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Posts

July 23, 2014

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3:27 PM | A Mathematical Eye on Portland
MAA MathFest 2014 will be held August 6-9, 2014, in Portland, Oregon, bringing together more than 1,500 mathematicians. Known for its riverfront scenery, culinary delights, and cool vibe, the city also has a lively art and architecture scene. And you can find lots of examples of embedded mathematics, from the parabolic arcs of the city's fountains to the geometric intensity of its bridges.
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1:39 PM | Zippergons, High Fashion, and Really Big Numbers
Welcome to this week’s Math Munch! Recently I attended a conference in memory of Bill Thurston. Bill was one of the most imaginative and influential mathematicians of the second half of the twentieth century. He worked with many mathematicians on projects and had many students before he passed away in the fall of 2012 at the age […]
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1:00 PM | Random Victories
Your team's victory was just a fluke, an anomaly of small sample size! Continue reading →
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12:30 PM | 7/23/14
7 = (2 * 3) + 1^4 Also: 7 = 2 + 3 + (1 * √4)
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11:15 AM | A Few Women of Science...
Sadly, two years ago today, Sally Ride left us at the all-too-young age of 61. I wrote a brief bit about her one week ago.  Her organization for young people, "Sally Ride Science" is here. Lynn Sherr's biography of her came out a little over a month ago. And here's a 1984 PBS Nova clip of Sally as the inspiring, professional, enthusiastic scientist she was: Meanwhile, this week, Jim Al-Khalili's last seasonal BBC broadcast of "The Life Scientific" (which gets rave reviews) was with […]
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5:00 AM | Because There Aren't Enough Vampires on TV...
(Click on the comic if you can't see the full image.) (C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.They call him The Count because he loves that old cloak thingy he wears. You might remember the Count from one of his previous appearances.
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3:57 AM | New YouTube Video – Square In Your Head The Numbers 34, 334, 3334, etc. and 67, 667, 6667, etc
This is a really useless formula that I came across but amusing nonetheless. Square In Your Head The Numbers 34, 334, 3334, etc. and 67, 667, 6667, etc Here is a video explaining the proof of the formulas. Proof of the formula Actually there is an interesting reason I came across this. In 1985, Donald […]

July 22, 2014

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7:32 PM | What is Graham’s Number? (feat Ron Graham) Graham’s...
What is Graham’s Number? (feat Ron Graham) Graham’s number explained by none other than the man who first imagined this unimaginably big number, Ron Graham.  Make sure to also watch the companion video How Big is Graham’s Number?
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1:13 PM | Math Major
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12:45 PM | "Mathematics is like oxygen. If it is there, you do not notice it. If it would not be there, you..."
“Mathematics is like oxygen. If it is there, you do not notice it. If it would not be there,...
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12:30 PM | 7/22/14
7 = 2 + 2 - 1 + 4 Also: 7 = 2 + 2 + 1 + √4
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11:15 AM | 2 Requests: Kickstarter + a Survey... and
1)  An emailer asks me to lend support for a kickstarter project (documentary) of some independent NY filmmakers, focused on Erdös-Bacon numbers and networks.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/395786474/erdos-baconNot sure how much general interest there is for such topics. But Simon Singh did cover them interestingly over a few pages in his popular book on The Simpsons last year. People have had fun with the 'six degrees of Kevin Bacon" as a parlour game for several decades, and of […]
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9:58 AM | Maths movie round up
You wait and wait for a movie about a mathematical genius, and then three come at once. I’ve got Turing, I’ve got Ramanujan, I’ve got Erdős.  The Imitation Game The Imitation Game is an Alan Turing biopic, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. It’s out in November, but this trailer has just been released. The Man Who... Read more »
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3:00 AM | 4 Crazy Moments in Auction Theory History
Today we commemorate a historic moment in auction theory. Twenty years ago, on July 25, 1994, the United States FCC began the first round of a new kind of auction based on suggestions of Paul Milgrom, Robert Wilson, and Paul McAfee. The spectrum auctions raised more than $10 billion and has been called the greatest […]
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12:43 AM | The brachistochrone This animation is about one of the most...
The brachistochrone This animation is about one of the most significant problems in the history of mathematics: the brachistochrone challenge. If a ball is to roll down a ramp which connects two points, what must be the shape of the ramp’s curve be, such that the descent time is a minimum? Intuition says that it should be a straight line. That would minimize the distance, but the minimum time happens when the ramp curve is the one shown: a cycloid. Johann Bernoulli posed the problem to […]

