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524 posts tagged with Math.
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The perfect billiards break

What would happen if a cue ball struck a rack of 15 perfectly round, frictionless billiard balls, exactly head-on?
posted by escabeche on Feb 3, 2014 - 31 comments

Love Is A Data Field

How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love
“I think that what I did is just a slightly more algorithmic, large-scale, and machine-learning-based version of what everyone does on the site,” McKinlay says. Everyone tries to create an optimal profile—he just had the data to engineer one.
[more inside]
posted by kyp on Jan 21, 2014 - 101 comments

I Was Told There Would Be No Math

M.I.T. professor Max Tegmark explores the possibility that math does not just describe the universe, but makes the universe.
posted by COD on Jan 14, 2014 - 111 comments

"An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar..."

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 ... = -1/12 -- Numberphile explains a counter-intuitive summation of an infinite series. [more inside]
posted by empath on Jan 9, 2014 - 136 comments

ipython notebook - a web-based interactive computational environment

"The IPython Notebook is a web-based interactive computational environment where you can combine code execution, text, mathematics, plots and rich media into a single document". It can be installed faily easily with anaconda or on Amazon EC2. Various interesting notebooks are to be found at the official Notebook Viewer site Another collection of interesting notebooks on many topics. [more inside]
posted by meta87 on Jan 5, 2014 - 56 comments

Wondering What to Get with That Gift Card?

It's a bit late for the holiday, but math(s) comedian Helen Arney sings about her Christmas wish -- the largest known Mersenne Prime, Mersenne 48. [more inside]
posted by GenjiandProust on Dec 28, 2013 - 1 comment

For unto us a child is born

According to statistician Aki Vehtari of Aalto University in Finland, there is diminished 20% chance that today, December 25th, is your birthday. There is a 5% higher likelihood than chance that your birthday is actually February 14th. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 25, 2013 - 27 comments

hydra!

Try to defeat the hydra! (Java required.) More about hydra math.
posted by divabat on Dec 22, 2013 - 27 comments

Intuitive Guide to Principles of Communications

Charan Langton (blog) hosts Complex To Real: which "...offers tutorials I have written on various topics in analog and digital communications that will help you cut through this complexity." [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Dec 21, 2013 - 8 comments

A source for 531 excellent FPPs

531 of the most interesting articles on Wikipedia covering everything from the linguistic (self-contradicting words in English) to the philosophical (The Ultimate 747 Gambit); from the only German military landing in the Americas (Weather Station Kurt) to the world's only Bigfoot Trap; to oddities both geometric (Gömböc ) and mathematical (Tupper's self-referential formula); great lists of various things (Bible errata, unsolved problems, camouflage patterns, blurred spots on Google Maps, lost art, the last monarchs of the Americas) to things that will make great band names (Orbiting Frog Otolith). [prev, shorter lists]
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 14, 2013 - 17 comments

Monday Morning Robocoach

Watching one of the exciting snow-bound football games yesterday, the thought may have occurred to you: If I was a coach, would I go for it on this 4th down? This bot from the New York Times will tell you, and maybe even add a little attitude to the answer, which is usually much more aggressive than NFL coaches.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 9, 2013 - 74 comments

Where My Ladies At?

Recently Emily Graslie, of the fantastic natural history tumblr and youtube series TheBrainScoop, was asked a question about whether she had personally experienced sexism in her field. Her response is fucking amazing.
Inside is her goldmine of awesome female science educators online with channels that focus on Science Technology Engineering and Math. My work day is fucked.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 6, 2013 - 37 comments

Math with Bad Drawings

Headlines from a Mathematically Literate World [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 4, 2013 - 32 comments

Look up to the sky and say it

There Will Be Numbers [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 3, 2013 - 12 comments

binding the andat

Closing in on the twin prime conjecture (Quanta) - "Just months after Zhang announced his result, Maynard has presented an independent proof that pushes the gap down to 600. A new Polymath project is in the planning stages, to try to combine the collaboration's techniques with Maynard's approach to push this bound even lower." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2013 - 16 comments

Bridging design techniques

Beijing and Amsterdam-based studio NEXT architects have won first place in a bridge design competition for Meixi Lake near the Changsha capital in Hunan, China. The shape was inspired by the Mobius Strip and Chinese knotting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 14, 2013 - 17 comments

"one key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don't"

"Psychologists Lisa Blackwell, Kali Trzesniewski, and Carol Dweck [found that] convincing students that they could make themselves smarter by hard work led them to work harder and get higher grades. The intervention had the biggest effect for students who started out believing intelligence was genetic."
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 12, 2013 - 64 comments

Graphing the Marvel Universe

"He calls this the Tao of Hawkeye. You can’t just have a database around Hawkeye, right? Not if you really want to understand Hawkeye over time. Because Hawkeye isn’t just Hawkeye. He’s also Ronin and Goliath and Clint Barton. Sometimes he’s dead. Oh, and by the way: he started as a villain. Who remembers that? -- Back in the eighties people like Mark Gruenwald and Peter Sanderson guarded Marvel Comics' continuity. These days Peter Olson tries to do the same for a much bigger Marvel using science and math.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 4, 2013 - 62 comments

A number sentence for 5 cookies and 6 cups of whole milk?

