# The Whisper of the Stars

• Le record de froid peut atteindre -77°C, alors que l’été le thermomètre peut monter jusqu’à 30°C. Les températures hivernales causent des phénomènes étonnants. Par exemple, ce que les Yakoutes appellent « le chuchotement des étoiles » : lorsqu’il gèle, l’homme entend en permanence le doux bruissement de sa respiration qui gèle dès qu’il expire.

• At its worst the cold can reach -77°C, while in summer the thermometer can climb to 30°C. Winter temperatures cause some astonishing phenomena. For example, there is what the Yakuts call “the whisper of the stars”: when it’s freezing, you constantly hear the soft rustle of your own breath, which is turning into ice-crystals even as you exhale.

Elsewhere other-engageable

Cry’ Me A Shiver — an interview with French avant-gardistes Cryogénie, les Rois du Froid and Kings of Cold…

# Fib and Let Tri

It’s a simple sequence with hidden depths:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025, 121393, 196418, 317811, 514229, 832040, 1346269, 2178309, 3524578, 5702887, 9227465, 14930352, 24157817, 39088169, 63245986, 102334155... — A000045 at OEIS

That’s the Fibonacci sequence, probably the most famous of all integer sequences after the integers themselves (1, 2, 3, 4, 5…) and the primes (2, 3, 5, 7, 11…). It has a very simple definition: if fib(fi) is the fi-th number in the Fibonacci sequence, then fib(fi) = fib(fi-1) + fib(fi-2). By definition, fib(1) = fib(2) = 1. After that, it’s easy to generate new numbers:

2 = fib(3) = fib(1) + fib(2) = 1 + 1
3 = fib(4) = fib(2) + fib(3) = 1 + 2
5 = fib(5) = fib(3) + fib(4) = 2 + 3
8 = fib(6) = fib(4) + fib(5) = 3 + 5
13 = fib(7) = fib(5) + fib(6) = 5 + 8
21 = fib(8) = fib(6) + fib(7) = 8 + 13
34 = fib(9) = fib(7) + fib(8) = 13 + 21
55 = fib(10) = fib(8) + fib(9) = 21 + 34
89 = fib(11) = fib(9) + fib(10) = 34 + 55
144 = fib(12) = fib(10) + fib(11) = 55 + 89
233 = fib(13) = fib(11) + fib(12) = 89 + 144
377 = fib(14) = fib(12) + fib(13) = 144 + 233
610 = fib(15) = fib(13) + fib(14) = 233 + 377
987 = fib(16) = fib(14) + fib(15) = 377 + 610
[...]

How to create the Fibonacci sequence is obvious. But it’s not obvious that fib(fi) / fib(fi-1) gives you ever-better approximations to a fascinating constant called φ, the golden ratio, which is 1.618033988749894…:

1/1 = 1
2/1 = 2
3/2 = 1.5
5/3 = 1.66666...
8/5 = 1.6
13/8 = 1.625
21/13 = 1.615384...
34/21 = 1.619047...
55/34 = 1.6176470588235294117647058823...
89/55 = 1.618181818...
144/89 = 1.617977528089887640...
233/144 = 1.6180555555...
377/233 = 1.618025751072961...
610/377 = 1.618037135278514...
987/610 = 1.618032786885245...
[...]

And that’s just the start of the hidden depths in the Fibonacci sequence. I stumbled across another interesting pattern for myself a few days ago. I was looking at the sequence and one of the numbers caught my eye:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597...

55 is a palindrome, reading the same forward and backwards. I wondered whether there were any other palindromes in the sequence (apart from the trivial single-digit palindromes 1, 1, 2, 3…). I couldn’t find any more. Nor can anyone else, apparently. But that’s in base 10. Other bases are more productive. For example, in bases 2, 3 and 4, you get this:

11 in b2 = 3
101 in b2 = 5
10101 in b2 = 21

22 in b3 = 8
111 in b3 = 13
22122 in b3 = 233

11 in b4 = 5
111 in b4 = 21
202 in b4 = 34
313 in b4 = 55

I decided to concentrate on tripals, or palindromes with three digits. I started looking at bases that set records for the greatest number of tripals. And there are some interesting patterns in the digits of the tripals in these bases (when a digit > 9, the digit is represented inside square brackets — see base-29 and higher). See how quickly you can spot the patterns:

