Tag Archives | Mathematics

This Weekend in Portland, OR: 5th Annual EsoZone Alternative Culture and Thought Festival

EsoZone logo

The fifth annual EsoZone Portland event will be held this weekend at p:ear, Friday evening November 18th and Saturday November 19th (see the website for schedule and location information).

EsoZone is festival celebrating alternative culture and thought. It follows a hybrid unconference/conference model, meaning that in addition to pre-programmed content, participants can propose their own sessions to share their own ideas, projects and skills with the group.

This years presentations include:

  • Tom Henderson, author of the forthcoming book Punk Rock Mathematics, on illusory nature of self.
  • Eric Schiller of Beyond Growth on “digital hipsterism” and the rise of anti-intellectualism in social media.
  • Yoga for Slackers lead by Loren mccRory.
  • Grant Writing for Artists and Other Alien Beings lead by Amanda Sledz.
  • Anarcho-Sewing lead by Jillian Ordes-Finley.

Plus music and performances, and whatever sessions are proposed by this year’s participants.… Read the rest

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Are Fair Voting Systems Mathematically Possible?

voting1To American voters, it’s an all-too familiar dilemma: do you cast your lot with the candidate most likely to win, or risk spoiling the election by supporting the third-party candidate in whom you actually believe? What if, instead of choosing one candidate, voters were instead given the opportunity to rate each potential office-holder, in the same way that Olympic judges score athletes? Brian Dunning at Skeptoid takes an interesting look at the mathematics of voting systems:

In the 1969 film Putney Swope, members of the board of executives were prohibited from voting for themselves, so they all voted for the one board member they were sure nobody else would vote for. Ergo, this free, democratic election produced a chairman that no voter wanted.

In a perfect democracy, everyone gets an equal opportunity to vote, and equal representation. Therefore, we hold elections to let everyone have their say, to either vote representatives into office, or to enact certain laws.

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Mathematicians Reach Breakthrough In HIV Research

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…

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Study Claims Ogling Women Makes Them Worse at Math

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.

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Danger! Car Salesmen Now in Possession of A “Perfect Handshake” Equation…

HandshakeDanger, indeed. Aidan Jones writes on Discover:

To seal more car deals, Chevrolet UK looked to arm its salesmen with the perfect weapon of confidence: an unstoppable handshake. Here’s the secret they received from Geoffrey Beattie, Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester:

PH (Perfect Handshake) = √ (e^2 + ve^2)(d^2) + (cg + dr)^2 + π{(4^2)(4^2)}^2 + (vi + t + te)^2 + {(4^2 )(4^2)}^2

Perfect Handshake

We hope (and suspect) the training posters and equation, supposedly meant for Chevrolet-sellers, are meant for publicity and are not a real attempt to improve customer relations…

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Pi, Plato, And The Language of Nature

Brothers Chudnovsky

After I posted an article about technical analysis – an investment method that looks for patterns in the stock market – a couple people commented that it reminded them of the film Pi, about a renegade mathematician somehow using Pi to search for patters in the stock market with a homemade supercomputer in his crummy Manhatten apartment.

Technical analysis was probably the inspiration for the stock market portion of the film, but did you know that the part about renegade mathematicians building supercomputers in their living rooms to calculate Pi is actually based on a true story? Aronofsky almost certainly took the inspiration from a 1992 New Yorker story about the Brothers Chudnovsky.… Read the rest

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Scientists Use Math To Analyse The ‘Om’ Chant

OmMarc Abrahams for the Guardian:

Indian scientists wield sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound ‘Om’

Two Indian scientists are wielding sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound “Om”. The Om team has published six monographs in academic journals. These plumb certain acoustic subtleties of Om, which these researchers say is “the divine sound”.

Om has many variations. In a study published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, the researchers explain: “It may be very fast, several cycles per second. Or it may be slower, several seconds for each cycling of [the] Om mantra. Or it might become extremely slow, with the mmmmmm sound continuing in the mind for much longer periods but still pulsing at that slow rate. It is somewhat like one of these vibrations:

‘OMmmOMmmOMmm…

‘OMmmmmOMmmmmOMmmmm…

‘OMmmmmmmmOMmmmmmmmOMmm’…

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