I've just signed up for Tom Henderson's Math for Primates podcast
on the strength of this interview he conducted with Technoccult about his theory of punk mathematics. My dad's a mathematician and I love math, but stopped taking it after first year university calculus and stats and feel like I'm losing it by the year. I like Henderson's approach to the subject! Bonus: Tom helped Jane McGonigal and pals make the awesome Superstruct
So, the concept I pitched to Nick was, "Let's talk about math from the platform of 'Math that humans are likely to want to know, because it's about other humans.'"
Social conflict. Sex. Beauty.
The Philosophy of Punk Rock Mathematics - Technoccult interviews Tom Henderson
It gives us an excuse to talk extensively about game theory. And, game theory is a key place to teach humans mathematics, because we seem to have some optimized "cheat detection" in our brains.
Let me give you an example, it's something like, uh...
There are four face-down cards on a table. There is a rule: "If the number showing is even, then the back of the card MUST have a vowel."
Now, given an E, 3, 8, D, what is the smallest number of cards you need to flip over to verify that the rule is being followed?
Maybe I fucked up the puzzle. But, anyway, the answer as I've phrased it is NOT E and 3.
You need to make sure that 8 has a vowel on the back, and you need to make sure that D does NOT have an even number on the back.
Everyone gets this wrong, basically. Well, non-mathematicians always do, and I'm pretty sure I got it wrong because I get every answer wrong on the first try. Punk as fuck.
Now, if you ask the same people a logically equivalent question: "You see four people. Two are drinking beer and two are drinking coke. Whose IDs do you have to check?"
No one says you have to check the ID of the coke drinker. Because who cares how old they are? If it's the same puzzle, but phrased as a problem of possible social cheating, we nail it.
(via Beyond the Beyond
To demonstrate the Magnus effect, YouTuber PeterSripol grabbed a couple of KFC buckets and tricked out an RC plane. The resulting trial and error is mostly the latter.
One of the weirdest places in Antarctica is Blood Falls, a five-story cascade of blood-red liquid pouring from Taylor Glacier. Researchers finally traced its source: a saltwater lake millions of years old trapped under the glacier.
Fetal lambs survived for weeks in an experimental artificial womb, and scientists hope that the breakthrough could lead to new treatments for premature babies and perhaps the dreamed-of machine utopia where humans are kept mindlessly writhing in translucent plastic sheaths filled with psuedoamniotic liquid. Physicians at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia placed fetal lambs into […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]