## Three and three

Things that feel good:

• A cold drink
• A colorful sunset
• A shapely lemma

Er, just so you don’t go googling for “naked lemma spreading”: a lemma is a sub-theorem, a piece of mathematical proving (proofing? proovery?) that (usually) in itself isn’t so interesting, but forms a part in proving something nice.

Things not so good:

• A combination of humidity and temperature differential that makes such condensation there’s almost as much moisture outside the cold-drink cup as inside
• A sunrise that starts at 2 A.M., when you’re still thinking “Gotta get to sleep just in a minute” (And he howled “Damn you, Finnish summer! Daaaamn you! Had I the power to cover all the lands in darkness — I would!”)
• the Lemma from Hell ™ — a mathematical curiosity that seems simple because it needs six previous results —
1. one of which is in the Annals of the Numerological Society of Novosibirsk; not translated, and the only net version wants fifty bucks for a peep and looks, feels and sounds like an utter scam,
2. one which is in some Italian work printed in 1909; and when you try to ask the Italian exchange student what the journal’s name means, she blanches and slaps you,
3. one in a Chinese journal, and thanks to various transliteration, translation and enumeration issues, you now have a total of 114 issues of 59 journals to wade through looking for it (though it’s a better time than when the reference was to a “little-known but ingenious German paper from the 1970s”),
4. one is commented as “following a leapfrog path of reasoning not totally dissimilar to the one followed in [4], though the three cunningly chosen functions are five and entirely different”,
5. And the other two… well, they are references to vanished preprints from the author of the Hell-lemma, who has since gone to live in a barbed-wire compound somewhere in the outback with six cousins and sixty-six guns, and refuses to give either proofs, explanations or income taxes.

Things are rarely nicely tilted in my favor, since all but the Hell-lemma of these six items have happened lately. That’s three to two. And now to the next lemma!

### 2 Responses to “Three and three”

1. Bob O'H Says:

I’m worried that you think someone has trademarked the Lemma From Hell.