The drunken walk, the traces of chance and the game of dice in some cursed books | The stone ax | Science | The USA Print

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Luke Rhinehart, in a promotional image from the 1990s.
Luke Rhinehart, in a promotional image from the 1990s.

The novel the dice man It inaugurated the literary decade of the 70s in the United States. It is a transgressive and very original story where the protagonist is chance, not as an intrinsic right of nature, but as a divine determination.

Its author, the North American George Cockcroft (1932) signed it as Luke Rhinehart, the psychiatrist who gives voice to the novel; an abject and unreliable man whose depraved behavior is justified by the rolls of the dice. With this, it is the dice, and not his inclination towards immoral acts, that lead this psychiatrist to commit the most varied aberrations.

Perhaps, to find the reasons that drive Rhinehart to move within what is called the sample space, we have to go back centuries, when in the Roman Empire mathematics was discarded in the style of Greece, using them only for practical matters such as They are measuring and counting. Because, as theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow points out in his book The drunken walk (Critique), in Roman culture practical matters prevailed, in such a way that the classical virtues of truth, beauty and goodness of legendary Greece were relegated by Roman cunning and sagacity when it came to resolving measures in war.

Being probability the guide of life -Cicero dixit-, the Romans were the first to study the probabilities of an event occurring. However, it was not until the 16th century that the Western world was ready “to develop a theory of probability”, as Mlodinow tells us in his book, whose title alludes to the random paths that molecules take when they err in the universe. space and colliding with each other, which leads us to think that random processes, with their drunken steps, are one of the foundations of nature.

In the aforementioned book, written in an entertaining way, but without excluding scientific rigor, Mlodinow immerses us in the history of the interpretation of chance and its understanding, as well as in the laws of probability, illustrating us with examples available to everyone. world, making this work an educational and very entertaining read. In one of his chapters we find the story of a man who deserves a separate part, since he is the first person to write a text about games of chance; the first approximation to the nature of uncertainty from a mathematical point of view. His name: Gerolamo Cardano.

This Gerolamo Cardano even predicted the date of his death, September 21, 1576 in Rome, at the age of 75. In order not to look bad with his predictions, he committed suicide. However, this was not the only peculiarity that accompanied his biography, but there were more; from his sordid birth that took place in a miserable house in Pavia, to the economic ruin that he suffered accompanied by subsequent wealth thanks to the study of randomness in the game of dice, since he developed a theory that he put into practice in the Roman way, that is, in order to obtain benefits in the war that was his life.

But not only for this will Gerolamo Cardano go down in history. He is also responsible for having devised the mechanical suspension and transmission system for automobiles known as cardan suspension, a system that allows two axes that are not on the same line to be joined. Despite this lack of collinearity, thanks to Cardano’s idea, the rotational movement is transmitted from one axis to another.

Therefore, when the cardan breaks down, the vehicle is immobilized. This idea was inherited from her alleged father, Fazio Cardano, who worked with Leonardo da Vinci. But what brings us here is his theory of probabilities that he left written in Liber de Ludo Alae (Book of Gambling), a work he never published for fear that someone would successfully learn to play the game.

A cursed book like that other book written by George Cockcroft under the pseudonym Luke Rhinehart, the dice mana novel that was banned in many countries due to its crude scenes of sex and violence.

the stone ax it is a section where Montero Glez, with prose will, exerts his particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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