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 with

*out* 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.