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Questions tagged [popular-math]

Question on bits and pieces of mathematics that show up in popular media (TV, movies, comics, etc.)

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0answers
17 views

Drawing a loop as graphic vector.

I read the book http://pi.math.cornell.edu/~hatcher/AT/AT.pdf and I liked the drawings very much. I wonder what tool you could use for this. Does anyone have a special program for this? Drawing loops ...
7
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1answer
82 views

Matt Parker mistake in cannonball stacking video [closed]

I could need someone to do a check on this problem, since it has been published in Matt Parkers book "things to make and do in the fourth dimension" and has now been featured in a numberphile video ...
0
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2answers
67 views

Tearing paper into three parts with a single cut without folding the paper strip

How can I divide or tear or cut a single strip of paper into three parts(not necessarily equal) with a single straight cut, and that too without folding the paper strip
10
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1answer
191 views

How can I mathematically model and analyze an incremental game like Cookie Clicker?

Recently, I've been interested in the optimization of the infamous incremental game Cookie Clicker. From Wikipedia: The user initially clicks on a big cookie on the screen, earning one cookie per ...
4
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1answer
99 views

Simple Analogy to explain $\sum_{n=1}^\infty n = -1/12$

I'm looking for a simplified analogy to explain why the following formula does not actually mean what it seems to mean: $\sum_{n=1}^\infty n = -\frac{1}{12}$ I get this question all the time from ...
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0answers
34 views

Bar Room Scrap Interpretation

I was given this years ago while at a local tavern. I called it the Lloyd Intersection. Scrap Original What is this question? My work so far. Interpretation I believe this may be asking us to; ...
0
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3answers
41 views

What's the value of a?

$$\frac{2x + 6} {(x + 2)^2}- \frac{2} {x + 2}$$ The expression above is equivalent to $$\frac{a} {(x + 2)^2}$$ Where $a$ is a positive constant and $$x ≠ -2$$ What's the value of $a$?
0
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1answer
31 views

How can you calculate the points and then to result an exact percentage?

I really want to know. Let’s say, your math teacher gives you a test, and she marks each subject different points. Ok, and if I done let’s say, half of the test correct, then how can I calculate in ...
7
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5answers
4k views

Help to identify every equation in this meme? [closed]

A couple of the equations in this meme aren’t easy to read, and I probably don’t know them so I couldn’t tell what they are. Can you identify all the equations, and help me feel smart on twitter?
5
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1answer
168 views

Metaphorical Story about the irrefutability of the law of excluded middle

One can refute in intutionistic logic that they cannot refute the law of excluded middle. The proof is a bit strange: ...
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2answers
97 views

How is $π$ irrational if… [closed]

If we take a rope of length $x$ which is rational quantity and we make a circle out of it, we measure its diameter which is also rational, if we divide a rational number by another rational number we ...
0
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3answers
61 views

Simple Elementary algebra [closed]

Kelly peeked around the corner and spied $540$ of them not studying. If this was $50\%$ more than Chris spied, how many did Chris spy? My answer was $270$ and marked incorrect. Why? Please help ...
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0answers
66 views

Self-study curriculum

May I ask some suggestions on a self-study or self-paced curriculum if I want to study matrices and their eigenvalues. I really do not have a good Mathematics background but I really think that I ...
3
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1answer
268 views

What mathematics has been on page one of the New York Times?

Robert Israel's answer shows it is misinformation to believe that the first mathematics to make page one of the New York Times was Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem (announced above the ...
0
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3answers
145 views

Modified version of Monty Hall problem?

My friend asked me a so called modified version of Monty Hall problem in his opinion. But I find the description a bit spooky and maybe someone here can enlighten us with what is the problem with the ...
21
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6answers
2k views

How many primes do I need to check to confirm that an integer $L$, is prime?

I recently saw the 1998 horror movie "Cube", in which a character claims it is humanly impossible to determine, by hand without a computer, if large (in the movie 3-digit) integers are prime powers, i....
15
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1answer
1k views

How did Vladimir Voevodsky “changed the meaning of the equals sign”?

