Wednesday, March 31, 2021

April Fooling: 2021 Edition

Well, the April 1st arXiv articles are out, and sure enough there are some of them that are in honor of April Fool's Day. For example, there is one about Taylor Swift and a paper that is "coauthored" by a cat in which the cat "analyzes" a laser pointer and a dot on a wall as a coupled dynamical system.

Update: Here are some other papers, although I don't think the one about procrastination qualifies. I saw that one in my own arXiv scouring, and in my opinion that one is more of the 'improbable research' style (something that first makes you laugh and then makes you think), rather than something that is simply a joke. (Tip of the cap to Celeste Labedz.)

Update (4/01/21): The article that I was thinking of — which concerns our poor estimation of how long things take — was indeed intended as a sort of a joke (based on the author's Twitter thread), but my own view of it is still as an example of 'improbable research'.

Update (4/01/21): Here is a joke about noodle knitting. (Tip of the cap to Katherine Seaton.)

Update (4/01/21): Some department websites also experienced a few changes. (Tip of the cap to Karen Daniels.)

Update (4/02/21): There is also now an article about various spoofs in physics and astronomy.

Update (4/02/21): The Santa Fe Institute finally created a web page for Dr. Ian Malcolm. Life finds a way, so to speak. (It has long been rumored that a certain SFI faculty member provided some inspiration for the fictional scientist. (As a subtle hint, think of The Power Law OF DOOM.)

Update (4/02/21): This fake rejection of Roxy Music fooled me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"Twitter" in 1803: The Finger of Contempt

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

"Connecting the Dots: Discovering the “Shape” of Data"

Another of my expository papers just came out in final form. Here are some details.

Title: Connecting the Dots: Discovering the “Shape” of Data

Authors: Michelle Feng, Abighail Hickok, Yacoub H. Kureh, Mason A. Porter, and Chad M. Topaz

Abstract: Scientists use a mathematical subject called topology to study the shapes of objects. An important part of topology is counting the number of pieces and the number of holes in an object, and researchers use this information to group objects into different types. For example, a doughnut has the same number of holes and the same number of pieces as a teacup with one handle, but it is different from a ball. In studies that resemble activities like “connect-the-dots,” scientists use ideas from topology to study the “shape” of data. Ideas and methods from topology have been used to study the branching structures of veins in leaves, voting in elections, flight patterns in models of bird flocking, and more.

Here is my tweet, in case you want to share it on social media.

2021 Abel Prize: László Lovász and Avi Wigderson

The 2021 Abel Prize goes to to mathematician László Lovász and computer scientist Avi Wigderson "for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics."

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

My Top-5 Emoji: The Power of Positive Thinking

Monday, March 15, 2021

An Ancient Roman d20

This is very cool!

Previously, I blogged about an ancient Roman dice tower and an ancient Egyptian d20.

(Tip of the cap to Chris Klausmeier.)

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Pro Tip: Life is Short. Be Cat 3.

(Tip of the cap to Yisong Yue.)

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

An Epic Figure Caption

Wow. Just wow.
Clearly, it needs a figure to go with it.

(Tip of the cap to Jesús Cuevas Maraver, who retweeted this tweet.)