August 28, 2014

12:34 AM | Grandma Got STEM
     It was my good fortune last weekend to meet the sister-in-law of one of my neighbors, mathematician and Harvey Mudd professor, Rachel Levy.  Levy is also a blogger and her postings in Grandma Got STEM tell of achievements of women in science.     I have looked for a poem to pair with my mention here of  Grandma Got STEM.  Although the following poem by Tami Haaland (found at the Poetry Foundation website) is not mathematical, it […]

August 27, 2014

12:00 AM | Walking New York
Walking New York Could a person walk the entire city of NY in their lifetime? (including inside apartments) Asaf Shamir Like the answer to Paint the Earth, the answer to the first part of this question is pretty straightforward to look up. But what if it weren't? Can we figure out the answer from things we already know? Let's look at a few ways of estimating it. First of all, how wide is a street? I've never seen one of those flashing crosswalk countdowns signs start with less […]

August 24, 2014

1:57 AM | Changing colors, counting syllables
Changing Colorsby JoAnne GrowneyBlueyoyo --awkwardlystopping-starting,rising-plummeting,seeking self-control. Please,mother-friend-lover-child, don'tpull string.  Let me collect myself.I  lift  myself  to  the  treetops,soar with the golden eagle,find rest on fleecy clouds.My orb embraceseverybody --powerful,yellow sun. 

August 20, 2014

12:00 AM | Into the Blue
Into the Blue If I shot an infinitely strong laser beam into the sky at a random point, how much damage would it do? Garrett D. A lot of the time, if a question includes the word "infinity," the answer is "an infinite amount"—when there's an answer at all. An infinitely strong laser pointer would deliver an infinite amount of energy to the air in its path, which would in turn radiate an infinite amount of energy in all directions, which would destroy everything. […]

August 19, 2014

2:37 PM | Poetry in Math Journals
         The Mathematical Intelligencer (publisher of the poem by Gizem Karaali given below) and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (an online, open-access journal edited by Mark Huber and Gizem Karaali) are periodicals that include math-related poetry in each issue.  For example, in the most recent issue of JHM, we have these titles:Articles:      Joining the mathematician's delirium to the poet's logic'': Mathematical Literature and […]

August 18, 2014

12:11 PM | Easiest KenKen Ever?
Saying that I like KenKen® would be like saying that Sigmund Freud liked cocaine. (Too soon?) ‘Twould be more proper to say that I am so thoroughly addicted to the puzzle that the length of my dog’s morning walks aren’t measured in miles or minutes but in number of 6 × 6 puzzles that I complete. (Most mornings, […]

August 17, 2014

11:37 AM | Spiral Inequality
(1) Archimedean spiral(2) Fermat's spiral (Parabolic spiral)(3) Hyperbolic spiral (Reciprocal spiral)(4) Lituus(5) Logarithmic spiral( Mathematical software used: gnuplot )

August 16, 2014

3:43 AM | Think of a Number
I love to create math games almost as much as I love to play them. My favorite professional project was leading the development of Calculation Nation. And my favorite game on the site is neXtu, though other games on the site may promote more sophisticated mathematical thinking. I have many reasons to love my wife, […]
3:43 AM | My best dream is floating . . .
     Today I want to urge you to visit several sites in addition to my blog.  For example, there is the recent announcement of 2014 Fields Medal (equivalent to a Nobel prize) winners -- the four winners include the first female mathematician (Maryam Mirzakhani) ever to be selected as a Fields Medalist (equivalent to a Nobel Prize) and a mathematician who loves poetry (Manjul Bhargava).          With the help of a "Google Alert" I found a […]

August 15, 2014

4:02 PM | Geometry in New York City
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August 14, 2014

4:03 PM | New Icon for AsciidocEdit
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2:05 AM | Asciihelper – a MacOS editor/viewer for Asciidoc
I’ve posted code for asciihelper, a MacOS editor/viewer for Asciidoc on github. It is now at version 0.1, but it does work. (You will need Xcode beta 6 or later to compile it; it is written in Swift). Asciidoc is a markup language that Is human readable Can produce output in HTML, PDF, EPUB3, and […]

August 13, 2014

12:00 AM | Expensive Shoebox
Expensive Shoebox What would be the most expensive way to fill a size 11 shoebox (e.g. with 64 GB MicroSD cards all full of legally purchased music)? Rick Lewis A shoebox full of valuable stuff seems to top out at about $2 billion. Surprisingly, this turns out to be true for a wide range of possible fillings. The MicroSD cards are a good idea. iTunes songs cost about $1 each, and MicroSD cards have a capacity of about 1.6 petabytes per gallon. A men's size 11 shoebox is about 10-15 […]

August 11, 2014

5:25 PM | Narrated by a mathematician
Recently translated by Adam Morris, the novel With My Dog-Eyes (Melville House, 2014) by Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) is narrated by a mathematician-poet. That fact of narration is what first drew me to the book. (See also this July 3 posting.)  And then there is (related in Morris's introduction to the translation) Hilst's sad life, perhaps mirrored in her characters.  These are the opening lines from the novel's narrator:       The cross on […]
12:34 AM | Spiral Polyskelion
Spiral Types:(1) Archimedean spiral: r(θ) = a*θ(1 < number of spiral turns < 2)(2 < number of spiral turns < 3)(2) Fermat's spiral (Parabolic spiral): r(θ) = a*sqrt(θ)(1 < number of spiral turns < 2)(2 < number of spiral turns < 3)(3) Hyperbolic spiral (Reciprocal spiral): r(θ) = a/θ(4) Lituus: r(θ) = a/sqrt(θ)(5) Logarithmic spiral: r(θ) = a*exp(b*θ)(b = 0.25)(b = 0.618)( Mathematical software used: GeoGebra )

