Math problems are more interesting when they are posed as horror stories.
The Josephus Problem gets its name from Titus Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish scholar.
The story goes that he was with 40 other soldiers when they were surrounded by conquering Romans - imagine that scene in Games of Thrones, where Ramsay Bolton's men trap Jon Snow's army in a tight circle and start moving in.
Rather than give themselves up, the soldiers decided to commit suicide en mass, but by killing each other rather than themselves, to avoid any last-minute changes of heart. Sitting in a circle, the first soldier would kill the man to the left of him, the next living soldier would kill the man to his left, and so on around the circle.
When the circle of slaughter got back to the start, the process would repeat with the smaller group of people. Finally, the last man alive would fall on his sword.
Josephus' problem was that he was much keener on living than dying - but he didn't want to let his fellow soldiers in on that secret. So, where should he position himself in the circle to be the last man standing?
Clever and wonderfully-presented: The Incredible Palindromic Hat-Trick. You may be unimpressed if you feed it small numbers. Feed it big ones!
Rather than attempt to describe this, I’ll just quote the artist verbatim: This is the first million integers, represented as binary vectors indicating their prime factors, and laid out using the UMAP dimensionality reduction algorithm by Leland Mcinnes. Each integer is represented in a high-dimensional space, and gets squished down to 2D so that numbers […]
“Are wormholes real or are they just magic disguised as physics and maths?” (Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell)
Seems like drones are doing a lot of jobs these days, from reconnaissance to delivery. Now, we can add “keeping the Death Star safe” to that list. Whether you’re a drone enthusiast or a Star Wars fan, these Star Wars Propel Drones are undeniably the coolest toy around. Yes, that’s a fully functional drone replica […]
It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use […]
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]