553 posts tagged with math.
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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 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

Computerized Math, Formal Proofs and Alternative Logic

Using computer systems for doing mathematical proofs - "With the proliferation of computer-assisted proofs that are all but impossible to check by hand, Hales thinks computers must become the judge." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2013 - 25 comments

That Makes It Invertible! (by The Three Directions)

Three professors at Harvey Mudd College wanted to do something special to mark the final lecture of Math 40: Linear Algebra that their students could relate to. The result: they transformed themselves into The Three Directions and performed "That Makes It Invertible!" for their class, complete with choreography and bad math puns. (SLYT)
posted by zachlipton on Mar 14, 2013 - 27 comments

So what is it smart guy?

The facebook question that has everyone stirred up... I got 9. I am a fifty-one year old white guy. Did new math f-ck me up? [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp on Mar 13, 2013 - 237 comments

Using pies to calculate pi

Ahead of Pi Day (March 14), Matt Parker tries to accurately calculate pi using pies. [SLYT] An extended version of the video will be uploaded on Pi Day, but here's your chance to go out and buy pies before that. (Video runs 3 minutes, 14 seconds.)
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 13, 2013 - 14 comments

Give or take

The origins of plus and minus signs - "There be other 2 signes in often use of which the first is made thus + and betokeneth more: the other is thus made – and betokeneth lesse."
posted by spbmp on Mar 12, 2013 - 30 comments

Aspiring Animators & Game Designers, Study Your Calculus & Combinatorics

Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2013 - 40 comments

They said something about "math," but nothing about LSD.

Trippy animated GIFs generated by Mathematica code. via
posted by OmieWise on Feb 28, 2013 - 20 comments

Oliver Heaviside

Surely you've heard of the physicist Maxwell, but what about Oliver Heaviside? Oliver Heaviside: A first-rate oddity.
posted by Evernix on Feb 14, 2013 - 14 comments


Henry Reich of Minute Physics shares his favorite science blogs, video channels, and other resources on the web. (Minute Physics previously) [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 8, 2013 - 5 comments

the power and beauty of mathematics

An eternity of infinities (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 2, 2013 - 23 comments

Episciences Project

Tim Gowers has announced a series of arXiv overlay journals called the Episciences Project that aim to exclude existing publishers from research publication in mathematics. As arXiv overlays, the Episciences Project avoids the editing and typesetting costs that existing open-access journals pay for using article processing charges. The French Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe (CCSD) is backing the remaining expenses, such as developing the platform. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 19, 2013 - 11 comments

Love in the Time of Neuroinformatics

"The models we discuss belong to the class of two-variable systems with one delay for which appropriate delay stabilizes an unstable steady state. We formulate a theorem and prove that stabilization takes place in our case. We conclude that considerable (meaning large enough, but not too large) values of time delay involved in the model can stabilize love affairs dynamics." [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Jan 16, 2013 - 12 comments

loop-a-doop-a, loop-a-doop-a, loop-a-doop-a, squiggly dot!

Doodle Music [slyt]
posted by ocherdraco on Jan 10, 2013 - 8 comments

Teaching Computers to Hear Emotions

New research can detect five different emotions with 81 percent accuracy. [Additional project information].
posted by Evernix on Jan 8, 2013 - 21 comments

Numberphile: videos about numbers and stuff

Numberphile 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 screens? Suitable for viewing by everyone from intelligent and curious middle-schoolers to math-impaired adults. Browse their YouTube channel here. (Via)
posted by BitterOldPunk on Dec 29, 2012 - 20 comments

My God, its full of stars!

What do you get if you slice a Menger Sponge on a diagonal plane?
Watch this video to find out.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Dec 26, 2012 - 44 comments

The Museum of Mathematics

Last night was the grand opening of the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, the only museum of its kind in North America. The video is narrated by MoMath's chief of content, mathematical sculptor George Hart (better known in some circles as Vi Hart's dad.) The sculpture of the space of three-note chords in the video is based on the work of Dmitri Tymoczko, and the lovely curved hammock of strings a visitor is sitting in at the end is a ruled quadric surface. Many more videos at the Museum of Mathematics YouTube channel. Coverage from the New Scientist. (Previously on MetaFilter.)
posted by escabeche on Dec 13, 2012 - 24 comments

Any yokel with a computer can have a college football ranking system

He is not the only one. Computer rankings are proliferating, said Kenneth Massey, a professor of math at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn., who has been ranking teams since 1995. “When I started, there were six or seven,” he said. “But every year, it gets bigger and bigger.” Massey currently tracks more than 100 college football rankings.

With so many competitors, what is the appeal of creating one’s own rankings?

“It’s kind of a nerdy hobby,” Massey said. “It combines sports with math and computers, three things that don’t ordinarily go together.” [more inside]
posted by DynamiteToast on Dec 7, 2012 - 20 comments

Making things with Maths

Making things with Maths (sic)
posted by Evernix on Dec 7, 2012 - 34 comments

An example of "order out of chaos"

"Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse!" [code to make this in Mathematica] [a version which allows you to watch the process step by step, with 10 vertices or 100]
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 3, 2012 - 65 comments

direct realism

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

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