Oct 13

Swing it, Baby!

Here is a way to factor trinomials that I’d never seen before. It came my way via the tutoring center. I’m working on a proof, but it seems really convincing. Check it out. It is a lot easier than the reverse foil or AC-methods. Does anyone know who came up with it?

Oct 13

Infinite Chocolate

chocolate bar

This gif (double click to play) came up in my google+ feed this morning and was bugging me out. Luckily I found this post to explain the trick. The area of the missing piece is sufficiently spread out to make the the smaller area seem visually similar to the original area.

Sep 13

Will Dan Meyer Ever Stop Being Awesome?

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Modeling is one of those things that we all want to put in our classes, but so many of the pre-made activities stink. But check out this activity that Dan Meyer put together with the help of Desmos.

Sep 13

How to Catch a Lion with only a Graduate Degree in Math or Physics

This is an all-time classic math gag that I wasn’t even aware of until Lee at Prime Puzzle sent it over. Ralph P. Boas Jr. under the pseudonym H. P├ętard published this lark, A Contribution To The Mathematical Theory Of Big Game Hunting. The subtitle should be How to Catch a Lion with only a Graduate Degree in Math or Physics. He outlines 9 methods from mathematics, 4 methods from theoretical physics, and 3 method from experimental physics.

Here is a an example from math:
The Bolzano-Weierstrass Method. Bisect the desert by a line running N-S. The lion is either in the E portion or in the W portion. Bisect this portion by a line running E-W. The lion is either in the N portion or in the S portion. We continue this process indefinitely, constructing a sufficiently strong fence about the chosen portion at each step. The diameter of the chosen portions approaches zero, so that the lion is ultimately surrounded by a fence of arbitrarily small perimeter.

Check out all the methods over at Lee’s site.

Sep 13

Show Me the Money?

majors-earnings I caught a great Planet Money podcast about the relative earning potential of different degrees. Engineering and applied math careers are always at the top of the these lists, but thanks to data from the last census, we are able to see just what the difference is. The graph above is a thumbnail sketch. I recommend listening to the podcast. The Planet Money team always does a fantastic job.

Sep 13

Illegal Numbers…and colors?

Here is a really interesting video from Numberphile about the evolving legality of numbers. I hope you don’t have any illegal numbers in your collection. And thanks to Jay for sending over this Wikipedia article on them.

Sep 13

A Few Puns

Some call it the lowest form of humor, but puns will never go away. My friend Lee sent over this list of metric measurement puns that is sure to tickle your favorite comedic guilty pleasure.
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Aug 13

Math + Synesthesia


This is the newest book on my must read list. It is a series of essays by Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant and synesthete, about his perception of mathematics as more closely woven to the phenomenal world. Check out the review from Brain Pickings.

Aug 13

MathAlive! in Hartford

math alive

For those of you in the area, don’t miss the MathAlive! exhibit at the Connecticut Science Museum in downtown Hartford. It is only here until September 1st. It has got some really cool exhibits. My favorite was the 360 degree camera that makes you feel like Neo from The Matrix.


Aug 13

Factors + Dancing

This is a mesmerizing visualization of the prime factorization of the natural numbers. If you go to Stephen Von Worley’s site Data Pointed you get the full experience along with the ability to pause and skip forward and back. It would be very interesting to give these diagrams to students and see if they could produce a next in series diagram. If they could do that, the diagrams could be used as a way to introduce primes and prime factorizations.

Factor Diagram

I stumbled on it via Teq another great blog.