Monday, September 30, 2019

Cool Art: Geometric Flat Lays from Kristen Meyer

Kristen Meyer's art is really cool!

Take a look at her Instagram page. Among her particularly nice pieces is this one.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Dodgers Win Franchise-Record 106 Games!

Today was the last day of Major League Baseball's 2019 regular season, and the Dodgers won their franchise-record 106th game!

Clayton Kershaw pitched a scoreless inning in relief, although his earned run average remained above 3.00 (he would have needed to pitch 3 scoreless innings to get below 3.00), after a Major-League-record 10 consecutive seasons with an ERA less than 3.00. (The number 10 depends on a certain minimum number of innings pitched, so one can quibble with exactly how one should count things.) The second-largest consecutive streak, by Greg Maddux and at least one other, encompasses seven straight seasons.

It was a very nice touch when Madison Bumgarner, in possibly his last game as a Giant, had a pinch-hitting appearance against Clayton Kershaw in the 5th inning.

Also, today was the last game in Bruce Bochy's managerial career. He had announced long ago — before the beginning of the season, I think — that 2019 would be his final season. He'll be entering the Hall of Fame as a manager.

Spaceballs: The Billboard

Wow! This is so awesome!

(Tip of the cap to Jerry Sharp.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

XKCD: Math Work

Today's xkcd is highly amusing.

Fact check: True √

Alexa: Coming Soon with Samuel L. Jackson's Voice

Soon there is going to be the option for Alexa to have Samuel L. Jackson's voice.

The possibilities are glorious.

However, it may still not be as cool as Samuel J. Jackson as the voice of God when reading from the bible.

Headline of the Day: Blasphemy Edition

The headline of this article is worth its weight in gold.

The headline (in the preview, as seen on a Facebook post): Irish police drop Stephen Fry blasphemy investigation due to 'lack of outraged people'

The headline in the article itself is of the same spirit (and still great), but the wording is slightly different.

P.S. Don't ask me how much a headline weighs.

(Tip of the cap to whoever posts on behalf of the Douglas Adams page on Facebook.)

Update: Note that the article is from 2017, so it is not new news.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"Forecasting Failure Locations in 2-Dimensional Disordered Lattices"

One of my papers (which we published in PNAS) now has its final coordinates (volume, page numbers, etc.), after previously being posted in 'advanced access'. Here are some details about the article.

Title: Forecasting Failure Locations in 2-Dimensional Disordered Lattices

Authors: Estelle Berthier, Mason A. Porter, and Karen E. Daniels

Abstract: Forecasting fracture locations in a progressively failing disordered structure is of paramount importance when considering structural materials. We explore this issue for gradual deterioration via beam breakage of 2-dimensional (2D) disordered lattices, which we represent as networks, for various values of mean degree. We study experimental samples with geometric structures that we construct based on observed contact networks in 2D granular media. We calculate geodesic edge betweenness centrality, which helps quantify which edges are on many shortest paths in a network, to forecast the failure locations. We demonstrate for the tested samples that, for a variety of failure behaviors, failures occur predominantly at locations that have larger geodesic edge betweenness values than the mean one in the structure. Because only a small fraction of edges have values above the mean, this is a relevant diagnostic to assess failure locations. Our results demonstrate that one can consider only specific parts of a system as likely failure locations and that, with reasonable success, one can assess possible failure locations of a structure without needing to study its detailed energetic states.

Significance Statement: Disordered lattices are used widely for mechanical applications because they are lightweight and robust. Due to their heterogeneous structure, it is a complicated task to understand and forecast their progressive degradation. To safely use these materials and design structures with optimized mechanical properties, it is crucial to understand where failures occur. We show that a simple test that consists of comparing the importance of a beam with respect to the other beams in a lattice permits a successful forecast of the locations of failures. It allows one to consider only a small fraction of the beams as likely failure locations. Our approach also provides a roadmap for studies of failures in other spatial networks.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

What Happens When You Finish a PhD in Complex Systems

No cynicism or snark at all. :P

(By the way, I have been enjoying various instances of this meme that I have encountered during the last couple of days.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Have "NoIDEA"

Journal Idea: "Nonlinear Integro-Differential Equations and Applications" (NoIDEA)

It turns out that there is a journal called Nonlinear Differential Equations and Applications and that the acronym it uses is "NoDEA".

I feel inspired!

I am going to start a journal called "Nonlinear Integro-Differential Equations and Applications", and its acronym will be "NoIDEA"!

A Very Large Roll of the Dice (for a Very Large Fireball)

Last Friday (September 13th), a truck turned too sharply, spilling about 216,000 six-sided dice "onto Interstate 75 in Atlanta in what could be the biggest unintentional dice roll ever."

I love the last line of the article: "The truck was undamaged, having made its saving throw."

Note: It would be quite a fireball to require this many d6 rolls!

Note 2: The article title is annoying, as the "perfect" comment is plain wrong. And the 756,000 number doesn't even come from a role. It is estimate based on an equal probability of each outcome for each die and an estimate of the number of dice.

Update: It occurs to me: I'm going to turn this incident into a problem for my mathematical-modeling course.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Journal Paper: "The Value of Thoughts and Prayers"

A new study, which was just published in PNAS, is called "The Value of Thoughts and Prayers". It considers the monetary value of thoughts and prayers, as quantified in psychology experiments.

This paper seems very worthy of an Ig Nobel Prize, though just seeing the title of it mostly makes me feel sad, despite its amusing (and 'improbable') nature.

(Tip of the cap to Bruno Gonçalves.)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pictures from Beijing, China (September, 2019)

Here are many pictures from my trip to Beijing, China in September 2019.

RIP Ric Ocasek (1944–2019)

Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of The Cars, died today.

He was older than I thought, although their debut album is from the 1970s, so this age does make sense. I like several of their songs quite a bit, and my favorite is probably "You Might Think".

(Tip of the cap to Misty Beaird‎.)

Update (9/16/19): There is a nice obituary in The New York Times. (Tip of the cap to Diana Thomas.)

Friday, September 13, 2019

2019 Ig Nobel Prizes

The 2019 Ig Nobel Prizes have been announced. I really like the one for medicine (which was awarded to Silvano Gallus, for collecting evidence that pizza might protect against illness and death, if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy), and the physics one (making Patricia Yang and David Hu second-time Ig Nobel laureates) is a familiar study about why wombats have cubic poo. David Hu and his group regularly do a lot of cool, quirky projects.

Maybe I will get one in one of these years...

Friday, September 06, 2019

Turing Clouds: Some Awesome Mathematical Art

My college friend Blake Jones has written up his efforts (including some awesome videos and stills) about Turing clouds.

Here are a couple of stills from Blake's website.

The site has plenty of videos and stills, as well as some behind-the-hood blurbs with lay descriptions of some of
the math and computer science.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

A History of Tetris Randomizers

This article about randomizers in the game Tetris is very cool!

(Tip of the cap to Mike Cook.)

Sunday, September 01, 2019

A LaTeX Typesetting Game

I am amused.