by James Bailey |

Mathematics began with map, the “earth measure” of the ancient Egyptians who had to restake the land along the Nile after its annual flood. The land itself had its full richness of particularities: a little higher in one corner, needing a bit more fertilizer in another, and perhaps in the same family for four generations. The Egyptians, however, lacked the disk drives to store all this data richness and the computers to process it, so inexorably a “place” became a “polygon”, shorn of all its ecological specificity.

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