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October 26
2006
Researcher mathematically proves that vampires don't exist.
University of Central Florida physics professor Costas Efthimiou has come up with a mathematical way to disprove the existence of vampires.
Just a fun little article, enjoy guys!
jerryst3161
 Printed matter
 03:31 CET

48 comments total
 tags: vampires
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GodJoss, a victim has to drink the blood of his or her sire to become a vampire! And if I were a vampire, I certainly wouldn't be making a bunch of other vampires. I'd like to make sure that my place at the top of the food chain wasn't shared with too many others.Of course, I'd turn my husband, but that's all.
Rogue Slayer  October 26, 03:37 CET
gilraen  October 26, 03:38 CET
vincent27  October 26, 03:43 CET
[ edited by RavenU on 20061026 02:02 ]
RavenU  October 26, 03:54 CET
Joss is God. Amen.
havok  October 26, 04:15 CET
Besides, I know vampires are real. My imagination tells me so.
[ edited by twa_corbies on 20061026 02:58 ]
twa_corbies  October 26, 04:58 CET
resa  October 26, 05:03 CET
After 2003, the above fact is no longer true, and if that scientist takes into account the fact that all the potentials have now been activated, it is no wonder that we are surviving and thriving as a species.
non sequitur  October 26, 05:06 CET
smog  October 26, 05:25 CET
Meltha  October 26, 06:27 CET
Can anyone say, "Keyser Soze?"
Hmmmm.........
whedon is GOD  October 26, 06:44 CET
BAFfler  October 26, 06:49 CET
Lady Brick  October 26, 07:05 CET
Madhatter  October 26, 07:09 CET
Craig Oxbrow  October 26, 07:13 CET
Madhatter  October 26, 07:35 CET
It's Greek.
At any rate, the biggest flaw in his argument (aside from it existing at all) is that he hasn't considered that we all may be vampires, but have lost touch with our true identities.
Nebula1400  October 26, 09:10 CET
On second thought, the most pathetic part is that he believes he succeeded....
Bayne  October 26, 10:45 CET
One of the interesting things however is that this mathematical world in many ways resembles the world we live in. To me it's an amazing thing that if you put 3 and 4 apples together you get 3+4 apples. The validity of any such connection to the real world is however completely independent of mathematics and can therefore not be proven mathematically.
However in order to make mathematics more "interesting" to the general public (or just the children at school) some people deem it necessary to present mathematics only in "applied" situations, thereby losing focus of the beauty of the mathematics itself and making themselves (and in association mathematics in general) look foolish by the ridiculousness of their real world stories.
Quite likely this professor wanted to teach people how quickly the exponential function grows using a story which would attract the attention of a lot of people who would otherwise not look at any mathematics. And he succeeded in so far that this is a story which gets posted on Whedonesque twice, while I can't recall any other stories related to mathematics on here. Unfortunately the posts above show that the reaction obtained is not one of gushing about the beauty of mathematics, but it's about the ridiculousness of the work of a "mathematician". Thereby he inflicts more damage to the image of mathematics than that he improves it.
Celebithil  October 26, 10:48 CET
Seriously, though, you are probably right about this professor using the example to get the attention of his students.
Nebula1400  October 26, 11:19 CET
However in order to make mathematics more "interesting" to the general public (or just the children at school) some people deem it necessary to present mathematics only in "applied" situations, thereby losing focus of the beauty of the mathematics itself and making themselves (and in association mathematics in general) look foolish by the ridiculousness of their real world stories.
Mathematics do not really live in a "separate" world (there are in fact different worlds of mathematics, with connections between themselves) and applied mathematics can be as beautiful as pure mathematics.
PS: and I am not *married* to a Mathematician: I am a Mathematician. ;)
[ edited by Le Comité on 20061026 09:53 ]
Le Comité  October 26, 11:53 CET
Le Comité  October 26, 11:55 CET
I wonder if Celebithil is talking about the way maths clearly describes and is related to the real world but we're not absolutely certain how or why (e.g. Pi or the way the Fibonacci sequence pops up in unexpected places) ? Or maybe we are sure how and why and it's just me that doesn't know ;). I agree though, applied maths is every bit as worthwhile as pure and probably more useful in teaching.
BTW, the twoway blood flow isn't always a requirement for vampirism though it is in Joss' version so his proof isn't really flawed, it just has some unstated assumptions (at least in the linked article). His axioms of vampirism disagree with Joss' is all.
