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Humor in der Mathematik - Löwenjagd

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Even more methods to catch a lion in the desert

(cited after John Barrington, 15 new ways to catch a lion, in: Seven Years of Manifold, Ian Stewart and John Jaworski, eds., Shiva Publishing Limited, 1981)

The Cobordism Method:

The lion is an orientable 3-manifold with boundary and is therefore a handlebody. A lion that can be handled is trivial to capture.

The Sheaf-Theoretic Method:

The lion is a cross-section of the sheaf of germs of lions in the desert. Re-topologize the desert to make it discrete: the stalks of the sheaf will then fall apart and release the germs which kill the lion.

The Postnikov Method:

The lion, being hairy, may be regarded a fibre space. Construct a Postnikov decomposition. But a decomposed lion is certainly long dead.

The Game-Theory Method:

The lion is a big game. In particular, he is a game. Hence there exists an optimal strategy. Follow it.

The Thom-Zeeman Method:

A lion loose in the desert is an obvious catastrophe. It has three dimensions of control (2 for position, 1 for time) and one dimensions of behavior (being parametrized by a lion). Hence by Thom's Classification Theorem it is a swallowtail. A lion that has swallowed its tail is in no state to avoid capture.

The Australian Method:

Lions are very varied creatures, so there is a variety of lions in the desert. This variety contains free lions which satisfy no nontrivial identities. Select a lion and register it as "Fred Lion" at the local Register Office. It now has a non-trivial identity, hence it is not free. If it is not free, it must be captive.


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