Aptitude Schmaptitude! While the state of mathematical incompetence in this country has been much lamented, most famously in Paulos's brilliant 1988 book Innumeracy, it is still tacitly accepted . . . Being incompetent in math has become not only acceptable in this widely innumerate culture, it has almost become a matter of pride. No one
goes around showing off that he is illiterate, or has no athletic ability, but declarations of innumeracy are constantly made without any embarrassment or shame.
posted by jason's_planet
on May 3, 2007 -
Zelda and the Golden Ratio.
A fascinating examination of the music from Nintendo's Zelda games, and the recurring appearances of 0.618, the bisection point on a line at which the relationship of the shorter segment to the longer one is the same as that of the longer section to the whole line.
posted by jbickers
on Mar 7, 2007 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"To avoide the tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equalle to: I will settle as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles, or gemowe lines of one lengthe: ======, bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle."
Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde (1510–1558) invented the equals sign
in his 1557 work The Whetstone of Witte
, which also introduced "Zenzizenzizenzic"
, the eighth power of a number. Recorde had advocated the + and – symbols in his 1540 work The Grounde of Artes
. He died in debtor's prison in 1558. Read, watch, or listen to a recent lecture
that links the equals sign to developments in art, navigation, and astronomy. (Wikipedia
posted by goatdog
on Dec 16, 2005 -
Mathematical proofs in sanus
, with some visualization from Martin Wattenberg's The Shape of Song
. "The music here...is a raw and unadorned representation of the mathematics itself, involving few human preconceptions beyond a basic mapping needed to accommodate the Western tonal scale
posted by Rothko
on Dec 4, 2005 -
Not Lost After All
Given recent posts proving
various meanings of the ongoing numbers references on the television program Lost, I figured that some of you would be interested that a person over on Flickr seems to have a much better explanation: they're simply geographic coordinates.
posted by luriete
on Sep 30, 2005 -
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 -
was the 17th century's Jesuit version
of the über
geek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders"
invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ
and magnetic clock
, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations
) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery
posted by peacay
on Aug 7, 2005 -
Fractal animation videos.
Tune in. Turn on. Drop in on a dripping skirling-swirling pulsating orgy of self-transforming recursive math. Some with fractal music. (Non-embedded mpeg-1 and mpeg-2 files, like God intended.)
posted by loquacious
on Aug 7, 2005 -
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 -