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-4

111 in b4 (fib=21, fi=8)
202 in b4 (fib=34, fi=9)
313 in b4 (fib=55, fi=10)

4 = 2^2 (pal=3)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-11

121 in b11 (fib=144, fi=12)
313 in b11 (fib=377, fi=14)
505 in b11 (fib=610, fi=15)
818 in b11 (fib=987, fi=16)

11 is prime (pal=4)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-29

151 in b29 (fib=987, fi=16)
323 in b29 (fib=2584, fi=18)
818 in b29 (fib=6765, fi=20)
0 in b29 (fib=10946, fi=21)
1 in b29 (fib=17711, fi=22)

29 is prime (pal=5)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-76

11 in b76 (fib=6765, fi=20)
353 in b76 (fib=17711, fi=22)
828 in b76 (fib=46368, fi=24)
1 in b76 (fib=121393, fi=26)
0 in b76 (fib=196418, fi=27)
1 in b76 (fib=317811, fi=28)

76 = 2^2 * 19 (pal=6)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-199

11 in b199 (fib=46368, fi=24)
33 in b199 (fib=121393, fi=26)
858 in b199 (fib=317811, fi=28)
2 in b199 (fib=832040, fi=30)
1 in b199 (fib=2178309, fi=32)
0 in b199 (fib=3524578, fi=33)
1 in b199 (fib=5702887, fi=34)

199 is prime (pal=7)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-521

11 in b521 (fib=317811, fi=28)
33 in b521 (fib=832040, fi=30)
88 in b521 (fib=2178309, fi=32)
5 in b521 (fib=5702887, fi=34)
2 in b521 (fib=14930352, fi=36)
1 in b521 (fib=39088169, fi=38)
0 in b521 (fib=63245986, fi=39)
1 in b521 (fib=102334155, fi=40)

521 is prime (pal=8)

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-1364

11 in b1364 (fib=2178309, fi=32)
33 in b1364 (fib=5702887, fi=34)
88 in b1364 (fib=14930352, fi=36)
 in b1364 (fib=39088169, fi=38)
5 in b1364 (fib=102334155, fi=40)
2 in b1364 (fib=267914296, fi=42)
1 in b1364 (fib=701408733, fi=44)
0 in b1364 (fib=1134903170, fi=45)
1 in b1364 (fib=1836311903, fi=46)

1364 = 2^2 * 11 * 31 (pal=9)

Two patterns are quickly obvious. Every digit in the tripals is a Fibonacci number. And the middle digit of one Fibonacci tripal, fib(fi), becomes fib(fi-2) in the next tripal, while fib(fi), the first and last digits (which are identical), becomes fib(fi+2) in the next tripal.

But what about the bases? If you’re an expert in the Fibonacci sequence, you’ll spot the pattern at work straight away. I’m not an expert, but I spotted it in the end. Here are the first few bases setting records for the numbers of Fibonacci tripals:

4, 11, 29, 76, 199, 521, 1364, 3571, 9349, 24476, 64079, 167761, 439204, 1149851, 3010349, 7881196...

These numbers come from the Lucas sequence, which is closely related to the Fibonacci sequence. But where fib(1) = fib(2) = 1, luc(1) = 1 and luc(2) = 3. After that, luc(li) = luc(li-2) + luc(li-1):

1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 18, 29, 47, 76, 123, 199, 322, 521, 843, 1364, 2207, 3571, 5778, 9349, 15127, 24476, 39603, 64079, 103682, 167761, 271443, 439204, 710647, 1149851, 1860498, 3010349, 4870847, 7881196... — A000204 at OEIS

It seems that every second number from 4 in the Lucas sequence supplies a base in which 1) the number of Fibonacci tripals sets a new record; 2) every digit of the Fibonacci tripals is itself a Fibonacci number.