The Washington Post reports on a ridiculous mathematics test for first graders administered under New York's Common Core standards initiative. [Common Core previously.]
posted by Westringia F. on Nov 1, 2013 - 197 comments

"There's actually no such thing as an uninteresting natural number"

io9 takes a look at why the number 1729 shows up in so many Futurama episodes. It's mathtastic!
posted by quin on Oct 16, 2013 - 36 comments

More proof that math trickery can be used for good or evil.

Amaze Your Friends, Solve World Hunger; How to Create Chocolate out of Nothing! [slyt]
posted by quin on Oct 4, 2013 - 22 comments

When To Start Caring About the Powerball Jackpot

Walter Hickey at Business Insider looks at when you should buy a Powerball ticket and whether to take the lump sum or annuity if you win.
posted by reenum on Sep 28, 2013 - 50 comments

1985-86: The Genesis Of Truculence

This is one example of a phenomenon I noticed throughout this chart: natural rival franchises tend to have similar numbers of goon seasons. This would suggest that goon employment may be (in some instances) localized arms races between rivals, whose cyclical number of goons tends to reflect the other’s in some perverted game of Mutually Assured Terrible Hockey (MATH)... We also have a team like Detroit near the bottom of the list, with only 8.5 goon seasons in their history. Since 1985-86, the Wings have only had 4.5 goon seasons. They’ve only had 2 goon seasons since 1988-89. Coincidentally, they’ve been pretty damned swell at winning hockey games since that time. The Evolution of Goon Culture in the NHL
posted by mannequito on Sep 28, 2013 - 23 comments

math into art, hypnotizing and kaledscopic

The Geometric Artwork of Andy Gilmore [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Sep 18, 2013 - 4 comments

My God, it's full of... everything

Revelations in the field of quantum physics have resulted in the discovery of the Amplituhedron, a jewel-like higher dimensional object whose volume elegantly predicts fundamental physical processes that took the brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman hundreds of pages of abstruse mathematics to describe. The theoretical manifold not only enables simple pen-and-paper calculation of physics that would normally require supercomputers to work out, but also challenges basic assumptions about the nature of reality -- forgoing the core concepts of locality and unitarity and suggesting that space and time are merely emergent properties of a timeless, infinitely-sided "master amplituhedron," whose geometry represents the sum total of all physical interactions. More: The 152-page source paper on arXiv [PDF] - Lead author Nima Arkani-Hamed's hour-long lecture at SUSY 2013 - Scans of Arkani-Hamed's handwritten lecture notes - A far more detailed lecture series "Scattering Without Space Time": one, two, three - Arkani-Hamed previously on MeFi - A hot-off-the-presses Wikipedia page (watch this space)
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 18, 2013 - 128 comments

NSA may have secretly made major mathematics breakthrough

If the NSA is able to break through banks' computer security, does that mean it solved the prime factorization problem? The New York Times reported recently that “the agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems.” Since banks' encryption codes rely on the fact that nobody knows how to find the prime factors of really large numbers, it could mean that the NSA has found a way to do that. Or it could mean that the NSA has simply gotten lots of banks to give up their information, or found other ways around their encryption. But if they've cracked this long-standing math problem, might the secret leak? What would be the effects?
posted by Sleeper on Sep 12, 2013 - 60 comments

A sine of the times

The Movie Math Quiz: Can you figure out which movies are being described by these mathematical equations?
posted by schmod on Sep 10, 2013 - 13 comments

Dear Dylan

Wonkblog has a new advice column called "Dear Dylan" where Dylan Matthews answers the usual advice column staples using game theory, mathematics and charts.
posted by reenum on Aug 25, 2013 - 30 comments

Let’s not complicate things unnecessarily.

5 Math experts split the check. From Math with Bad Drawings.
posted by zabuni on Aug 25, 2013 - 25 comments

Paperscape

Paperscape is a searchable 2-dimensional visualization of the 800,000+ scientific papers (mostly in physics and math) on the arXiv preprint server.
posted by escabeche on Aug 18, 2013 - 20 comments

Beach Bells

This is a visualization of Beach Boys vocals inspired by the physics of church bells. Using a mathematical relationship between a the circumference of a circular surface and pitch, I wrote code that draws a circle for each note of the song. (Single Link Vimeo)
posted by Navelgazer on Aug 14, 2013 - 8 comments

I'm a mathlete!