This article from The New York Times is an obituary of the recently deceased Dr. Voevodsky. It explained that he was deeply involved in developing computer proof verification, and to do so "changed ...
87
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4answers
6k views

Cover of “Gödel, Escher, Bach”

Consider the cover image of the book "Gödel, Escher, Bach", depicted below. The interesting feature is that it shows the existence of a subset of $\mathbb{R}^3$ which projects onto $\mathbb{R}^2$ in ...
3
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2answers
669 views

What are some good mathematical magazines and journals for undergraduates and/or high school students? [duplicate]

I know only about Resonance published by Indian Academy of Sciences and I've read most of the content from it's math portion of all the issues.
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0answers
136 views

Books about maths for (basically) liberal arts students

I’m looking for books of a general interest in maths, like a maths novel, a fun book about maths, a humorous introduction to higher concepts, something outside of tests, something they can read on ...
1
vote
1answer
176 views

What is the geometry problem banned by the Turkish government? [closed]

It is being reported recently (example) that the Turkish government has banned a geometry textbook because the letters $FG$, which are the initials of an alleged plotter of the 2016 coup d'etat ...
41
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2answers
5k views

Has anyone ever actually seen this Daniel Biss paper?

A student asked me about a paper by Daniel Biss (MIT Ph.D. and Illinois state senator) proving that "circles are really just bloated triangles." The only published source I could find was the young ...
3
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0answers
56 views

Absurd Analysis - Choosing the right integral operator

I got gifted the book "Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries" (which is a popular science book so don't bother to critizise notations or missing arguments) and on one page there was a ...
3
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1answer
846 views

Sorting rows then sorting columns preserves the sorting of rows

From Peter Winkler's book: Given a matrix, prove that after first sorting each row, then sorting each column, each row remains sorted. For example: starting with $$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & -3 &...
2
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2answers
1k views

Number of Spaghetti loops

From Peter Winkler's book: the 100 ends of 50 strands of spaghetti are paired at random and tied togethed. How many pasta loops should you expect from this process on average? I took ages because ...
1
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1answer
82 views

Bidding problem

From Peter Winkler's 'Mathematical puzzles' You can make a bid on a widget whose value to the owner, as far as you know, is uniformly randomly distributed between 0 and 100 dollars. However its ...
2
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0answers
91 views

Watches on a table

From Peter Winkler's 'Mathematical puzzles', taken from an All USSR Mathematical Competition, 1976: 50 accurate watches lie on a table. Prove that there exists a moment in time when the sum of the ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Voting with 3-way ties

From Peter Winkler's 'Mathematical puzzles' Ashford,Baxter and Campbell run for election and end up in a 3-way tie. To break it, they solicit voters' second preference and there is also a 3-way tie. ...
1
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0answers
62 views

Maximum length sequence with negative and positive subsequences

From ' mathematical puzzles' By Peter Winkler: " At the stockholders' meeting the CEO presents month-by-month profits and losses and declares : ' Since the last meeting we have made a profit in ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Did Feynman mentally compute $\sqrt[3]{1729.03}$ by linear approximation?

In the biopic "infinity" about Richard Feynman. (12:54) He computes $\sqrt[3]{1729.03}$ by mental calculation. I guess that he uses linear approximation. That is, he observe that $1728=12^3$. Let $f(...
1
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1answer
117 views

explanation of topology examples from movie or other [closed]

I always like topology and geometry. But there are some examples in film and videogames that upset me... 1)Imagine an empty room in which there is a door in the middle, and if I open it I can see a ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Expected number of tosses until 3 heads in a row - via Martingale method

(Quant job interviews - questions and answers - Question 3.8) For a fair coin, what is the expected number of tosses to get 3 heads in a row The answer is stated as : We gamble in such a way that ...
2
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1answer
314 views

Independent coin tosses , double or halve current sum

(Quant job Interviews - Questions and Answers - Joshi et al, Question 3.5) Suppose you have a fair coin. You start with 1 dollar, and if you toss a H your position doubles, if you toss a T your ...
42
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5answers
3k views

A golden ratio series from a comic book

The eighth installment of the Filipino comic series Kikomachine Komix features a peculiar series for the golden ratio in its cover: That is, $$\phi=\frac{13}{8}+\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{(-1)^{n+1}(2n+...
4
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1answer
344 views

Monty Hall problem again (from Grimmett and Stirzaker)

Grimmett and Stirzaker Exercise 1.4.5.2 In a game show you have to choose one of three doors. One conceals a car, 2 conceal goats. You choose a door but the door is not opened immediately. Instead ...
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6answers
6k views

What does $200\%$ faster mean? (How can something be more than $100\%$ faster?)

