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For Ada Lovelace Day: Florence Nightingale

Note: a repost of a 2010 post I published for Ada Lovelace day. Unfortunately, I am too busy these days to write a new one. “Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated today to “…raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.” So without further ado: She is a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration […]

Terrible advice from a great scientist

I am not inclined to write polemic posts. I generally like to leave that to others, while I take the admittedly easier route of waxing positive over various bits of cool science I find or hear about, and yes, occasionally do myself. But WSJ editorial from E.O. Wilson has irked me so much, I have […]

A Belated Valentine’s Day Post

This is romantic!  So listen up! A 3D heart shape may be drawn using the following implicit function: Or, in Python: def  heart_3d(x,y,z): return (x**2+(9/4)*y**2+z**2-1)**3-x**2*z**3-(9/80)*y**2*z**3 Trouble is, there is no direct way of graphing implicit functions in Python. But anything can be found on Stack Overflow. Putting it all together: #!/usr/bin/env python from mpl_toolkits.mplot3d import […]

Repost: a very loose and circular association to Pi Day

(Originally published March 14, 2009) Happy Pi (π) Day! Americans write dates in the MM/DD/YYYY format instead of the DD/MM/YYYY format used by the rest of the world.  Usually a rather painful and confusing format if you did not grow up with it, causing checks to bounce and leases to expire for those who recently […]

Oh, but to receive such a rejection letter!

It is with no inconsiderable degree of reluctance that I decline the offer of any Paper from you. I think, however, you will upon reconsideration of the subject be of opinion that I have no other alternative. The subjects you propose for a series of Mathematical and Metaphysical Essays are so very profound, that there […]

Alan Turing’s 99th Birthday

I can’t bring myself to say Happy Birthday Alan Turing, for Turing was definitely not a happy man towards the end of  his life. All his contributions science and society amounted to naught when he was persecuted for his homosexuality, eventually driving him to suicide. What that brilliant mind could have contributed to society beyond his 42nd year, […]

Nature by numbers

Beautiful video showing the mathematical beauty of nature, or the natural beauty of math. Here’s what I managed to figure out: 0:08-0:44 – Fibonacci sequence 0:45-1:40 – The Golden Ratio 2:40 – Delauney triangulations leading to Voronoi diagrams (2:56 and to the end)

Stupid Pi tricks for Pi Day

π approximation script, from Stephen Chappell. import sys def pi(): a, b, c, d, e, f = 1, 0, 1, 1, 3, 3 while True: if a * 4 + b – c < c * e: yield e a, b, c, d, e, f = a * 10, (b – c * e) * […]