Ted K 2021

There are only two math related scenes. First, there is a diary, encoded in numbers. Then there is a tutoring scene, where Ted K teaches a kid. He poses a classical creativity problem. Given 4 numbers, use it to create the largest number using standard operations. I have mentioned a similar problem in a workshop for teachers in 2017, as it just has made headlines in Germany.

MOV, Ogg Webm. IMDb link P.S. The story of Ted Kaczynski is a sad one. Mental illness is a complex matter. The movie displays well some triggers for his rebellion against technology. Recluse from technology has a long tradition. In the case of peaceful protest, like Thoreau at Walden Pond, it is admired. We might have to fight against technology in the future if the predictions of SciFi writers and futurologists about AI will come true. The movie does a good job explaining some triggers for Kacynski to morph into the unabomber. They display well how his anger gets ignited. Having lived myself for weeks even a month alone in a mountain cabin, I know that in solitude for longer can also be mentally challenging. Especially noise. When I once lived alone for a month during a summer in the alps and a cabin was built up higher up in the Baltschieder valley. They were flying helicopters day in and day out, a few meters over my head; the base for the material transport was nearby. Noise can lead to anger. If you live in nature and see nature ransacked, it is disturbing. [ Update May 8th 2022: An article in the Harvard Magazine on the effect of noise on health. It is a paradox: in a quiet place, external disturbances can become more aggravating. In a town, you don't mind a jackhammer. In a peaceful place, even the cutting of tree with a chain saw can disturb. I have worked as a student and graduate student for years in very quiet libraries. A person sniffing, writing or typing nearby can break your concentration, especially if you ponder a problem you can not solve. I learned later that for difficult mental efforts, it can be beneficial to go to busy coffee shops or listen to music. Paradoxically, a moderate background noise does not disturb in an already noisy environment. When looking at the movie ``Ted K", I of course have hoped for more mathematics content. Kaczynski has been a Harvard student living in Eliot house, graduating in math in 1962. He also participated for 200 hours in a now controversial mind-control psychological experiments at Harvard (which might also have had an influence on his later problems). He got his PhD at Michigan and then became an assistant professor at Berkeley, before abruptly resigning to live in a small cabin in Lincoln Montana. The film shows some locations in Montana. I love that state, visited once in October 2000 to give a talk on Hamiltonian dynamics at Montana State University in Bozeman (which is close to Lincoln). It is a beautiful area for running (I remember a nice run from the university onto the nearby Baldy mountain. By the way, for the movie, the cabin was rebuilt on the original buildings footings Source. There are two other other movies here and (and here which I have both not yet seen. Might have to check them out and see about more math content.
Oliver Knill, Posted February 20, 2022,