...a companion blog to "Math-Frolic," specifically for interviews, book reviews, weekly-linkfests, and longer posts or commentary than usually found at the Math-Frolic site.

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"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show." ---Bertrand Russell (1907) Rob Gluck

"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal." ---Bertrand Russell (1957)

******************************************************************** Rob Gluck

Friday, April 17, 2015

Big Bag of Weekly Links


The math bits I didn't much cover at Math-Frolic this week (and quite a varied selection I must say!)...

1)  Only one topic to start a wrap-up of this week with: that Singapore logic conundrum...

Ever-instructive and smiling James Grime covers the possible answers (depending on semantics) in this video:
http://singingbanana.tumblr.com/post/116546302907/via-cheryls-birthday-problem-it-depends-on

And among his multiple postings for the week, Mike Lawler talked through the puzzle with his two young logicians:
https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/the-viral-logic-puzzle-from-singapore/

It's been fascinating (sometimes exasperating) reading the comments at various sites regarding this interesting, if not greatly-worded problem, which has different sticking points for different people. I wish I'd kept a list of the sites that did a good, clear job (many didn't) explaining the tricky reasoning involved.

Anyway, if by now you're bored with the Singapore problem, you're free to move on to the next level:
http://tinyurl.com/p68mlp3

A-A-AND, even Fields Medalist Timothy Gowers gets into the act here:
https://plus.google.com/+TimothyGowers0/posts/Ak3Fnw8dvBk

2) moving on, +Plusmaths Magazine discusses the nature of proofs:
https://plus.maths.org/content/brief-introduction-proofs

3)  Steven Strogatz pointed to 40 math modules developed at Cornell for middle and HS teachers & students... he calls them "fantastic"... that's enough to get MY attention:
http://www.math.cornell.edu/~mec/

4)  Also, this week Math Munch took all of its inspiration from Strogatz:
http://mathmunch.org/2015/04/15/continents-math-explorers-club-and-i-use-math-for/

5)   The "Texas sharpshooter fallacy" and big data:
https://hilbertthm90.wordpress.com/author/hilbertthm90/

6)  If you missed this week's PBS Nova episode, "The Great Math Mystery," you can view it online:
http://video.pbs.org/video/2365464997/
One blogger reviewed it here:
http://www.abstractmath.org/Word%20Press/?p=9719

7)  Some followup, from Regina Nuzzo, to one psychology journal's "cold turkey" decision to drop p-values from their pages:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-perturbed-by-loss-of-stat-tool-to-sift-research-fudge-from-fact/

8)  An interview (about books) with Freeman Dyson... only slight mathematical content, but always interesting to hear from him (h/t to Jordan Ellenberg for this one)... though disappointing he's unable to name a single math book of recent times as a good book for lay readers... c'mon Freeman get with the times, there's some GREAT stuff out there!:
http://tinyurl.com/p6rhmpk

9)  Brian Hayes' first encounter with the algorithm of the IRS's Schedule D form... oh what joy!:
http://bit-player.org/2015/a-taxing-algorithm

10)  Futility Closet looks at a card game you have a 50/50 chance of winning and can't improve upon (...unless of course you're psychic):

http://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/04/17/say-red/ 

11)  For math teachers LOTS of reporting at the #NCTMBoston and #Shadowcon15 Twitter conference hashtags this week.

12)  And for 13 more mathy links check out the newest (121st) "Carnival of Mathematics":
https://lifethroughamathematicianseyes.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/carnival-of-mathematics-121/

13)  Lastly, for my recursive page of the week, a publisher finally gets it right:
 ow.ly/LDqP5

...Hope everyone finds at least a couple links suiting their interests among the above.


Potpourri BONUS! (extra NON-mathematical links of interest):

1)  Cats... and prisoners together:
https://www.thedodo.com/shelter-cats-in-prison-1088043678.html

2)  And in one of those oddball human stories that are hard to fathom, the 61-year-old postal worker who invaded Capitol Hill this week in a gyrocopter, with the best of intentions, explained what his purpose was via YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPVxPT4GGX0
(The fuller story here:  http://tinyurl.com/lpvb65b )

[...meanwhile, flying a gyrocopter to the Capitol must now be added to my lifetime-bucket list ;-) ]


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