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# Blog - Azimuth explained (part 1)

This is the first article of a new series. The general idea is to find interesting material in the Azimuth articles, and break the ideas down and interpret them for as broad an audience as possible. As you will see, I am using a new literary device for this purpose.

This is ready for review. At this point the only changes that I have in mind would be to the wording. The wording is actually intentionally rough in many places. I am using a fictional narrator, which allows me much greater latitude to explore different points of view (and also to make a few jokes).

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edited November 2013

Changed the closing sentence.

Comment Source:Added URLs. Changed the closing sentence.
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Actually, I'm not done with this one. Will let you know when it's ready.

Comment Source:Actually, I'm not done with this one. Will let you know when it's ready.
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Hi! This sounds like a great idea, David!

Sorry not to respond sooner; I've been insanely busy with a climate change workshop the weekend before last, a talk on chemical reaction networks at Caltech last Wednesday, a paper on quantropy that had a hard deadline this Monday, and a talk on "The Beauty and Power of Math" at a local high school today. Things will now calm down for a bit.

I will read this article and maybe make some suggestions. Other people here: you too should chip in and say what you think about blog articles people are writing here!

Comment Source:Hi! This sounds like a great idea, David! Sorry not to respond sooner; I've been insanely busy with a climate change workshop the weekend before last, a talk on chemical reaction networks at Caltech last Wednesday, a paper on [quantropy](http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.0813) that had a hard deadline this Monday, and a talk on "The Beauty and Power of Math" at a local high school today. Things will now calm down for a bit. I will read this article and maybe make some suggestions. Other people here: **you too should chip in and say what you think about blog articles people are writing here!**
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4.

I think the article is fine and you shouldn't polish it too much.

My only worry is that some readers will get confused when a guy named David writes a guest post that begins by saying his name is Rick.

But confusion is closely related to puzzlement which is closely related to interest, so it's probably good to go ahead!

Comment Source:I think the article is fine and you shouldn't polish it too much. My only worry is that some readers will get confused when a guy named David writes a guest post that begins by saying his name is Rick. But confusion is closely related to _puzzlement_ which is closely related to _interest_, so it's probably good to go ahead!
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Thanks!

I'm going to give it a few more days of polishing -- I'm actively doing it now.

Part 2 will then need perhaps a week of polishing. I decided that parts of it got a bit too over-the-top (even though humorous), so I'm taming some of the imagery and coarseness of the narrator's voice.

I have a part 3 in manuscript form, which is called "Stochastic" Lake Petri Net.

I am driving towards actually saying something about the stochastic mechanics, the Hamiltonians, the annihiliators and the creators, and so on. Wherever the going gets too rough for a general reader, I will cut over to the other blog series, which can assume the capability for technical thinking on the part of the reader.

I see your point about the confusion at the start of the article. Maybe I could have some brief preface in my own voice, that says says in effect...here's Rick. He could be introduced as the newly appointed fictional reporter who is covering the Azimuth project.

Comment Source:Thanks! I'm going to give it a few more days of polishing -- I'm actively doing it now. Part 2 will then need perhaps a week of polishing. I decided that parts of it got a bit too over-the-top (even though humorous), so I'm taming some of the imagery and coarseness of the narrator's voice. I have a part 3 in manuscript form, which is called "Stochastic" Lake Petri Net. I am driving towards actually saying something about the stochastic mechanics, the Hamiltonians, the annihiliators and the creators, and so on. Wherever the going gets too rough for a general reader, I will cut over to the other blog series, which can assume the capability for technical thinking on the part of the reader. I see your point about the confusion at the start of the article. Maybe I could have some brief preface in my own voice, that says says in effect...here's Rick. He could be introduced as the newly appointed fictional reporter who is covering the Azimuth project.
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You could start by explaining what you're up to - two or three sentences about what you're doing and why! That seems like a good idea to me.

I'm glad you plan to continue your original series. I start more series than I finish, but it's good to carry them on the point where people feel fairly satisfied.

Since there may be car mechanics reading this blog, or people who sympathize with them, it's possible that some people will find the title condescending. Something like "Joe Sixpack" would presumably be acceptable to everyone except public relations officials for Budweiser.

Comment Source:You could start by explaining what you're up to - two or three sentences about what you're doing and why! That seems like a good idea to me. I'm glad you plan to continue your original series. I start more series than I finish, but it's good to carry them on the point where people feel fairly satisfied. Since there may be car mechanics reading this blog, or people who sympathize with them, it's possible that some people will find the title condescending. Something like "Joe Sixpack" would presumably be acceptable to everyone except public relations officials for Budweiser.
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I agree about the title. I was feeling the same way.

Changed the title to "Azimuth explained." Did a lot of rewriting.

I'm almost done with it, but not yet.

Comment Source:I agree about the title. I was feeling the same way. Changed the title to "Azimuth explained." Did a lot of rewriting. I'm almost done with it, but not yet.
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Great! Let us know when it's "done", and we'll check it out.

