On turning my last Mersenne prime

Published: Mon 17 September 2018
Updated: Mon 17 September 2018
By Koz Ross

In Blog.

tags: personal

It's been far, far too long since I wrote anything here, and figured that my recent birthday would be (semi) good cause. In particular, I wanted to do the following:

  • The usual 'where I was, am and going' stuff such posts tend to involve
  • What Mersenne primes are
  • What I wanna do for my lack of posting

Let's get to it.

Was, am and going

Recently, I turned 31, which for the mathematically inclined, is 2 to the fifth power, minus one. The first year of my current decade was certainly an interesting experience, not least of all because (unlike many of my previous years), I think I learned many things about myself, not all pleasant, and felt like a lot has changed for me. Particularly noteworthy discoveries follow.

Intersectional feminists can be problematic

The entire case of Naomi Wu was probably my biggest wake-up call in this regard. It certainly didn't shake my belief in intersectional feminism, but it did make me realize that the community around it isn't perfect by any means. While I understand that nobody is perfect, many individuals who I held to a much higher standard than this turned out to be rather unfitting of said standard, and that certainly made me rethink a lot of what I thought, who I followed, and the specifics of what I believe. I can definitely say that my Twitter feed, which I used in no small part to keep myself both informed and honest, is a lot thinner than it used to be.

However, I still believe in the importance of intersectional feminism, and still try to be better every day. It's not easy - privilege is one hell of a drug, and I have it by the vatful - but it's important, and nothing worthwhile is ever easy. These events made me realize also that I don't document the work that I've done, and do, on myself in this regard pretty much anywhere, except to some close friends. This ties in to my general trend of not saying much and trying to listen, as well as the fact I've been too distracted and under-motivated to post. This is something I plan to fix (details to come).

I do not know anything

While something of an overstatement, there's nothing like doing a PhD to make you understand how little you really know. I can definitely confirm this: I've ended up realizing how much more I need to learn, and how many interesting things there are out there that I simply don't know. It's a humbling feeling, and one I hope to keep around for as long as possible.

I need to take better care of myself

Without getting into detail, I've had a few health (physical and mental) scares recently. Nothing massively dangerous or dramatic, but it certainly brought my own mortality and limits into focus. While it's not likely to get any better (if anything, it'll probably get worse), it means being more careful with myself, in all respects.

I'm still a weeb and shouldn't be ashamed of it

I have to thank Luurei for that particular insight, which I'll leave without comment. Also, as an aside, you should really check out her art!

Mersenne primes

A Mersenne prime is any prime number which is one less than a power of two. My current age, for example, is a Mersenne prime. The reason that I mention them at all is that they are interesting and that my age is the last Mersenne prime I will ever turn (unless I live to be 127, which I doubt). It's definitely true that birthdays become less important the older you get - partly because you stop caring quite so much, and partly because the 'interesting' years become increasingly sparse. Given this rather important age-related milestone, I figured I'd mention this.

What I plan for this blog

I recently read an interesting tweet (and ironic, too): I don't remember who said it, but the gist was 'anything you tweet should just be a post on your blog'. This was an interesting insight, and one I want to live up to. So, core thing is: every week a post. No exceptions. They won't all be brilliant and well-researched, many will be rambly and semi-pointless, but I need to get into the habit of regular writing. If this loses me readers, no matter: one, I don't have nearly enough to matter, and two, maybe it might attract others. I certainly have stuff to say; the main reasons I don't are:

  • Perfectionism
  • Shyness
  • The fact that most things I've thought of have been said much better by someone else already
  • Lack of motivation to write

None of these are good reasons, however, and it needs to change. No point having a blog if you don't write in it, after all. So expect weekly content (and haunt me on Twitter if you don't).

Moving forward

So there's that little report. Hopefully my ten readers will have some reassurance that I am very much around and writing, and that from next week onward, they'll get to read much more of my work. As always, think hard and have fun!