July 21, 2014

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9:49 PM | I know more than a few adults who would benefit from this swing....
I know more than a few adults who would benefit from this swing.  
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6:37 PM | The Imitation Game - Official UK Teaser Trailer Trailer for The...
The Imitation Game - Official UK Teaser Trailer Trailer for The Imitation Game, an upcoming film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley based on Alan Turing’s time at Bletchley Park cracking the German Enigma code.  
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2:57 PM | Coming Soon: More New Math TV
(Click on the comic if you can't see the full image.) (C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.And wait until you see the New Five! He's like the old Five, but new.
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1:00 PM | The Voldemort of Calculus Classes
16B is merely Franken-calculus, stitched together from the corpses of actual classes. Continue reading →
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12:30 PM | 7/21/14
7 = 2 + 1 + (1 * 4) 7 - 2 = (1 * 1) + 4 Also: 7 = 21 - 14 Also: First three multiples of 7 (not in order)
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11:15 AM | Li'l Game From Martin Gardner
                   1...  2...  3...  4...  5...  6...  7...  8...  9  A nice old Martin Gardner puzzle to start the week, which he titled "Fifteen Finesse" in his slim "Aha!" volume (I've adapted it, though still using the same example he used):There is a new carnival game in town called "Fifteen." It involves a board with the numbers 1 through 9 laid out in […]
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11:03 AM | I found this useful: What Is Complex Analysis?
Course Guidance, Johns Hopkins University Math Department - click for "What is Linear Algebra" etcBecause seeing the forest sometimes helps you see the trees. I spent a couple of hours on such summaries and also on several related wikipedia entries (the field, its applications, its origins) as well as mathworld/mathematica entries. Getting a panoramic scope of the math helps.  In this case, the histories and human stories - Euler, Gauss, Riemann, ...; the connections to the […]
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4:54 AM | Awesome video by ViHart on why transcendental numbers dominate...
Awesome video by ViHart on why transcendental numbers dominate the real number line.  
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4:16 AM | matthewmaddux: What is Random? enjoy! [source: Dirk...
matthewmaddux: What is Random? enjoy! [source: Dirk Morrison] Make sure to watch the companion video by Veritasium What is NOT Random?
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4:12 AM | visualizingmath: mathani: Two curves cut all circles at right...
visualizingmath: mathani: Two curves cut all circles at right angles: straight line and a tractrix. I didn’t know what a tractrix was, so I Googled it! Tractrix definition from Wikipedia: Tractrix (from the Latin verb trahere ”pull, drag”; plural: tractrices) is the curve along which an object moves, under the influence of friction, when pulled on a horizontal plane by a line segment attached to a tractor (pulling) point that moves at a right angle to the initial line […]
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3:00 AM | Monday Puzzle: What will the string of beads do?
Today’s puzzle is one from physics. Imagine a string of beads is placed on top of a triangular wedge, with one side longer than the other. Will the string slide to the left or the right side, or will it stay put? (The image is from this video which also explains the solution) . . […]
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12:49 AM | mathani: Two curves cut all circles at right angles: straight...
mathani: Two curves cut all circles at right angles: straight line and a tractrix. I didn’t know what a tractrix was, so I Googled it! Tractrix definition from Wikipedia: Tractrix (from the Latin verb trahere ”pull, drag”; plural: tractrices) is the curve along which an object moves, under the influence of friction, when pulled on a horizontal plane by a line segment attached to a tractor (pulling) point that moves at a right angle to the initial line between the object and […]

July 20, 2014

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12:30 PM | 7/20/14
7 - 2 = 0 + 1 + 4
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11:15 AM | Sunday Reverie
Most of you likely know of Steve Strogatz's book, "The Calculus of Friendship," about the touching lifelong relationship between Dr. Strogatz and one of his high school math teachers.Today, for a Sunday reverie, I'll just link to this 2009 RadioLab episode (15 mins., entitled "Calculove") about the story… worth a 2nd listen if you've heard it before (or already read the book), and definitely worth a first-listen if you aren't familiar with the […]
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10:14 AM | Metamath
Do you know about Metamath? “It is a tiny language that can express theorems in abstract mathematics, accompanied by proofs that can be verified by a computer program. This site has a collection of web pages generated from those proofs and lets you see mathematics developed in complete detail from first principles, with absolute rigor. Hopefully […]
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