Archives for April, 2010

More Chess Match Carnage!

Two more games down in the big chess match. Game Three saw the first draw of the match. Topalov once more opened with his queen pawn, but Anand wisely avoided the Grunfeld this time. Instead he played the super-solid Slav Defense, and a fairly conservative variation at that. Topalov got the requisite small advantage out…

Coyne on Natural Selection

If for some incomprehensible reason you are not interested in the big chess match, and are looking for something evolutiony to read, let me suggest Jerry Coyne’s big review of the recent books by RIchard Dawkins and Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini. The review was published in The Nation. Here’s a nugget: Indeed, virtually none…

Carnage in Chess Match!

Two games down in the big chess match and it is shaping up to be a barn burner. The defending champion is Viswanathan Anand of India, though you would never have guessed it from the faceplant he did in Game One. His opponent is Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. By my reckoning this is the first…

Are you as excited as I am?

I learned something new the other day while preparing for my History of Math class. And since I have not done a math post in a while, I thought I would tell you about it. Specifically, I learned a new, and very clever, method for proving Fermat’s Little Theorem. Fermat’s Little Theorem is a classic…

Massimo Pigliucci thinks Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins have naive views about science and the supernatural: My problem with Dawkins and Coyne is different, but stems from the same root: their position on morality is indeed distinct from Harris’ (at least Dawkins’, I don’t recall having read anything by Coyne on morality), but they insist…

Another (Good!) Review of the BMHB

This time from the Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society. The reviewer is Paulo Ventura Araujo, a mathematician at the University of Porto in Portugal. Interestingly, he notes at the start of the review that he had never heard of the Monty Hall problem prior to reading my book. Here are the final two paragraphs…

Vassily Smyslov Dead at 89

I am afraid I have been so lax in keeping up with my internet reading that I only just found out that Vassily Smyslov has died. Smyslov was the World Chess Champion from 1957-1958. His rivalry with Mikhail Botvinnik throughout the 1950′s would not be matched until the epic Karpov-Kasparov matches of the 80′s and…

Is ID Blasphemous?

Peter Hess, Faith Project Director for the National Center for Science Education, argues that it is. He makes his case in this paper in the University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy I learned of the article from this post over at Josh Rosenau’s blog. Josh writes, “I think that Peter makes…

Which is to say that the Big Monty Hall Book got a (mostly) favorable review from the London Mathematical Society. The reviewer was David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge. I should admit that I don’t generally use the Monty Hall problem with students, as I am not convinced anyone is enlightened by…

Gathering for Gardner 9

Don’t see this at very many math conferences: This is from the Gathering for Gardner, which took place last week in Atlanta. That’s Martin Gardner, who wrote the “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American for thirty years. He also wrote prolifically about magic and psuedoscience. Or perhaps I should say “writes” since he is still…