Comment Source:Great! Let us know when it's "done", and we'll check it out.
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edited March 2014

This one is now ready for review. Thanks for your time in reading it.

It's intended as a user-friendly introduction to the Azimuth project.

I have a list of intelligent, non-science people that I'm also going to send it to, in search of feedback.

p.s. I know that the formatting is sloppy, uses Markdown, and doesn't have good Latex. I promise to get that together in the final editing pass.

Comment Source:This one is now ready for review. Thanks for your time in reading it. It's intended as a user-friendly introduction to the Azimuth project. I have a list of intelligent, non-science people that I'm also going to send it to, in search of feedback. p.s. I know that the formatting is sloppy, uses Markdown, and doesn't have good Latex. I promise to get that together in the final editing pass.
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edited March 2014

It looks good! Two main comments:

1) You write:

Here are a few illustrations of the relevance of network theory to the biosphere. First, the atmosphere is a massive chemical reaction network, containing many types of molecules and reactions: water molecules H20, hydrogen gas H2, oxygen gas O2, nitrogen gas N2, methane CH4, carbon dioxide CO2, ozone O3, …, and reactions such as the formation of water from hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. Second, in biochemical reaction networks, the reactions involve large, biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA. Third, observe that the global circulations involved in weather and climate consist of complex networks of interconnected processes, and so network theory may have a role to play here.

The third one seems a bit weak... which is not your fault: it's mine. While putting together my Oxford talks I think I've put together a better case for the importance of network theory. If you're focusing on chemical reaction networks, here are two more applications:

a) A lot of evolutionary games are described by chemical reaction networks (though people call them stochastic Petri nets, which is really just another way of talking about the same thing - or else they just call them "certain evolutionary games"). Marc Harper posted about this, perhaps without quite realizing it. Evolutionary games can be helpful in describing not only biological evolution but how people change their behavior - they're commonly used in economics! The relevance to global warming and other crises is clear.

b) There are interesting models of infectious disease described by stochastic Petri nets, like the model of HIV that I described here. Again, obvious relevance to global warming and other crises.

If you're interested in network theory more generally, we're also looking at other kinds of networks in control theory and engineering.

2) I'm worried about posting this "Part 1" until you write Part 2. It's very easy to start series and then run out of energy. It's very easy to overestimate ones energy and persistence. For example, on November 7 last year you wrote, about this post:

I’m going to give it a few more days of polishing – I’m actively doing it now. Part 2 will then need perhaps a week of polishing.

It's great how this article ends with:

Now I am headed back to the rain forests of Azimuth to acquaint myself with the regional dialects. Upon my return, I will invite you to tour some of the more colorful trails. Although I can’t promise that the journey will be completely effortless, we shall prudently steer clear of the most jagged peaks, and we will take frequent breaks to drink water and pat ourselves on the back. If nothing else, we may learn a bit about the anthropology of the place.

Finally, in case you have any concerns about my qualifications, I have just obtained my permit as an Azimuth tour guide. See my green and white badge, which says: Rick the Explainer.

It's a promise that you'll be posting blog articles fairly often, explaining a lot of stuff.

I really hope you do! But this is the kind of promise that most people find very hard to keep!

Do you have it in you, Rick? If so, maybe you can prove it by whipping off another article or two. Or am I being too demanding?

Comment Source:It looks good! Two main comments: 1) You write: > Here are a few illustrations of the relevance of network theory to the biosphere. First, the atmosphere is a massive chemical reaction network, containing many types of molecules and reactions: water molecules H20, hydrogen gas H2, oxygen gas O2, nitrogen gas N2, methane CH4, carbon dioxide CO2, ozone O3, …, and reactions such as the formation of water from hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. Second, in biochemical reaction networks, the reactions involve large, biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA. Third, observe that the global circulations involved in weather and climate consist of complex networks of interconnected processes, and so network theory may have a role to play here. The third one seems a bit weak... which is not your fault: it's mine. While putting together my [Oxford talks](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/networks_oxford) I think I've put together a better case for the importance of network theory. If you're focusing on chemical reaction networks, here are two more applications: a) A lot of evolutionary games _are_ described by chemical reaction networks (though people call them stochastic Petri nets, which is really just another way of talking about the same thing - or else they just call them "certain evolutionary games"). [Marc Harper](http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/relative-entropy-in-evolutionary-dynamics/) posted about this, perhaps without quite realizing it. Evolutionary games can be helpful in describing not only biological evolution but how people change their behavior - they're commonly used in economics! The relevance to global warming and other crises is clear. b) There are interesting models of infectious disease described by stochastic Petri nets, like the model of HIV that I described [here](http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/the-mathematics-of-biodiversity-part-3/). Again, obvious relevance to global warming and other crises. If you're interested in network theory more generally, we're also looking at other kinds of networks in [control theory and engineering](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/networks_oxford/index.html#2). 2) I'm worried about posting this "Part 1" until you write Part 2. It's very easy to start series and then run out of energy. It's very easy to overestimate ones energy and persistence. For example, on November 7 last year you wrote, about this post: > I’m going to give it a few more days of polishing – I’m actively doing it now. Part 2 will then need perhaps a week of polishing. It's great how this article ends with: > Now I am headed back to the rain forests of Azimuth to acquaint myself with the regional dialects. Upon my return, I will invite you to tour some of the more colorful trails. Although I can’t promise that the journey will be completely effortless, we shall prudently steer clear of the most jagged peaks, and we will take frequent breaks to drink water and pat ourselves on the back. If nothing else, we may learn a bit about the anthropology of the place. > Finally, in case you have any concerns about my qualifications, I have just obtained my permit as an Azimuth tour guide. See my green and white badge, which says: Rick the Explainer. It's a promise that you'll be posting blog articles fairly often, explaining a lot of stuff. I really hope you do! But this is the kind of promise that most people find very hard to keep! Do you have it in you, Rick? If so, maybe you can prove it by whipping off another article or two. Or am I being too demanding?
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edited March 2014

