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Writing in The New Statesman, Cristina Odone laments what she sees as liberal intolerance of religion. The article is quite long, but here’s the opening: I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to discuss traditional marriage – and the state was trying to stop me. Incredible, in a 21st-century European country, but true. I was…

One frustration I had in my radio debate with Sean Pitman was that the topic kept changing in such a rapid-fire way that it was not really possible to discuss anything properly. Happily, I have no such restrictions here at the blog! So let’s devote a post or two to clarifying some of the issues…

The Return of Problem of the Week

The start of the spring semester brings with it a new round of Problem of the Week! This term’s theme is “Knights, Knaves, Normals, Werewolves and Other Fanciful Creatures.” That’s right! A whole term dedicated to the most endearing characters ever to populate fictional islands in logical brainteasers. The problems will get harder as we…

The Big CFI-LI Talk!

Out of respect for my recent travels, “Sunday Chess Problem” has the week off. However, my new friends at the Center for Inquiry in Long Island have now posted the video of my talk. And here it is: Alas, the question and answer period is not included in the video, which is a pity, since…

The Big Debate!

You always remember your first! I have now participated in my very first debate about evolution and creationism. Earlier today I was a guest on Harry Allen’s radio show, where I discussed things with Sean Pitman, who maintains this pro-ID website. “Discussed” is a polite term for what transpired. The first segment was cordial enough.…

I am on the road! Tomorrow I will be in New York, as I have previously discussed. Today I was in Baltimore to hang out at the big math party known as the Joint Mathematics Meetings. I also managed to write a guest post over at the Oxford University Press blog. Enjoy!

From the Department of Self-Promotion

Time to get back to the classroom! Our spring semester starts tomorrow. This term I’ll be teaching Calculus I and History of Math. I have a relatively light teaching load this term, as my reward for accepting a relatively heavy teaching load last term. Things are going to be a bit hectic for me this…

Sunday Chess Problem

Last week’s problem, though undoubtedly clever and imaginative, was not really typical of modern selfmates. So, let us spend one more week with this genre, this time considering a real heavy-duty, barn-burner of a composition. It comes from Uri Avner, a prominent composer from Israel, and was composed in the early 1980s. The stipulation calls…

Christie is Finished

So, have you heard what’s going on in New Jersey? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied any involvement in a political payback scheme carried out by some of his top aides on Wednesday, saying the whole thing was “inappropriate and unsanctioned.” “What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said in…

Sunday Chess Problem

Last week we introduced selfmates with a straightforward example that I composed in the late 1980s. This week we feature another representative of this genre. It was created by an American composer named Mark Kirtley, in 1986. In the position below, white is to play and force selfmate in eight moves. (Recall that this means…

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…