539 posts tagged with Math.
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$0.002 != $0.00002

Math skills are not Verizon's strong point. A man tries to resolve a simple problem with Verizon for 22 minutes. Listen, and despair.
posted by Drunken_munky on Dec 9, 2006 - 174 comments

Nullity and Perspex Machines

Dr James Anderson, from the University of Reading's computer science department, claims to have defined what it means to divide by zero. It's so simple, he claims, that he's even taught it to high school students [via Digg]. You just have to work with a new number he calls Nullity (RealPlayer video). According to Anderson's site The Book of Paragon, the creation, innovation, or discovery of nullity is a step toward describing a "perspective simplex, or perspex [ . . . ] a simple physical thing that is both a mind and a body." Anderson claims that Nullity permits the definition of transreal arithmetic (pdf), a "total arithmetic . . . with no arithmetical exceptions," thus removing what the fictional dialogue No Zombies, Only Feelies? identifies as the "homunculus problem" in mathematics: the need for human intervention to sort out "corner cases" which are not defined.
posted by treepour on Dec 7, 2006 - 63 comments

Mandelbrot on Fractals as A Theory of Roughness.

A talk with Benoît Mandelbrot, entitled Fractals in Science, Engineering and Finance (Roughness and Beauty) [video, 80mins, realplayer] about fractals as A Theory of Roughness.
posted by MetaMonkey on Dec 3, 2006 - 5 comments

Geek Logik - math for every day

Geek Logik is Garth Sundem's book & blog about equations for every day living, including how many cups of coffee you require to be functional, who to vote for, and others.
posted by xmutex on Nov 7, 2006 - 9 comments

Raft to the Future

Raft to the Future: An article about the weirdness of physical models of the universe, how that weirdness correlates to the inherent incompleteness of mathematical systems, and how time itself can emerge at the fringes of these incomplete models.
posted by knave on Nov 6, 2006 - 46 comments


Fractran. A Turing complete programming language expressed in prime numbers from John Conway. (Interpreter here.) More pathological programming. Via Good Math, Bad Math.
posted by loquacious on Oct 30, 2006 - 14 comments

pi in pixels

what happens if you assign a colored pixel to each decimal of pi?
posted by petsounds on Oct 26, 2006 - 99 comments

Another Clay Institute Millenium Prize Problem Solved?

The Navier-Stokes equations constitute the fundamental equations that describe fluid mechanics, and are used everywhere from atmospheric science to airplane design. Proof of the existence of a smooth solution to the Navier-Stokes equations in 3-dimensions is considered a challenging problem, so challenging that the Clay Math Institute has offered a million dollars to anyone who can do so. Has it been done? (More detailed explanation). (via)
posted by onalark on Oct 5, 2006 - 17 comments

crocheted hyperbolic flora and fauna

The Institute for Figuring presents the Crocheted Hyperbolic Coral Reef Project and Hyperbolic Crocheted Cacti and Kelp (more at this flickr gallery). If you secretly spend your evenings crocheting mathematical models, help build the coral reef or send a photo of your other creations to The People's Hyperbolic Gallery. (via Wonderland)
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 15, 2006 - 11 comments

Interview of Grigory Perelman

Grigory Perelman, awarded the Fields Medal for his work on the Poincare Conjecture, talks to the New Yorker.
posted by Gyan on Aug 29, 2006 - 17 comments


Please pick a random number between 1 and 100 (Explanation follows after filling out a short form.)
posted by kika on Aug 28, 2006 - 146 comments

никакое спасибо

Grigory Perelman becomes first to reject Fields Medal: "I do not think anything that I say can be of the slightest public interest. I have published all my calculations. This is what I can offer the public." Perelman was to be awarded the medal due to his solution of the Poincaré Conjecture. More on the other winners. Via.
posted by Captaintripps on Aug 22, 2006 - 31 comments

Every spherical football is a branched cover of the standard one.

Bending a soccer ball - mathematically. Found via Ivars Peterson's short exposition on Braungardt and Kotschick's The Classification of Football Patterns [pdf, technical].
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 17, 2006 - 18 comments

Things you didn't know about Bruce Schneier. They are on the internet, so they must be true.

"Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes."
posted by chunking express on Aug 16, 2006 - 46 comments

paging dr. perelman

Grisha Perelman, where are you? Perelman has quite possibly solved one of mathematics biggest mysteries, Poincaré’s conjecture, but has since disappeared.
posted by kliuless on Aug 15, 2006 - 32 comments

More than you ever wanted to know about nothing at all

The Zero Saga contains a great deal of information about the concept of zero, and its relation to other numbers and concepts in mathematics. It was linked in Good Math, Bad Math; which contains a variety of other informative articles on the numbers that capture our imaginations. (Note: You may want to skip past part 4 of the Zero Saga, as it contains replies to the site, and as such should probably be at the bottom of the page. But, to compensate, the comments on Good Math are better than most blogs I've read.)
posted by Eideteker on Aug 3, 2006 - 11 comments

Minimum sudoku

Minimum Sudoku. It is believed (though not proven) that the minimum number of entries in a Sudoku grid that will lead to a unique solution is 17. Gordon Royle of the University of Western Australia has collected 36,628 "minimum Sudoku" grids. Additional reading: an article in American Scientist on determining the difficulty of a Sudoku problem; Wikipedia article on the mathematics of Sudoku; the Sudoku Programmers' Forum on Sudoku mathematics.
posted by Prospero on Jul 19, 2006 - 29 comments

Mathematical imagery by Jos Leys.

Sphere and circle arrangements, the Droste effect, and more: mathematical imagery by Jos Leys. The Droste effect article is informative, too.
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 29, 2006 - 8 comments


The Pianolina - an addictive flash game - is something like a cross between Pong and WolframTones. Brought to you by Grotrian, piano manufacturers since 1835, the pianolina visualizes musical notes as little squares that chime when they bounce against each other or against a wall. Its sophisticated interface lets you add chords, gravity, or start with the basic notes of well known compositions like Beethoven's "Für Elise".
posted by jann on Jun 16, 2006 - 21 comments

^_* *_^

The Symmetry Thesis
posted by Tlogmer on Jun 6, 2006 - 37 comments

Mapping the StarMaze

Mapping the StarMaze A tale of mathematical obsession: "Before I can explain my decades-long quest to map the starmaze I must acquaint you with a small puzzle...I have a habit of seeing everything (cities, organizations, computers, networks, brains) as a maze, so I named this puzzle the starmaze....The first problem I ran into was that there were a lot of rooms...I invented wacky names for each room...But something funny happened...In that instant I finally grasped that the starmaze was arranged on the edges of a nine-dimensional hypercube..."
posted by vacapinta on Jun 4, 2006 - 38 comments

A Romance in Lower Mathematics.

The Dot and the Line. (by Norman Juster) Read the book. Watch the movie.
posted by jrb223 on May 20, 2006 - 20 comments

Show Your Work

Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. Using the formula provided, when the watermelon will hit the ground? Bellevue Community College President Jean Floten asked the Pluralism Steering Committee to take the lead on this, and to complete their task quickly.
posted by three blind mice on Apr 13, 2006 - 214 comments

Butt formula

I like (S+C) x (B+F)/T = V butts and I cannot lie.
posted by swift on Apr 13, 2006 - 63 comments

Meta Math

Gregory Chaitin's Meta Math! The Quest For Omega
"Okay, what I was able to find, or construct, is a funny area of pure mathematics where things are true for no reason, they're true by accident... It's a place where God plays dice with mathematical truth. It consists of mathematical facts which are so delicately balanced between being true or false that we're never going to know, and so you might as well toss a coin." From Paradoxes of Randomness.
"In my opinion, Omega suggests that even though maths and physics are different, perhaps they are not as different as most people think. To put it bluntly, if the incompleteness phenomenon discovered by Gödel in 1931 is really serious — and I believe that Turing's work and my own work suggest that incompleteness is much more serious than people think — then perhaps mathematics should be pursued somewhat more in the spirit of experimental science rather than always demanding proofs for everything." From Omega and why maths has no Theory Of Everythings.
[previously, see also, via]
posted by MetaMonkey on Apr 13, 2006 - 17 comments

This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics

This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics. A geek's paradise. Reminiscent of Scientific American's Mathematical Games.
posted by five fresh fish on Apr 1, 2006 - 11 comments

...almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

"...the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is..." "Yes? Yes!?" "...42."
via Dyson, Montgomery, Princeton, a cup of tea - as presented by Seed Magazine.
posted by loquacious on Mar 28, 2006 - 41 comments

Who can name the bigger number?

Who can name the bigger number? I guarantee you will lose to the Busy Beavers. (No, infinity is not allowed, the bigger infinity is a different game.) The author also debunks in very simple terms the recent story that quantum computers perform calculations without being turned on. My first post and disclaimer: I know the author from our mutual field of quantum information.
posted by gregv on Mar 16, 2006 - 113 comments

Sarong Theorem Archive

The Sarong Theorem Archive is the premier online repository for pictures of mathematicans in sarongs proving theorems.
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 28, 2006 - 24 comments


The Value of Algebra: "Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers."
posted by daksya on Feb 16, 2006 - 190 comments

