...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, July 10, 2015

The Math Potpourri


Some of the math I didn't report at Math-Frolic this week:

1)  The 87th "Math Teachers At Play" blog carnival:
https://cavmaths.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/maths-teachers-at-play-87/

2)  An interesting old SAT problem gets covered by Presh Talwalkar:
http://tinyurl.com/qbcp4b8

...and here, Presh explains in a video why a certain fraction automatically generates the Fibonacci numbers (for awhile):
https://youtu.be/i2rDbfhRHok
 


3)  An excerpt from John Allen Paulos' forthcoming book, "A Numerate Life":
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/how-math-can-defeat-bullies/397061/

4) 
Another wonderful post from Ben Orlin, this time on the (false) allure of linearity:
http://tinyurl.com/px9hexw

5) 
One blogger's thoughts on memorization:
https://fivetwelvethirteen.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/memorization-good-or-evil/

6)  Evelyn Lamb briefly reviews Cedric Villani's "Birth of a Theorem":
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/what-it-feels-like-to-be-cedric-villani/
(I haven't read Villani's book, partly because I've seen such oddly-mixed, contradictory reviews of it, but Lamb's take encourages me to reconsider it before year's end.)

7)  Hey, c'mon folks, does ANYone who's ever played basketball truly doubt that the "hot hand" exists (no matter what some quant-ish types might try to tell you)? Andrew Gelman takes on the topic here (arguing in favor of hot hands):
http://andrewgelman.com/2015/07/09/hey-guess-what-there-really-is-a-hot-hand/

8)  Not math, but some of the consistently best science-reporting on the Web these days comes from Ivan Oransky and his "Retraction Watch" group. In a podcast he talks about the current 'boom' in bad science (and catching the bad science red-handed, often does involve math):
http://mendelspod.com/podcasts/ivan-oransky-todays-retraction-boom/


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

1)  This week NPR's RadioLab re-ran a segment with Dr. Elizabeth Loftus on the malleability of memories (including the backlash she faced for casting doubt on the memories of children):
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91573-adding-memory/

2) The bizarre NY Times story of identical twins mixed up as fraternal twins:
http://tinyurl.com/p9tv3u2


 

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