Math

Category archives for Math

The Real Pi Day(s)

Today is March 14th, 3/14 in the normal American way of writing dates, so you’ll find a lot of silliness on the web today talking about “π Day” due to the coincidental similarity with the first three digits of π (see, for example, Rhett’s annual post). But, of course, this is an archaic and local…

A Billion’s Not That Much

The local sports-talk radio station is running a bunch of commercials from a tax prep service in which a loud announcer declares that “People who did their own taxes left one billion dollars on the table last year. That’s billion with a ‘b.’” and urges people to “Get your billion back!” by paying for their…

Niskayuna by Fermi

The other morning, I was lying in bed and for some reason, found myself wondering what the population of Niskayuna is. While this is easily Google-able, as I said, I was in bed, and didn’t want to get up to get a device with Internet connectivity. So I tried to Fermi-problem my way to an…

After a couple of very productive days where I closed my Twitter tab because it was too freakin’ annoying to read, I checked in briefly Wednesday morning, and found Rhett Allain and Frank Noschese discussing this Veritasium bullet-in-block experiment: Tom at Swans On Tea offers some analysis, and Rhett offers a video response doing out…

White People Only Have 2.8 Friends

There was some buzz Thursday about a poll showing that 40% of white people don’t have any friends of a different race. Ipsos/Reuters include a spiffy “data explorer” where you can make graphs like the one above. It does not appear to provide an easy way to get at the actual wording of the question,…

Baseball Is Pretty Random

After Thursday’s post about sports and statistics, a friend from my Williams days, Dave Ryan, raised an objection on Facebook: There’s an unstated assumption (I think) in your analysis: that there is some intrinsic and UNALTERABLE statistical probability of getting a hit inherent in every hitter. If that is the case, then yes — a…

One of the chapters of the book-in-progress, as mentioned previously, takes the widespread use of statistics in sports as a starting point, noting that a lot of the techniques stat geeks use in sports are similar to those scientists use to share and evaluate data. The claim is that anyone who can have a halfway…

Dorky Poll: Rorschach Numbers

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a Dorky Poll here, but I’m pretty fried at the moment, so here’s a kind of mathematical personality test: two numbers that do not uniquely define a sequence, but suggest some possibilities that reveal your innate character type and/or appropriate career path: Personality Test: What number…

One of the reasons I held off on commenting on the whole E. O. Wilson math op-ed thing, other than not having time to blog, was that his comments were based on his own experiences. And, you know, who am I to gainsay the personal experiences of a justly famous scientist? At the same time,…

One of the hot topics of the moment is the E. O. Wilson op-ed lamenting the way math scares students off from science, and downplaying the need for mathematical skill (this is not news, really– he said more or less the same thing a few years ago, but the Wall Street Journal published it to…