### We're sorry to have to tell you this!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2022

Nova does it again: Which is larger? The number of plain old "counting numbers" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and the like) or the number of even counting numbers (2, 4, 6 and the like)?

We're sorry to tell you that the PBS program, Nova, was noodling around with that one last night, straight outta Arsenio Hall's "Things that make you go hhhmmmm."

Here's the way it started:

TALITHIA WILLIAMS: Consider this: which is infinity is bigger? The set of counting numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4 et cetera, or the set of just the even numbers, 2, 4, 6 and so on?

EUGENIA CHENG: And intuitively we might go, “Well, that’s half of them.”

TALITHIA WILLIAMS: That’s half. Right.

The noodling continued from there, making viewers go hhhmmmm. To read the transcript or watch the tape, you can just click here

1. See, you didn't have to wait long to see an example of Somerby's sexism. What makes this sexist? That it is reported with the comment "hmmmm."

It reminds me of the old joke "An asshole says hmmmm? Huh?"

2. Well, of course you can associate every positive integer with every even integer: n*2. But then, as we seem to recall, there are infinite sets that can't be enumerated this way.

1. The set of all real numbers is uncountable.

3. From Lawyers Guns and Money

When you graph the first order of difference between Republicans and Democrats an anomaly just jumps out at you. This is clearly not a random stochastic process. If it were a stochastic process you would expect the possible values which are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, to occur in more or less, similar proportions. However, you notice immediately there are no values of 5, there are no first order of different changes in the King Wen sequence of 5. Now what is the prohibition against 5 about? I don’t know but its worldwide and Neolithic. Astragali are the knucklebones of sheep that have been used since the late Neolithic inter-roman times to gamble with by burning dots into the knucklebones, and in fact playing dice is called throwing the knucklebone. There are no Neolithic astragali with 5 dots burned into them, it’s a number which is just strictly avoided. So there is some curious thing going on with the number 5, knowing that Timaeus as people are coming in and sitting down for dinner, Plato turns to Timaeus and he ­­says “The one generates the two, and the two the three, but where oh where is the fourth my dear Timaeus.” And this the first four numbers seem to lie in a much more archetypically intense relation than the number 5.

4. TDH, my advice is to let this go. It doesn't go anywhere