Monday, November 11, 2013

Come Frolic at The 104th Carnival of Math!

The 104th (...or, 1101000st if binary is your thing) Carnival of Monthly Mathiness has arrived for your perusal and delectation... this month's Carnival 'ballooned' to a chock-full 40 diverse entries!... so grab some cotton candy (or a cup-o-exquisite-fresh-perked-hand-warming-eye-opening-dark-roast-Kenyan-or-Costa-Rican-aromatic-java... with a dash of soymilk should you desire) and come set a spell:

104 is the sum of eight consecutive even numbers, count 'em eight!... 6 + 8 + 10 + 12 + 14 + 16 + 18 + 20

...but enough technical chit-chat; it's Thanksgiving Holiday month for American readers so without further adieu we'll give gratitude to these posts for strutting their stuff:
(...and please let me know ASAP of any errors below or mis-working links.)
October was a month full of Martin Gardner remembrances (his birthday being Oct. 21, and his autobiography recently released). One example was "Celebrations of Mind Honor Math's Best Friend, Martin Gardner" from Colm Mulcahy for Scientific American blogs.
Gardner of course demonstrated that doing math could also mean having fun... some other examples:

'The boy born on Tuesday' problem is one of the most famous math puzzles since Monty Hall. Rob Eastaway gives his take on it in "The Irksome Tuesday Boy Problem."  [As can be found on Google, this problem has generated a LOT of discussion over the years.]

Speaking of puzzles, "On Time" is a 'clock' puzzle ("mind-reading trick") from the always wonderful Futility Closet.

In "Some Geometry Notes on a Babylonian Square Root" Pat Ballew of Pat's Blog speculates about the Babylonian use of geometry to solve an algebraic problem.
I'm also submitting Pat's post, "Great Problems For High School" which includes several classic problems.

In "Heroic Triangles" Colin Beveridge of Flying Colours Maths offers a nice little bit of triangle geometry. And then in "The Geometry of Sec" Colin elucidates some trigonometry for us, as well.
And finally, another Colin entry this month was "Why I Loved the MathsJam Conference," reporting on the awesome annual gathering of ~100 mathematicians-at-play at MathsJam in Britain.

In the post "From the Mailbag: Dual Inversal Numbers" Katie Steckles of The Aperiodical, reports on a budding 9-year-old mathematician taking note of "an interesting property of numbers." 

I found this Brian Hayes piece (from Bit-player), "The Keys to the Keydom," on a flaw in RSA encryption, quite interesting.
Also interesting to watch has been the rise/fall/rise/.... of Bitcoin currency, especially with some of its recent problems, and Ed Felten of Freedom To Tinker blog tells us that "Bitcoin Isn’t So Broken After All.

In "Breakfast at Les Deux Magots" Matifutbol graphically explains the "friendship paradox" for those of you dwelling over why your friends have more friends than you do.

I've never understood the trendy interest in Zombies and Evelyn Lamb seems to find it curious as well, as she looks at one researcher's attempt to analyze that trend/obsession in:  "Zombie Fever: a Mathematician Studies a Pop Culture Epidemic."

And finally, and only for the most serious amongst you, Tim Gowers did a looong (and deep) October post regarding a poly-mathematical approach he was interested in trying on the P vs. NP problem: "What I Did In My Summer Holidays" (warning: you can probably read ALL the other posts in the Carnival in the time it may take you to read and digest Tim's post! -- p.s., I selected this (a great example of Tim's writing), Tim didn't submit it.

Meanwhile, three Peter Rowlett posts were contributed this month:
"Council Orders Maths and Sudoku To Be Removed From Mathematician’s Gravestone" was a quirky news item that is almost self-explanatory. 
In "Emergency Maths Arcade…" Peter suggests math games you can enjoy when all you have available is pen and paper (, uhhh, back in the days when I grew up!).
And finally, "Recent History," touches upon some "recent"(?) results in mathematics.

Speaking of history, Thony C. sends in the Aldres Caicedo post, "Credit," from A Kind Of Library blog, concerning Johann Bernoulli's contributions to the early days of calculus.
And some more history sent along by Thony: a few days ago was the anniversary of philosopher Gottlob Frege's birth... a post from Yovisto blog briefly synopsizes the great logician's achievements: "Gottlob Frege and the Begriffschrift."

 In "Lost In the Fourth Dimension," Lee Randall manages to link together The Simpsons, Twilight Zone, and her own childhood, in a post from her blog, "A History of My Life In 100 Objects."

