Hire Tom
Mostly Mozart


Posted August 12, 2001

Good afternoon, collectors of rare and unusual radio shows. Today is last day of KCR's first broadcast year, and this is the final edition of Mostly Mozart. I've had lots of fun doing the show for you for the last nine months, but now I'm going to find something else to do every Sunday. Like play Mozart at home on my own stereo, where it sounds better anyway.

Until September 10. Then I'll be back with more Mozart and more math.

But I'm getting ahead of myself already. September is still very far away, and I haven't even done this show yet. This show, by the way, is sponsored by Comfort and Joy, a unique children's store.

I went to the Slocan Valley Music Festival yesterday -- and I can say "yesterday" with confidence, because there will be no repeat broadcast of today's show -- but I went to the Hungry Wolf at the wrong time, and ended up missing most of Slowdrag's set. But I really wanted to see them at least once before their show tomorrow night at the Scandinavian Church, so I arranged for them to come in today during the 3rd hour of Mostly Mozart, and play for me in the studio. And that means you will be able to hear them too!

That's right, today's Mostly Mozart is going to be 3 hours long, and that will take us right up to Radio Rodeo Roundup at 6 o'clock. The first hour of Mostly Mozart will be pretty much what you're used to, but without the Mozart and without the physics. The second hour will be Rarefied Radio, and the third hour will be me, Slowdrag, and Eva de Foor, who is the one who actually convinced Slowdrag to come in. If you're really lucky, we won't have enough microphones to go around, and I won't get one. So if you don't like the sound of my voice, you can turn off your radio and come back at 4:00 for Rarefied Radio and 5:00 for a live performance and interview with Slowdrag.

If you think I'm stalling, because I don't actually have any material for this show, you're half right. I do have a few things to say, but it's just going to be a bunch of short things.

And to distract you, I brought a bunch of music that's not Mozart, or Bach, or Baroque, or even bluegrass. Well, some of it might be bluegrass. But just to prove that you don't know what to expect, I'm going to start off with this lovely recording from 1970. And if you want some excuse for playing this on a classical music show, note the use of the word "cello." Jim, if you're listening, maybe you'll like that part.


That was obviously The Who, playing "A Quick One, While He's Away," from an excellent 1970 recording called Live at Leeds.

Also coming up soon, I've got several letters of the alphabet. Two alphabets, in fact, Latin and Greek. I'll tell you some of the conventional ways to use various letters, so you'll be better prepared next time you need to prove something like, for any epsilon greater than zero, there's a delta for which f(x + delta) - f(x) / delta - C is less than epsilon. Which is a very useful skill.

This track is by the Molestics, and it's called Sweat Lodge. I think it used to be called Sweet Lorraine. The album is called "Tropic of Hokum," and it says it's soon to be a major motion picture, but I think they forgot to do that before they broke up. It also claims to contain subliminal advertising, but they were probably lying about that too. So sit back, relax, close your eyes, attain an alpha state, or do whatever you do when you want to absorb subliminal messages, and enjoy.

--- Tropic of Hokum --- #6

You're listening to Mostly Mozart on Kootenay Coop Radio, CJLY 93.5 FM in Nelson. Comfort and Joy is happy to sponsor Mostly Mozart, for which I thank them. And all the other sponsors who have kept us going for the last year. I guess I shouldn't really thank the other sponsors for sponsoring Mostly Mozart, since they don't, but you get the idea.

It seems that when people do a radio show for too long, they start to want a break. Some people prerecord a couple of shows and go off to Mexico. Some people just don't show up. But not Tom Clegg. Tom Clegg signs up to do an additional show, comes in with the wrong pile of CDs, and talks about himself in the third person. And so do I.

I've also got some letters of the alphabet here that I'd like to share with you.

I remember learning about my first math letter. I was in grade 2, or maybe 4, long before the school started teaching me any math beyond simple arithmetic. It was parent teacher interview day, and I was sitting in the hall of the school with my dad while my mom talked to my sister's teacher. My dad showed me how to write a letter "x" in longhand so that it doesn't look like a multiplication sign, and told me that "x" is supposed to stand for the unknown number. If you don't know what the number is, but you know that if you double it you get 5, then you can write 2x=5. I was already a well established nerd by grade 2, mainly because I was known to read books for pleasure, so I thought that was pretty cool stuff. But I was in school, so I figured the appropriate thing to do was to wait for someone to tell me the next interesting thing.

10 years later, I got another interesting math experience in a school. Actually, to be fair, I had a couple of really good math teachers in high school, but the next really intense math experience came in first year university calculus.