But can I prove that this is always true? No. And do I understand why these patterns exist? No. My simple search for palindromes in the Fibonacci sequence soon took me far out of my mathematical depth. But it’s been fun to find huge bases like this in which every digit of every Fibonacci tripal is itself a Fibonacci number:

Palindromic Fibonacci numbers in base-817138163596

11 in b817138163596 (fib=781774079430987230203437, fi=116)
33 in b817138163596 (fib=2046711111473984623691759, fi=118)
88 in b817138163596 (fib=5358359254990966640871840, fi=120)
 in b817138163596 (fib=14028366653498915298923761, fi=122)
 in b817138163596 (fib=36726740705505779255899443, fi=124)
 in b817138163596 (fib=96151855463018422468774568, fi=126)
 in b817138163596 (fib=251728825683549488150424261, fi=128)
 in b817138163596 (fib=659034621587630041982498215, fi=130)
 in b817138163596 (fib=1725375039079340637797070384, fi=132)
 in b817138163596 (fib=4517090495650391871408712937, fi=134)
 in b817138163596 (fib=11825896447871834976429068427, fi=136)
 in b817138163596 (fib=30960598847965113057878492344, fi=138)
 in b817138163596 (fib=81055900096023504197206408605, fi=140)
 in b817138163596 (fib=212207101440105399533740733471, fi=142)
 in b817138163596 (fib=555565404224292694404015791808, fi=144)
 in b817138163596 (fib=1454489111232772683678306641953, fi=146)
 in b817138163596 (fib=3807901929474025356630904134051, fi=148)
 in b817138163596 (fib=9969216677189303386214405760200, fi=150)
 in b817138163596 (fib=26099748102093884802012313146549, fi=152)
 in b817138163596 (fib=68330027629092351019822533679447, fi=154)
 in b817138163596 (fib=178890334785183168257455287891792, fi=156)
 in b817138163596 (fib=468340976726457153752543329995929, fi=158)
 in b817138163596 (fib=1226132595394188293000174702095995, fi=160)
 in b817138163596 (fib=3210056809456107725247980776292056, fi=162)
 in b817138163596 (fib=8404037832974134882743767626780173, fi=164)
5 in b817138163596 (fib=22002056689466296922983322104048463, fi=166)
2 in b817138163596 (fib=57602132235424755886206198685365216, fi=168)
1 in b817138163596 (fib=150804340016807970735635273952047185, fi=170)
0 in b817138163596 (fib=244006547798191185585064349218729154, fi=171)
1 in b817138163596 (fib=394810887814999156320699623170776339, fi=172)

817138163596 = 2^2 * 229 * 9349 * 95419 (pal=30)

# Flaubert le Flaubard du Flaubeau

«Je ne suis rien qu’un lézard littéraire qui se chauffe toute la journée au grand soleil du beau» — Gustave Flaubert, Croisset, 17 octobre 1846

• “I am nothing but a literary lizard basking all day in the great sun of beauty.”

# The Grates of Roth

Van Halen’s Diamond Dave fails to sparkle:

In terms of music, it’s all Brit. It’s Freddie, Bowie and the guy in Zeppelin. Theatrically, you’re looking at Spider-Man, with a little Groucho thrown in. […] Pushing boundaries in terms of what [Van Halen] wore was never an ambition of ours, but it always seemed to be where we would end up. — David Lee Roth: ‘My advice for aspiring artists? Breathable fabrics’, The Guardian, 25vi2019.

Note that he said “Theatrically…” rather than “In terms of theater…” So he should’ve said “Musically, it’s all Brit.” Rather than using the ugly and pretentious “In terms of music…”

Hal Bent for Leather — Rob Halford talks like a Guardianista too

# The Flight Album

Slow Exploding Gulls have always been one of my favorite bands and Yr Wylan Ddu (1996) is one of my favorite albums by these Exeter esotericists. The cover is one of their best too: Yr Wylan Ddu (1996) by Slow Exploding Gulls

Yr Wylan Ddu is Welsh for “The Black Gull”. But it’s become a white gull to celebrate the album’s twenty-fifth anniversary: Yr Wylan Ddu (2021 re-issue)

Elsewhere other-accessible

Mental Marine Music — an introduction to Slow Exploding Gulls
Slow Exploding Gulls at Bandcamp
Gull-SEG — the oldest and best Slow-Exploding-Gulls fan-site

# Maximal Mensual Metrics

Like all minimally decent and politically aware people, I am keyly — and corely — committed to anti-racism on a maximal basis by any means necessary. Monkey-funker.

This is also why I am a corely — and keyly — committed member of the Guardian-reading community. If I am ever tempted to relent a micrometre in terms of the maximality of the metrics of my core commitment to anti-racism, the Guardian is there to remind me of what anti-racism is corely committed to achieving…

It’s been a turbulent year for race in Britain. So what next? — At the end of Black History Month, we ask prominent Black British figures to assess where the UK stands in terms of equality and cohesion, The Guardian, 30×21