What a Mathematical Pirate Says

The scalawags in my life have informed me that today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. In that spirit, here are three excruciating jokes, of which I am immensely proud.


pirates 1

Is your spirit crushed yet? No? Then try #2:

pirates 2

And if any of your neurons are still functioning, please extinguish them with #3:pirates 3

With that urgent business out of the way, let me say a stunned and bumbling thank you.

As you know if you have stood within earshot of me during the past few months, I wrote a book. It is blue, and heavy, and (in spite of my illustrations) beautiful. It came out yesterday, and the reception has been overwhelming. Everyone is so kind and supportive. The necessity of thanking far exceeds my petty capacity to thank.

Although it’s exhilarating to watch the book climb the Amazon sales charts (thus far it has peaked at #101! Like, among all books!), there’s no doubt that my favorite part of it all is seeing folks on Twitter showing off their copies.

(This is true whether or not they happen to be a brilliant YouTuber whose gorgeous animations of topological proofs I was admiring on Sunday.)

If you want a taste of the book, you can check out the wonderful Jennifer Ouellette’s piece at Ars Technica, The Math of Why It’s So Hard to Build a Spherical Death Star in Space, or the excerpt that Popular Science very kindly published: What does math look like to mathematicians?

I wish to close with a self-indulgent story:

Last month, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. (Further proof that I cannot say no to my friend Roz.) On Day #6, we donned our headlamps and started climbing a little before midnight. Eight hours later, we were at the 19,000-foot summit, where one of our guides (great guys!) snapped this picture:DSCF0230.JPG

It was hard to climb the mountain. It was hard to write the book. But in each case, my own efforts were little molehills compared to a far larger factor: a sky-high pile of outrageous luck. I relied on so many kind and encouraging people, who helped me up the (literal or figurative) mountain, and who showed faith despite a total absence of evidence I merited it.

So: thanks to family, friends, agents, blurbers, Black Dog & Leventhal team, and (since you’re the one reading this) to you. Yes, you. You know who you ARRRRRRRRRRRRRR

15 thoughts on “What a Mathematical Pirate Says

  1. Teaching integration in polar coordinates gives a calculus teacher lots of opportunities to do a pirate impression (when students forget to stick in that scurvy extra factor).

  2. Just got my pre-ordered Kindle copy. Not quite as cool as the paper version, but easier to ship. Congratulations! …and thanks – I can’t wait to read it.

    Also – What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? “R?” …Nay! ’tis the “C!”

    1. Yeah, wasn’t sure how to end the post and then suddenly I was 10,000% sure how to end it.

      BTW, can I ask about putting Slate Star Codex in the URL field? My EA/rationalist pal Jeff Kaufman did the same thing; is it like an “I Am Spartacus” thing? “I Am Scott Alexander”?

  3. Reblogged this on Thoughtogram and commented:
    I have been following Math With Bad Drawings blog here or its FB page. The blog here shares longer post while the FB page shares little memes.
    Both have been a great pleasure reading.
    Its creatively hilarious and I feel like a nerd when I get the jokes haha.

    Here’s one I recently liked. AARRRRRRR!

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