Personally, i'm all for attempts to get people more interested/literate in maths and science (shows like 'Numb3rs' are great for that even if the maths is sometimes a bit dodgy and even 'House' always presents a rational world view). It's a constant puzzle to me that in most circles you can make elementary mistakes in maths, just shrug your shoulders and say 'Gosh, i'm really hopeless with numbers' and everyone just smiles and nods understandingly. Imagine if an adult were to say 'Gosh, i'm really hopeless at reading' ? I reckon the reaction may differ.
Saje  October 26, 12:32 CET
Well, Pi is the ratio of the circumfrence of a circle to its diameter, so I think we know where that comes from. The Fibonacci sequence doesnt really pop up in unexpected places, but I do think you are referring to the golden ratio, which appears in a bunch of places that baffle us. And its interesting because if you ever measure your arm from shoulder to elbow and shoulder to fingertip and then divide the two, in most people you will get the golden ratio (1.618). Same goes with the rings of sunflowers...
In a way, math is like any other science, it is discoverable, and in that sense Im guessing that clebithil was referring to this fact. For if it is discoverable, then it does seem to exist outside of us, not necessarily in a another world, but that which is in coherence with the coherence theory of truth, for instance. In other words, if it exists outside of us then it must exist somewhere and in some capacity. But thats philosophy of mathematics...
Uh the best I have about the article is that the ratio of 2^n would not seem to work when the vampire population overcame the human population because if there are now more vampires than humans, not every vampire would have a human to bite. Hence, the function isnt continuous (where I would assume that he assumes this) under the conditions the professor sets out, and hence he is incorrect. Thats all I got...
Edited because that was some pretty interesting grammar...
[ edited by jerryst3161 on 20061026 11:03 ]
jerryst3161  October 26, 12:59 CET
Clearly maths describes the world at a pretty fundamental level but do we know why it all makes so much sense i.e. what causes the 'hidden' order ? And though it's true that maths is similar in some ways to empirical science it's also true that maths can throw up paradoxes whereas if you find a paradox in science your theory has issues (and not the world ;).
(you're absolutely right though, I mixed up Fibonacci numbers with the golden ratio  which is from Fibonacci numbers but isn't the same thing. Busted ;)
Saje  October 26, 14:09 CET
mutt999  October 26, 14:25 CET
Does Pi(x) have something to do with the value of Pi? I had a quick read of a few sites and couldn't find anything. Am I missing something obvious?
Grounded  October 26, 15:15 CET
Third. His conclusion is wrong. The idea that we would all be vampires is very much true. Hence, vampires exist.
Koos  October 26, 15:18 CET
Maths is soooo overrated! :p
The Arcane  October 26, 15:43 CET
(OK, OK, there might be a good reason for it which I don't know but it's still hella confusing)
Saje  October 26, 17:39 CET
Grounded  October 26, 17:54 CET
Period.
Sania Delian  October 26, 18:27 CET
billz  October 26, 18:44 CET
embers  October 26, 18:48 CET
... the distribution of primes being related to Pi....
Grounded, that's something I thought I read a while back in something like "Fermat's Last Theorem" or a magazine column or similar (I think the stuff about river length was in there too). Upon searching not all that deeply (bloody work ;) the closest I can find is this link which talks about the density of relative primes being 6/Pi^2 (obviously not the same thing as primes). Glanced at some stuff about the Riemann zeta function but by that point I was teetering precariously on the brink of my own ignorance so I slowly backed away from the edge ;).
Anyone more qualified know how (or I guess if) Pi and primes are related ?
(I agree it's reminded me of or introduced me to some great sites out there though  so maybe the article was worthwhile after all)
Saje  October 26, 19:36 CET
What's illogical about it? If there is a logical way to approach disproving the existence of vampires, why shouldn't this be it?
Grounded  October 26, 19:54 CET
Madhatter  October 26, 21:28 CET
kballgetlost  October 26, 22:02 CET
And it reminds me of this classic & muchloved (by me) comment by narky: "It is disgusting and reminds me of math."
(Madhatter, I'm always waiting for the third shoe...)
QuoterGal  October 26, 23:25 CET
Neither vampires nor imaginary numbers exist, yet we treat them like they do, simply because it suits our purposes. Imaginary numbers let us posit hypothetical mathematical scenarios; vampires let us imagine hypothetical human scenarios. Want an addiction analogy? Vampires. Epidemic? Vampires. Alienation? Vampires. Need to have your protagonist exist both now and two hundred years in the past? Just make him a vampire.
