Moire patterns. The bane of any digital artists existence. A moire is a essentially an interference pattern. A phenomenon produced when similar patterns are overlaid but slightly offset. Tadashi Tokieda, the director of studies…

Beau Lotto explains in his Ted Talk…

…and Ben Thomas interprets for Huffington Post:

The year was 1943, and the Pentagon had a problem. They’d poured millions of dollars into a new voice encryption system — dubbed the “X System” — but no one was certain how secure it was. So the top brass called in Claude Shannon to analyze their code and — if all went well — to prove that it was mathematically unbreakable.

Shannon was a new breed of mathematician: A specialist in what’s known today as information theory. To Shannon and his fellow theorists, information was something separate from the letters, numbers and facts it represented. Instead, it was something more abstract; more mathematical: in a word, it was non-redundancy…


One of the very interesting people I met at How The Light Gets In was the writer and filmmaker David Malone. In conversation with him and (it was a very weird weekend, okay?) Michael Nyman and the head of cultural affairs at the Mexican embassy to the UK, he’d mentioned that some of his work had been uploaded by other people to the net. Also, that his preferred form, the lyric televisual essay, had gone out of fashion.  As I’ve noted here more than once, proper rhetorical television isn’t really made any more.

So I went looking, when I got home.  And I found his DANGEROUS KNOWLEDGE:

In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius

Vint Cerf was one of the main forces behind the creation of the Internet as we know it today. He is accorded elder statesman status, but is in fact still very active…

Turing PlaqueAlan Turing, perhaps the greatest computer scientist ever, famous for breaking the Germans’ Enigma code in World War II, wrote two papers on code breaking that have just been released by Britain’s spy center, GCHQ. From BBC News:

Two 70-year-old papers by Alan Turing on the theory of code breaking have been released by the government’s communications headquarters, GCHQ.

It is believed Turing wrote the papers while at Bletchley Park working on breaking German Enigma codes. A GCHQ mathematician said the fact that the contents had been restricted “shows what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations of our subject”.

It comes amid celebrations to mark the centenary of Turing’s birth. The two papers are now available to view at the National Archives at Kew, west London. GCHQ was able to approximately date the papers because in one example Turing had made reference to Hitler’s age.

HSTCreativity can seem like magic … actually, it’s not. Jonah Lehrer writes in the Wired Science:

Here’s a brain teaser: Your task is to move a single line so that the false arithmetic statement below becomes true.


Did you get it? In this case, the solution is rather obvious – you should move the first “I” to the right side of the “V,” so that the statement now reads: VI = III + III. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people (92 percent) quickly solve this problem, as it requires a standard problem-solving approach in which only the answer is altered. What’s perhaps a bit more surprising is that nearly 90 percent of patients with brain damage to the prefrontal lobes — this leaves them with severe attentional deficits, unable to control their mental spotlight — are also able to find the answer …

Here’s a great real world example of why math is important kids! From the Wall Street Journal:

Scientists using a powerful mathematical tool previously applied to the stock market have identified an Achilles heel in HIV that could be a prime target for AIDS vaccines or drugs.

The research adds weight to a provocative hypothesis—that an HIV vaccine should avoid a broadside attack and instead home in on a few targets…

A new theory of relativity — from a twelve-year-old?!? The Daily Mail reports that young Jake Barnett has “embarked on his most ambitious project yet – his own ‘expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity'” Here’s a video of the little genius explaining some of the finer points of calculus, with some of the Mail‘s story below:

Simpsons CuriesI wonder what the first person to win two Nobel prizes, Madame Curie, would make of this study. Oh, I know the answer from a classic Simpsons episode … Stephanie Pappas writes on LiveScience:

Getting the once-over from a man causes women to score lower on a math test, a new study finds.

Despite this drop in performance, women were more motivated to interact with men who ogled them, perhaps because they were trying to boost their sense of belonging, psychologists report in the February issue of the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.

“It creates this vicious cycle for women in which they’re underperforming in math or work domains, but they’re continuing to want to interact with the person who is making them underperform in the first place,” study researcher Sarah Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, told LiveScience.