...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, December 29, 2017

Final Math Potpourri of 2017

While tax, draft, and responsibility-evader Donald played President for another week I pieced together the last potpourri of the year:

1)  3blue1brown was joined by some of your favorite videographers last week for this topological puzzle:

2)  As always, Brian Hayes continues to cover the most pressing issues of the day ;) :

3)  News for KenKen fans:

4)  3 geometry puzzlers via Alex Bellos/Guardian:

5)  Russell’s Paradox... and centuries earlier “Panza’s” paradox (from Don Quixote):

6)  Fantastic and timely piece from Evelyn Lamb this week on the ABC conjecture:

7)  Luckily, since by now you all already follow Ben Orlin, there’s no need for me to link to this latest post of his looking ahead to 2018:

8)  One overview of the year gone by in math:

9)  The final 2017 'My Favorite Theorem' podcast highlights a professor from my own alma mater:

10)  And a lovely post about math entrancement (it's a couple of months old, but just tweeted out by Nalini Joshi & Peter Price this morning):

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

1)  Too late for me and my mouthful of mercury-amalgam fillings, but thought this was interesting:

2)  Finally, since I often tout books here, I’ll add another, just not a math book — haven’t read it myself, but a well-read friend of mine tells me that Robert Sapolsky’s  (evolutionary biologist) “Behave” is THE best book, bar none, he has ever read. That’s good enough for me to give it a look. Just passing it along.

…also, currently reading/enjoying “The Jazz of Physics,” by Stephon Alexander, newly out in paperback.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Pre-Festivus Potpourri ;)

While Congressional Republicans were busy mugging America, and the Trumpster occupied himself sticking pins into his Bob Mueller doll, I found these math stories to pass along:

1)  Some of what John Baez is thinking about lately:

2)  More analysis of the success of Google’s AlphaGo from K.W. Regan:

3)  Jim Propp’s latest monthly offering (on “the roots of unity”) is up:

4)  Risk-reward and innovation (…and monkeys) from Bill Gasarch:

5)  Why parameters are problematic in statistics:

6)  H/T to Egan Chernoff for noting this story/controversy I’d not seen reported on much:

7)  Two from Quanta Magazine this week:

8)  And new video from "Infinite Series" (on topology):

9)  I’ve been reading a little more foundational and analytical philosophy lately, so this end-of-year book, "Exact Thinking In Demented Times" on such, looks interesting (and Douglas Hofstadter writing the Preface is a pretty good endorsement):
(Anyone already read it and care to comment on it?)

10)  I re-posted a fun logic problem/riddle yesterday at Math-Frolic.

11)  Shinichi Mochizuki’s controversial/difficult proof of the ABC conjecture continues its wild ride, having been submitted to a prestigious math journal… which Mochizuki himself edits!... what one writer calls “poor optics.” So even if refereed properly this could taint its wider acceptance. Stay tuned.

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

1)  perhaps my favorite tweet-with-comments this week:

2)  I enjoy videos of “Canon Rock” performances (the rock version of Pachelbel’s Canon) and recently someone sent me this YouTube of a young female Japanese drummer joyously going-to-town with it. So will sign off with this:

…Have a joyous long weekend ahead everyone!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Potpourri is back (...after a couple weeks off)

While you were sleeping, and Aryan Anti-Christ Donald was busily colluding, obstructing, and weeping over fellow-harasser Roy Moore’s loss, I was once again hard at work pulling together another Friday math potpourri:

1)  Great New Yorker profile of Jim Simons, mathematician and billionaire hedge fund manager, and his Flatiron Institute:

2)  The latest blog “Carnival of Mathematics”:

3)  A very basic post on “the importance of statistics”:

4)  Even if you’ve already read about AlphaZero’s “staggering” chess success, still worth reading John Baez’s post:

5)  Wonderful Patrick Honner post for Quanta Magazine explaining the marvels of pentagon tiling:

6)  A couple of new books on the way:
 “Closing the Gap” (about prime numbers), by Vicky Neale:
...and “The Calculus Story” by David Acheson

7)  New “Infinite Series” episode this week on encryption:

8)  An odd geometric conjecture proved (h/t Mike Lawler):

9)  This year's Christmas lecture (recommended by The Aperiodical) from Donald Knuth at Stanford:

11)  For some levity, this is old, but I only ran across it this week… an Andrew Gelman lexicon:

…which in turn leads to these “definitions” from Stephen Senn:

12)  Finally, not a pleasant read, but a needed reminder that this in-the-news problem is long-standing and cuts across all fields:

...and there is followup to Kristian's post at Gelman's blog:

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

Just a couple of Twitter threads from the week I found entertaining: