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Brain candy for Happy MutantsWed, 16 Apr 2014 19:00:31 +0000en-UShourly1http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.1Museum of Four in the Morning
http://boingboing.net/2013/10/16/museum-of-four-in-the-morning.html
http://boingboing.net/2013/10/16/museum-of-four-in-the-morning.html#commentsWed, 16 Oct 2013 15:48:57 +0000David Pescovitzhttp://boingboing.net/?p=262320
"Four in the morning" appears with strange frequency in movies, TV, art, and culture. The Museum of Four In The Morning collects such references.]]>

"Four in the morning" appears with strange frequency in movies, TV, art, and culture. The Museum of Four In The Morning collects such references. Submit yours!]]>
http://boingboing.net/2013/10/16/museum-of-four-in-the-morning.html/feed0Dictionary of Numbers: browser extension humanizes the numbers on the Web
http://boingboing.net/2013/05/15/dictionary-of-numbers-browser.html
http://boingboing.net/2013/05/15/dictionary-of-numbers-browser.html#commentsWed, 15 May 2013 19:03:07 +0000Cory Doctorowhttp://boingboing.net/?p=230533
Dictionary of Numbers is a Chrome extension that watches your browsing activity for mentions of large numerical measurements and automatically inserts equivalences in real-world terms that are meant to clarify things.]]>

Dictionary of Numbers is a Chrome extension that watches your browsing activity for mentions of large numerical measurements and automatically inserts equivalences in real-world terms that are meant to clarify things. For example, a story about a 300,000 acre forest fire would be annotated to note that this is about the area of LA or Hong Kong; or that 315 million people is about the population of the USA.

I noticed that my friends who were good at math generally rely on "landmark quantities", quantities they know by heart because they relate to them in human terms. They know, for example, that there are about 315 million people in the United States and that the most damaging Atlantic hurricanes cost anywhere from $20 billion to $100 billion. When they explain things to me, they use these numbers to give me a better sense of context about the subject, turning abstract numbers into something more concrete.

When I realized they were doing this, I thought this process could be automated, that perhaps through contextual descriptions people could become more familiar with quantities and begin evaluating and reasoning about them. There are many ways of approaching this problem, but given that most of the words we read are probably inside web browsers,** It might be interesting to to develop a similar system for use in spoken lectures. I decided to build a Chrome extension that inserts human explanations of numbers into web pages.

(via XKCD blog)
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http://boingboing.net/2013/05/15/dictionary-of-numbers-browser.html/feed7Another prime number down, infinity to go
http://boingboing.net/2013/02/11/another-prime-number-down-inf.html
http://boingboing.net/2013/02/11/another-prime-number-down-inf.html#commentsMon, 11 Feb 2013 22:45:50 +0000Maggie Koerth-Bakerhttp://boingboing.net/?p=212319There are 17 million digits in the largest prime number we know of, so far. Its discovery is part of an ongoing distributed computing project aimed at exposing the existence of ever larger prime numbers, largely because prime numbers are there — flagrantly going around, only being divisible by themselves and the number 1.]]>There are 17 million digits in the largest prime number we know of, so far. Its discovery is part of an ongoing distributed computing project aimed at exposing the existence of ever larger prime numbers, largely because prime numbers are there — flagrantly going around, only being divisible by themselves and the number 1. We'll show them, won't we? The Electronic Frontier Foundation foundation, for instance, is currently offering a $150,000 bounty for the first folks to bring in a 100-million-digit prime. ]]>http://boingboing.net/2013/02/11/another-prime-number-down-inf.html/feed14More than 1000 shots fired in happiness in Birmingham, AL
http://boingboing.net/2012/07/06/more-than-1000-shots-fired-in.html
http://boingboing.net/2012/07/06/more-than-1000-shots-fired-in.html#commentsFri, 06 Jul 2012 15:04:34 +0000Maggie Koerth-Bakerhttp://boingboing.net/?p=169703on the 4th of July, 2012, the Birmingham police recorded 1,098 incidents of gunfire (they have a detection system that's able to distinguish between gunshots and fireworks). In 2011, there were only 75 gunshots recorded. In 2010, 495. Which leads me to wonder: Is this random, or is there some factor leading to an increase in celebratory gunfire over the last three years? What social and economic factors affect the number of bullets people are willing to pump into the air?(Via Stan Diel)]]>http://boingboing.net/2012/07/06/more-than-1000-shots-fired-in.html/feed52