You Can't Do Simple Maths Under Pressure (autoplay music)
posted by slogger on Jul 12, 2013 - 38 comments

Visualizing Numbers with WebGl

How To Fold a Julia Fractal. A beautiful interactive introduction to complex numbers, fractals and waves. (Requires WebGL). To Infinity And Beyond is a similar introduction to calculus.
posted by empath on Jul 11, 2013 - 33 comments

Assume A Cylindrical Cow

The Mathematics of the Manhattan Project
posted by empath on Jul 10, 2013 - 40 comments

If that sounds like it makes no sense that's because... well, it doesn't

This Simple Math Puzzle Will Melt Your Brain
"Adding and subtracting ones sounds simple, right? Not according to the old Italian mathematician Grandi—who showed that a simple addition of 1s and -1s can give three different answers."
posted by andoatnp on Jul 2, 2013 - 61 comments

Twelve Tones

"It's just one of those days where you wake up thinking that if you jazzed up Stravinsky's Owl And The Pussycat it'd be awesome..." [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by motty on Jun 27, 2013 - 42 comments

Is there any point to the 12 times table?

Is there any point to the 12 times table? [more inside]
posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Jun 27, 2013 - 159 comments

Monopoly Decoded

How To Use Math To Crush Your Friends At Monopoly Like You've Never Done Before
posted by Renoroc on Jun 21, 2013 - 82 comments

The number of constituent particles in one mole of a given substance.

Avogadro Project - The International Avogadro project relates the kilogram to the mass of a fixed number of atoms by measuring the number of atoms in a sphere of silicon. I'll leave this here.
posted by hypersloth on Jun 8, 2013 - 26 comments

Whereupon We Rediscover The Glowing Jewels of Mathematical Education

The series of Project Mathematics tapes regularly brought the house down at the annual SIGGRAPH video show; these mathematical animations were glowing jewels among the over-produced, techy-commercial animations usually shown at SIGGRAPH. -- Edward Tufte via edwardtufte.com
I wonder where these jewels might be found ... [more inside]
posted by tarpin on May 23, 2013 - 8 comments

Quite a day for analytic number theory

This afternoon, Yitang Zhang of the University of New Hampshire gave a special seminar at Harvard, in which he announced that he had proved that there are infinitely many pairs of prime numbers separated by no more than 70,000,000, a result differing only by a constant factor from the venerable twin prime conjecture. Dan Goldston, who together with Yildirim and Pintz made the last major advance on prime gaps, said, ""I was doubtful I would ever live to see this result." Not enough excitement for one day? Harald Helfgott has just posted to the arXiv a proof of the ternary Goldbach conjecture: every odd number is the sum of three primes.
posted by escabeche on May 13, 2013 - 54 comments

Proof and Community Standards

In August of last year, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki reported that he had solved one of the great puzzles of number theory: the ABC conjecture (previously on Metafilter). Almost a year later, no one else knows whether he has succeeded. No one can understand his proof.
posted by painquale on May 10, 2013 - 59 comments

What if P=NP?

Travelling Salesman: The Movie
posted by Westringia F. on May 8, 2013 - 44 comments

Math and parenting

Division of labor in child care: A game-theoretic approach The analysis shows that it is difficult to achieve the equilibrium of equal sharing of child care, even when this is the preference of the parents. This leads to a discussion of alterations and meta-strategies for couples who want to share care equally. Gender differences between parents are also modeled, including the impact these have on outcomes and equilibria.Full text PDF
posted by bq on May 6, 2013 - 14 comments

Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

"One might think that, once we know something is computable, how efficiently it can be computed is a practical question with little further philosophical importance. In this essay, I offer a detailed case that one would be wrong. In particular, I argue that computational complexity theory---the field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve computational problems---leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge, the strong AI debate, computationalism, the problem of logical omniscience, Hume's problem of induction, Goodman's grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality, closed timelike curves, and several other topics of philosophical interest. I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis."

posted by cthuljew on May 5, 2013 - 31 comments

The map of music

Every Noise At Once. A map of musical genres, built by Glenn McDonald of The War Against Silence and the Echo Nest. Click on a genre name to hear a sound sample, or pop it open to see a map of bands within that genre.
posted by escabeche on Apr 30, 2013 - 51 comments

Triple Gear

Mathematicians Henry Segerman and Saul Schleimer have produced a triple gear, three linked gears in space that can rotate together. A short writeup of the topology and geometry behind the triple gear on the arXiv.
posted by escabeche on Apr 26, 2013 - 36 comments

100% Prime

"Each prime number is represented by a bright, white square, whereas a non-prime ("composite") is grey. Visitors can select difference spatial arrangements of these numbers, ranging from several variants of the well-known Ulam Spiral, over the Archimedian spiral, to the more sophisticated 3D Hilbert curves." [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Apr 22, 2013 - 28 comments

Great Scientist ≠ Good at Math?

Do you need to know math to do science? Harvard professor emeritus E. O. Wilson says, "no." Jeremy Fox, an Associate Professor of Population Ecology at the University of Calgary disagrees.
posted by Obscure Reference on Apr 8, 2013 - 74 comments

A Circular Diversion

The Circle Drawing Experiment. You've seen competitive circle drawing (previously). Now try your own hand (mouse?) at drawing a freehand circle. Bonus: cats.
posted by Wulfhere on Mar 27, 2013 - 57 comments

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