Category Archives: mathematics

A reasoning puzzle– *the* answer

by Greg Mayer So, here’s the answer given by Manil Suri to the puzzle he posed in the New York Times on Sunday. First, restating the puzzle: Four cards are laid in front of you, each of which, it is explained, has a letter on one side and a number on the other. The sides […]

A reasoning puzzle– an answer

by Greg Mayer Reader Chris G. sent a video of Steve Pinker explaining the very same problem (another reader also mentioned that he had seen a Pinker talk about it). Here it is. I’ll post my own discussion later today. h/t Chris G.

A reasoning puzzle

by Greg Mayer In today’s New York Times, there is an opinion piece by Manil Suri, a mathematician at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, entitled “Does math make you smarter?” Don’t go and read the piece– that’s why I’ve left out the link! I ask that readers answer the following puzzle he poses in […]

It’s Pi Day!

Having consumed my share of Costco pies the last few weeks (they’re good, too!), I’m happy to report that it’s Pi Day, celebrated with the following Google Doodle (click on screenshot to go to the Doodle site): Google itself explains the Doodle here, adding a video and, at the link, a recipe for a scrumptious […]

Bertrand’s Box paradox: The answer is 2/3!!!

There are almost 200 comments now on my post about Bertrand’s Box Paradox yesterday. Let me reprise the problem and then give the solution the way I hit on it: There are three boxes: a box containing two gold coins, a box containing two silver coins, a box containing one gold coin and a silver […]

Bertrand’s paradox

Reader Peter sent me this paradox (it’s not really a “paradox” as I understand the meaning of that term, but a result that, like the Monty Hall problem, is deeply counterintuitive). It’s called Bertrand’s Box Paradox after French mathematician Joseph Bertrand, who raised it in an 1889 book on probabilities. The setup is simple: There […]

The other social media

by Grania While we are on the subject of social media, GooglePlus is one of the least popular. It’s never really been able to compete with Facebook; despite being moreorless the same, at least in its original intentions. One of the things I like about it is that as a result of its unpopularity there […]

Weird and slightly alarming – the chaos game

by Matthew Cobb This video from the excellent Numberphile YouTube channel shows a very simple game that has the most unexpected outcome. My only criticism of this video is that I’d like to be shown the explanation, even if it’s complicated! Maybe readers can help me.

More security lunacy: mathematician pulled from plane for . . . doing math

From Marginal Revolution, courtesy of reader Jósef, we have a bizarre tale of how our nation is being protected from terrorists. Here it is in its entirety (I’ve added the link to his university site): “Guido Menzio an economist at the University of Pennsylvania–author of Block Recursive Equilibria for Stochastic Models of Search on the Job among […]

Does the beauty and effectiveness of math in understanding the world prove anything?

One of the disadvantages of shopping for food early Sunday morning is that Krista Tippett’s “On Being” program is on National Public Radio at 7 a.m. And, of course, I have to listen, cursing to myself for an entire hour. Why do I do it, you ask? I could say that I need to keep […]