[ edited by Brisco on 20061026 22:16 ]
Brisco  October 27, 00:09 CET
Well, Im not sure that Pi can be related to primes because prime numbers are whole numbers and pi is an irrational number with no end. Both the golden ratio and pi are irrational numbers (numbers that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers) so I think any link between Pi and rational numbers (which include integers and fractions) is tenuous at best. Ive never heard the river thing, but that certainly doesnt mean that it doesnt exist, it could be that I am just dumb.
Actually, Saje, I believe that the fibonacci sequence wasnt used to discover the golden ratio, I believe both were discovered independently and it was later discovered that the fibonacci sequence was related to the golden ratio. How so?
The FS is: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34...
If we take the first two numbers and divide them its 1, the second and third is 2, the third and fourth is 1.5, and the fourth and fifth is 1.67. If we take that new sequence, 1, 2, 1.5, 1.67, and take the limit of that sequence as the FS approaches infinity (because it consists of numbers, the FS will never stop) the limit is...1.618, the golden ratio.
LOL, I am such a math nerd, and I should probably stop now...
ETA: The reason I believe that the golden ratio is so interesting (at least to math nerds) is that its relationship to life itself almost creates a scenario where one could argue an intelligent designer behind such precise and interesting mathematical anomolies. For instance, it just so happens that the FS is limited in the way it is to the golden ratio, and there are numerous instances in nature which also seem to employ the golden ratio. Its certainly interesting enough I suppose...
[ edited by jerryst3161 on 20061026 23:49 ]
jerryst3161  October 27, 01:35 CET
It's not exactly a glowing recommendation of the book on imaginary numbers the author is reviewing if he came out of it willing to state that imaginary number don't exist!
LOL, I am such a math nerd, and I should probably stop now...
Math threads are a rare breed  might as well make use of this one while it lasts!
Grounded  October 27, 01:43 CET
LOL thanks Grounded.
jerryst3161  October 27, 01:44 CET
Well, Im not sure that Pi can be related to primes because prime numbers are whole numbers and pi is an irrational number with no end
Hmm, not sure that really follows (no offence ;). As you say yourself, Pi is related to the diameter and circumference of a circle either of which may, obviously, be a whole number (though, equally obviously, not both at the same time ;) so the fact primes are whole doesn't seem particularly compelling one way or another. And it is related to the probability of any two random integers being relative primes (which are also, obviously, whole numbers).
Remembering "Fermat's Last Theorem" helped find this site which talks about the ratio of a river's length to the straight line distance from source to mouth. I dug my copy out at home and Singh talks about it (annoyingly briefly) on pgs 17 and 18 of the Fourth Estate paperback edition if anyone has it and wants to take a gander (can't be arsed to type it all in and the above link gives the gist).
Found a link on Mathworld (which is a terrific resource, despite being missing an 's' ;) which drops a tantalising hint about prime distribution but then doesn't explain it (mentions the river thing too).
(my emphasis)
And also these usenet posts which start off talking about the Mathworld entry (wondering exactly what we're wondering) and then rapidly lose me ;(.
It's like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped within something really fucking annoying ;).
Saje  October 27, 03:10 CET
Oh no, I simply meant that it would difficult to show a relation between rational and irrational numbers because anytime you perform a mathematical operation on a combination of irrational and rational numbers, the product you recieve will be an irrational number. Hence, because Pi is a relation between the circumfrence and diameter of a circle, at least one of them must be irrational number too, and thus it would be difficult to do show any sort of relation between the two sets of numbers.
For instance, if you took a string of whole numbers and multiplied them, the result would yield a whole number, but say you threw pi into the mix. The product would then always be irrational because whether you multiply, divide, add, subtract, or anything else, the product of a rational and irrational number will always be irrational. Thats not to say of course, that it cant happen, im too far gone from the theoretical number sense class I took, but there that you go.
jerryst3161  October 27, 04:36 CET
does exist. Just ask the guy who's clapping with one hand. . . . Oh, all right. I'll go away.
Or no. 'Cause I just thought of something. Any of you math people out there ever hear of U.I.C.S.M.?
SangChaud  October 27, 12:23 CET
Simon  October 27, 12:38 CET
As for Simon's argument about vampires being able to control their urge to reproduce to keep enough food around for everyone, the state of the world today does not show that this is a thing humans can do, but maybe vampires are smarter.
As for a connection between pi and primes; I think I've seen different connections somewhere, but 1/zeta(2)=6/pi^2 = (12^2)*(13^2)*(15^2)*... (product over all primes).
Celebithil  October 27, 22:22 CET