...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.

"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, October 28, 2016

Weekly Potpourri

1)  Some discussion over at Quora re: specialization in mathematics:

2)  Nice list of 6 easy-to-state, very-difficult-to-solve math problems:

3)  Evelyn Lamb introduces "metallic means" beyond the golden mean, in this fun, tidbit-full post:

...also from Dr. Lamb, this moving review of the book, "Hidden Figures":

4)  Gender, math, collaboration etc. (longread; h/t Jim Propp):
5)  Jo Boaler's overview of American math education:
6)  Peter Woit has placed a free pdf copy of the final draft of his latest book (on quantum theory and mathematics) on the Web here (due out next year):

7)  Especially for teachers, new from Fawn Nguyen, wise and thoughtful as always:

8)  And if you need still more math potpourri:

a) the new (139th) "Carnival of Mathematics" now posted:

b) and the new 101st "Math Teachers At Play" carnival as well:

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

1)  Of bongos and physics...  Futility Closet tweeted out one of its older posts this week, putting some classic Richard Feynman on display:

2)  In the last couple years I've replaced a tennis habit with a pickleball addiction. If you happen to be similarly addicted I've added a few items (t-shirts & bumperstickers) to my Zazzle store:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Some Miscellany From the Week

1)  This week The Aperiodical tweeted out that, "A little birdy tells us that Mochizuki's abc conjecture proof will be accepted into a journal "in the next few months". Hope it's not in The Journal of Irreproducible Results ;-)

Seriously, how does a journal even have room for such a proof, or do I assume they print summary and commentary, and give a digital link to the actual paper proof?

2)  Short Thomas Lumley piece on brute force in 'linguistics' computation (with interesting quote from Geoffrey Pullum):
3)   "Why Science Needs the Humanities" from John McGowan here:

4)  Fantastic followup on negative numbers from James Propp:

(and next month he'll be writing about self-referential sentences, one of my favorite topics)

5)  Andrew Gelman complains (I think rightfully) about Dan Gilbert's prior "inane" or "ridiculous" defense of social psychology's replication rate:

6)  I'm not one of them... BUT, if you're a fan of philosopher Alain Badiou, worth noting he has a new volume out, "In Praise of Mathematics":

7)  Wendy Menard encourages teachers to blog, and links to a lot of her own favorite math education resources/blogs here:

8)  Two of my loves in life are math and birds, so, hey, how could I resist citing a blog-post that combines the two:

9)  And there's always more weekly math-and-learning fare at Mike's Math Page:

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

1)  From last week's TED Radio Hour this (re-run) segment of Margaret Heffernan talking about the nature of work:

2)  And this is just one of my all-time favorite This American Life episodes ("The Family That Flees Together, Trees Together"), about the Jarvis family. It goes all the way back to 2001, and I find most people either missed it, or have forgotten it:

Friday, October 14, 2016


From the past week:

1)  Presh Talwalkar offers up a semi-classic logic problem:
2)  Tadashi returns to Numberphile with some shoelace knotology:
3)  There's a new 'Gathering For Gardner' ("Celebration of Mind") rapidly approaching  ~Oct. 21, Martin Gardner's birthday:
4)  Ben Orlin touched a nerve when he argues in favor of public over private education this week:
5)  Great Quanta longread (from 4 great writers) on four math and science teachers:
6)  More p-value discussion:

...and a more technical piece:

7)  Another mathematician reporting that the math that turns so many off in school, is NOT real math:

8)  More on algorithms and big data:
9)  The importance of mathematics, past and future, via Keith Devlin:
10)  New (pricey) book for serious logicians/philosophers-of-math, "Gödel's Disjunction":

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

1)  For anyone deeply-entrenched in linguistics, this long David Berlinski piece on Chomskyean fare:

2)  It's gone viral so am sure you've already seen it, but that won't stop me from including such a great song put to great use:

[...blogging may continue to be light next several weeks, while I watch the U.S. Presidential campaign in utter disbelief!]

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Few Reads From the Week

ICYM any of these:

1)  Last week there were several tributes to Richard Guy's first 100 years with us... including this piece from Colm Mulcahy:
...and this one from Siobhan Roberts:

2)  "Mathematics Rising" ponders infinity:

3)  Another of Evelyn Lamb's favorite spaces, Borromean Rings:
4)  A new issue of the wonderful Chalkdust Magazine:

5)  Interesting piece on how blind people perceive dimensions and number:
6)  Randy Weiner and Keith Devlin (BrainQuake co-founders) held a Quora Q & A this week about math-learning video games:

...and, in the first of a series, Quanta Magazine reports on the new trend in math and science education:

7)  I see Gary Smith, whose book "Standard Deviations" I really enjoyed from a couple years back, has a new volume out, "What the Luck." I'm guessing, sight unseen, that it's another great popular read:

8)  The latest from Erica Klarreich in Quanta Magazine:

9)  And the latest mind-blower from Numberphile:

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

1)  From a recent RadioLab show (though possibly a re-run?), another segment playing to my interest in language and psycholinguistics:

2)  Krista Tippett's "On Being" show on NPR this week is a replay of an interview with physicist/author Leonard Mlodinow: