Saturday, March 2, 2013

Carnival of Mathematics #96

Question for psychics and detectives: I once got 96 points in Scrabble for a four-letter word. Can you guess what it was and where it sat on the board?

Puzzle: Use the numbers 1 through 5 once each to make 96.

Reader Participation: Can you offer us a harder puzzle related to 96?

The Math
Anna Weltman, at Math Munch, posted about Marjorie Rice's discovery of new pentagon tilings of the plane (back in the 70's). The cool factor? "Marjorie had no mathematical education beyond high school." And, if I'm doing my arithmetic right, she was over 50 when she made her discoveries.

Brent Yorgey, at The Math Less Traveled, wrote Visualising Pascal's Triangle Remainders, originally as a comment on Katie Steckles' piece at The Aperiodical about Singmaster's Conjecture, which was in response to a throwaway line about coloring in Pascal's triangle. It involves some pretty pictures!

Patrick Honner, at Mr. Honner, wrote How Many Primes Did We Miss? in response to a student's wondering. He says, "During a discussion of the new largest-known prime, a student wondered if there were any primes between this new largest-known prime and the previous largest-known prime. Thanks to Bertrand's Postulate, we know there are quite a few primes between them!"

Kurt Friedrich Gödel, at Ciencia y Lógica son suficientes, wrote a post on Gödel's Theorem. He gives an actual example of a formal system by using kinships, so that the theorem and some logic terminology can be better understood. Y en español, nos ofrece Series Gaussianas. "Trata sobre el desarrollo de distintas demostraciones entorno a las series de potencias de números naturales, tales como la progresión 1+2+3+...+n, la correspondiente al teorema de Nichomacus, y en general para cualesquiera potencias."

Evelyn Lamb, at Roots of Unity, wrote Romance, Continued Fractions, and You as a Valentine's Day post about a dream in which continued fractions were a metaphor for love. I'm afraid the romance may be all in her head, but her article is fun and does a good job of explaining continued fractions. Evelyn's been busy lately, and pointed out two other posts. She explains what Roots of Unity are, besides being the name of her blog, and she posts a wrap-up on the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.

Matthew Barsalou, at Significance Magazine, wrote Keep Your Redshirt On: A Bayesian Exploration. Star Trek fans, take note.

John Cook, at The Endeavor, posted a Probability Question a while back that kept me thinking. More recently, he's been posting a series on damped and undamped vibrations. (If I ever get around to teaching differential equations again, I'll want these.)

(by Brent Yorgey)
Math Education 
After moderating a conversation at Educon in Philadelphia in January, and reading about some good ideas on math curriculum (from Henri Picciotto) and lesson planning (from the Bacon-Wrapped Lessons project), Mike Thayer, at Hyperbolic Guitars, started to think some more about what a math education might mean nowadays.  On My Mind reflects the most recent evolution of his thinking.

Patrick Honner, at Mr. Honner, (also) wrote Regents Recap — January 2013: Unstated Assumptions, in which he questions the Regents exam for encouraging students to make assumptions without stating them. Good discussion in the comments.

Pat Ballew, at Pat'sBlog, explores the history of the m in y=mx+b, in Why m for Slope. "One of the most asked questions by students and other teachers, and a topic of more dubious history than almost any other in math." Pat also wrote Tally Sticks, Keeping Count through the Ages. "From wolf bones to dominoes, people have been using tallies to keep count. A brief history includes burning down Parliament and some modern approaches."

Oluwasanya Awe, at MatheMazier, wrote Let's Get Talking. "Education in secondary schools is really not in the best state at the moment. This post presents some questions that a high school students ask and indirectly shows mindsets of how teachers and students see Mathematics in school." I would love to see some blog posts written in response to these quotes. Do any of them hit home for you?

Interviews, Reviews, Links, ...
Sol Lederman, at Wild About Math, does a series of podcast interviews called Inspired by Math. Sol was intrigued by Jason Ermer's Collaborative Mathematics project, which encourages people to think deeply, in groups, about open-ended problems, and to share their insights with others via Youtube video responses. So he interviewed Jason for Inspired by Math #23 (22 minutes long) about what the project is, what inspired him to create it, what the response so far has been, and what he is hoping to accomplish.

Shecky Riemann, at his new blog, Math Tango, wrote Statistics Is Suddenly Sexy, in which he reviews Charles Wheelan's latest, timely book for a general audience, Naked Statistics.

Stephanie Glen  is involved in a kickstarter campaign for an educational TV show for preteens about math. "The Number Hunter" is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter -- bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. She's hoping some of us will be interested in helping kickstart it.

Tony Mann, at Tony's Maths Blog, wrote Are Mathematicians and Artists Opposites? He doesn't think so. What do you think?

How do you find more? Subscribe to one of the many blogs that collect links to mathy goodies:  Math Munch, Aperiodical, Wild About Math, Math-Frolic, God Plays Dice, Math Blogging, ... (Who am I missing?) And check out previous Carnivals of Mathematics or Math Teachers at Play.

The next Carnival of Mathematics will be hosted at Flying Colours Maths (and last month's was at Math's Fact). Submissions are accepted at the submissions page.

Countdown: 12 days until Pi Day. (Unless you prefer to celebrate Tau Day.)

Answer to Scrabble question: The word was 'quiz'. It was at the top of the board, but I couldn't find a picture of that. Here's an equivalent position: 

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