...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 24, 2015

Weekly Potpourri


Lest you missed any of these:

1)  Hmmm... following the viral success of the 'Singapore problem' saw lots of folks putting up puzzles this week of various sorts. Will only mention a few:
Futility Closet ran 3 humdinger brain twisters last weekend:
http://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/04/18/all-relative-4/
and then also posted this lovely "quickie" the next day:
http://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/04/19/quickie/

the io9 site conjured up an old classic puzzle:
http://io9.com/ready-this-simple-puzzle-once-stumped-96-of-americas-1698814691

Mike Lawler brought home a good discussion problem for youngsters from the Wash. DC. MathFest (among his many weekly offerings):
http://tinyurl.com/q9f9gx3

and from Presh Talwalkar this one (with some now-familiar names):
http://tinyurl.com/ncfd3gs

Christian Perfect at The Aperiodical also goes over a lot of puzzle ground, including throwing in some other classics from recent times:
http://aperiodical.com/2015/04/thatlogicproblem-round-up/

...anyway, I like the name "Cheryl" but if I don't hear it again for awhile, well that'll be just fine with me!! ;-)
Also from  Mike Lawler...  I think this NCTM-related post of his from the week ought be read by EVERYone, simply for all the great links he provides in it (including some more problems):
http://tinyurl.com/ow9xoba

2) moving on,  a video interview with Devlin... Keith Devlin (mostly about his Stanford MOOC)... while some are increasingly negative or pessimistic about the future of MOOCs, Keith continues to tout their value... very worthwhile:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2mu020_prof-keith-devlin-stanford-professor-who-makes-you-love-math_school

3)  Here was one teacher's wrap-up of the recent NCTM conference:
http://borschtwithanna.blogspot.com/2015/04/digesting-nctm.html

4)  Aeon has offered a series of essays, from an odd mix of folks, on the mystery of mathematics, of which I think Scott Aaronson's is the best:
http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1829

5)
  "Mathical" children's math book winners were announced last weekend:
http://mathicalbooks.org/2015/04/award-winners-announced/

6)  Ian Stewart and Steven Strogatz received the 2015 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92ByJ2ehrD8&feature=youtu.be
(you can start at about the 10-minute point if you want to skip the introductory stuff)

7)  "Mathematics Rising" blog looks at the re-issue of John Horgan's "The End of Science":
http://mathrising.com/?p=1258

8)  Heavily philosophical review (from Massimo Pigliucci) of Lee Smolin's latest discourse on mathematics:
https://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/smolin-on-mathematics/

9)  Imprecise language in the New York State Regents Exam gets the attention (a-a-a-again) of Patrick Honner:
http://mrhonner.com/archives/14773

10)  A quick note from John Cook on experiments versus reality!:
http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2015/04/23/scientifically-valid/
(I think this has a LOT more generalizability than Cook is referencing; i.e. it applies well beyond economics and business)

11)  Longish piece on college-level math/calculus for the life sciences:
http://tinyurl.com/lk8t8ea


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

 One of the laws of life is that you can never see enough nesting birds!... so a couple of addictive Web nestcams (WARNING: NSFW... because you'll get NO work done):

Allen's Hummingbirds:   http://www.bellahummingbird.com/
Barn Owls:   http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/42/Barn_Owls/

 

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