...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, May 22, 2015

Br-r-rimming Potpourri


Another quirky, weekly compilation of math bits that I didn't cover at Math-Frolic:

1)  The latest "Carnival of Mathematics" with all its festivities is ready-and-waiting (it includes the infinite Kolakoski sequence which sort of semi-blew my mind!):
http://solvemymaths.com/2015/05/17/carnival-of-mathematics-122/

2)   Not exactly math, but survey research...a fun, longish read from the 'But-tell-us-how-you-really-feel' Dept. (about student-satisfaction surveys in New Zealand):
http://tinyurl.com/mr376yc

3)  A nice 5-minute discussion from TED Ed of the question, is mathematics discovered or invented (this is a good introduction for young people not familiar with the debate):
http://ed.ted.com/lessons/is-math-discovered-or-invented-jeff-dekofsky

4)  Interesting post from Sue VanHattum on her son's transition from previous "unschooling" and homeschooling, to a forthcoming charter school:
http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/2015/05/teaching-my-son-post-one-of-many.html

5)  Evelyn Lamb gets a little 'luney' with this great piece on grapefruit (spherical) geometry:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/grapefruit-math/


6)  A teacher posts some survey results from students... hmmm:
https://fivetwelvethirteen.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/math-survey-students/

...which he followed up on with this extended post:
https://fivetwelvethirteen.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/reflecting-on-mathematics/

7)  Nassim Taleb on probability, Black Swans, fat tails, social science, journalism vs. statistics...:
http://finance.yahoo.com/video/nassim-taleb-black-swans-war-193040925.html

8)  A quick blurb in the NYTimes by Jordan Ellenberg on childhood talent:
http://tinyurl.com/ktpxdsr

9)  Fun read from Ben Orlin on differences between Americans and those silly British ;-) when it comes to math(s):
http://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2015/05/20/us-vs-uk-mathematical-terminology/

10) 
This week, "Social Mathematics" blog related the "coastline paradox" to the city of Boston:
http://socialmathematics.net/2015/05/20/measuring-boston-coastlines-with-increasingly-tiny-measuring-sticks/

11)  And another elementary(?) puzzle hit cyberspace with Alex Bellos reporting it here:
http://tinyurl.com/m8hnj9c
...and Presh Talwalkar quickly posted an analysis of it at "Mind Your Decisions":
http://tinyurl.com/mvdjtsw

12)  Ivan Oransky and "Retraction Watch" covered another widely cited study (including by NPR's "This American Life"), which has now been retracted for fraud:
http://tinyurl.com/luqvdg5

...Another embarrassment for the journal Science, as well as all involved -- there is even greater ease and incentive to fake data these days, in some fields at least, than there was 40 years ago... and, it was easy enough back then. Moreso than acknowledged, science operates on an honor system. oy veyyy...

13)  A podcast interview with the excellent math/science journalist Erica Klarreich (who I interviewed in April), with a lot of info on math journalism:
http://www.acmescience.com/2015/05/episode-59-erica-klarreich/

14)  A thought-puzzle from Futility Closet:
http://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/05/20/ride-sharing/

15)  Mike's Math Page: as always, chockfull of good weekly stuff: https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/

16)  And it was a busy week here at MathTango: an interview with philosopher Penelope Maddy last Sunday, a book review ("How To Bake Pi") on Wednesday, and already another interview this coming Sunday!


Potpourri BONUS! (extra non-mathematical links):

1)  A surprisingly touching bit from NPR's Marketplace (it'll bring a smile):
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/transaction-hawaii-condo

I usually use somewhat lighthearted, newsy, or sciencey items for the potpourri bonuses, but this one, that seemed worth passing along, is a less pleasant topic (children dealing with death/grief):

2)  Episode #3 from last week's "This American Life":
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/557/birds-bees?act=3


["Bonus potpourri" picks often come from podcasts, especially NPR programs I hear in podcast form, but the podcast universe keeps growing and growing. In addition to NPR I'm aware of Panoply, Gimlet, Wiretap, the 7th Avenue Project, Love + Radio, and Stitcher listings, but if you know of other great podcasts touching on science, human behavior, or just society and culture, that are definitely worth-a-listen let me know your favorites (...not that I even have time for any more!)]

ADDENDUM: I've now learned of a nice list of "best podcasts" here:
https://medium.com/thoughts-on-media/a-huge-collection-of-the-best-podcasts-d97a13608bb4




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