Let the People Draw the Lines Act, a bill introduced by Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), would appoint panels of independent experts to adjust electoral district boundaries in an attempt to remove the "safe seats" created through gerrymandering, by which electoral districts are torturously redrawn to include as many voters likely to keep the incumbent in and to exclude everyone else. As Wonkblog explains, the bill is a long-shot, but it's also a shining example of the kind of legislation that fights corruption and creates a climate of real representative democracy. The fact that this bill is wildly unlikely to pass doesn't make it laughable: it makes Congress irredeemable.
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Vi Hart, the Internet's favorite manic vlogging mathematician, has released a new video in which she teams up with math artists Andrea Hawksley and Gwen Fisher, and Gwen's sister Ruth of Sweets by Ruth. The four of them bake satisfyingly precise and geometric gingerbread polygons, then build up a variety of astounding three dimensional forms by piecing them together with icing. The video is both hunger-inspiring and brain-inspiring, and is likely to be the best thing you watch this week.
"Penrose Stars", a GIF created by davidope and inspired by the famed impossible object, the Penrose stairs. See more of dvdp's abstract GIFs here. (via Imaginary Foundation)
In the Boing Boing Flickr Pool the fractal-obsessed Fdecomite posts the latest iteration in a series of experiments with tessellated, Escher cookie-cutters. Bake-time expansion creates irregularities that lead to a chewy (literally) series of interlock-imperfections, which give old MC's classic a bio-organic air that rather invigorates it.
You can 3D print interlocking lizard cutters with a free model from Thingiverse. Fdecomite, if you're reading this, please post in the comments with a link to the cookie cutters you used here!
Update: From the comments, Fdecomite writes, "Hi, those are cookie cutters I made from aluminium foil.I also made some 3D printed Escher cookie cutters you can find in my Shapeways shop.
Escher Cookie Cutters - The Sequel
This guy sure knows how to have fun with Goldberg polyhedra!
Here's glassblower Alan Bennett's astounding triple-nested Klein bottle, a beautiful thing:
A single surface model made by Alan Bennett in Bedford, United Kingdom. It consists of three Klein bottles set inside each other to produce, when cut, three pairs of single-twist Mobius strips. A Klein bottle has no edges, no outside or inside and cannot be properly constructed in three dimensions.
Klein bottle, 1995.
(Image: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)
No, that's not a euphemism for anything. Buffon's Needle
is an 18th-century experiment in probability mathematics and geometry that can be used as a way to calculate pi through random sampling. This WikiHow posting explains how you can recreate Buffon's Needle at home, by playing with your food
Duann from Shapeways sez, "Infinite bacon is now possible direct from Shapeways 3D printers. The dream of 3D printing food, infinite possibilities, infinite supply is now possible with the ultimate food to infinity, 3D printed Bacon Mobius Strip.
Finally it is possible, infinite 3D printed bacon with the Bacon Mobius Strip that is not delicious but also vegan and kosher friendly."
3D Printing Bacon to Infinity (VIDEO)
The incomparably great Vihart continues her Doodling in Math Class video series with a history and demonstration of the miraculous Hexaflexagon, a simple-to-fold paper hexagon that contains several iterations of itself, which can be found by turning it inside-out over and over again. Sure to delight, inform, entertain, and mystify!
Historical Note: This video is based on a true story. Arthur H. Stone really did invent the hexaflexagon after playing with the paper strips he'd cut off his too-wide British paper, and really did start a flexagon committee (which we'll hear more about in the next video). The details and dialogue, however, are my own invention.
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)