Despite my having committed to write something here every day, some days there just doesn’t seem to be anything to write.

There are topics like the Republicans’ hilarious response to the Texas flooding, and the way President Obama must be smiling quietly to himself as he does the right thing and feeds them again with his bitten hand.  But I need to do more research first, and to do that I need to stop giggling about how the complete intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Teabaggers is going to serve the Democrats well in the upcoming election cycle.

I could write about the way Facebook keeps offering me the opportunity to debate theists, or to learn about the contributions by the discipline of theology to human betterment and understanding.  But I would need to stop giggling about the impossibility of debating people whose study of logic consists of learning parlor tricks to make the fatal flaws in arguments seem like supporting points.  (Yes, I revived my Facebook account, because it was required for an activity about which I am not yet ready to write.  When I do, that post will not be about nothing.)

So yes.  Today I write about nothing.  If a blog post is about nothing, is it a post?  This is a question that has been asked before.  For example, I could have written a review of John Cage’s 4’33” but I haven’t heard it.  Nobody has heard it.  Unless you count this:

But as we know, that’s just taking the unavoidable random noise artifacts that are part of the performance (not the composition) and amplifying them in possibly-amusing ways.  So, 4’33” itself: is it music?  Ask three professors of music this question and you will probably get five answers.

Zero is a concept that came fairly late to mathematics.  Zero is also not nothing.  Zero is a number in the middle of the continuum of numbers, denoting the boundary between the positive and the negative for integers and reals.  A note in Ellenberg’s excellent How Not To Be Wrong mentions that although most quadric curves on the real plane are either ellipses, parabolas or hyperbolas, there are some boundary cases and one of the cases is the locus of points where x*y=0.  You might know this better as “the X and Y axes”.  So no, zero is not nothing.

In data, zero is sure not nothing.  To store zero in a relational database you have to have already defined a table and a column with a numeric or Boolean data type.  The closest thing to “Nothing” in a database is a null value, but even that needs a column in a table for not having a value stored there.  It could have a value there, but it doesn’t.

I don’t know how to end a blog post about nothing.