August 08, 2014

8:02 PM | Spiral of Spirals
Spirals (green, magenta) around a Spiral Dodecaskelion (grey)A spiral of spirals of spirals.The spirals are logarithmic spirals: r(θ) = a exp(bθ), b = 0.2.Spirals of spirals of spirals of ..... (b = 0.2)A spiral of spirals of spirals.The spirals are logarithmic spirals with b = 0.30635.Spirals of spirals of spirals of ..... (b = 0.30635)Logarithmic spiralsThe pair of big spirals: b = 0.1The small spirals: b = 0.2The small logarithmic spirals: b […]
3:41 PM | Squaring the Circle
Reminding us of the ancient unsolvable problem that so many attempted, the July/August 2014 issue of Poetry Magazine contains "Squaring the Circle," a poem by Philip Fried.  Here are the opening lines; please follow the Poetry Magazine link above to enjoy the full poem.from  Squaring the Circle     by Philip Fried       It's a little-known fact that God's headgear --       A magician's collapsible silk top […]

August 07, 2014

12:07 PM | Things I Learned on a Boston Duck Tour
Dirty Waters led our Boston Duck Tour yesterday and told us a little about himself: I’m wicked smaht. In fact, I was valedictorian of my high school. Of course, I was homeschooled… but my mom says it still counts. Dirty was a veritable fountain of math-related trivia. For instance, he told us that the movie […]
3:03 AM | Divided selves, some of them savvy
     For social connections, it is desirable not to be pegged as a member of an outcast group.  And thus a mathematician is likely to have at least two selves -- one who lives in the world of mathematics and another separate social self that negotiates that rest-of-the-world where many fear and shun mathematics. I found a situation somewhat similar when I studied at Hunter College in Manhattan:  I needed a separate self who negotiated the city. The problem-solving […]

August 06, 2014

6:36 PM | Notes on writing math in asciidoc
See offcenterapps.com for some notes on composing mathematics using asciidoctor. Asciidoctor give a good way of publishing mathematical text on the web. In-line LaTeX is enclosed by escaped parentheses\(a^2 + b^2 = c^2\) while display math uses escaped braces \[ a^2 + b^2 = c^2 \] The asciidoctor-chrome-extension is highly recommended for working with asciidoctor. […]
9:03 AM | Nonsense words in Swift
I’ve posted some Swift code on github for generating nonsense words. The function patternedNonsense() generates pronounceable words like 1: hira-zansa 2: siqe-ratse 3: sifo-dassa 4: tixi-furse The second, pureNonsense9() generates words like 1: gjoh-xkcri 2: xxgg-jjqfh 3: mxsv-tngwh 4: ftkm-aakif Both functions use an extension to the String class that works like this let alphabet […]

August 05, 2014

7:52 AM | Q, Jokers, and Clowns
Connor McBride has a beautiful functional pearl, “Clowns to the Left of me, Jokers to the Right”, in which he discusses the idea of suspending the computation of a catamorphism. I just wanted to point out the relation of his work to the -derivative. Since Star Trek‘s character Q is a trickter god like Loki, […]

August 04, 2014

2:09 AM | Executing a system command from a MacOS app (Swift)
In a MacOs app (Swift), you can run system commands like this: let commandOutput = executeCommand("/bin/echo", ["Hello, I am here!"]) println("Command output: \(commandOutput)") To do so, define executeCommand like this: func executeCommand(command: String, args: [String]) -> String { let task = NSTask() task.launchPath = command task.arguments = args let pipe = NSPipe() task.standardOutput = pipe […]

August 03, 2014

8:35 PM | A math prof's lament
The mathematical connection for this poem is the fact that it was inspired by regrets for a missed opportunity in a mathematics class -- an opportunity missed by me and thus by one of my students.  There are so many ways to be wrong!Lament of a Professor         at the End of the Spring Semester     by JoAnne GrowneyI took an extra step to bridge the gapbetween us, blind to your matching backward step.We've moved in tandem until I'm angry […]
8:32 PM | January - July, 2014 -- titles, dates of posts
Scroll down to find titles and dates of posts in 2014.  At the bottom is a links to lists of posts through  2013 and 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this blog was begun.   This link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein. July 29  Fixing something wrongJuly 27  Each equation is a playful catch . . .July 25  Poems with "equation" in the titleJuly 19  […]
4:42 PM | Data Visualisation, from the World Cup to Drugs in Arkansas
This summer I taught a graduate statistics course in data visualisation at the University of Arkansas. As a final project the students had to find a data set, think of questions you could… Continue reading →

August 01, 2014

10:01 PM | Tool for turning markup into Swift playgrounds
I’ve just posted a tool on github for turning marked up text files into Swift playgrounds. This is version 0.1. As an example, here is the text of a file basic.ad: Variable are where you store stuff: -- var a = 1.23 var b = 4.56 a*b -- Loops are used to do repetious work […]
5:16 AM | Math for International Beer Day
I don’t need an excuse to do math. Nor do I need one to drink beer. But if I did, today is IBD. I’m most happy when I can pursue my two passions simultaneously… That said, I never attempt calculus while imbibing. It’s not safe to drink and derive. And like most of the American […]

July 31, 2014

8:53 PM | Swift Drawing 101
The aim of this post is to explore basic drawing techniques in Swift. The image below is the output of our code, which is listed further down. The code should be pasted into a playground window in Xcode 6. To see the images produced, and with the mouse, select View > Assistant Editor > Show […]
9:02 AM | Swift: string formatting (following Erica Sadun)
Erica Sadun posted some very nice code for extending Swift to create strings from string formats and arbitrary arguments. Below are some examples which make use of her code. // Execute this code is a Swift playground: look for // output in assistant editor import UIKit // The next two functions are from ericasadun.com func […]
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