The Bittersweet Hypothesis

Bittersweet Symphony

A song by The Verve, with a fairly large sample from an orchestral song by the Rolling Stones, this song was in the end the Verve’s downfall, as they can no longer play it without the Mick Jagger’s permission.

The song is most notable for the Bittersweet Hypothesis, outlined below. The phenomenon was noted by the University of Awesome’s own Professor Adrian during his research on Jesus’ iPod

The Bittersweet Hypothesis

The hypothesis states that, for all music players, as the time of ownership of said music player increases, the probability of that player containing The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony approaches one.

Bittersweet Hypothesis
Exhibit A: Topical graph outlining the basis of the hypothesis

Supporting Evidence

  1. If you have a music playing device, take it out.
  2. Turn it on and look for Bittersweet Symphony.
  3. If it’s there, I told you so.
  4. If it isn’t, it’ll probably be there soon. Also, you’re an outlying data point.


The consequences of the Bittersweet Hypothesis are dire. The most important one is that this song may cause severe clogging of the tubes.

There are over 7 billion people in the world. if one in 20 people have portable music devices, that makes 350 million such devices. Each one will in all probability eventually cause a download of Bittersweet Symphony, which is approximately 4 MB, or megabytes, or million bytes. This turns into 1.4 Billion megabytes, or 1400 Terabytes of the same song repeated over and over. Now, remember that for most portable devices, the song is also repeated on a personal computer, doubling the number to 2800 TB of the Bittersweet Symphony.

Just for good measure, that number is roughly 2,800,000,000,000,000 Bytes, which are 8 bits each, 11,200,000,000,000,000 bits (Eleven thousand two hundred million bajillion infinity).


Several solutions have been proposed to resolve this issue. One is to create a central data center to store a single copy of the 4 MB file, and then every music playing device would have to stream it from there, but unfortunately this does not resolve the problem of clogging the tubes, it only reduces the places it ends up stored.

According to Joshua, the supercomputer from War Games, it is “an interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.” It has been suggested that the song be banned from the tubes in order to protect them from this magnitude of clogging.

The Charm of Disintegration

Let’s start with one thing: I’m a linux user. That doesn’t mean I approve of the open source world all the time, in fact in a lot of ways this community can be petty, stupid, and sheeplike, just like any other set of end-users. I was, and I suppose, am still a Windows user, but again I don’t like everything about them. And while I adore the look of Mac OS X, I’ve tried (very hard, I might add) to like the way it works, but some things just require too many precise clicks (read: resizing and positioning windows), so I am not a mac user.

That said, lets talk about the application designs in these systems. In Windows, it seems that everything is about integration. We have a mail application–oh wait, no, it’s also a calendar, and a contact management system. In fact, if we’re Netscape, let’s go ahead and throw an html editor and a browser in there for good measure. They have a file browser that also understands HTML, CSS, Javascript, embedded applets, and of course the dreaded ActiveX, which allows a “trusted” web site (say, to modify your operating system.

This is not a bad thing, it’s a frame of mind called “Integration” that is fairly pervasive in both the Windows world, and the Open Source world. For a linux/OSS example, Ximian Evolution is in fact almost an exact one-to-one equivalent of Microsoft Outlook. They had the Mozilla Suite, which was effectively exactly what Netscape was. KDE’s Konqueror Browser is every bit as stupid as Microsoft for throwing an integral operating system piece — the file browser — at the unpredictable internet.

But OSX has something new, something everybody is quickly realizing is a good idea, and something other companies have been reproducing ad nauseum to varying effect: Widgets. The widget is a small program that does exactly one thing, but when doing that one thing it runs like the wind.

Why is this good? Let me explain the concept of Disintegration. If I want to browse the internet, I open firefox, not because it’s the greatest web browser ever, but because it’s just a web browser. It opens quickly, and if something on the internet breaks it, Oh no! I might have to reinstall it. Nothing else can be easily affected by its failure. The fact is, I don’t want to wait for my email server before I can quickly add a new homework assignment to my Gnome Calendar, because I’m forced to use Ximian Evolution to update it.

OSX doesn’t only do this in widgets, it separates everything. Mac Mail is a mail client, nothing more. iCal is a calendar, with no nonsense. Safari is a web browser that does one thing extremely well. Why can’t we learn from them? All of these programs are light, fast, and do exactly what you want without doing anything you don’t: I’ll tell my computer if I want my mail. Right now all I want is my calendar.

Integration is okay when it’s modularly integrated. An application that works with another application to use data from it is a good idea. An application that shares libraries in order to access common information from the Operating System is a good idea. But a single application that controls everything is not.

Let me finish with a cry for help: Ximian Evolution sucks. I want Gnome-calendar to let me update those extremely useful calendar views on the system clock without it. Pretty please?

Linear Independance

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united Vectors of Ax=b

When in the Course of mathematical events it becomes necessary for one matrix to dissolve the relational bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the vectors of the span, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Mathematics and of Mathematics’ God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mathkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all variables are created in ambiguity, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Properties, that among these are Identity, Commutativity and the pursuit of consistent linear systems. — That to secure these properties, Equations are instituted among vectors, deriving their just solutions from the reduced echelon form of the rows, — That whenever any Form of Matrix becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Variables to alter or to reduce it, and to institute new a System, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its rows in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Consistency and Reductability. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Matrices long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mathkind are more disposed to reduce improperly, while solutions are infinite than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of homogenous solutions and inconsistancy, pursuing invariably the same Form evinces a design to reduce them under absolute erroneousness, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Equations, and to provide new Guards for their future consistency. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Vectors; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Equations. The history of the present KBritain is a history of repeated mathematical error and nonreduced forms, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Illogicality over these Vectors. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Pivots, the most wholesome and necessary for the public span.

He has forbidden his Determinants to make Row Reductions of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Divisions for the accommodation of large quantities in the pivot position, unless those variables would relinquish the right of Reduction of other Rows, a right inestimable to them and formidable to incalculable systems only.

. . .

He has kept among us, in Zero-Solution rows, Pivot variables not equal to zero, causing inconsistency.

For quartering unnecessarily large values within rows among us:

For cutting off our Relational Equations with all parts of the global environment:

. . .

We, therefore, the Scalar Variables of the United Vectors of Ax=b, in General Matrix, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the span for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Variables of these Vectors, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Vectors are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent Variables, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Fourteenth Row, and that all relational connection between them and the Span of KBritain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Variables, they have full Power to reduce rows, conclude echelon form, contract algebraic relations, establish Systems, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Variables may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine ℜn, we mutually pledge to each other our Existence, our Values and our sacred Logic.


Row 01: 1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 02: 0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 03: 0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 04: 0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 05: 0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 06: 0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 07: 0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0
Row 08: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0
Row 09: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0
Row 10: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0
Row 11: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0
Row 12: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0
Row 13: 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1

Formatting and much of text was borrowed (But from an uncopyrighted document which is in the public domain!), and the original can be found here