...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 7, 2015

More Math, Math, Math... & politics


End-of-week linkfest:

1)  Will start the weekly wrap-up off with a fun post (pigeon-pooping is fun, right?):
http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/math/215059-pigeon-poop-probability-nyc

2)  Keith Devlin on the increasing role of games in education (and a new book about it from Greg Toppo):
http://devlinsangle.blogspot.com/2015/08/hard-fun-video-games-creep-into-math.html

3)
  Evelyn Lamb explores infinite earrings, and more:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/a-few-of-my-favorite-spaces-the-infinite-earring/

4)  A fun game from David Radcliffe ("Bojagi")
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinknudson/2015/08/02/a-simple-multiplication-game/

5)  Gary Smith's, "Standard Deviations," another popular treatment of statistics in the day-to-day world, is newly-out in paperback (good read):
http://amzn.to/1IdJ4vF

6)  James Tanton interviewed on teaching success:
http://scottbaldridge.net/2015/08/03/the-secrets-of-my-teaching-success-james-tanton/

7)
  Another followup (out of a great many) to Twitter Math Camp:
http://mathcoachblog.com/2015/08/03/twitter-math-camp-a-scalable-model-for-pd/

8)  In a couple of postings, Steven Strogatz tells of his positive entry into the world of inquiry-based learning (h/t Egan Chernoff):
https://www.artofmathematics.org/blogs/cvonrenesse/steven-strogatz-reflection-part-1
https://www.artofmathematics.org/blogs/cvonrenesse/steven-strogatz-reflection-part-2

9)
  Another fabulous post from Ben Orlin this week:
http://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2015/08/05/an-open-letter-to-benedict-carey/

10)
  A half-hour of Marcus du Sautoy on "Flexagon Radio":
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0640my1

11)  Interesting report on the Tor network and anonymity:
https://plus.maths.org/content/staying-anonymous

12)  Stretching on over to physics and some more fine reportage from Quanta Magazine (and Natalie Wolchover):
https://www.quantamagazine.org/20150803-physics-theories-map/

13)  So many links above already that I won't even bother to mention there's more mathiness over here ;-):
https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/


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Potpourri BONUS!:

No bonus links this week, but punditry is too much fun, not to take part, so my take (easily skippable) on the Repub. debate last night, and what it holds for future:

1. Huckabee -- gained from the debate, final jibe at Hillary Clinton perhaps best moment for any GOP candidate; Huckabee cuts across a couple of elements of the Republican base; could end up winning the whole shebang by being everyone's 2nd or 3rd choice

2.  Kasich -- gained... but essentially had nowhere to go except up from previous standing... can he continue the 'momentum'? Likely, the most reasonable voice out there... but how many reasonable folks vote in Republican primaries???

3. Christie -- gained, but again mainly from starting off low; his style and temperament (while playing well in NJ) won't carry him through the primary process, and a lot of activists still mad at him

4. Trump -- lost a little ground, but still gave fans what they like... can carry this act on for awhile because there are enough sick-of-Washington, sick-of-politics-as-usual troglodytes in GOP to push him forward before eventually fading, to the relief of GOP establishment
(would he run as independent? probably only if mistreated enough that he wants to give GOP the finger)

5. Paul -- failed to gain or broaden his appeal, but held ground with the limited libertarian Republican wing; could emerge as a 'compromise' nominee only if more traditional Republicans eat all their own (...it could happen)

6. Rubio -- baby-faced, not-ready-for-prime-time (though prepping himself for 2020 or '24); eventually has to split the Florida vote with Jeb Bush (IF Bush is still in race by FL. primary!); don't see any clear road to the nomination, given the primary order and the competition, but most pundits seem to think he served himself well last night (I don't get it; seemed out-of-his-league)

7. Cruz -- didn't gain or do as well as I'd expected (he's a former award-winning Princeton debater), but ought do well enough through Super Tuesday 2016 (likely winning Texas) to stay in race for good while; somewhat dependent on Tea Party success, and moderate Repubs attacking each other

8. Walker -- slimy as always, with a thin message, but with a loyal, activist base; and Trump supporters may eventually turn to him when they leave the Donald; comes from same state that gave us Joe McCarthy ;-)

9. Bush -- floundering; even Republicans are weary (and leery) of the "Bush" name; and Jeb is either rusty at campaigning or just never had the skills needed to play beyond the anomalous state of Florida; weak enough that the money and machine-politicans backing him will dry up soon

10. Carson -- still no clue why he's running, or is a Republican; Fiorina likely to take his slot in another 10-person debate

This group almost makes one appreciate the days of Romney and McCain... ;-) (...I said 'almost').
And I honestly wonder if the eventual nominee will be ANY of the above (and how many ballots it will take)!?


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