I'm a simple man living my every day life and have not much understanding of math or science. Today I read an article where someone claimed they can charge a battery $200\%$ faster. This got me ...
2
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2answers
523 views

Infinity xkcd style: can a turing machine exist?

I recently read this xkcd comic. It's about a guy who simulates a universe by a Turing machine (specifically, Rule 101, a cellular automaton), by laying down infinite rows of rocks, each row ...
1
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1answer
183 views

Latest episode of the big bang theory, vanity card.

I usually don't read these, but this time I did, and this was the card: Does the last mathematical symbols have any meaning? I get that the equal 150.6+V, is there any more meaning behind this?
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0answers
115 views

What probability analysis did the allies use during WWII after they cracked the Enigma, or how can this probability be quantified?

In the recent film, The Imitation Game, after cracking the Enigma they mentioned that the allies didn't simply use every cracked message but instead analysed the probability the Germans would find out ...
26
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5answers
7k views

“What if” math joke: the derivative of $\ln(x)^e$

Randall Munroe, the creator of xkcd in his latest book What if writes (p. 175) that the mathematical analog of the phrase "knock me over with a feather" is seeing the expression $ \ln( x )^{e}$. And ...
0
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2answers
121 views

Is it incorrect to use the phrase “X percent probability?”

Very frequently, phrases like "50 percent probability" are used in science papers and popular writing. Is this phrase generally viewed to be correct by the mathematical community. Formally a ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Does ABC implies Fermat's last theorem?

I read from the newspaper that Mochizuki's proof of the ABC conjecture implies the Fermat's last theorem. Is it true? I think it implies the proof only for large enough exponents?
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2answers
73 views

Evaluate a function along a complex curve

Well, I don't know this question is appropriate but I really need to understand it. So, please help me. In the book Love and Math, The heart of hidden reality of Edward Frenkel, chapter 15, he said :...
9
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0answers
487 views

A question on popularization of math: inspiring the beauty of mathematics while making New Year's wishes

Many fellow students of mine today shared by various means the following picture: . I was told that this picture is supposed to communicate the beauty of math in a funny way, but I really can't ...
45
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2answers
2k views

Sheldon Cooper Primes

On the $73^{\text{rd}}$ episode of the Big Bang Theory, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, an astrophysicist portrayed by Jim Parsons $(1973 - \stackrel{\text{hopefully}}{2073})$ revealed his favorite number to be ...
2
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1answer
179 views

Can these phenomena occur within Non-Euclidean geometries?

I've enrolled in an undergraduate seminar on the subject of non-euclidean geometry. I wanted to ground myself a little before-hand, because popular media has lead me to believe that non-euclidean ...
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0answers
47 views

'Popular mathematics' resource about infinite ordinals

The 'popular mathematics' literature (think Martin Gardner, William Dunham, Hofstadter, and the like) abounds with material on the mathematics of infinite cardinals, starting - and quite often ending -...
2
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2answers
185 views

What is the meaning of this (potentially humorous) mathematical equation?

The equation in the image shown below (outlined in blue) was found on the cover of a magazine, along with several other "math equation jokes" like the "I heart pi" joke. My friends and I haven't been ...
12
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1answer
325 views

Mathematics of the Ice Bucket Challenge

I've been considering the mathematics of the now global ice bucket challenge. Simple model In the simplest incarnation, there is one original seed, who then nominates 3 others, each of which take ...
3
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3answers
4k views

Is the Nash Equilibrium example in a “Beautiful Mind” accurate?

I was wondering if the Nash Equilibrium example shown in the movie A Beautiful Mind is accurate? and if not, what's wrong with it? Thanks