Through the Mathemalchemy Looking Glass
If you go to the park in Mathemalchemy today, then you are in for a big surprise! Because today’s the day the squirrels have their picnic.
The little chipmunks and squirrels had a lovely time, with lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play. They have been gadding about gaily in the garden, among the flowers and the polyrocks, and clambering over the Riemann cliffs. The smallest ones have gone home already with their Mommies and Daddies, because they were tired little dears.
Two of the older chipmunk kids are still spending prime time on the Corner Playground, where they are discovering that all numbers are not created the same. There are lots of ways you can arrange twelve acorns evenly in short rows, which makes the number twelve a lot of fun; for thirteen there seems not to be a single such arrangement, which makes thirteen special too.
One of the kids insisted that they arrange the acorns just so, with their pointy ends all in the same direction. She also came prepared with little yellow bracelets, to put around the acorns that ended up in incomplete rows, and with boxes to sort the numbers. She is a little obsessive compulsive that way … She and her friends made the bracelets by braiding dried leaves from the nearby papyrus plants. A whole crew of kids had earlier also made sheets of paper from the plant, from which they constructed cootie catchers.
In the meadow next to Alexander’s Neverending Sculpture, a few adult squirrels are initiating some youngsters into the annual Sieving of the Primes. After inserting the sieves for 2, 3 and 5 in the 1-100 frame, librarian Tasos is holding forth, calling attention to the double veiling of numbers 6 and 10, and (he pauses for effect) the triple veiling of 30! The next sieve up is for 7, and they can see it being sledded in, with little Charlotte B. riding along — she should have been in bed already, but she has worked very hard on the preparations for this celebration, so she was allowed a little extra time. And, there in the distance, the sieve for 11 is rolling in too! After it is inserted, Tasos will surely embark again on his demonstration that that last sieve was superfluous. After the sieves are done, Tasos will probably offer to explain the diagrams on the mosaic tiles in the Garden path — he may not find many takers, because not everyone likes his squirrelsplaining attitude . . .
The squirrels and chipmunks are not the only ones around. Little flatty-bugs are exploring some of the intriguing flouncy structures — these are more fun to explore than just a plain old leaf — somehow there just seems to be so much more room. Oh, look! There are some of those undulating structures in the reef as well, and they too are being explored by little critters. And the back of the Sieve has been colonized by bees of many scales, which the squirrels are careful not to upset too much as they go through their number sieving ritual. In sympathy with their multi-scale beehive cells, a sheet from the Cavalcade has detached itself and has landed nearby.
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