John, thanks for the useful feedback on the article, and the links to relevant information.

I agree that my sentence linking weather and climate to network theory is weak, and so I took it out.

Regarding the scheduling of the articles, I'm fine with your idea of waiting to publish the first article until I have some followup material in hand. This also works for me for a different reason, which is that I'd prefer to let this one take a rest, and then approach it for one more round of revisions -- especially after I get the feedback from my non-scientist reviewers.

Already I have gotten some useful feedback from three people so far:

...the topic is interesting as hell (esp. The algorithms which prove themselves by generating leaves) and it's clear and entertaining.

I am not strong in my comprehension of science or math, and this was intelligible, clear and often funny. ... [He could can see that:] ... this is a valuable project.

I like the whimsical tone you take, and I pretty much understood all the science about reaction networks, so well done. [He also suggests:] .. that you flesh out a little more about the climate change and sustainable development topic. If you mentioned a few stats about climate change that might catch the reader's eye.

John sorry for the delay on this article. There was a definite scope creep (and a huge number of revisions), because I was trying to answer, for myself at least, the question "What's it all about, Azimuth?" (To the tune of Alfie.) I wanted to hit on all the main points of the Azimuth project, in a general and qualitative way, and to have the emphases correctly aligned with what are goals are. If anyone sees topics that are missing or out of kilter there, please chime in.

As indicated by John's comment about my sentence, and the third comment above, there is one area for clarification:

What is the relationship between the Azimuth project, and climate science and modelling? Recently John I saw that you said that the Azimuth project would be focusing on network theory, because that's where most of the activity here is right now. In a sense I was trying to shoe-horn climate science into the picture, by talking about the possibility that network theory could eventually be applicable to the networks which comprise the climate system. But clearly I was reaching for this one. I'm hoping that there will be some way to integrate the perspectives of network theory, "green mathematics", and climate science in an Azimuth project outlook, even if for the time being our work is focusing on network theory. We may need to sleep on these questions for some time.

Also as regarding climate modelling, I at least hold out the hope that we will be able at some point to drum up enough interest to start another climate modelling programming seminar. So I included a reference to our past climate modelling efforts, as a subordinate point, in the article. For this purpose, we could really use some agenda points on what models would be good to tackle next, and a software development strategy for getting there.

Finally, regarding your points John about the timing of the blog articles. I have every intention of writing a bunch of them, and have an outline of the next few of them to come -- that is why I ended this one with a confident promise. It makes perfect sense that from your point of view you don't want to risk publishing half of a promise. So the solution is, we'll wait, until I have buffered up enough material that you feel comfortable starting it, and I feel comfortable with the completion status of the first article. The reason why I belabor that one is that this is my main chance in life to publish a brochure style article for the Azimuth project -- something that can be used to stump for the Azimuth project in beer halls across the world -- so I don't want to rush this one out.

But as for the followup articles, without making any concrete timing promises (since I do have a job etc.), I can say that I will do my best to get them out.

