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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Devlin, Dunbar, Dominoes...


1) Registration for the second run of Keith Devlin's Stanford MOOC course, "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" is underway (course beginning Mar. 4 for 10 weeks). More details here (where it states, "The goal of the course is to help you develop a valuable mental ability – a powerful way of thinking that our ancestors have developed over three thousand years").:

https://www.coursera.org/course/maththink

I've previously (highly) recommended the 92-page book Keith authored for this course (same title as course), but it would be incomparably better if read in conjunction with the course itself, than on its own.  I've not taken the course myself, but sincerely hope that some readers here do imbibe in Dr. Devlin's offering (and maybe even report back to us!?). There is very little computational math involved, but the ideas/work required for completion still may not be easy (depending on your background).

2) I wrote about the so-called "Dunbar number" here last year (the notion that neurological constraints limit one's close friendships or interpersonal relationships to very roughly 150 people). Now a much longer general article on Dr. Dunbar and his illustrious number:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-10/the-dunbar-number-from-the-guru-of-social-networks#p1

3) A recent nice little tutorial on the number e and ln here:

http://tinyurl.com/bnpfle6

 4) And lastly... how to knock over the Empire State Building with dominoes… and a little physics (a short, fun, but also educational, video):





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