is a website containing short videos (approx. 5-10 min.) about numbers and stuff. Mathematicians and physicists play around with the tools of their trade and explain things in simple, clear language. Learn things you didn't know you were interested in! Find out why 493-7775
is a pretty cool phone number! What's the significance of 42
, anyway? What the heck is a vampire number
? Why does Pac-Man have only 255
Suitable for viewing by everyone from intelligent and curious middle-schoolers to math-impaired adults. Browse their YouTube channel here
posted by BitterOldPunk
on Dec 29, 2012 -
What is the smallest prime?
"It seems that the number two should be the obvious answer, and today it is, but it was not always so. There were times when and mathematicians for whom the numbers one and three were acceptable answers. To find the first prime, we must also know what the first positive integer is. Surprisingly, with the definitions used at various times throughout history, one was often not the first positive integer (some started with two, and a few with three). In this article, we survey the history of the primality of one, from the ancient Greeks to modern times. We will discuss some of the reasons definitions changed, and provide several examples. We will also discuss the last significant mathematicians to list the number one as prime."
posted by escabeche
on Sep 18, 2012 -
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 -
Can you stump the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences?
Every identifiable sequence known to man, including:
Name: Busy Beaver problem: maximal number of steps that an n-state Turing machine can make on an initially blank tape before eventually halting.
Comment: The sequence grows faster than any computable function of n, and so is non-computable.
If your sequence does not appear there, you might want to try the Super Seeker
posted by vacapinta
on Apr 15, 2002 -
...harnessing the power of Lava Lite® lamps to generate truly random numbers....
That's a bold statement, but who am I to doubt the power of the lava lamp
. The mathematical purist may disagree with the "truely random" part, but this geek speak
convinced me that LavaRand can handle all my random number needs.
posted by bicyclingfool
on Apr 30, 2001 -
Mathematician Bums Out Entire Scientific Community
His "Omega" number--infinite and incalculable--guts hopes for pure mathematics, physicists' hopes for a Theory of Everything, and is just in general kind of bafflingly cool. Builds on the whole Godel/Turing foundation of hopelessness!
posted by Skot
on Mar 15, 2001 -