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“Cantor” Video Quick Survey

February 1, 2013


A little help wanted

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Edited from src1, see also src2.

Julian Fellowes is the creator and chief writer of the hit British ITV series “Downton Abbey.” Actually, he is The Right Honourable Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, and also holds a military commission as a Deputy Lieutenant. Thus he certainly is and knows what he writes. His knowledge even extends to the likes of shocking events that happen in the series. Really shocking. Then again, the shows are not exactly intended as course videos in early-1800s British architecture.

Today we ask a short survey on our ideas for course videos, well not-course-videos, such as the one on Cantor’s Theorem which we released last week.

Fellowes also won an Academy Award for his screenplay of the movie “Gosford Park.” However, it is credibly rumored that the actors actually followed little or none of his script. The all-star cast—all “Sir” and “Dame” in fact—were certainly capable of brilliant improvisation. But they cannot have improvised from bupkes—Fellowes must have written something great enough to launch them.

Watching the filming of “Cantor” really made us appreciate the amount of art and effort exuded by the three student actors to put life in our lines. In changing just a few words on the fly, perhaps they and director Ed Talavera paid us more respect than the lines merited. Still, we fancy that for our purpose of enlivening contentious mathematical issues and motivating beautiful intellectual feats, we can do enough to get on the launching pad. The 4-question survey below, which includes two boxes where anonymous comments can go, allows for feedback and advice.

The Survey

Please follow this SurveyMonkey.com link to answer the actual survey. Here are the four questions:

  1. Did you know about Cantor’s Theorem before viewing?

    • Yes, and context was clear in the video.

    • Yes, but felt video needed reminder of what the theorem is.

    • No, but still understood the issue with the theorem in the video.

    • No, and had no idea what it was about.

    • I still think Cantor’s Theorem is false.

  2. Did you like the fusion of technical info and fictional plot?

    • Yes

    • Not sure

    • No

    • Other [with a textbox---you can leave a longer comment there].

  3. What did you think about the portrayal of personal relationships among the characters, especially the role played by Sally? (See also next question for part of why we are asking.) [This has just a textbox.]

  4. Our larger project includes some plot ideas we sketched last year in our post “The Bourne Factor”: Another student named Carol makes a breakthrough on factoring just when her professor (who is single) conceives a new crypto vulnerability, and they go into hiding while working together. What bounds should we observe, i.e., which are OK? (Can choose multiple answers.)

    • They let it be thought they are having an affair to provide a “cover story” for their absence.

    • They get romantically involved.

    • He tries to be romantically involved, but she plays it arms-length (like Katharine Hepburn in many films).

    • She falls for him, but he is preoccupied/aloof (like Cary Grant in “Bringing Up Baby” with Hepburn).

    • Leave any romantic element absent.


Again, here is the link to the survey, with our thanks. We also thank those giving over 1,600 views (about 1,300 unique) of the video.

Open Problems

A fifth question that may be better for public discussion in this post itself draws on this perceptive comment in the Cantor post and some replies to it. Are the theoretical concepts enhanced or shadowed? How well might ideas along lines sketched in my own response work out?

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