Ripple Tank Simulation

Ripple Tank Simulation is a delightful, mesmeric java applet simulation of a ripple tank. It demonstrates two dimensional wave phenomena such as interference, diffraction, refraction, resonance, phased arrays, and the Doppler effect (do try the 3D view). From Paul Falstad's fantastic collection of Math, Physics and Engineering Applets.
posted by MetaMonkey on Jan 25, 2006 - 14 comments

Bashful's prostitution survey

Oddly obsessive statistical analysis of the rates paid by customers of legal Nevada prostitutes, broken down by sex act, attractiveness, body type and presence or absence of a jacuzzi, among other topics. [via Cynical-C, who swears he found it by accident]
posted by mediareport on Jan 9, 2006 - 32 comments

Klik Kandy

Klik Kandy
posted by Mr Bluesky on Dec 8, 2005 - 10 comments

Significant numbers

Significance of numbers. Not to be confused with the concept of "significant figures," this page lists the significance of numbers 0 through 1000. See! "2 is the only even prime." Hear! "24 is the largest number divisible by all numbers less than its square root." Thrill! "3367 is the smallest number which can be written as the difference of 2 cubes in 3 ways." Whoa!
posted by scarabic on Nov 11, 2005 - 43 comments

Nerd Porn

Flash Animations for Physics. Animations and interactive demos available in many varieties, such as classical mechanics, nuclear, quantum, and relativistic. There's even a nice explanation of the forces at work in Curling. And if that doesn't wet your geek whistle, then take a peek at the patterns of Visual Math.
posted by Gamblor on Nov 11, 2005 - 7 comments

Tangible Applications of Science

Beyond Discovery - illustrations of the path from research to human benefit
posted by Gyan on Oct 22, 2005 - 7 comments

Guess about 2 people will snark about this title

A View from the Back of the Envelope - approximations and the fun behind them.
posted by Gyan on Oct 18, 2005 - 25 comments

Sine of the times

Norman Wildberger's New Trigonometry Dr Norman Wildberger has rewritten the arcane rules of trigonometry and eliminated sines, cosines and tangents from the trigonometric toolkit. The First chapter of his new book, Divine Proportions, is online (.pdf).
posted by Kwantsar on Sep 25, 2005 - 21 comments

Is our children learning maths?

Friday Flash Fun, and other games from the educational entertaining Maths is Fun. Just don't tell the kids they're learning.
posted by kyleg on Sep 16, 2005 - 4 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering
posted by Gyan on Sep 9, 2005 - 13 comments

What kind of a sculpture would Metafilter represent?

Bathsheba Grossman: a geometric sculptor
posted by Gyan on Aug 26, 2005 - 11 comments

Euler? I never even met her!

Project Euler is a running contest of programming challenges to hone your algorithm skills. "Each problem is designed according to a 'one-minute rule', which means that although it may take several hours to design a successful algorithm with more difficult problems, an efficient implementation will allow a solution to be obtained on a modestly powered computer in less than one minute."
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 20, 2005 - 11 comments

Mathematical Knitting.

Mathematical Knitting. Knit your own Mobius bands and Klein bottles.
posted by greasy_skillet on Aug 12, 2005 - 8 comments

Who has the fish?

Who has the fish? Einstein logic puzzle. If I can do it, you guys can.
posted by swift on Aug 4, 2005 - 53 comments

Finding a girlfriend is a impossible - the proff

Mathematical proof Mathematical proof that it is impossible to find a girlfriend. "Without going into the specifics of precisely which traits I admire, I will say that for a girl to be considered really beautiful to me, she should fall at least two standard deviations above the norm." -pdf here- via
posted by bigmusic on Jul 29, 2005 - 27 comments

Nature of Mathematical Truth

Gödel and the Nature of Mathematical Truth : A Talk with Verena Huber-Dyson
posted by Gyan on Jul 29, 2005 - 77 comments

Just filling space

The Spidron is an interesting geometric construction that seems to lend itself to folding, dissection, and space-filling in two and three dimensions.
posted by Wolfdog on Jul 17, 2005 - 9 comments


Very few people will ever need to learn the value of pi beyond a handful of digits, but some people are more obsessed than others. They call themselves Piphilologists, and all the pi-memorization writings you could ever possibly want have been compiled into one massive Piphilogical text file. And today, Piphilologists the world over must surely bow in tribute to Akira Haraguchi, who has just recited pi from memory to 83,431 places.
posted by Faint of Butt on Jul 4, 2005 - 22 comments

You can't prove this title wasn't an attempt to illustrate Godel

Godel's theorems have been used to extrapolate a great many "truths" about the world. Torkel Franzen sets the record straight in his new book Godel's Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to Its Use and Abuse. Read the introduction (PDF). If you want, check out his explanation of the theorems.
posted by Gyan on Jun 29, 2005 - 65 comments

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