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the alphabet theme -- I'm just telling you a little bit of the history of Tom and mathematics, which is one of the topics I decided not to cover today.

First year calculus was where I first started to like the Greek letters delta and epsilon. But before I make the switch to Greek, I'll just mention something about x, y, and z.

"X" is the most popular letter to use as an unknown. If you have two unknowns, you can call one X and the other Y. If you have three, you can call them X, Y, and Z. One of the common reasons to have two or three unknowns is that you're working with a two- or three-dimensional coordinate system, in which case X, Y, and Z refer to distances along the horizontal axis, the vertical axis, and the... um, other axis.

In fact, there's such a strong association between the letters XYZ and the three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system that it's often a good idea to use different letters if you have more than one variable and you're not talking about Cartesian coordinates. Or if you have one variable, but there's a chance that it could be mistaken for a distance along the X axis.

Enough about XYZ. How about ABC? Capital A, B, and C are often used in geometry to represent angles. Only if they're measured in degrees, though; if you intend to measure your angles in radians -- which makes more sense because there are pi radians in a half-circle, and the length of an arc is angle times radius -- if you use radians, you must use the corresponding Greek letters alpha, beta, and gamma.

Now that I'm getting into the Greek letters I suppose I should describe them to you. Gamma looks like a number 8 with the top 1/4 cut off, so the upper loop is open. Alpha is just a gamma that's fallen on its side, so it looks like an infinity symbol with 1/4 cut off the right side. Beta looks like a capital B with a tail at the bottom of the post. In German, I think it means hard S. Like Strauss.

Back to Latin: lower case v and w usually refer to vectors as opposed to scalars like x, y, and z. Vectors are packages of a few numbers that go together, like a set of coordinates for a single point. So v might refer to a point x, y, z. A coordinate vector can also be interpreted as a direction and a distance, which means you can use it to specify an axis. A set of three axes constitutes a 3-dimensional coordinate space, or vector space; you can stick all three vectors together as a 3 by 3 table and call it a matrix. Matrices are usually called capital M, N, and P. Nothing is ever called O, because zero is so important.

Back to Greek: lower case delta usually refers to a difference. For example, the difference between two values of x is called delta-x. Delta is just a little isosceles triangle. The two values of x are probably called x and x-prime, where x-prime is written as an x with a tick mark. Almost like an apostrophe, but it shouldn't be curved. And x-prime has nothing to do with prime numbers, which don't have any integer factors other than themselves and 1.

Epsilon is a small backwards 3. It's a difference between two values, just like delta, but it has an additional connotation of error or uncertainty: for example, if you measure something to within +/- epsilon, epsilon represents how uncertain you are about your measurement.

Back to Latin: small f refers to a function. f-of-x, or f-at-x, is written as f, followed by an x in parentheses, and it's the value of function f at point x. Big F is probably the integral of f, which just means the derivative of big-F is small-f; and the derivative of small-f is f-prime. The derivative of f-prime is f-double-prime, which is just f with two tick marks. The seventh derivative of f is f with a superscripted 7 in parentheses, so it looks like f to the power of 7 in brackets. But it has nothing to do with the power of 7.

Back to Greek again: capital sigma means "sum of". Capital sigma is a bit like a backwards 3, but it's bigger than epsilon -- usually a lot bigger -- and it's made of four straight lines instead of two curves, so it's more like a capital M turned sideways. Capital sigma followed by x means the sum of all values of x. Capital sigma followed by f(i), with i=0 written under the sigma, and 3 written above the sigma, means f(0) + f(1) + f(2) + f(3). And that's what "i" is used for: an index or counter that is used as part of a procedure like summing numbers, as opposed to a number that represents the data you're calculating.

I could go on and on. And I'm sure I will, on future episodes of Mostly Mozart. But I feel that it is time for some more music. Here is something to celebrate letters of the alphabet; it's called "NICU." It's an amateur live recording, so the sound quality leaves a bit to be desired, but the music is so great that you'll probably be able to tolerate it for a few minutes.

--- NICU

You're listening to Straight No Second Derivative on Kootenay Co-op Radio.

Today is our last broadcast day for about a month. But we'll be back in four weeks, so don't forget about us. We will still have the transmitter turned on tomorrow, but we'll be testing and reconfiguring our broadcast equipment, and I don't recommend listening to that. See, we'll be way too busy trying to improve sound quality, to worry at all about programming quality. So, got that? Don't listen to 93.5 tomorrow.