Thanks and Best Regards

Comment Source:John, thanks for the useful feedback on the article, and the links to relevant information. I agree that my sentence linking weather and climate to network theory is weak, and so I took it out. Regarding the scheduling of the articles, I'm fine with your idea of waiting to publish the first article until I have some followup material in hand. This also works for me for a different reason, which is that I'd prefer to let this one take a rest, and then approach it for one more round of revisions -- especially after I get the feedback from my non-scientist reviewers. Already I have gotten some useful feedback from three people so far: > ...the topic is interesting as hell (esp. The algorithms which prove themselves by generating leaves) and it's clear and entertaining. > I am not strong in my comprehension of science or math, and this was intelligible, clear and often funny. ... [He could can see that:] ... this is a valuable project. > I like the whimsical tone you take, and I pretty much understood all the science about reaction networks, so well done. [He also suggests:] .. that you flesh out a little more about the climate change and sustainable development topic. If you mentioned a few stats about climate change that might catch the reader's eye. John sorry for the delay on this article. There was a definite scope creep (and a huge number of revisions), because I was trying to answer, for myself at least, the question "What's it all about, Azimuth?" (To the tune of Alfie.) I wanted to hit on all the main points of the Azimuth project, in a general and qualitative way, and to have the emphases correctly aligned with what are goals are. If anyone sees topics that are missing or out of kilter there, please chime in. As indicated by John's comment about my sentence, and the third comment above, there is one area for clarification: What is the relationship between the Azimuth project, and climate science and modelling? Recently John I saw that you said that the Azimuth project would be focusing on network theory, because that's where most of the activity here is right now. In a sense I was trying to shoe-horn climate science into the picture, by talking about the possibility that network theory could eventually be applicable to the networks which comprise the climate system. But clearly I was reaching for this one. I'm hoping that there will be some way to integrate the perspectives of network theory, "green mathematics", and climate science in an Azimuth project outlook, even if for the time being our work is focusing on network theory. We may need to sleep on these questions for some time. Also as regarding climate modelling, I at least hold out the hope that we will be able at some point to drum up enough interest to start another climate modelling programming seminar. So I included a reference to our past climate modelling efforts, as a subordinate point, in the article. For this purpose, we could really use some agenda points on what models would be good to tackle next, and a software development strategy for getting there. Finally, regarding your points John about the timing of the blog articles. I have every intention of writing a bunch of them, and have an outline of the next few of them to come -- that is why I ended this one with a confident promise. It makes perfect sense that from your point of view you don't want to risk publishing half of a promise. So the solution is, we'll wait, until I have buffered up enough material that you feel comfortable starting it, and I feel comfortable with the completion status of the _first_ article. The reason why I belabor that one is that this is my main chance in life to publish a brochure style article for the Azimuth project -- something that can be used to stump for the Azimuth project in beer halls across the world -- so I don't want to rush this one out. But as for the followup articles, without making any concrete timing promises (since I do have a job etc.), I can say that I will do my best to get them out. Thanks and Best Regards
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edited March 2014

Here's a little contest: share up to three of the most salient facts that you can think of about climate change. I will integrate the winners into the paragraph on environmental crisis / sustainable development.

sidenote: I temporarily put a copyright notice on the draft, only on account of the fact that I'm circulating links to an unpublished manuscript. I'll take it off before we roll this out.

Comment Source:Here's a little contest: share up to three of the most salient facts that you can think of about climate change. I will integrate the winners into the paragraph on environmental crisis / sustainable development. sidenote: I temporarily put a copyright notice on the draft, only on account of the fact that I'm circulating links to an unpublished manuscript. I'll take it off before we roll this out.
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edited March 2014

Deleted incorrect number. Iiuc - if i understood correctly.

Comment Source:Deleted incorrect number. Iiuc - if i understood correctly.
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What's liuc?

Comment Source:What's liuc?
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edited March 2014

David wrote:

What is the relationship between the Azimuth project, and climate science and modelling? Recently John I saw that you said that the Azimuth project would be focusing on network theory, because that’s where most of the activity here is right now. In a sense I was trying to shoe-horn climate science into the picture, by talking about the possibility that network theory could eventually be applicable to the networks which comprise the climate system. But clearly I was reaching for this one.

It would be great if Azimuth had some people energetically working on climate science. But it doesn't - not right now. I've commissioned a blog post on the "pause in global warming" from Jan Galkowksi but it's been months forthcoming. I've been trying to get George Musser to live up to his promise to post our simple online climate model on his blog at Scientific American, but he's not doing it.

But the main fault is mine. I got stalled in my interview of Jacques Didier on glacial cycles. But perhaps more importantly, I see a way to do exciting research on network theory and I'm charging ahead with that, dragging about 5 grad students with me. On the other hand, I don't see how to do exciting research in climate science. I think there's a big need for educational software in climate science, but I don't enjoy programming, and can't see it easily becoming part of my everyday work. I also don't see how to get math grad students involved in it. They want to be proving theorems. And in network theory, there are lots of theorems to be proved.

This may gradually change with time, and it could change instantly if we got one other person actively involved who did climate science as part of the Azimuth Project.

There are lots of people who do climate science, but they tend to take a look at Azimuth and decide it's not going to help them much: we've seen a couple say as much here.

It's not clear the world needs more climate science as much as it needs some other things, like answers to what the heck are we going to do about global warming?

Network theory is not the main answer to that question, but as a mathematician it's the portion of the answer I feel best qualified to provide, right now. It's where my biggest "competitive advantage" lies... except for my ability to explain stuff.

