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Weird Al’s Keen Eye

If you follow “Weird Al” Yankovic on Twitter (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you may have noticed this picture, which he posted earlier this week along with the tweet “Wow, waffles for just .25 cents? That means I can get 400 for a dollar!!”

Kudos to you, Mr. Yankovic, for spotting what I can only assume to be a mathematical error of the type we’ve seen before. If this music thing doesn’t pan out, maybe you can work for Verizon.

Then again, maybe it’s not an error, in which case I can only hope that Weird Al wastes no time in naming this establishment, so that I can patronize it before they catch wise.

(Thanks to Nate for sending this my way!)

Top Chef Mathematics

If you like food, Washington DC, hubris, or reality television, then chances are you are a fan of Bravo’s cooking competition Top Chef. Every year the show takes a group of aspiring chefs, places them in a house in a new city, and throws weekly challenges their way. Following the Survivor template, every week one chef is voted off, and at the end someone is crowned Top Chef (and given a large check). This season, the action takes place in our nation’s capitol.

Now, a show such as this might seem to have very little to do with mathematics. But look, and ye shall find. In the second episode of this past season, the chefs were paired up for one of the challenges. There were 16 chefs at the time, combining to make 8 pairs. The pairing was determined by drawing knives: 16 knives were . . . → Read More: Top Chef Mathematics

Math Gets Around: Breakfast

I admire the food blog Serious Eats because, as we’ve seen before, it’s not afraid to get a little mathematical. This month they have upped the ante with a post on the delicious object now known as the Mobius strip bagel.

Named for the classical geometric object of the same name, the Mobius strip bagel (and its cousin, the Mobius strip donut) give an elegant mathematical spin on ordinary edibles. In addition to the aesthetic value, the Mobius strip bagel also has the advantage of added surface area, meaning that one can pile on even more cream cheese before stuffing one’s face.

Mathematician George Hart has step-by-step instructions for the transformation from torus to Mobius strip here. I have yet to try this technique myself, but I can think of no better way to celebrate the holidays than by transforming breakfast food into mathematically themed breakfast food. . . . → Read More: Math Gets Around: Breakfast

The Cheapest Salad Bar in the World

Last week, I went to a number theory conference in Utah. The conference was very good, and I learned quite a lot, which I suppose is the goal of any such conference. The location of the conference itself was also quite nice – it was close to the mountains, a lake, and the home of Blendtec, famous for their “Will it Blend” series of videos.

As you might expect, most of what I learned on this conference pertained to number theory. However, there were lessons outside of this sphere of knowledge as well. The one lesson I will share with you is best encapsulated in this picture:

That’s right – Ghiradelli now makes salad.

It was my friend Jack who pointed out the placement of the decimal point. Apparently the people who work in cafeterias in Utah are the same people who work at Verizon call centers. If you ever . . . → Read More: The Cheapest Salad Bar in the World

Math Gets Around: Holiday Treats

At this time of year, many people push their studies to the side in favor of roasted animals and pie. However, the activities of enlarging your waistline and mastering some mathematics need not be mutually exclusive. For evidence of this claim, I need only turn your attention to the culmination of thousands of years of human evolution: the Pecan Pie-cosahedron.

Pecans + math = crazy delicious.

This masterful work of craftsmanship was created by an individual known by the pseudonym of turkey tek over at instructables.com. The pie is so named because it has the shape of an icosahedron, arguably the most beautiful of the five1 Platonic Solids (so named because of the Greek philosopher, not because the solids are just good friends). Even better, this isn’t turkey tek’s first foray into mathematically inspired baked goods: also on display is the formiddable Giant Fractal Pecan Pie.

Yes, even pie . . . → Read More: Math Gets Around: Holiday Treats