Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


What do you get when you cross a manual typewriter with an iPad?

[ Ok, so this post is way off topic. Fortunately, it's my blog. ]

I grew up with an Underwood manual typewriter. If I only still had that typewriter I could hook it up to any USB-capable computer. USBTypewriter.com provides design documents, assembly instructions, kits to do it yourself, and you can ship them your typewriter and they'll install the mod for you. Wow!


Hat tip to NspireD2.

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Another hard SAT Math problem

I discovered another tricky SAT Math problem. See if you can solve the "432" problem. There's an easy and a hard way to solve this one. I first show the hard way so that you can all appreciate the easy way! I'll show the easy way in the next post at SATMathBlog.com.

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Terrific Tic Tac Toe Trick

Here's an eerie Tic Tac Toe trick to totally impress your friends. You play a game of Tic Tac Toe with a friend. The game ends in a draw. You pull out a piece of paper (or napkin) that you drew in advance that shows exactly what the ending board would look like. How did you know? Did you control their mind and force them to make the moves you wanted them to?

This great trick is attributed to the late Martin Gardner. It is a great one for kids to learn because it will teach them some things about logical thinking. Hat tip to @grey_matter2 for the trick.


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A tricky SAT problem

Those of you who are planning to take the SATs in the fall (and those of you who like tricky geometry problems) might enjoy "One cube, many questions" at my new SAT Math Blog. I'm on the lookout for interesting problems that have some depth to them and that lead to exploration. I found that in this problem that I stole from Dave Marain.

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Happy SAT Day!

Did you know that the SAT was first administered on June 23rd, 1926? I just today started a new blog, SAT Math Blog. I registered the domain today, not knowing the auspicious nature of today's date. Eerie, huh? Anyway, check out the new blog and learn more about SAT day.

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Stephen Wolfram’s personal tribute to Alan Turing

Today Stephen Wolfram (creator of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha) wrote a personal tribute to the founding father of computation, Alan Turing. Turing, who would have celebrated his 98th birthday today, laid the foundation for computing and technology as we know it today.

I thought many of you would be interested in the story of Turing's impact on Stephen Wolfram's life and work and Wolfram's perspective on the work Turing might have pursued if he had lived longer.

Today (June 23, 2010) would have been Alan Turing’s 98th birthday—if he had not died in 1954, at the age of 41.

I never met Alan Turing; he died five years before I was born. But somehow I feel I know him well—not least because many of my own intellectual interests have had an almost eerie parallel with his.

And by a strange coincidence, Mathematica’s “birthday” (June 23, 1988) is aligned with Turing’s—so that today is also the celebration of Mathematica’s 22nd birthday.

I think I first heard about Alan Turing when I was about eleven years old, right around the time I saw my first computer. Through a friend of my parents, I had gotten to know a rather eccentric old classics professor, who, knowing my interest in science, mentioned to me this “bright young chap named Turing” whom he had known during the Second World War.

Read the whole tribute.

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Sneaking Math into children’s diets

[ Editor's note: This is a guest post by Caroline Mukisa, who took me up on my offer to promote web-sites that are non-commercial (or that are slightly commercial but have tons of great free content. ]

Caroline Mukisa is on a mission to help parents to support their childrens Math learning and is a big fan of sneaking math into children's (and parent's) diets. She blogs as the Maths Insider.

This blog post is the culmination of a fight; a really big fight. You see when Sol invited me to guest post on Wild About Math! I took it as an opportunity to seize possession of the big, shiny, blue book my 10 year old had kept hidden away for the past 6 months so that she wouldn't have to share it with her brother, The Guinness Book of World Records.

Following the liberation of the big, shiny, blue book, her brother wasn't going to just let me take it and read it for research purposes, he wanted it and he wasn't giving up without a fight. He even brought in reinforcements, his 2 little brothers. Guinness World Records 2010, you see, still has thousands of extreme facts but also has thousands of photos of the biggest, fastest, smallest, loudest and more, so even my pre-numerate 18 month old wanted to take a look.

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Review: Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is just that, a book of jokes for people who like Math. I particularly enjoy reading Math jokes that non-Math people won't get. This book is chock full of them.

"What happened to your girlfriend, that really cute math student?"

"She's not my girlfriend any more. She was cheating on me. A couple of nights ago, I called her on the phone, and she told me that she was in bed wrestling with three unknowns."

Here's another:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Paul Erdos: It was forced to do so by the chicken-hole principle.

"Math Jokes" is 117 pages of pure (vs. applied) fun. The author, Patrick Vennebush, who I've exchanged a few emails with, is a great guy too. And, he's done important work to advance Math. I found this link to an article about Patrick winning a Penn State Achievement Award in 2007. Patrick is Online Projects Manager for the NCTM Illuminations Math teaching resources web-site.


Review: Cows in the Maze

Cows in the Maze: And Other Mathematical Explorations is reminiscent of the books of the late Martin Gardner. Fun stories. Interesting explorations. Challenging but accessible. That's my summary of Stewart's new book. For those of you who don't know, Stewart is a very prolific writer. He has published over 60 books and he contributes to the monthly Scientific American "Recreational Mathematics" column. The material for this book comes from his columns.


Carnival of Mathematics #66

Maxwell's Demon hosted Carnival of Mathematics #65. Here is #66.

If you're new to Carnival's or to this one, check out Mike Croucher's great introduction.

As is tradition, the Carnival host has to come up with interesting things to say about the number of the Carnival he or she is hosting. 66 factors into 2x3x11. Not very exciting, huh!?! Well, 66 is the number of 8-iamonds. This I learned from the "What's Special About this Number?" page. 66 is also a triangular palindromic number. And, there are 66 books in the bible. Thank you to this source for these last two facts. And, Star Trek's first year on TV was ... yup, 1966. Ok, time to get to the meat of the Carnival.