Damn I’m busy these days. Guess that’s what I get for teaching an overload (in a different department, no less). Anyway, here’s a couple days worth of useless trivia from my overstuffed head:

– The famous mathematician Georg Cantor noticed that there, in fact, are different “sizes” of infinity. Take, for example, all the natural numbers, **N**. They are, of course, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, … and so on. We intuitively know that there are an infinite number of them. Now consider all the *even* numbers, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, … and so on. Clearly these are also infinite. But notice that we’ve plucked out every *other* member of our first set, so it seems as if the first set ought to be *bigger* than the second. This is what Cantor noticed and then formalized.

– Antarctica is technically the world’s largest desert. It is the world’s driest place, receiving an annual average of less than two inches of precipitation, and is a whopping 5.5 million square miles (well, it *is* a continent, after all). Outside the polar regions, the largest desert is the Sahara in Africa which is 3.5 million square miles.

– The Greek philosopher Socrates, unlike Plato and Aristotle who were landowners (and thus gentlemen farmers), was a stonemason and likely contributed to the building of the Parthenon.

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