Comment Source:David wrote: > What is the relationship between the Azimuth project, and climate science and modelling? Recently John I saw that you said that the Azimuth project would be focusing on network theory, because that’s where most of the activity here is right now. In a sense I was trying to shoe-horn climate science into the picture, by talking about the possibility that network theory could eventually be applicable to the networks which comprise the climate system. But clearly I was reaching for this one. It would be great if Azimuth had some people energetically working on climate science. But it doesn't - not right now. I've commissioned a blog post on the "pause in global warming" from [Jan Galkowksi](http://hypergeometric.wordpress.com/) but it's been months forthcoming. I've been trying to get [George Musser](http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/critical-opalescence/) to live up to his promise to post our simple online climate model on his blog at _Scientific American_, but he's not doing it. But the main fault is mine. I got stalled in my interview of Jacques Didier on glacial cycles. But perhaps more importantly, I see a way to do exciting research on network theory and I'm charging ahead with that, dragging about 5 grad students with me. On the other hand, I don't see how to do exciting research in climate science. I think there's a big need for _educational software_ in climate science, but I don't enjoy programming, and can't see it easily becoming part of my everyday work. I also don't see how to get math grad students involved in it. They want to be proving theorems. And in network theory, there are lots of theorems to be proved. This may gradually change with time, and it could change instantly if we got one other person actively involved who did climate science as part of the Azimuth Project. There are lots of people who do climate science, but they tend to take a look at Azimuth and decide it's not going to help them much: we've seen a couple say as much here. It's not clear the world needs more climate science as much as it needs some other things, like answers to _what the heck are we going to **do** about global warming?_ Network theory is not the main answer to that question, but as a mathematician it's the portion of the answer I feel best qualified to provide, right now. It's where my biggest "competitive advantage" lies... except for my ability to explain stuff.
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edited March 2014

Here’s a little contest: share up to three of the most salient facts that you can think of about climate change. I will integrate the winners into the paragraph on environmental crisis / sustainable development.

1. The First Number: 2° Celsius - the supposed "safe level" of global warming.

2. The Second Number: 565 Gigatons - an estimate of how much more CO2 we can dump into the air while staying within this safe level.

3. The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons - how much CO2 is already on the books: that is, "already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies."

This is five times the second number.

For more detail, see:

Comment Source:> Here’s a little contest: share up to three of the most salient facts that you can think of about climate change. I will integrate the winners into the paragraph on environmental crisis / sustainable development. Bill McKibben's answer is not bad: * Bill McKibben, [Global warming's terrifying new math: three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is](http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719), *Rolling Stone*, 19 August 2012. 1. The First Number: 2° Celsius - the supposed "safe level" of global warming. 1. The Second Number: 565 Gigatons - an estimate of how much more CO<sub>2</sub> we can dump into the air while staying within this safe level. 1. The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons - how much CO<sub>2</sub> is already on the books: that is, "already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies." This is five times the second number. For more detail, see: * Carbon Tracker Initiative, [The carbon bubble](http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital). Must-read stuff!
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edited April 2014

I got some pointed and constructive feedback on this draft from Edward Lewine, a friend I know from the neighborhood and my daughters' school. He's a journalist with experience writing articles for the New York Times, and he was a staff writer at the New York Daily News. I found his points to be rather compelling.

Comment #1:

My experience is that what writers mostly want to hear is, “This is perfect, don’t change it.” And since you have already had this one accepted and have said you want to tune the piece, I was tempted to just offer a few tune up ideas. But I think you could make this much better with an edit that goes a little deeper than a tune up.

The basic problem with what you have is that you have two different pieces appended to each other. The first is an intro to the Azimuth Project. The second is an exploration of the application of Network Theory to the environment. I think you’d be more effective in achieving your stated goal with this piece to save the latter material about Network Theory for part II and just introduce the Azimuth Project. I think you would also serve your reader better by digging a bit more deeply into what the project is, who is in it and what its goals are.

The final piece should be about half as long as it currently is. What you have right now is too long and you’ll lose many readers.

Those are my general notes. If you don’t want to deal with all of that, then I’d be happy to do a line edit on what you have.

That makes complete sense to me. But if it were split into two right now, the first part, on the introduction to the Azimuth project, would be too thin. That leads back to the question about what are the actual main activities of the Azimuth project, as it stands today. My answer: the multi-author blog. A while back, there was nice wave of activity on the Azimuth Code Project -- which I would like to reactivate, at least by writing some blogs and doing some coding myself. This is what prompted me to recently post the draft of the article explaining how the stochastic resonance code works. An Azimuth project with two prongs, blog and coding, will be more a more appealing subject for a blog article on Azimuth and its activities.

