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Brief PSA

Hi everyone. This week is a little hectic for me, so I won’t have time for a full-fledged post until probably this weekend. I thought I would take an opportunity to respond to this, though, since a few people have sent it my way. I’d just like to remind all mathematically-minded folks that our rep in this country is bad enough already, so please, let’s all agree to not pee on our colleagues’ office doors. In fact, I don’t think it should be too hard to take it a step further, and actively remove ourselves from any situation in which someone could even reasonably accuse us of peeing on their door (office or otherwise).

Then again, maybe this guy was putting his own spin on the latest dance craze.

Test Taking, Part 3

If you’ll permit me this small indulgence, gentle reader, this week I’d like to return to a topic from last month. More precisely, I’d like to continue the series of posts that discussed how one best ought to prepare for an exam in which all N questions are given beforehand, and one knows that M questions will appear on the exam, of which the student must answer K. In my first post I discussed this problem in the context of preparing essays, while in my second I discussed it in the context of preparing for the US citizenship exam.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thought this a worthwhile problem. This problem has also made an appearance at the fun-filled blog Mind Your Decisions (it’s an excellent discussion, so if this kind of thing suits you, check it out). In the comments section, discussion on this problem continues; in . . . → Read More: Test Taking, Part 3

Lost Winnings

Last week, two very lucky people won the Mega Millions lottery jackpot (here‘s a profile on one of the winners). This particular lottery is played in 41 out of the 50 states, and these two individuals will share a combined, pre-tax total of $380 million.

But are they so lucky after all? Setting aside the common notion that winning the lottery can actually do you more harm than good, some people are concerned because of the numbers themselves that made the winning ticket.

The numbers drawn for this particular lottery were 4, 8, 15, 25, 47, and 42. Note that the last number is lower than the number that precedes it because it is the so-called “Mega Number,” which is drawn from a different pool than the first five. For those of you with a penchant for televised dramas set in tropical locations, you may note that these numbers bear . . . → Read More: Lost Winnings

Watch Out for The Secret Number

I would like to offer my somewhat reserved congratulations to the helmers of the upcoming film project titled The Secret Number, whose Kickstarter project ended today having exceeded its fundraising goal of $10,000 (I’ll also point out that this isn’t the first time Kickstarter has made an appearance on this blog). The film, a senior thesis for director Colin Levy, is based on a short story of the same name, and is the reason behind my inclusion of the word “reserved” in the sentence above. By way of introduction, please take a look at the filmmakers’ fundraising video:

As you can see, the story centers around a mathematician who claims to have discovered an integer between 3 and 4. Forgetting the mathematical particulars for a moment, the source material worries me, mostly because the mathematician featured in the story has been hospitalized following a nervous breakdown brought . . . → Read More: Watch Out for The Secret Number