Category Archives: General

Wrong Question

While reading some math blogs, I came across this error in the game show Jeopardy. The premise of the show is that contestants are shown answers and they are supposed to provide the question. The offending segment occurred on the … Continue reading

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When your publisher makes you look foolish

I once wrote a book chapter and when I opened the hardcopy, I discovered to my horror that the word “Mathematical” was misspelt twice in the opening sentence. Come on, my English is far from perfect but I wouldn’t spell … Continue reading

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e-pic day

Today, the Second Day of July in the year 2018, is a good day. No, an epic day if you write the date this way: 2/7/18. Yes, my erudite readers, the date does remind you of the mathematical constant often … Continue reading

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Bollobas on solving problems

What you should be terrified of is a blank sheet in front of you after having thought about a problem for a little while. If after a session your wastepaper basket is full of notes of failed attempts, you may … Continue reading

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Math videos

“Speaker, I’d like to talk about twin prime numbers …” goes McNerney in the US Congress. This took place on 11 Feb 2014. More details may be found here. There is still hope in politics afterall. I would love to … Continue reading

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10 surprising things about our brains

an article from huffington. Worth the read.

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Advice to Young Mathematicians

The Princeton Companion to Mathematics contains a short section of sound advice to young mathematicans by Sir Micheal Atiyah and others. It is certainly worth reading. The section can be downloaded from here.

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Mathematical Induction

Apparently the French terminology for mathematical induction is “raisonnement par recurrence” or reasoning by recurrence. That makes so much more sense. According to David Reid and Christine Knipping* “Mathematical induction” is based on deductive reasoning, not inductive reasoning. The confusing … Continue reading

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Ranking Journals

has always been a task destined for controversy. Most academics have an implicit ranking of journals in their heads. When considering where to publish, the first consideration is usually appropriateness of the journal, followed by publishing in as good a … Continue reading

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How Not To Excel

Apparently a couple of influential papers — by two world famous economists Reinhart and Rogoff from Harvard — that were quoted by politicians to shape policies contain serious errors that invalidated their claims. They made the common mistake of not … Continue reading

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Lightning Bolt

Advertisement from the local newspaper. I think they were trying to sell fast broadband or something. Although it’s nice and catchy but it’s not quite scientific. I figured I read (and understood) the sentence in about 2 seconds. Google tells … Continue reading

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is Dutch for mathematics. And according to a Dutch mathematician “wis” is smart and “kunde” is knowledge. The word was invented by Stevin. (Note: the wikipedia page has it as “the art of what is certain.” though.)

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The Rewards of Honesty

The New York Times published an article – which was re-published in the local papers – about a former mathematics professor Kim Myungho who self-published a book decrying the Korean judiciary. (Note the word “published” appeared thrice in the previous … Continue reading

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Check your facts

I’m one of those who first reaction is to “google it” when I want to check some fact. I even had a first generation SSD netbook which boots up in less than one minute to allow me to check things … Continue reading

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Strange inequalities in Singapore law

Singapore has very strict laws on drug trafficking. Anyone found with more than 15 grams of heroin faces mandatory capital punishment. I remember learning this fact in primary school. Even on Singapore Airlines flights into Singapore, this fact would be … Continue reading

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gnuplot with PGF/tikz

One downside about writing calculus lecture notes has always been drawing graphs. They just take up too much time. What I used to do was to use whatever software at my disposal (usually powerpoint) and created jpeg to embed into … Continue reading

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IQ tests

I’ve never liked IQ tests. I had my share of SATs and Maths competitions when I was young but do not recall ever having my IQ checked. Having interacted with very smart people from over the world, I have my … Continue reading

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Hardcopy vs electronic reprints

One of the little joys in the academic life is when you finally receive the hardcopy reprints of your published paper. I guess it is an antiquated practice dating back before the electronic era. In days of old, when manuscripts … Continue reading

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Astronomical numbers

I snapped the above picture from the newspapers. It came from a protest of Korean students against the high university fees. 4,500 vs 4,500,000 (won that is) is a 1:1000 ratio. Surely something has to be done! But then, a … Continue reading

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morphing maths with art by Henry Segerman. Cool stuff. I especially liked the mirror symmetry one. As usual, found via J. Cook.

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