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(I don't know anything about the book, but I am amused by the title...and the concept is one that I suspect I can get behind.)
jrtom: (science)

I haven't looked at this closely enough to get a good handle on
exactly how the analogy to the Mandelbrot set works, but either the
concept or the images would be enough to make this worth passing
along, really.
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What I would call "Theme and Variations on Platonic Solids", which is
one way that you can tell I should never, ever be in marketing.


Astronomers' favorite images, plus some new stuff from Hubble.
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*points up*
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Haven't read it yet (placeholder) but it looks interesting. (And I agree that mathematics is often taught poorly, e.g., the curricula are generally structured so that unless you go to a lot of trouble (i.e., take math in college) you get the impression that math is limited to arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus..._none_ of which are what I spend most of my time doing when I'm doing mathematics. Probability and statistics? Graph theory? Combinatorics? Algorithm design, analysis, and optimization? Yes, some of these require some bits of the others as prerequisites...but seriously, let's at least give HS students a _taste_ of what else is out there.)
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I've been really annoyed recently by the abuse of the phrase "mathematically impossible" in the popular press to describe the likelihood of either of the following:

(a) either candidate gaining the support of at least 2025 delegates (pledged or super)...
(b) Senator Clinton gaining the support of more pledged delegates than Senator Obama...

...by the time the primaries are over (but before the convention).

In short: neither of these are "impossible". Highly unlikely, maybe. But calling it "mathematically impossible" is simply ridiculous.

math geeking )
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I'm reserving my opinion until I get a chance to take a more detailed look...but it's an interesting idea, anyway.
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Just _reading_ through this transcript gave me flashbacks to incredibly painful conversations I've had with some of my math (and CS) students.

And this isn't calculus...it's not discrete mathematics...it sure as hell isn't amortized complexity analysis, which admittedly can be a bit of a pain...it's not even algebra. It's ARITHMETIC. On MONEY. (Plus about the simplest case of unit analysis that one could ask for.) Units of currency, anecdotally at least, are the units that you do math problems in if you want people to have the best chance of getting the answer right, because almost everyone deals with money enough that they feel comfortable with it (sometimes more comfortable than if no units are used).

(For the record, I got to this through another article(http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/11/16/damning-video-verizo.html) which provides evidence that almost no one at Verizon gets this right.)


I have never been so happy that I am no longer a Verizon customer. Having read this, I'm not sure that I could resist the impulse to ask them about their data rate costs the next time I had to call their customer service line.
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The article talks about the problem of trying to create an object that will automatically right itself after being pushed over without being weighted (i.e., more dense) at the base. Also, there is a mathematical challenge involving a prize of up to $10K. I've included an excerpt after the cut.

an excerpt with the funny bits, including comments on marriage and turtles )

A very brief perusal of other entries in that blog suggests that there is more cool stuff there, including an interesting ad-hoc mathematical educational project: http://blog.sciencenews.org/mathtrek/2007/03/math_circles_inspire_students.html (which I would have been all over as a kid, and might be a fun thing to volunteer for now)
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is apparently the smallest positive integer for which the person (people?) that put this page together could not think of a special property that it possesses. (And that's pretty special: there are only 52 such numbers in their list, which goes up to 9999.)


Very math-geekily cool. I've got a fair background in mathematics and I haven't heard of a lot of the properties they're listing here. Fortunately, it's got links to most of them (although it does not link to a definition of a "curious" number, of which just one is listed. And, of course, now I must know. Heh.)
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(Make sure you read the responses and alternate theories, especially if you're more of a Monty Python geek and less of a math geek.)
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I'm all for giving people ways to approach math that aren't dull as ditchwater: games, applications, story problems, visualizations, you name it. And perhaps it's simply the case that the example used in this article is kind of dumbass. But I don't really particularly see the value in taking the slope-intercept form of a line and reinterpreting it as a hamburger recipe:

Aesthetic computing attempts to reach those frustrated by traditional math instruction by presenting abstract mathematical concepts in a more creative and personal way. Students break down difficult mathematical concepts, such as algebraic equations, into their basic parts, figure out how those parts relate to one another, then recreate the equation creatively. For example, a standard equation for graphing lines on a slope such as y = mx + b might become a hamburger, with y representing the whole burger, m referring to the meat, and x standing in for spices. Multiplication is indicated by the fact that the meat and spices are mixed together, and b is added to represent hamburger buns.

Students then write a story about the burger or draw a picture of it. (See "Five Easy Steps to Aesthetic Computing," in the sidebar below) Not only does the process enable students to understand the equation in a more meaningful way, the art and stories they create can later guide and inspire them when they need to solve the same equations using standard notation later on.

So I'm with them up to the "creative" recreation of the equation. I can imagine this being an interesting way of constructing a jumping-off point for the creation of art, but I don't see how the recreation, in this case at least, will help them do anything but remember that such an equation exists. In the case of this formula, I'm guessing that's not the usual problem.

If anyone sees more to this than I have, I'd be curious to know your reactions.
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Interesting and possibly even of practical use. Here's a link to some more detail, which in turn links to a technical discussion of how such a map can be created:

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Look Around You - Maths [YouTube]

This pretends to be an educational show on mathematics. But it doesn't pretend very hard. A must-see for math geeks and educators alike. (There are apparently others in the series; look at the list of related videos, or search on "look around you".) Very British in that sort of absurdist-humor way.
jrtom: (Default)
as a follow-on to my "musical pi" post, we now have, courtesy /., poetry whose lines are constrained to have a mathematically appropriate number of syllables.

The /. posts themselves on this subject are arguably more funny than the referenced articles.
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I never spent much time memorizing digits of pi, but one of the ideas I had for doing so was to map digits onto notes and memorize the pitch sequence (since memorizing musical lines is generally pretty easy for me), and I did so with the first ten digits or so before losing interest.

pi10k does the mapping for you, for any given 10 musical notes that you might care to specify, and then plays back the results. Rather cool.


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