...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, August 21, 2015

Math Bits From the Week


Potpourri... incoming:

1)  "Math Rising" blog looked at the topic of consciousness in non-humans this week:
http://mathrising.com/?p=1313

2) 
If you're interested in programming you'll probably want to read this piece from American Scientist about 'probabilistic programming language':
http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/2015/5/programs-and-probability/99999

3) 
Bill Gasarch tries to bring us up-to-date a bit on P vs. NP:
http://blog.computationalcomplexity.org/2015/08/have-we-made-progress-on-p-vs-np.html

4)  A GREAT, long piece on surreal numbers and more, passed along (tweeted out) this week by Jordan Ellenberg:
https://mathenchant.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/the-life-of-games/

...and, though I don't usually re-mention posts here that I've already linked to during the week, I'll make an exception for Scott Aaronson's long, mind-stretching post on "common knowledge":
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2410

5)  NY Times
piece on skepticism around health studies:
http://tinyurl.com/osaxa8y

6) 
Presh Talwalkar uses a joke police poster to lead into a discussion of game theory:
http://tinyurl.com/nwnhqwo

7) 
Quantum computing... hard to fathom:
http://ideas.ted.com/the-jaw-dropping-promise-and-brain-twisting-challenge-of-quantum-computing/

8) 
As if there haven't already been enough popular math books out this year, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin has a new one due in a couple of weeks:
http://basicbooks.tumblr.com/post/126918423579/qa-with-arthur-benjamin-mathemagician-and

9)  I don't think it's even possible for Ben Orlin to not be entertaining... and instructive... at the same time:
http://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2015/08/19/the-smartest-dumb-error-in-the-great-state-of-colorado/

10)  Algorithms are saying a lot about us... and lo-and-behold they ain't always accurate (nor accountable):
http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/judge-jury-and-executioner-the-unaccountable-algorithm/

11)  Related to the above, Kaiser Fung with a bit about management practices and big data:
http://junkcharts.typepad.com/numbersruleyourworld/2015/08/dumbing-by-numbers.html 

12)
  I hope you already saw my review from last weekend of Gary Smith's take on statistical shenanigans, "Standard Deviations":
http://mathtango.blogspot.com/2015/08/still-legal-torturing-data.html

13)  Speaking of which... I've been saying for 40+ years that good science is extremely difficult to do, and finally others are making the same point:
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/science-isnt-broken/

14)  Allen Downey tells us about something called "the inspection paradox":
http://allendowney.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-inspection-paradox-is-everywhere.html

15)  And when he's not following Ultimate Frisbee games, Mike Lawler occasionally has math blog posts here:
https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/


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

1)  If you're an animal lover you won't want to miss Krista Tippett's interview last week with Katy Payne on her work with elephants and whales:
http://www.onbeing.org/program/katy-payne-in-the-presence-of-elephants-and-whales/241

2)  This is several months old, but if you've never heard Dave Isay's TEDTalk (23 min.) about his StoryCorps Project, well, you should make time for it:
https://www.ted.com/talks/dave_isay_everyone_around_you_has_a_story_the_world_needs_to_hear



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