Tag Archives | Mathematics

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.

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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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Russian Math Genius Refuses $1 Million Prize, Quits Mathematics For Ping Pong

Not only is Grigori Perelman turning down a $1 million prize for solving one of the world’s hardest math problems, he is giving up math for a life of table tennis. From the Huffington Post:

Dr Grigori Perelman, a reclusive Russian genius, is refusing to accept the prestigious $1 million “Millennium” mathematics prize awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Perelman was awarded the prize for solving the one-hundred-year-old Poincaré conjecture, one of the most complicated mathematical problems in the world – so complex, in fact, that after Perelman posted his proofs in 2002 it took several years for other experts to confirm he was correct.

Perelman has apparently given up on mathematics, dismayed at the intellectual and moral failings of his peers. Instead, according to reports, he likes to play table tennis against a wall in his apartment. “You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms,” he told a journalist who managed to get in touch with him.

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The Math Behind Geometric Hallucinations

An interesting article from Plus Magazine on the mathematics of geometric hallucinations (think swirling patterns) and what it says about the brain:

Think drug-induced hallucinations, and the whirly, spirally, tunnel-vision-like patterns of psychedelic imagery immediately spring to mind. But it’s not just hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, cannabis or mescaline that conjure up these geometric structures. People have reported seeing them in near-death experiences, as a result of disorders like epilepsy and schizophrenia, following sensory deprivation, or even just after applying pressure to the eyeballs. So common are these geometric hallucinations, that in the last century scientists began asking themselves if they couldn’t tell us something fundamental about how our brains are wired up.

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