## On Calculus

So, in the good old year 1693, an apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head and he invented calculus. Which then promptly got him into hot water because this German guy named Leibnitz had invented calculus nine years ago. They started a huge fight between themselves, which eventually became a mathematicians’ fight in general: England vs. Germany. Cage Match. FIGHT!!!!

Guess who won. No, seriously, guess. I’ll wait.

Ok, time for a hint: it wasn’t Newton.

Leibnitz’s notation is the one we use today, even though his system of calculus isn’t either modern calculus (what you know) or Newtonian calculus (what Newton invented). I’m sure that your calc teacher sometime in high school mentioned Leibnitz, for it is from him that we get the symbol for the integral and the symbol for the derivative as well as many other calculus symbols.

Which brings me to the question of the post: how did a bunch of guys in the 1600s develop frigging calculus? I mean, maybe this is just incredibly future-centric of me, but at the time, there wasn’t even anything calculus could be applied to, except other kinds of calculus. Physics was only in its most rudimentary stages (basically all we had at the time was *Principia*, also by one Isaac Newton). Hell, there were still people who believed that the earth was flat back then. There were still people who found it appropriate to dress like this in public:

Seriously, now. What would possess a man to go outside dressed like that and expect to attract the eye of anybody who wasn’t gay?

But that’s beside the point. I mean, Newton was sitting there deriving equations to model the orbits of planetary bodies. Even though I’m pretty sure the whole concept of a “planet” was defined during his lifetime. I mean, this is just insane.

Where’s the equivalent doings in our present time? I mean, the 1600s had calculus. The 1700s had capitalism. The 1800s had everything from railroads to cars. The 1900s had airplanes and the Internet. At the current rate of “inventing new shit,” we should already have around 5 kick-ass advances in the world order of things right now. So far, all I can find are Facebook and the iPhone. C’mon, we can do better than that!

Though, the iPhone is pretty badass. Hm.

Anyway, the second somebody figures out a theoretical way to enter hyperspace (Einstein can go screw himself) (Relativity my ass) I am *so* jumping on that. And then monopolizing the resources of the Solar System. Mwah hah hah. I shall be RICH! Me and the guy who figured out the math will split the profits 50-50. While ruling the world through manipulation of its resource markets. Ah, you poor Earthlings. While you scrabble at the paltry leavings of “precious” metals, I shall be taking over the real stores of value: real estate on habitable planets. MY GALAXY. NOT YOURS.

That is all. Mwah hah hah.

This is around the point where people ought to go read Quicksilver and the rest of the Baroque Cycle.

~July 5, 2009 at 10:14 PM