Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In Conclusion, Hilarity Ensues.

"Hilarity ensues." is acceptable for the Conclusions section of a paper, right?

What Happens in Provo Stays in Provo

I am at the airport — with a 165-minute delay (sigh...) in my flight — to visit the mathematics department at BYU. I am being hosted by Emily Evans, who is on their faculty and is also a friend of mine from college.

I will somehow deal with the fact that I am not allowed to have coffee on campus. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Algorithms in the Form of IKEA Instructions

I think my life could not possibly have been complete without seeing algorithms presented in the form of IKEA instructions. I am highly amused. :)

(Tip of the cap to Lior Pachter.)

We Kid the Statisticians Because We Love Them


(Tip of the cap to Kerstin Nordstrom.)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Some Really Old Boardgames

Take a look at this article about some really old boardgames (and one from 1940), including one from the 17th century, that are in a collection in the Houghton Library.

I like the cover of "The Magic Ring". :)

(Tip of the cap to Gabrielle Birkman.)

Society for Impure Mathematics (SIM)

I am an active member of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Here's a Fun (Alternative) Fact: The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics used to be known as "Society for Impure Mathematics" (SIM), because those of us who do applied mathematics are less pure than other types of mathematicians, bless their hearts.

But perhaps this great organization really ought to change its name to "Society for Impure Mathematics", to appease the theoretical mathematicians who like to call themselves "pure" mathematicians.

As you may have gathered, I find the phrasing "pure mathematics" to be incredibly demeaning towards applied mathematics and applied mathematicians. (The term "unadulterated mathematics" is even worse, so I suppose that my subject of choice is "adulterated mathematics".) I really dislike being considered impure, by implication of the term in use. "Pure mathematics" should really be called "theoretical mathematics", just like in every other science.

Additionally, here are two of my tweets on this and related subjects.

Update: I corrected the acronym (I had written "SIP"), because apparently I am having a problem with English today.

Update: If we want to preserve the acronym SIAM and don't mind a bit of redundancy, it can stand for "Society for Impure and Adulterated Mathematics". :)

Visual Illusion: Snakes on a Plane

Enough is enough. I've had it with these ****** illusory snakes on this ******-****** plane.

(Tip of the cap to Maggie Koerth-Baker.)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Old Article: "On the Fracture of Pencil Points"

I got my first taste of solid mechanics (and fracture mechanics) as a kid when attempting to use 'Number 2' pencils, on which I gave up rather quickly. Once they break once, they will soon break again. I switched to "mechanical pencils" (I like the .07 size) when I was very young.

Here is an old article on pencil-tip fracture (by Henry Petroski). The picture below, which comes from an even earlier article, sets up the the geometry of a pencil tip.

(I was thinking about this because a 'Number 2' pencil showed up in The Grimm Legacy, which I am currently reading.)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

RIP Philip J. Davis (1923–2018) and Writing Uncountably Many Articles

Philip J. Davis, an applied mathematician and very prolific writer, died on Tuesday.

I have a pet peeve in the above obituary: Don't write sentences like "He wrote countless books, articles, and book reviews imbued with his personal perspective." in the obituary of a mathematician, especially if he is an analyst (with much work in numerical analysis, in this case). Trust me: it's countable (and, actually, it's finite).

For most of us, we'll be more familiar with the many essays and (especially) book reviews that Davis wrote for SIAM News.

(Tip of the cap to the SIAM Twitter account.)

"Title of a Paper"

Update: It turns out that I did this so quickly that I mixed my Oxford and UCLA affiliations. Oops.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Best. Erratum. Ever.

Because they have so many coauthors, one letter wrong in a name led to this. :)

(Tip of the cap to Nalini Joshi, whose 'liking' of this tweet led me to find it.)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Playing Mario Kart on Google Maps to Celebrate Mario Day!

In celebration of Mario Day (Mar 10), Google is letting people play a version of Mario Kart on Google Maps.

I have a key question: Where are the best places to inflict lightning bolts on people?

In conclusion, come get some!

(Tip of the cap to Gabrielle Birkman, who indicates that there are places to get banana peels and turtle shells.)

The Multiplex Social–Slayage Network of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Here is the multiplex social–slayage network of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This figure is definite fodder for talks. Also, if somebody sets up the adjacencies, we should compute some centrality and versatility measures.