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Carrier Access Codes and cultural detritus, featuring Alf and friends

Carrier Access Codes are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States, these "dial-around codes" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson, Harry Anderson, John Lithgow, Tony Danza, Doug Flutie, and even Alf and some well-known friends. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 29, 2014 - 73 comments

Oh seven nine oh four seven nine

Grime numbers station, by Autodespair. [more inside]
posted by avocet on Mar 8, 2014 - 11 comments

@ Risk

"I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox. As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up."
—Naoki Heroshima explains how his accounts were hacked in order to force him to give up his single-letter Twitter handle. [more inside]
posted by me3dia on Jan 30, 2014 - 86 comments

Dynetzzle

A standard 6 sided die is a cube. It has eleven nets. The sum of the numbers on opposite faces of a die is 7. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Jan 30, 2014 - 26 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

"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

Cat images reportedly unaffected

Xerox scanners/photocopiers randomly alter numbers in scanned documents
posted by Jpfed on Aug 5, 2013 - 112 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

What's cooler than [1965 avg. CEO pay]? The [box office sales of Jaws].

Tumblr's $1.1 Billion price-tag instinctively seems very high to most of us, but without context, numbers this huge are often literally unfathomable to the masses. To help readers gain perspective on the huge numbers commonly tossed around by the media, researcher Glen Chiacchieri has created Dictionary of Numbers, a Google Chrome extension that automatically adds context to huge numbers printed in the web pages that you read. [more inside]
posted by schmod on May 20, 2013 - 51 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

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

What-If Numbers

XKCD/What If's Randall Munroe brings meaning to numbers. As a by-product. Of his day-to-day research. For your day-to-day entertainment.
posted by aniola on Feb 6, 2013 - 22 comments

the power and beauty of mathematics

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

Wonky graphs of 2012

2012: The year in graphs - as picked by the Washington Post Wonkblog's favorite economists, political scientist, politicians and other wonkys.
posted by Artw on Dec 28, 2012 - 17 comments

Now maybe the number of hot dogs can match the number of buns?

In Recognition of 12/12/12, Let Us Consider the Concept of Dozenalism.
posted by oneswellfoop on Dec 12, 2012 - 38 comments

SPAUN of the living

The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless on Dec 8, 2012 - 22 comments

Flash Anzan

The world record for Flash Anzan was broken this year at the 2012 All Japan Soroban [abacus] Championship. Competitors in Flash Anzan sum up 15 3-digit numbers that are displayed in turn within a set time. The record is now 1.70 seconds, which means that each number is displayed for just over 0.1s. Here is a video of a "slow" 1.85 seconds seconds where the numbers are barely readable. [more inside]
posted by milkb0at on Nov 2, 2012 - 31 comments

Factor Conga

Animation of prime factorization of the integers based on Brent Yorgey's factorization diagrams, described here. [via Data Pointed, previously.]
posted by albrecht on Nov 1, 2012 - 35 comments

It's numbers all the way down...OR IS IT

Benjamin Grosser's latest project is Facebook Demetricator, a browser application that aims to confront our "collective obsession with metrics" by hiding all of the numbers embedded in Facebook's interface— friends, likes, shares, comments, and even timestamps. [more inside]
posted by brieche on Oct 27, 2012 - 6 comments

What is the smallest prime?

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 - 61 comments

Counting Rhos

Do you like biology? Do you like numbers? Like, actual numbers and not the television show? Take a look at BioNumbers. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 17, 2012 - 10 comments

"Our names were made for us in another century."

Towns with number names: Six, Eight, Twenty, Fifty-six, Seventy-six, Eighty-four, Eighty-eight, Ninety-six, Hundred and 1770. Honorable mention for Wonowon.
posted by jessamyn on Aug 25, 2012 - 41 comments

Big (and small) Numbers

FatFonts creates numerical fonts where the amount of ink/pixels for each number is in direct proportion to its value.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2012 - 23 comments

Number A Day

NumberADay - Every working day, we post a number and offer a selection of that number’s properties.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 11, 2012 - 30 comments

47

47 is a magical number. It has appeared more than a few times on Star Trek, Alias, and in many films.
The 47 society is dedicated to exploring the phenomenon that is 47.
posted by finite on Sep 29, 2011 - 84 comments

Finite formula found for partition numbers

New math theories reveal the nature of numbers [1,2] - "We prove that partition numbers are 'fractal' for every prime. These numbers, in a way we make precise, are self-similar in a shocking way. Our 'zooming' procedure resolves several open conjectures, and it will change how mathematicians study partitions." (/.|via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 22, 2011 - 45 comments

the idea of a fully operational zero...

"Michel de Montaigne, whose essays transformed Western consciousness and literature, was not capable of solving basic arithmetic problems. And most other people would not be able to do so either, if not for the invention of decimal notation by an unknown mathematician in India 1500 years ago." The Greatest Mathematical Discovery? (expanded pdf) a paper written for the US Dept. of Energy makes this assertion based in part on the work of Georges Ifrah. [via] [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 26, 2010 - 44 comments

Tile-based maths puzzle

FFF - Navigate the numbers in Blockade. Can you clear the entire board?
posted by greatgefilte on Jun 25, 2010 - 13 comments

John Baez's Favorite Numbers

My Favorite Numbers by John Baez
posted by vostok on Apr 22, 2010 - 24 comments

Prime numbers are just the beginning.

