Built on Facts

Archives for November, 2008

Flipping Coins and Levers

I promise this is not a politics post. It just uses some vote totals for some fun math! The Minnesota senate race has so far a total of 2,422,811 votes between the two leading candidates. The margin separating them is 477. It’s about as close to a 50:50 split as we’ve seen this cycle. Probably…

Non mi placet, O Pincerna

The following is reprinted verbatim from my old Livejournal. The entry was written January 26, 2007. In 2000, the news media called the presidential vote in the state of Florida for Gore before the voting had ended. This caused enormous controversy, because both sides claimed that this discouraged remaining Bush/Gore supporters who would have voted…

Election Liveblogging

This election day post is going to be continuously updated until the winner becomes more-or-less official. Tomorrow we’ll have one more politics post as something of a benediction, and then mercifully back to the physics. Updates will appear at the top of the post, so feel free to refresh throughout the night. I’m writing in…

Prediction Contest!

As you might have heard, the presidential election is tomorrow. As I’ve said, I believe I’m alone on ScienceBlogs as supporting anyone but Obama. But this is Built on Facts, not Built on Wishful Thinking, and so let’s have our official quadrennial Election Prediction Contest! Here’s the plan. We’re predicting three quantities of interest. 1.…

Sunday Function

You know about the tangent function, tan(x). If you draw a right triangle, the tangent is the ratio of the two sides which comprise the right angle. If the angle between the long sides and each of the short sides is 45 degrees, then clearly the two short sides have the same length. That means…

Katanas, Beatles, and Fingers.

I wasn’t sure I was doing anything for Halloween this year, so I didn’t have any costume plans. But then today it turned that in fact I was going to a party, and so I needed a costume with only a few hours notice. The costume stores were completely picked-over. What to do? I put…