Daniel R Hicks
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 Mar6 comment What is an odd prime? OK, things are getting too odd in here -- I'm leaving! Dec8 comment Simple paper cuts problem Seems to me that the easiest way to prove that it's #4 is to just get scissors and paper and try it. Nov24 comment Will it become impossible to learn math? You can always just keep making the specialties narrower and narrower, but, practically speaking, the ability for one person to "understand math" was probably lost 100 years ago. The problem is not simply memorizing material, but truly understanding the concepts of geometry, calculus, game theory, cryptology, probability, chaos theory, field theory, quantum mechanics, and a hundred others. It is beyond the abilities of any mere mortal. Nov1 comment Why are there letters as additional digits in bases greater than the decimal base (10)? Some "seven-segment" displays are capable of displaying digit values 10-15 as combinations of the segments that do not make valid decimal digits. Eg, U, upside-down 7, upside-down U, backwards 3, etc. Nov1 comment Why are there letters as additional digits in bases greater than the decimal base (10)? @dbmag9 - Base 100 is significant because some (old) system use(d) "centesimal" notation internally, with values between 0 and 99 stored in each "digit". Oct31 comment Problem on selecting group of card from a well shuffled pack of card Understand that this is not a statistics problem, since you have to guarantee an outcome. Ie, you need to figure out the worst case. Oct16 comment A 1,400 years old approximation to the sine function by Mahabhaskariya of Bhaskara I Except that that formula requires performing fractional exponents, so arguably not simpler. Oct16 comment A 1,400 years old approximation to the sine function by Mahabhaskariya of Bhaskara I Yeah, Indians cooked up some pretty good pi back in that era. Oct8 comment Do mathematicians, in the end, always agree? @Bakuriu - I'd say it's completely not allmost. Oct3 comment Prove that a logarithm is irrational Prove?? Heck, I've known they were irrational ever since Mr Jesse first talked about them! Oct1 comment Google Interview Question about a town where if a couple has a girl born, they can't have more children… @ReneSchipperus - I've never read anything "hard" on the topic, but I've seen several discussions of the genetic and environmental factors that influence the sex of the infant. Oct1 comment Google Interview Question about a town where if a couple has a girl born, they can't have more children… I'm sure it can be shown that in "real life" sequential births from the same parents are not "independent". There are subtle effects that will tend to cause parents of girls to produce more girls and parents of boys to produce more boys. Also, the ratio is not exactly 1:1. So one must ask: Are we talking "real life" or an idealized/theoretical scenario? Aug27 comment What is the average of no numbers? Consider that the average of { 17539126 } is 17539126. And the average of { 17539126 , 2 } is 8769564. If the average of { } is considered to be zero, wouldn't you expect that to "pull down" the average of the lists of 1 and 2 elements? Jul26 comment What are some conceptualizations that work in mathematics but are not strictly true? Mathematicians are really sexy. May26 comment Can the square root of a real number be negative? It appears to me that a part of the "problem" here is that the square root operation is relatively unusual in that it denotes the solution to an equation, whereas the vast majority of mathematical operations (at least the more familiar ones) do not. It's perfectly legitimate/un-scary for an equation to have multiple solutions, but we do not normally expect operators such as monadic - to produce multiple contradictory values. Thus there is some cognitive dissonance with the square root operator. Apr4 comment How can a piece of A4 paper be folded in exactly three equal parts? Fold it into quarters and then tear away 1/4. Nov27 comment Dividing a range into major and minor divisions I tried the scheme on for size and it works pretty well, thanks. It hadn't occurred to me that the number of variations was small enough to practically enumerate, and with this scheme certain "unpleasing" combos can be eliminated if desired, just by altering the table. Nov27 comment Dividing a range into major and minor divisions I'll have to think about this one. I like the idea that, since everything is precomputed, it's inherently stable and testable. Aug27 comment Why are “irrational numbers” not named “nonrational numbers”? Because to do so would be irrational. Aug22 comment What does “calculus” mean in the most general sense? Ask a dentist and he'll tell you it's the gunky buildup on your teeth.