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A Math Puzzle

Here’s a little brainteaser for you. What do these four fractions have in common? As it happens, these are the only four fractions where the top and bottom are both two-digit numbers that have this property. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. Good luck!

An Interesting Logic Textbook

Jeffrey Shallit has an interesting post up about The Southern Confederacy Arithmetic, a mathematics textbook published in 1864. Some of its idiosyncratic examples make for amusing reading. Reading Jeffrey’s post reminded me of a textbook I picked up at home-schoolers convention a while back. The book is called Intermediate Logic For Christian and Home Schools,…

As If To Prove My Point…

Just in case you are still wondering why college professors tend to be politically liberal, the last few days have provided three examples that make my point perfectly. First up, we have this piece from Bret Stephens, writing at The Wall Street Journal. Stephens’s piece is behind a pay-wall, but this essay at HuffPo quotes…

Over at Talking Philosophy, Mike LaBossiere takes up that question. Unfortunately, I think his answer is mostly wrong. Here’s his introduction: One common conservative talking point is that academics is dominated by professors who are, if not outright communists, at least devout liberals. While there are obviously very conservative universities and conservative professors, this talking…

Sunday Chess Problem

To this point in our Sunday Chess Problem series, we have considered one endgame study and two “direct mates.” While the diagram positions we have considered may have seemed a bit fanciful, we have not yet fiddled with the basic logic of the game itself. Which is to say that even if the position seems…

Two Happy Cats!

Here’s Spider (the orange one) and Emily from yesterday, having just been loaded into the back of my car. See how happy they look! They were both expressing their joy with loud, some would say shrieking, meows. That’s OK folks, no need to thank me. As it happens, I also have a very large carrier…

The Vacuity of ID

Proponents of intelligent design make a large number of arguments regarding the inadequacies of evolution, and the shortcomings of current scientific practice. All of these arguments are wrong. That, however, is not the end of the problems besetting ID. There is also the fact that there really is no theory of intelligent design. For all…

Sunday Chess Problem

Our first two entries in this series featured complex play drawn out over a large number of moves. So, for a change of pace this week, let’s try something lighter. This problem was composed by E. Pedersen in the early 1940s. White is to move and mate in three: Remember that white is moving up…

Craig’s Five Ways, Part Two

Let’s resume our discussion of this article, by William Lane Craig, in which he presents five arguments for belief in God. We found his first two arguments to be inadequate. Do his other three fare any better? 3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things,…

Are Superheroes Fascists?

Writing at Salon, Richard Cooper expresses dismay with recent superhero movies. Here’s a sample: I was reminded of this by Jor-El’s speech in “Man of Steel”: You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in…

Craig’s Five Ways, Part One

Writing in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas famously presented his “five ways” to prove that God exists. He relied largely on extrapolations from observable phenomena in our daily experience to grand claims about the origins of it all. Thus, he argued from the presence of motion in the natural world to an unmoved mover behind…

When I wrote my post last week about the existence of mathematical objects, I had not yet noticed that Massimo Pigliucci was writing about similar topics. More specifically, he is discussing cosmologist Max Tegmark’s idea that ultimate reality just is mathematics. Here’s Pigliuccia describing Tegmark’s ideas: The basic idea is that the ultimate structure of…

Sunday Chess Problem

In the rather fanciful position below, white is to move and force checkmate in six moves: This problem was composed by H. Lepuschutz in 1936. It is a representative of what problem composers refer to as a “logical problem.” In a logical problem, white has some sequence of moves that seems to achieve his goal…

Everyone Likes Cat Pictures!

Back in August, I welcomed Spider the cat into my home. So how did that all work out? That’s Spider lounging in his basement room, aka the chess room. To judge from the liberal coating of cat hair, I’d say he likes that futon quite a lot. Spider’s not much of a jumper, so I…

Over at The Economist, we have this brief interview with Edward Frenkel, a mathematician at Berkeley. We met Frenkel in this post from last week. Frenkel has a new book out called Love and Math, one copy of which is currently residing on my Kindle. One part of the interview caught my attention: Symmetry exists…