"Perhaps twenty or thirty people in England may be expected to read this book."
G.H. Hardy's review of Whitehead and Russell's Principia Mathematica
, published in the Times Literary Supplement 100 years ago last week. "The time has passed when a philosopher can afford to be ignorant of mathematics, and a little perseverance will be well rewarded. It will be something to learn how many of the spectres that have haunted philosophers modern mathematics has finally laid to rest."
posted by escabeche
on Sep 12, 2011 -
The Logic of Diversity
"A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds
] by The New Yorker
columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results
. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...
] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem
of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity
can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless
on Jun 20, 2005 -
What Color is My Hat?
I [heart] these mathematical conundrums -- simple, easy-to-state, seemingly obvious logic problems that have solutions that completely defy common sense. Here's another you can spring on a friend: "You want to fry up three pieces of french toast. You have a frying pan that is just large enough to accomodate two pieces of bread at a time. If it takes you 30 seconds to fry one side of bread, and each piece of must be fried on both sides, how long will it take you to cook up three pieces (assuming that the act of flipping a piece or adding/ removing it to or from the pan takes no time). Think about it. Answer inside.
posted by Shadowkeeper
on May 25, 2001 -