Comment Source:I got some pointed and constructive feedback on this draft from [Edward Lewine](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lewine), a friend I know from the neighborhood and my daughters' school. He's a journalist with experience writing articles for the New York Times, and he was a staff writer at the New York Daily News. I found his points to be rather compelling. Comment #1: > My experience is that what writers mostly want to hear is, “This is perfect, don’t change it.” And since you have already had this one accepted and have said you want to tune the piece, I was tempted to just offer a few tune up ideas. But I think you could make this much better with an edit that goes a little deeper than a tune up. > The basic problem with what you have is that you have two different pieces appended to each other. The first is an intro to the Azimuth Project. The second is an exploration of the application of Network Theory to the environment. I think you’d be more effective in achieving your stated goal with this piece to save the latter material about Network Theory for part II and just introduce the Azimuth Project. I think you would also serve your reader better by digging a bit more deeply into what the project is, who is in it and what its goals are. > The final piece should be about half as long as it currently is. What you have right now is too long and you’ll lose many readers. > Those are my general notes. If you don’t want to deal with all of that, then I’d be happy to do a line edit on what you have. That makes complete sense to me. But if it were split into two right now, the first part, on the introduction to the Azimuth project, would be too thin. That leads back to the question about what are the actual main activities of the Azimuth project, as it stands today. My answer: the multi-author blog. A while back, there was nice wave of activity on the Azimuth Code Project -- which I would like to reactivate, at least by writing some blogs and doing some coding myself. This is what prompted me to recently post the draft of the article explaining how the stochastic resonance code works. An Azimuth project with two prongs, blog and coding, will be more a more appealing subject for a blog article on Azimuth and its activities.
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edited April 2014

Then Edward Lewine wrote:

I’m glad if I was of some service, though I fear I derailed you somewhat, for which I apologize. If I may suggest, you might consider shelving Rick for good. I found him distracting. In general, the shortest distance between two points is the best one as far as writing goes, especially about recondite subjects.

I am happy to look over articles as you send them to me. But I will tell you right off what my main criticisms are going to be every time: too long, too complicated, not well explained. If you want to reach the general reader, you will have to imagine you are writing for Katie, and a version of Katie who does not have you for a father. Most people are innumerate and know nothing about science. So, you need to make sure you are explaining everything as you go. And it is but a mere fraction of readers that will stay with an article that is more than say 800-1000 words long.

But send stuff along.

Poor Rick. It was so early in his career, he had hardly begun.

I think I can achieve the writing goals that I set out with, without resorting to that literary device, which I now have cold feet about.

-- John, sorry for the change in plans, but see the next message below, we can proceed forward without much loss.

Katy is my fantastic eleven year old daughter. (His choice of her for an example is interesting, because she is very, very good at math -- though she prefers Art.) I had told Edward that I was aiming for a "general audience," but I have been duly disabused of this idea; I will be assuming numeracy and a general affinity for the ideas of science on the part of the reader.

p.s. I like the suggestion, above, that good writing follows a geodesic path.

Comment Source:Then Edward Lewine wrote: > I’m glad if I was of some service, though I fear I derailed you somewhat, for which I apologize. If I may suggest, you might consider shelving Rick for good. I found him distracting. In general, the shortest distance between two points is the best one as far as writing goes, especially about recondite subjects. > I am happy to look over articles as you send them to me. But I will tell you right off what my main criticisms are going to be every time: too long, too complicated, not well explained. If you want to reach the general reader, you will have to imagine you are writing for Katie, and a version of Katie who does not have you for a father. Most people are innumerate and know nothing about science. So, you need to make sure you are explaining everything as you go. And it is but a mere fraction of readers that will stay with an article that is more than say 800-1000 words long. > But send stuff along. Poor Rick. It was so early in his career, he had hardly begun. I think I can achieve the writing goals that I set out with, without resorting to that literary device, which I now have cold feet about. -- John, sorry for the change in plans, but see the next message below, we can proceed forward without much loss. Katy is my fantastic eleven year old daughter. (His choice of her for an example is interesting, because she is very, very good at math -- though she prefers Art.) I had told Edward that I was aiming for a "general audience," but I have been duly disabused of this idea; I will be assuming numeracy and a general affinity for the ideas of science on the part of the reader. p.s. I like the suggestion, above, that good writing follows a geodesic path.
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19.
edited April 2014

Plan of action:

The present blog should be divided into two parts, as per the above suggestions, and rewritten in Rick-free form. And the first article should be further developed. Furthermore, make them self-contained, with no promise of an epic blog journey. But fleshing out the general article on the Azimuth project won't be a quick job -- especially since I want to have some new coding to write about. And we still have questions about the relationships between network theory, climate science, and Azimuth.

The solution is for me to go forward with:

• Finishing the editing of the blog on the stochastic resonance code -- ETA 1 - 2 weeks

• Finishing the next article that I planned for the Rick series, which aims to be a colorful introduction to reaction networks. There's no reason why this can't come first, and the other articles come later, when they are ready.

• Gathering specs for a new coding project

Comment Source:Plan of action: The present blog should be divided into two parts, as per the above suggestions, and rewritten in Rick-free form. And the first article should be further developed. Furthermore, make them self-contained, with no promise of an epic blog journey. But fleshing out the general article on the Azimuth project won't be a quick job -- especially since I want to have some new coding to write about. And we still have questions about the relationships between network theory, climate science, and Azimuth. The solution is for me to go _forward_ with: * Finishing the editing of the blog on the stochastic resonance code -- ETA 1 - 2 weeks * Finishing the _next_ article that I planned for the Rick series, which aims to be a colorful introduction to reaction networks. There's no reason why this can't come first, and the other articles come later, when they are ready. * Gathering specs for a new coding project
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20.

David wrote, about splitting the article into one about Azimuth and another about network theory:

That makes complete sense to me.

Yes, to me too.

But if it were split into two right now, the first part, on the introduction to the Azimuth project, would be too thin. That leads back to the question about what are the actual main activities of the Azimuth project, as it stands today. My answer: the multi-author blog.

That's the most visible part, but don't forget the wiki! There's a lot of stuff in there, and I draw on it whenever I give talks about global warming or other environmental issues.

I'd also count a lot of my talks as Azimuth activities. You can see some here.

And I'd also count the network theory project as an Azimuth activity! I don't think you should exclude it when discussing Azimuth. But it's so big that it could easily deserve another post.

A while back, there was nice wave of activity on the Azimuth Code Project – which I would like to reactivate, at least by writing some blogs and doing some coding myself.

I agree, it should be rejuvenated! It's just not my own personal strong point.

You could talk about Azimuth as it is and Azimuth as it should be...

Comment Source:David wrote, about splitting the article into one about Azimuth and another about network theory: > That makes complete sense to me. Yes, to me too. > But if it were split into two right now, the first part, on the introduction to the Azimuth project, would be too thin. That leads back to the question about what are the actual main activities of the Azimuth project, as it stands today. My answer: the multi-author blog. That's the most visible part, but don't forget the wiki! There's a lot of stuff in there, and I draw on it whenever I give talks about global warming or other environmental issues. I'd also count a lot of my talks as Azimuth activities. You can see some [here](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/TALKS.html). And I'd also count the network theory project as an Azimuth activity! I don't think you should exclude it when discussing Azimuth. But it's so big that it could easily deserve another post. > A while back, there was nice wave of activity on the Azimuth Code Project – which I would like to reactivate, at least by writing some blogs and doing some coding myself. I agree, it should be rejuvenated! It's just not my own personal strong point. You could talk about Azimuth as it is and Azimuth as it should be...
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21.

Poor Rick. It was so early in his career, he had hardly begun.

I found this device a bit too cute for my own taste... even though I once pretended to be a [wizard](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/gr/gr.html] for the purposes of explaining general relativity!

I didn't want to complain, because the blog is already too much dominated by my own taste. There have got to be lots of things I would never do, that would seem really great to lots of other people!

But if you think Rick should go, that's okay with me.

Comment Source:> Poor Rick. It was so early in his career, he had hardly begun. I found this device a bit too cute for my own taste... even though I once pretended to be a [wizard](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/gr/gr.html] for the purposes of explaining general relativity! I didn't want to complain, because the blog is already too much dominated by my own taste. There have got to be lots of things I would never do, that would seem really great to lots of other people! But if you think Rick should go, that's okay with me.
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22.
edited April 2014

Plan of action:

The present blog should be divided into two parts, as per the above suggestions, and rewritten in Rick-free form. And the first article should be further developed. Furthermore, make them self-contained, with no promise of an epic blog journey.

Sounds good!

But fleshing out the general article on the Azimuth project won’t be a quick job - especially since I want to have some new coding to write about.

I think that should be a separate thing. You can talk about what's been done and wonder about what should be done without actually doing a bunch more.

And we still have questions about the relationships between network theory, climate science, and Azimuth.

A blog article can have questions! We need to figure out what Azimuth should be like to be maximally effective - under realistic assumptions, not pretending any magic will come to our aid! Talking about this can be a good way to get people involved. New people, not involved yet, are the ones most likely to make Azimuth dramatically better than it is now.

Comment Source:> Plan of action: > The present blog should be divided into two parts, as per the above suggestions, and rewritten in Rick-free form. And the first article should be further developed. Furthermore, make them self-contained, with no promise of an epic blog journey. Sounds good! > But fleshing out the general article on the Azimuth project won’t be a quick job - especially since I want to have some new coding to write about. I think that should be a separate thing. You can talk about what's been done and wonder about what should be done without actually doing a bunch more. > And we still have questions about the relationships between network theory, climate science, and Azimuth. A blog article can have questions! We need to figure out what Azimuth should be like to be maximally effective - under realistic assumptions, not pretending any magic will come to our aid! Talking about this can be a good way to get people involved. New people, not involved yet, are the ones most likely to make Azimuth dramatically better than it is now.
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23.

John Baez wrote:

But if you think Rick should go, that’s okay with me.

Yes, but I shall carry on his work.

Comment Source:John Baez wrote: > But if you think Rick should go, that’s okay with me. Yes, but I shall carry on his work.
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24.
edited April 2014

Here is some feedback on the draft from another friend, who is an Art teacher:

Mark Brennan wrote:

I read Edward's comments before reading the article, which probably colored my reading of it.

