...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 21, 2017

Some Reads From the Week...


Week #25 of America’s Trumpian nightmare, but at least there's some wonderful math to distract us (including some more pieces I noted over at Math-Frolic yesterday):

1)  Another ‘math-is-beautiful’ article, starting off with Maryam Mirzakhani  (h/t Keith Devlin):

2)  Neurons use linear algebra to recognize faces:

3)  Sara Vanderwerf (who hasn’t used a math textbook for her students in the last 4 years) recommends some Web resources for the classroom:

4)  I love profiles of mathematicians, and this has been a banner week for them…
a) If you haven’t already read enough about Maryam Mirzakhani I added several more links at the end of the initial post I did upon her death:

b) h/t to Nalini Joshi for pointing out this long, fascinating piece on Grothendieck:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201707/the-mad-genius-mystery

c)  If you don’t already know of it, Holly Krieger pointed out this “Women in maths” Facebook page (where she is currently profiled) a couple days ago:

d) and I’ll repeat mention of the piece I linked to earlier at Math-Frolic on the great Robert Langlands:

These are all great reads if you’re into biographical portraits!

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

1)  Who knew!? The best song of all time is “Africa” by Toto:
(hey, DON’T write me, write Gizmodo)

2)  The wonderful story of checkers, Marion Tinsley, and Chinook (h/t Jordan Ellenberg):



Friday, July 14, 2017

Some End-of-Week Picks


Week #24 of Trump dismantling America while the GOP watches & smirks….

1) Andrew Gelman once again takes a look at psychology replication:

2) Still confused by Bitcoin... Grant Sanderson’s latest 2 videos (3Blue1Brown) have been on cryptocurrencies:

3)  Math and music:

4)  Thanks to Martin Gardner many of you know of Marjorie Rice who gave hope to amateur mathematicians everywhere; now dead at 97:

5)  And more elaborately discussing all the convex pentagons/polygons that tile the plane (via Quanta): 

6)  The latest issue of the online Journal of Humanistic Mathematics:

7)  A prestigious math journal retracts a 16-year-old paper:

8)  Another followup to the prior Anna Haensch “refrain-from-discussing-mathematics” viral story from a couple weeks back:
http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2017/jul/03/slaying-the-math-monster-20170703/

9)  The latest from Keith Devlin on 'representations,' learning, and 'exploding dots':
http://devlinsangle.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-power-of-simple-representations.html

10)  "Category Theory for Normal Humans" (podcast) with Eugenia Cheng:
http://www.greaterthancode.com/podcast/episode-038-category-theory-for-normal-humans-with-eugenia-cheng/
(p.s. Cheng also has her own YouTube channel HERE.)


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

1)  Last week, NPR’s TED Radio Hour re-ran a fascinating prior episode titled “Hidden”:
(The first segment is especially mind-blowing about translating the vibrations of everyday objects into sound.)

2) Longish, interesting piece, via FiveThirtyEight on AI and chess and other games:


Friday, July 7, 2017

Short Potpourri


Week #23 of the hijacking of America…

…sorry, a short potpourri this week, as I’ve had too much summer busy-ness this week, while also remaining glued to the Yingying Zhang case in Illinois, where the accused has now been imprisoned, not in Champaign-Urbana, but in my own original hometown of Decatur!

1)  Plenty more math to read in latest “Math Teachers At Play” blog:

2)  I’ve already instructed all of you to subscribe to Evelyn Lamb’s monthly “TinyLetter,” so I’m not even going to inform you that this month’s edition is here. ;)

3)  The best way to play “Hangman” (h/t Dave Richeson):

4)  Alex Bellos’ Monday puzzle (he knows you always get more hits if you put a cat in the puzzle ;):

5)  More math gems from Jo Morgan:

6)  And to take up the rest of your time, another wonderful post from Brian Hayes, this time exploring the pecking-chickens-in-a-circle problem that went around recently:
http://bit-player.org/2017/counting-your-chickens-before-theyre-pecked

ADDENDUM:  The newest "Carnival of Mathematics" came out after I posted the potpourri, so don't mind adding it here:
http://www.cambridgemaths.org/news/view/carnival-of-maths-147/

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

1)  Last week’s TED Radio Hour was all about space (with Brian Greene, Phil Plait, and Jill Tarter):

2) …and keeping with a sciencey theme, plenty of cool essays from the FQXi Essay Contest winners: