Archives for February, 2012

The MAA Reviews the BSB

The Mathematical Association of America has now posted a thorough review of the Big Sudoku Book. The review is by Mark Hunacek, of Iowa State University. His verdict: This is a delightful book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. In some sense it is hardly surprising that I would enjoy it, since I enjoy Sudoku, mathematics…

My First Podcast!

If you have a few minutes to kill, go check out this podcast over at Sol Lederman’s website “Wild About Math.” Laura Taalman and I discuss the BSB (by which I mean the Big Sudoku Book). We talk Sudoku, math, education and plenty of other stuff. We originally planned on talking for thirty minutes. but…

Time For Another Chess Post…

Me and my homeys got together last week for one more run at the US Amateur Team East: The fellow in the Rocky Balboa hat is Ned Walthall. In the middle is Curt Kimbler, followed by Doug Proll on the end. How long have we been playing chess together? Well, let’s just say that Ned…

Chess in Parsippany!

Well, I’m off to sunny Parsippany, New Jersey to participate in the annual chess extravaganza known as the US Amateur Team East. It’s the best tournament of the year, and, frankly, pretty much the only one I still play in. See you when I return!

If anyone reading this lives near Harrisonburg, Virginia, let me encourage you, in the strongest possible terms, to check out the high school’s production of the musical Les Miserables. You have until Sunday. I’ve seen some good high school shows in my time, but this is really something special. The high school seems to have…

Coercive Logic

Here’s a logic puzzle for you: Suppose I offer you a million dollars, in return for which you agree to answer a certain yes/no question. You can answer either truthfully or falsely as you desire. That’s it. Should you accept that offer? Solution below the fold. Those of you reading this who enjoy logic puzzles…

The Trouble With Theistic Evolution

The current issue of The Philosopher’s Magazine contains a lengthy interview with philosopher Elliott Sober, a prominent philosopher of biology. Most of the interview focuses on the problem of reconciling evolution and theism, with Sober serving up the standard talking points. For me the interview is a reminder of what I find most frustrating about…

The Contraception Kerfuffle

Over the last few days, there has been no shortage of crazed invective on the contraception issue from certain religious folks. For them, the notion that religious institutions providing public services ought to play by the same rules as everyone else constitutes tyranny. So we have Rick Santorum, for example, casually invoking images of the…

What Teachers Put Up With

Here’s Alabama state senator Shadrack McGill explaining why it’s a bad idea to raise teachers’s salaries: If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach. To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling.…

That School Prayer Banner in Cranston

By now I’m sure we are all familiar with the Jessica Ahlquist case in Cranston, RI. The New York Times provides a helpful summary: She is 16, the daughter of a firefighter and a nurse, a self-proclaimed nerd who loves Harry Potter and Facebook. But Jessica Ahlquist is also an outspoken atheist who has incensed…