I guess I would simply extend his suggestions by saying: I think the first paragraph and the last two could be eliminated almost entirely. This could shorten the piece without amputating essential information. Just one short sentence for your introduction, then another one for your closing. I think paragraphs 5-7 are excellent, the real heart of the article. They have a good flow and are easy to follow. Then paragraphs 8 and 9 would be the basis for a followup piece, if you decided to break this article into two separate, shorter ones.

The whole project sounds fascinating. As you go forward explaining it all to the layman, you'll need to constantly keep in mind the difference between the methods of the researchers and their findings. I think the leaf analogy is an excellent model, making your information easily accessible.

Comment Source:Here is some feedback on the draft from another friend, who is an Art teacher: Mark Brennan wrote: > I read Edward's comments before reading the article, which probably colored my reading of it. > I guess I would simply extend his suggestions by saying: I think the first paragraph and the last two could be eliminated almost entirely. This could shorten the piece without amputating essential information. Just one short sentence for your introduction, then another one for your closing. I think paragraphs 5-7 are excellent, the real heart of the article. They have a good flow and are easy to follow. Then paragraphs 8 and 9 would be the basis for a followup piece, if you decided to break this article into two separate, shorter ones. > The whole project sounds fascinating. As you go forward explaining it all to the layman, you'll need to constantly keep in mind the difference between the methods of the researchers and their findings. I think the leaf analogy is an excellent model, making your information easily accessible.
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25.
edited April 2014

John wrote:

That’s the most visible part, but don’t forget the wiki! There’s a lot of stuff in there, and I draw on it whenever I give talks about global warming or other environmental issues.

Right! The wiki is helpful to blog writers too. For the article on the stochastic resonance code, it may be enough for me to reference the wiki pages on Milankovitch Cycles and Stochastic Resonance.

I’d also count a lot of my talks as Azimuth activities. You can see some here.

And I’d also count the network theory project as an Azimuth activity! I don’t think you should exclude it when discussing Azimuth. But it’s so big that it could easily deserve another post.

Cool. Since they are main facets of the Azimuth project, then they deserve to be listed on the home page.

So why don't we put together a page of Azimuth Talks, and link to it on the home page. I'm glad to volunteer to do this, by copying the Azimuth-related links from your talks page. We can use this page to encourage other people to contribute talks. Every substantial blog article is a candidate for distillation into a talk.

I suggest that we have a homepage link to a page called the Network Theory Project, or one to a page called Azimuth Research? On the one hand, we only have one research project. On the other, it doesn't read that smoothly to see Wiki, Library, Forum, Blog, Network Theory Research. My proposal is to have the link say Azimuth Research, and then the page will explain that our research is currently focused on Network Theory. John, do you have any candidate material for such an overview page?

Comment Source:John wrote: > That’s the most visible part, but don’t forget the wiki! There’s a lot of stuff in there, and I draw on it whenever I give talks about global warming or other environmental issues. Right! The wiki is helpful to blog writers too. For the article on the stochastic resonance code, it may be enough for me to reference the wiki pages on Milankovitch Cycles and Stochastic Resonance. > I’d also count a lot of my talks as Azimuth activities. You can see some here. > And I’d also count the network theory project as an Azimuth activity! I don’t think you should exclude it when discussing Azimuth. But it’s so big that it could easily deserve another post. Cool. Since they are main facets of the Azimuth project, then they deserve to be listed on the home page. So why don't we put together a page of Azimuth Talks, and link to it on the home page. I'm glad to volunteer to do this, by copying the Azimuth-related links from your talks page. We can use this page to encourage other people to contribute talks. Every substantial blog article is a candidate for distillation into a talk. I suggest that we have a homepage link to a page called the Network Theory Project, or one to a page called Azimuth Research? On the one hand, we only have one research project. On the other, it doesn't read that smoothly to see Wiki, Library, Forum, Blog, Network Theory Research. My proposal is to have the link say Azimuth Research, and then the page will explain that our research is currently focused on Network Theory. John, do you have any candidate material for such an overview page?
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26.
edited April 2014

I'm going to Paris early tomorrow so this will be sort of short... I should give a better answer later.

So why don’t we put together a page of Azimuth Talks, and link to it on the home page. I’m glad to volunteer to do this, by copying the Azimuth-related links from your talks page.

Thanks! That sounds great!

I suggest that we have a homepage link to a page called the Network Theory Project, or one to a page called Azimuth Research?

Azimuth Research sounds better.

John, do you have any candidate material for such an overview page?

Right now the best places to get links for the network theory project are here and here. I think you could do something better!

Comment Source:I'm going to Paris early tomorrow so this will be sort of short... I should give a better answer later. > So why don’t we put together a page of Azimuth Talks, and link to it on the home page. I’m glad to volunteer to do this, by copying the Azimuth-related links from your talks page. Thanks! That sounds great! > I suggest that we have a homepage link to a page called the Network Theory Project, or one to a page called Azimuth Research? Azimuth Research sounds better. > John, do you have any candidate material for such an overview page? Right now the best places to get links for the network theory project are [here](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/networks_oxford/) and [here](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/networks/). I think you could do something better!