Episode 009 – Partial Orderings: What’s Wrong with the Olympics?

in this Podcast:

  • What’s wrong with the “medal count” ordering in the Olympics?
  • Is it really all that surprising that Canada is good at Curling?
  • quasi ordering vs partial ordering vs total ordering – who cares?
  • Nick, leave the carrots out of this!
  • Dealing with our Daddy issues with an ancestor semi-lattice
  • Are you your own ancestor?
  • For that matter, is a sandwich equal to 5 dollars?
  • Discovering the quasi-order of joy-points

Author: Nick Horton

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  1. Just started listening to your podcasts after reading Tom’s interview at Technoccult. Love what you guys are doing and I certainly will keep listening for as long as you guys make them. Personally, I have always found the subject of math interesting but unapproachable, so I am glad to find a source that takes away the unapproachable aspect and just leaves the interesting. Thanks guys, keep it!

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    • Thanks Brittan! We’re having a great time with it. And the response has been surprisingly large and positive. I say surprisingly because let’s face it, lots of people are freaked out by math. But, it confirms our suspicion that most of us actually would like it if it was just presented better.

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  2. Thanks for putting this up! Nice podcasts!

    The phylogenetic tree referenced does seem to work as a inf-semilattice (or sup-semilattice if you want to move from present species “upwards” to common ancestors… this depends on the direction in time you want to view things from) in that every two species have a unique common ancestor.

    However, the ancestor relation in general doesn’t qualify as a semilattice. Consider the set {Bob, Susan, Steven, Christina, Thomas}, where Bob and Susan have children Steven, Christina, and Thomas. Letting sup mean the most recent ancestor, inf the most recent descendent, sup{Steven, Chrisitina} doesn’t come as a unique element, and {Steven, Thomas} don’t have an inf. Great try though!

    The obstacle above comes as species that have sex. So, if we consider species that don’t have sex, then we’ll have a sup-semilattice. As a concrete example apple trees qualify as a sup-semilattice, in that every two apple trees have a common apple tree ancestor.

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    • “The obstacle above comes as species that have sex. ” This should read “The obstacle above comes FOR species that have sex.”

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    • You’re absolutely right. When looking at a phylogenetic tree, it works. When getting specific with individuals in a sex-paired species, it doesn’t. that is, in macro-evolution we have no problems, but in micro-evolution we need to be careful. Great catch!

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