...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, September 29, 2017

A Short-ish Potpourri


Between pickleball and what passes for politics in this country I’ve been pretty distracted this week, so a short potpourri:

1)  Futility Closet posed this classic logic problem:

2)  Math and music from Marcus du Sautoy:

3)  A(nother) guide to null hypothesis testing:

4)  “Likeable primes”…:

5)  My only post of the week touched on “fuzzy logic” with Bart Kosko HERE, and if you enjoyed that there's a much longer (2 hr.) audio piece with Kosko and Art Bell (yes, THAT Art Bell) from 2009 below (it's very good, covering a lot of interesting, interlocking topics):

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

1)  Fake news… we’ve only just begun (…aka, we’re screwed):

2) …and ICYMI, for any who still don’t believe in karma ;) :





Friday, September 22, 2017

A Math Mishmash To End the Week


Math to enjoy after 33 weeks of Amateur Hour in the Oval Office and on the golf course:

1)  Very brief article touching on math learning and ‘linguistic relativity’:

2)  “Persiflage” gets a few things off their chest:

3)  The September “Carnival of Mathematics” blog entry awaits you:

4)  “Computational Complexity” takes on a “FiveThirtyEight” Riddler problem:

5)  A nice listing of some math YouTube channels:

6)  Blackboards instead of desks…:

7)  Tim Gowers on the recent account of two infinities found to be equal:

…he may have been inspired in part by John Baez’s critical take here:

8)  Someone named Evelyn Lamb wrote some math this week (as she’s been known to do), including this piece on the work of Michael Pershan:

…speaking of which, a new interview (covering some diverse ground) from AMS with Dr. Lamb here:

9)  Keith Devlin pays tribute to Jonathan Borwein:

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

1)  Seems like every week now I have a favorite tweet (and followup comments), and this week it may be this one:

2)  ICYMI, the end of Project Cassini to Saturn, as reported here:





Friday, September 15, 2017

Some Mathy Reading for the Weekend


The nation presses on through week 32 of Trumpian antics… and the math bits continue coming:

1)  Mathologer, covering a lot of ground in 15 minutes:

2)  A compendium of math games (h/t Sherri Burroughs):

3)  Two doses of Ben Orlin in a single week (I feel like a glutton):


4)  NY Times obituary for the father of ‘fuzzy logic’ (h/t Steve Strogatz):

5)  The latest London Mathematical Society Newsletter available online here (h/t Peter Cameron):

…and latest issue of “The Variable” from the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society (h/t Egan Chernoff):

6)  H/T to Keith Devlin for tweeting out “please read” this March post by Tracy Zager (read the comments as well) on the interplay of math and language:

7)  Taxicab geometry via Futility Closet:

8)  Robert Talbert’s one-year plan for converting to flipped learning:

9)  An introduction, from Deborah Mayo, to Charles Peirce’s take on induction:
[p.s… for anyone deeply interested in Peirce’s work, Jon Awbrey’s blog often addresses it:

10)  The one-and-only Jordan Ellenberg is featured this week on the “My Favorite Theorem” podcast, and he explains a linkage between Fermat's Little Theorem and Pascal's Triangle:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/jordan-ellenbergs-favorite-theorem/

11)  Brian Hayes' latest book of essays, "Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations" should start showing up in bookstores any day now.

On a side note, lest anyone hasn't heard, by the time you read this, and after a 13-year journey of discovery, the Cassini spacecraft will have crashed into planet Saturn this morning, with a lot of coverage on the Web (not of the actual crash event).


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

1)  Well, this Twitter thread gave me waaay more laughs than I was expecting:

2)  For sheer entertainment, a Japanese Rube Goldberg machine on steroids:





Friday, September 8, 2017

The Math Potpourri Before the Storm


Having pressed through week 32 of Trumpian antics, the math bits continue coming:

1)  A Gödelian primer:

2)  Evelyn Lamb on “Public Domain Math”:

3)  Popularity of baby names:

4)  Only a little math amongst a slew of cognitive topics brought together in this long Scott Alexander book review of “Surfing Uncertainty”:

5)  Peter Cameron on p-values and Bayes:

6)  Ben Orlin’s great tribute to his own colleagues (…while also making an important point about math education):

7)  H/T to Steve Strogatz for citing this instructive old algebraic Quora post:
https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-find-the-positive-integer-solutions-to-frac-x-y%2Bz-%2B-frac-y-z%2Bx-%2B-frac-z-x%2By-4/answer/Alon-Amit?share=1

8)  For those who enjoy such things John Urschel is doing a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" edition TODAY at 2pm EDT.

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

1)  By now most of you have probably seen the letter left by President Obama for the incoming president before Donny Trump turned the Oval Office into a tawdry caricature of what it once was:

2)  For pickleball fans, a compilation of some great rallies:


[...And lastly, good luck to all of you in Irma's path in the days immediately ahead.]


Friday, September 1, 2017

First Potpourri of September


Assuming by now that you’ve dried your eyes over the loss of Sebastian Gorka from this White House after 31 despotic weeks (...Sad), I’ll pass along a few miscellaneous math reads:

1)  Steve Strogatz’s lectures on “Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos” available here:

2)  A primer on quantum computing:

3)  Journals (including math journals) ‘behaving badly’:

4)  Anthony Bonato offers a quick introduction to P vs. NP:
(p.s...: for anyone who didn't hear, the recent claim to a proof has been retracted)

5)  I was writing a post about the absurdity (or at least misunderstanding) of phrases like “1 in a 100-year flood” or now “1 in a 500-year flood” — but then Maggie Koerth-Baker covered it at FiveThirtyEight (though I’d be even harsher than she about phrases where the variables can’t even be adequately catalogued or defined, let alone measured):

6)  A new episode from the “Relatively Prime” podcast:

7)  Cool!... going live with "An #MTBoS Story" in front of 80 colleagues:
https://mathis3d.blogspot.com/2017/08/an-mtbostory.html

8)  Mathematical mutants and self-organization via "Mathematics Rising":
http://mathrising.com/?p=1508

9)  On Tuesday I asked about the Collatz conjecture, and am still interested in any further ‘backstory’ if anyone has something to pass along.

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

1)  A long, wonderful read from Scott Alexander on research and IRBs:
http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/29/my-irb-nightmare/
(...and a bunch of followup comments/stories to his post HERE.)

2)  And finally, in the category of ‘things-I-stumbled-upon-while-bopping-around-the-web-that-I’d-never-heard-of-before’ this performance on a “Chapman stick”:



p.s…: If any math communicator out there would like to be interviewed here let me know. Maybe you have a book or project to promote, or just want to further publicize a blog or website, or you just have a story you’d like to tell; whatever! Contact me at SheckyR{AT}gmail…