”

The hometown alternative weekly, the Riverfront Times, ran an article on St. Louis’ decrepit “Amshack” train station, a dilapidated and pitiful structure. I have to agree. The train station in St. Louis, a regional metropolitan center, is pathetic. It is nothing more than a run down trailer home, lost underneath the Highway 40 overpass. It is an embarrassment for the city, especially since even small country towns possess better facilities. Whenever I take the train to Chicago, I try to avoid the station and get on at Kirkwood, but that tacks another two hours onto the trip since trains stop at St. Louis for a couple hours anyway.

Hopefully the city can summon the wherewithal to construct a train station befitting St. Louis and her place in railroad history.

Math Is Cool

Well I can finally sleep at night. There is no magic knight’s tour on a standard 8×8 chessboard.

For those possibly interested, a knight’s tour is when a knight travels to all 64 squares on a chessboard, touching each square only once.

Some Possible Knight's Tours

A magic square is when the sum of numbers arranged in a grid is the same for every row, column and diagonal. This number is known as a magic constant.

A Sample Magic Square were the magic constant is 15

Thus a magic knight’s tour is when the path a laid down in a knight’s tour describes a magic box. Mathematicians have long known of a number of semi-magic knight’s tours, where the diagonal did not meet the magic constant. Last month, software written by J. C. Meyrignac proved that a magic knight’s tour was impossible. It took a 2 GHz Pentium 4 computer over 61 days to process the problem.