Math

Category archives for Math

Language Poll: The Most Threshold

Not prompted by anything specific, but something I’ve occasionally wondered about: what’s the threshold for “most”? Thus, a poll: The minimum percentage of X doing Y that you would need to feel justified saying “Most X do Y” is:survey software I know I tend to use “most” to mean something considerably more than just 51%,…

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is getting mocked for a clip where he takes some time to name all his children (the clip isn’t as bad as the description makes it sound– he’s slow, but he doesn’t struggle all that badly). Cromartie claims that HBO manipulated the footage to make him look bad. Of…

Algebra and Circuit Breakers

A couple of “kids these days are bad at math” stories crossed my feed reader last week, first a New York Times blog post about remedial math, then a Cocktail Party Physics post on confusion about equals signs. The first was brought to my attention via a locked LiveJournal post taking the obligatory “Who cares…

P=???

the hot topic in mathematical sciences at the moment is the draft proof that P≠NP (warning: PDF). This is one of the biggest issues in computer science, and one of the Clay Mathematics Institute’s Millennium Problems, so a proof would be Big News in math/CS, and earn the prover a cool $1,000,000. Reaction among blogging…

Real Math Doesn’t Use Calculators

The Dean Dad is worried about remedial math: In a discussion this week with someone who spends most of her time working with students who are struggling mightily in developmental math, I heard an argument I hadn’t given much thought previously: students who have passed algebra and even pre-calc in high school frequently crash and…

Matt’s Sunday Function this week is a weird one, a series that is only conditionally convergent: So the sum of the infinite series, by inexorable logic, is both ln(2) and ln(2)/2. How is this possible? Of course it isn’t. The flaw in our logic is the assumption that the series has a definite sum –…

Dorky Poll: Numbers

I’m still getting things squared away after my blogging break, but as a step on the way back toward normal programming, here’s a Dorky Poll: What kind of numbers do you most like to work with? What kind of numbers do you like best?online surveys You can only choose a single answer, which I’m sure…

I’m en route to the March Meeting in Portland, which involves a three-hour layover in Chicago, between two flights on Southwest, my preferred airline. I’m always impressed by how much more efficient Southwest seems that the other major airlines. One weird manifestation of that efficiency is the flight plans that Southwest uses. Where most flights…

Dorky Poll: Angular Inclinations

I forgot to include an option about this in the previous Dorky Poll, but this is one of the best ways I know to sort out righteous physicists from heathen mathematicians: How do you like your angular coordinates?(polls) Choose wisely.

Dorky Poll: Coordination

Today’s lecture in intro mechanics is a whirlwind survey of vectors. While I struggle to clear my head enough to be able to teach this stuff, here’s a Dorky Poll to pass the time: What’s your favorite three-dimensional coordinate system?(survey) This is a strictly classical subject, so please choose only one.