goodmath

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February 26, 2009
An alert reader sent me a link to a really dreadful piece of drek. In some ways, it's a rehash of the "Nullity" nonsense from a couple of years ago, but with a new spin. If you don't remember nullity, it was the attempt of one idiot to define division by zero. He claimed to have "solved" the great…
February 18, 2009
Last week, I promised to continue my discussion of ropes. I'm going to break that promise. But it's in a good cause. If you're a decent engineer, one of the basic principles you should follow is keeping this as simple as possible. One of the essential skills for keeping things simple is realizing…
February 16, 2009
I wasn't going to write about this, because I really don't have much to add. But people keep mailing it to me, so in order to shut you all up, I'll chip in. As everyone knows by now, we're in the midst of a really horrible financial disaster. I've argued in the past on this blog that the root…
February 12, 2009
As I've mentioned before, I get lots of email from all sorts of people. Lots of it is interesting, and lots of it is stupid. This morning, when I was checking my mail, I found an email from a creationist in my mailbox, which puts forth an "proof" against atheism that I hadn't seen before. It's…
February 9, 2009
I'm behind the curve a bit here, but I've seen and heard a bunch of people making really sleazy arguments about the current financial stimulus package working its way through congress, and those arguments are a perfect example of one of the classic ways of abusing statistics. I keep mentioning…
February 3, 2009
My friend Razib, who is one of my fellow ScienceBloggers sent me href="http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2009/01/is-evolution-sufficient.html">a link to an interest attempt by creationist at arguing why evolution can't possibly work. I say interesting, because it's at least a little bit…
January 28, 2009
Of all of the work in the history of mathematics, nothing seems to attract so much controversy, or even outright hatred as Cantor's diagonalization. The idea of comparing the sizes of different infinities - and worse, of actually concluding that there are different infinities, where some…
January 26, 2009
It's been a while since I've written about any data structures. But it just so happens that I'm actually really working on implementing a really interesting and broadly useful data structure now, called a Rope. A bit of background, to lead in. I've got this love-hate relationship with some of the…
January 23, 2009
A simple, silly, but entertaining example of mathematical illiteracy by way of the Associated Press: OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The odds are against something this odd. But a Nebraska Lottery official says there was no mistake: The same three numbers in Nebraska's Pick 3 lottery were drawn two nights in…
January 22, 2009
I'm sure you've all heard about the airplane that ditched in the Hudson last week. (Just 30 blocks from my office!) When it happened, after we found out more about what caused the plane to ditch, I wondered how long it would take before the 911 Truthers came up with a conspiracy theory about it.…
January 20, 2009
People keep sending me links to this, so I'll make a short post about it. In the hubbub surrounding the Obama inauguration, there've been all sorts of incredulous press pieces discussing the supposed outrageousness of the costs of this inauguration compared to others. I've personally heard this…
January 15, 2009
Just a brief note, to let you all know why there's a lack of new posts. Once again, I managed to kill my laptop. The machine died suddenly, with no warning. I'm currently waiting for a replacement, and once I get it, I'll need some time to set everything up to my liking. I also had three posts in…
January 13, 2009
And now for a short gripe from the other side of the political spectrum. Normally, I like Media Matters. I personally think that the whole "left-wing media" thing is a crock. The media has become so sensitive to the accusation of left-wing bias that they actually shy away from even dreaming of…
January 11, 2009
Naturally, since this friday was the first time that the SB server has really been down since I start blogging (planned downtime, as it happens, for a major system upgrade), there was spectacularly bad math in the local news here in NYC friday afternoon. I'm not sure how long this has been the…
January 8, 2009
Ok, away from politics, and back to the good stuff. When I left off talking about encryption, we were href="http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2008/12/public_key_cryptography_using.php">looking at RSA, as an example of an asymmetric encryption system. Since it's been a while, I'll start off…
January 8, 2009
One of the many great things about my readers is how you folks keep me up to date with any new crap that springs up, so that I don't need to spend so much time hunting down the real good stuff. There's a beautiful piece of crap on youtube that was pointed out to me by one of you guys. It's really…
January 7, 2009
I'm working on more substantive, mathy posts, but in the meantime, I'm pissed, so I'm making a quick off-topic post. With the horrible things that are going on in Gaza right now, I've gotten a raft of antisemitic spam. Most of it has been through private mail, but some has been in comments on the…
January 2, 2009
I've been getting a lot of emails asking about the so-called "Z2K9" problem. For those who haven't heard, the software on a particular model of Microsoft's Zune music player froze up on New Year's eve, because of a bug. Apparently, they didn't handle the fact that a leap year has 366 days - so on…
December 31, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. Ω is my own…
December 30, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. One of the…
December 29, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run some old classic posts which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. Back when I first wrote this post, I…
December 27, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. Anyway. Todays…
December 26, 2008
. I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. I've always…
December 25, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. After the…
December 24, 2008
I'm away on vacation this week, taking my kids to Disney World. Since I'm not likely to have time to write while I'm away, I'm taking the opportunity to re-run an old classic series of posts on numbers, which were first posted in the summer of 2006. These posts are mildly revised. This post…
December 19, 2008
Olivier Messiaen, "Turangalila - Symphonie: II. Chant d'amour 1": This was an unexpected wonderful surprise. A few years ago, my older brother gave me a book on Stockhausen, who is a fascinating guy on an intellectual level, but whose music I find absolutely unlistenable. The book talks about…
December 19, 2008
Since my post a couple of weeks ago about NASA and the antenna evolution experiment, I've been meaning to write a followup. In both comments and private emails, I've gotten a number of interesting questions about the idea of fitness landscapes, and some of the things I mentioned in brief throwaway…
December 15, 2008
As you've probably heard from other ScienceBlogger's, that paragon of arrogant ignorance, Dr. Michael Egnor, is back at it again - and he's abusing the language of logic in a way that really frustrates me. I've written about this before, but the general topic recently came up in comments, so I…
December 13, 2008
I recently got an offer from someone at No-Starch Press to review the newly translated book, The Manga Guide to Statistics. I recieved the book a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had time to sit down and read it until now. If you haven't heard of the "Manga Guides", they're an interesting idea.…
December 13, 2008
As a daily commuter into NYC via Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal, followed by two subways to my office, I go through one of the busiest transit hubs anywhere twice a day. Since it's tourist season, I also get to see lots of silly things tourists do. And since I live here and love the city, I…