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Blaise Pascal was a smart guy, and typically of such, he was a flaming weirdo. The following theory illustrates both:

In some of his mathematical writings (yes, I've read pretty much all of them and no, I can't remember what one this was) Pascal gets into Infinity, and what would transpire if Infinity was--gulp--a real place. Not just an abstract point in thought, or a numerological place, but a part of space itself. To do this twisted shit he uses conic sections.

The (relevant) conic sections, for those of you lucky enough to have missed out on that particular (and peculiar) subject of learning, are the ellipse, the parabola and the hyperbola. Most of you know what these look like, but if you don't know, mathematically they are very very weird. It is from the conic sections that we get a lot of our astronomy and even my pet mathematical weirdness, the asymptotic curve (which comes from the hyperbola). Now, here's where it gets weird: A parabola, which looks like an upside-down "U", has parallel legs. Every single point on a parabola can be mapped by discovering the point across from it (drawing a straight line), except for one--the point on the top. Because the legs are parallel, assumedly, if you draw a straight line from the point on top downward, it would keep going forever, because the parallel legs would never meet.

Or rather, according to Pascal, they wouldn't meet UNTIL Infinity, however far away that is. But because there's only one point missing to be mapped on a Parabola, no matter how long it goes on, then when you reach infinity you will find ONE POINT that "fills in" the parabola, which I guess would make it look like a really LONG ellipse. But if you think about an upside-down U, with the legs extending to infinity, and then try to understand that ONE POINT is all that's missing mathematically; that AT INFINITY there would have to BE that point, and it would have to fill in whatever space you see between those sweet, sweet legs...well, that's pretty fucked up right there, to quote Stan. I mean, a point with bigness?!

And it gets one better: The hyperbola is slightly more complicated than the parabola, so what Pascal does to it is even weirder. First of all, a hyperbola looks like a parabola, except instead of the legs being parallel lines, they're pointed slightly outwards...er, yes, it's a parabola with its legs spread. Thus, not only do the legs never meet, they wrap around Infinity and...um, well, they come all the way back. In fact, a FULL hyperbola is drawn as TWO spread-legged "U"s, one upside down on top of the other, touching only at their apexes. The reason they draw them two-at-once like that is because, mathematically, they really do graph that way...the infinite spreading legs of "one" hyperbola, if graphed in numbers, will somehow end up coming back and creating the other half. Now, you can see there's a "missing bit" in the hyperbola too, but it's not just a point. It's like a big swirling chunk of hyperbola is missing, stuck in Infinity.

Weird enough without Pascal, isn't it? But no, Pascal takes his parabola idea and expands it, effectively proving that, if there is an Infinity, what you would find there if you follow the hyperbola is...a line. Come on, think of that! Doodle yourself a little hyperbola--I'd do it here but the HTML would be torturous--and try to imagine a line, a single line, that would make all four of those ends sticking out meet.

But even after all that, Pascal admits what I'm about to admit--Hey, it's Infinity. It's supposed to be weird.

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