Every number from 1 to 9,999 has a special meaning. (much mathematical terminology, scrolling)
posted by zardoz on Apr 21, 2010 - 69 comments

stimulusing

Veronique de Rugy, NRO contributor and George Mason fellow, says her research indicates that stimulus funding was disproportionately directed towards Democratic congressional districts. Nate Silver begs to disagree. De Rugy responds here; Silver responds here. Others say that this is a model "for the quick, effective peer-review that the internet facilitates." Perhaps this is a new model for peer review?
posted by lalex on Apr 3, 2010 - 27 comments

Very large numbers

The Shannon number? Skewes' number? Graham's number? Please. When you're ready to get serious, here are some truly large numbers. (previously, but with dead links)
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 9, 2010 - 45 comments

Number gossip

All this number gossip. 41 is deficient, while 43, its twin, is lucky. But 43 is also evil. 44 is happy. 144 is hungry. 126 is a vampire. 7912 is weird.
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 8, 2010 - 34 comments

It's dressed to the nines!

Late Thursday Flash Fun: Dropsum V2 is like a mix of sudoku and tetris and some other kind of block game. Much mindless fun to be had...
posted by schyler523 on Jul 30, 2009 - 11 comments

3D Mapping

Durango Bill's Home Page. With topics that include: 3D end-to-end tour of the Grand Canyon, the origin and formation of the Colorado River, and examples of river systems that cut through mountain ranges instead of taking easier routes around them in Ancestral Rivers of the World. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 22, 2009 - 5 comments

Beware of Oddity

Happy Odd Day! [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 7, 2009 - 42 comments

The H&FJ Institute for Unapplied Mathematics

Joe Palca, a science correspondent for NPR's Morning Edition, was meditating on the best way to convey the magnitude of the world's largest known prime number, 243112609-1. He contacted H&FJ at Typography.com to discuss the implications of typesetting a number with more than twelve million digits. Crunching of numbers and fonts ensued.
posted by netbros on Apr 22, 2009 - 21 comments

Genuine random numbers, generated by radioactive decay

HotBits is an Internet resource that brings genuine random numbers, generated by a process fundamentally governed by the inherent uncertainty in the quantum mechanical laws of nature, directly to your computer in a variety of forms. HotBits are generated by timing successive pairs of radioactive decays detected by a Geiger-Müller tube interfaced to a computer. (Warning: random sounds.)
posted by parudox on Feb 9, 2009 - 41 comments

Illinois Lottery Draws 666 on Heels of Obama Victory

The day after a senator from Illinois, is elected president, the Pick 3 lottery in Illinois comes up 666. It's happened before, notably in Pennsylvania (12 times, including one time as part of a scam and once earlier this year, in Maryland. Some are jokingly (I hope) calling him the antichrist as a result. Others, namely numbers geeks like me, are spending their lunch hours looking up the history of lotteries drawing triple numbers and sharing it with MetaFilter.
posted by sjuhawk31 on Nov 6, 2008 - 70 comments

Finally, there's a game that just is a database!

mySQLgame. Naturally, it's an alpha build. [via]
posted by Smart Dalek on Aug 28, 2008 - 33 comments

¡Atención!", "1234567890"

Find a short wave radio and before long you should be able to tune into The Lincolnshire Poacher - the station plays an introduction comprising part of the eponymous folk tune followed by a robotic female voice reading strings of numbers: listen! So called Numbers Stations have been a mysterious constant of short wave radio for several decades. The Conet Project [previously 1, 2, 3] has made a collection of the recordings available allowing you to listen to "Ready! Ready! 15728", "The Buzzer" (especially mysterious), "Gong Station Chimes", "Magnetic Fields" and many others.... [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Jun 30, 2008 - 71 comments

15 bits of crypto should be enough for anybody

On May 13, security advisories published by Debian and Ubuntu revealed that, for over a year, their OpenSSL libraries have had a major flaw in their CSPRNG, which is used by key generation functions in many widely-used applications, which caused the "random" numbers produced to be extremely predictable. [lolcat summary] [more inside]
posted by finite on May 16, 2008 - 81 comments

3 is an odd prime, 5 is an odd prime, 7 is an odd prime, 9 is a very odd prime...

The Prime Game is not really much of a game, but it is a neat & little-known fact about the decimal representation of prime numbers.
posted by Wolfdog on Jul 10, 2007 - 24 comments

100 Movies. 100 Quotes. 100 Numbers.

100 Movies. 100 Quotes. 100 Numbers. If you've got 10 minutes, see how many you can name. I'm hovering around a sure 52.
posted by Stan Chin on May 17, 2007 - 85 comments

Prime Prize

In September 2006 the largest known prime number, a 9.8 million digit number, was discovered. If you find one over ten million digits you can win US$100,000 (of which you get to keep $50,000). No maths is required - just download the software and you're away. Warning: it takes about a month to run one primality check so some patience is required. Look out though Cooper and Boone look like they might beat you to it.
posted by meech on Apr 12, 2007 - 35 comments

I wonder if it's in NP?

Blood, guts, and glory in no holds barred MIT number fight.
posted by Alex404 on Feb 3, 2007 - 14 comments

Operation Kaprekar

Mysterious number 6174. An excellent recreational math article.
posted by fatllama on Jan 13, 2007 - 34 comments

It may be just a game, but it's serious business.

Running the numbers on Second Life. With Linden Labs' virtual world being taken seriously by journalists and even banks, it's clear that businesses see profits in virtual worlds. But with over US$800,000 in value changing hands in 24 hours it's becoming hard for even skeptics to deny the profit potential of Second Life. After all it's not just flying penis attacks. Not everyone agrees, however. How many of those residents just log in once, shrug then stay away?
posted by clevershark on Jan 5, 2007 - 52 comments

Numbers Give Me A Geek Woody

US Census Bureau Facts & Figures: Holiday Edition says that more than 20 billion letters, packages and cards will be delivered this holiday season and 12 million packages a day through to Christmas Eve. Also check out the Special Edition for comparison data from 1915, 1967 and 2006, the African-American History Month Facts & Features and more data going back to 2000.
posted by fenriq on Dec 15, 2006 - 4 comments

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