Evelyn Lamb submitted a couple of Kate S. Owens posts: In "Combinatorics and Pampers," Kate is troubled by the inefficiency of 15-digit product codes used on Pampers diapers. Perhaps Proctor-and-Gamble (maker of Pampers) knows something about the coming baby boom the rest of us don't know!?
And in "Mathematics in Fiction Class Visit" Kate touches upon both gender and semantic issues amidst a discussion of the difference between "mathematicians," "math teachers," and "math professors." 

Speaking of gender-related matters, Yen Duong (Baking and Math blog) relates
her recent experience being the only female in a meeting of math academics in "Surprisingly Emotional Reaction to Being a Woman in Math." 

...and, on to sports: for NBA fans (and coaches!) Tallys Yunes' O.R. By the Beach blog offers a post attempting to maximize NBA winning percentages based upon the analysis of playing and resting time for players: "Optimally Resting NBA Players." 

And in another sports note, Laura McLay of Punk Rock Operations Research explains "Why the Bears Should Have Gone For It on Fourth and Inches." 

"In Love... With Math" was my own thumbs-up overview at MathTango of Edward Frenkel's well-publicized book, "Love and Math" which focuses on the "Langlands Program," while extolling the author's love for mathematics.

Education and learning math were, as always, frequent subjects of posts this month: 

Keith Devlin's latest Devlin's Angle post is a great piece, entitled "The Educational Power of Elementary Arithmetic" on the controversy surrounding American math education.

In "Math Munching Today," Beth Ferguson of Algebra's Friend tells of using MathMunch in her classroom (along with Edmodo) to get students working/thinking a bit beyond the usual secondary curriculum. 

From Ben Orlin's Math With Bad Drawings blog a lovely introduction for young people to statistics, called "The Bear In the Moonlight."

Sue VanHattum of Math Mama Writes tackles explaining calculus to students in a series of posts, including "What Is Calculus, Part One."

Aatish Bhatia's "The Math Trick Behind MP3's, JPEGs, and Homer Simpson's Face" at Nautilus, has been cited as one of the clearest, audience-friendly explanations of Fourier transforms to come along in awhile.

In "My Favorite Christmas Present" Kevin Knudson uses an old math book to bring logarithms into focus as an algebraic tool (despite the 'blank stares' they draw from his students!).

Over at MrHonner, in the post "Order These Things From Least to Greatest" Patrick Honner contemplates how the potential answers to a given problem (or rather, HOW to grade those answers) can be more interesting than the problem itself. 

In a tweet, Steven Strogatz called Gary Rubinstein's post, "The Death of Math,"  "The smartest piece I've ever read about math reform," which I figure earns it inclusion in the Carnival!

On a related topic, Philip Stark at The Berkeley Blog offered an analysis of teacher effectiveness in "What Exactly Do Student Evaluations Measure?

In "Snowballing Good Questions" Alex Overwijk of SlamDunkMath gives his class a lesson in how to develop good questions.

A few visuals (not blog posts) were also submitted this month, adding still further variety:

First, a video entitled "A Math Major Talks About Fear" from Saramoira Shields -- it was retweeted by so many folks I felt it deserved a spot in the Carnival.
Similarly, Kit Kilgour suggested another very popular video this month that appeared on Vimeo, "Beauty and Mathematics" -- the beauty and ubiquity of math captured in less than 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, Katie Steckles suggested 2 other videos for your attention:
"Prism Marching Band" a short imgur piece you need to see to appreciate.
...and from YouTube, "Sorting Algorithms" which lo-and-behold, involves, sorting algorithms.

 And, on a different note, I'll close out linking to the latest interview in my own series at MathTango, with computer scientist Dr. Noson Yanofsky, author of "The Outer Limits of Reason," a fantastic, multi-subject book Shecky highly recommends to ALL!!

Wow!... Hope EVERYone finds at least a few things addressing their interests in this month's wide-ranging Carnival! And THANKS! to all who contributed....

(note: ...I've included all posts that I received as submissions, so if by any chance you sent in an entry and it doesn't appear here, then it got lost in the shuffle along the way... please let me know so I can insert it.)

==> If you need to catch up on your Carnival reading, the prior (103rd) edition is at Evelyn Lamb's Roots of Unity HERE, and the next Carnival will be hosted by Oluwasanya at MatheMazier.  
If you'd like to sign up to host a future Carnival visit the home site at:

L-l-l-lastly, I'll exploit this opportunity to ask if any math bloggers/writers out there are willing to be interviewed (via email) for my own blog, please let me know: sheckyr[AT]gmail[DOT]com


(balloon image from AJ at
(turkey image via Lupin/Wikimedia Commons)
(classroom image via daniel julia lundgren/WikimediaCommons)

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