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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 4

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2015-05-12 10:27:55 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

'Education'...

Most reshares: 1

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2013-08-19 11:46:05 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

The Pythagorean theorem

a² + b² = c²

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who lived about 2500 years ago, and who developed the most famous formula in geometry, possibly in all of mathematics! He proved that, for a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides that join at a right angle equals the square of the third side.
#sciencesunday  

Most plusones: 6

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2013-08-19 11:46:05 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

The Pythagorean theorem

a² + b² = c²

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who lived about 2500 years ago, and who developed the most famous formula in geometry, possibly in all of mathematics! He proved that, for a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides that join at a right angle equals the square of the third side.
#sciencesunday  

Latest 50 posts

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2015-05-21 08:30:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Fun facts for your next dinner party.

Fun facts for your next dinner party.___

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2015-05-21 08:24:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Necessity is the mother of all innovation!

Necessity is the mother of all innovation!___

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2015-05-21 08:23:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

interesting read.

interesting read.___

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2015-05-21 08:22:39 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

this matches my experiences in the tech community. What about yours?

What do you think ?___this matches my experiences in the tech community. What about yours?

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2015-05-20 10:35:02 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

now this is what i call a flat screen tv!

now this is what i call a flat screen tv!___

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2015-05-20 10:19:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

this is amazing! I want one.

Robot Master Chef Cooks 2,000 Recipes, Cleans Up, Does the Dishes

Would you buy it?

More at: http://www.industrytap.com/robot-master-chef-cooks-2000-recipes-cleans-dishes/28765___this is amazing! I want one.

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2015-05-18 09:14:23 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Really interesting idea...

Really interesting idea...___

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2015-05-18 09:10:34 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

All these decades of similar "What's next in the sequence?", I have never seen this interesting one.

A Curious Property of 82000

The number 82000 in base 10 is equal to 10100000001010000 in base 2, 11011111001 in base 3, 110001100 in base 4, and 10111000 in base 5. It is the smallest integer bigger than 1 whose expressions in bases 2, 3, 4, and 5 all consist entirely of zeros and ones.

What is remarkable about this property is how much the situation changes if we alter the question slightly. The smallest number bigger than 1 whose base 2, 3, and 4 representations consist of zeros and ones is 4. If we ask the same question for bases up to 3, the answer is 3, and for bases up to 2, the answer is 2. The question does not make sense for base 1, which is what leads to the sequence in the picture: [undefined], 2, 3, 4, 82000.

The graphic comes from a blog post by Thomas Oléron Evans. Most of the post discusses the intriguing problem of finding the next term in this sequence, and whether the next term even exists. In other words, does there exist an integer greater than 1 whose representations in bases 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 all consist entirely of zeros and ones? 

The number 82000 does not satisfy these conditions, because the representation of this number in base 6 is 1431344. This means that the next number in the sequence, if it exists, must be some number bigger than 82000 whose representations in bases 2, 3, 4, and 5 all consist entirely of zeros and ones. Unfortunately, even these weaker conditions are very difficult to satisfy. An exhaustive search has been carried out up to 3125 digits in base 5 and no solution exists in this range. 

The upshot of this is that, if the next term in the sequence exists, it must have more than 2184 digits in base 10. (The 2184 comes from multiplying 3125 by the base 10 logarithm of 5.) However, there is also no known proof that the next term in the sequence does not exist.

Relevant links

Thomas Oléron Evans's blog post has much more discussion of this problem, at http://www.mathistopheles.co.uk/maths/covering-all-the-bases/solution-covering-all-the-bases/

Details of the exhaustive search can be found in the notes to the sequence http://oeis.org/A146025 in the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

There is a nice online number base converter tool at http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/calnumba.htm

#mathematics #sciencesunday  ___All these decades of similar "What's next in the sequence?", I have never seen this interesting one.

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2015-05-18 09:07:34 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Just awesome!
I have always loved how something as simple as a pentagon can lead to such non-trivial mathematical connections such as the golden ratio.

The formula for the area of the regular #pentagon .
A basic intermediate step provides the radius for both the inscribed and circumscribed #circle , which are in themselves interesting.
Where index n is used, the equations are valid for any regular polygon. For the pentagon in particular, we take another step to find that the d/s ratio is the golden ratio. #goldenratio  
For other regular polygons, this ratio can be calculated with 2*cos(π/n), leading to the same results that are found with just #trigonometry , which is shown between these two steps.___Just awesome!
I have always loved how something as simple as a pentagon can lead to such non-trivial mathematical connections such as the golden ratio.

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2015-05-18 09:04:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

a great experiment for the inquisitive. Always a great object lesson for students to first try to guess what will happen before they see the answer.

What Happens When You Drop A Magnet Through A Copper Tube?
The magnet induced a current in the copper pipe, which in turn produced a magnetic field. The direction of this current then opposed the change in the magnet’s field, resulting in the magnet being repelled and thus falling more slowly. Neat. 

src: http://goo.gl/oME6U4 #ScienceIsAwesome   #Science   #ScienceSunday  ___a great experiment for the inquisitive. Always a great object lesson for students to first try to guess what will happen before they see the answer.

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2015-05-17 08:46:41 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

interesting idea.

interesting idea.___

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2015-05-17 08:41:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Interesting video on how poverty can change your brain.

Interesting video on how poverty can change your brain.___

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2015-05-17 08:37:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

really cool science in action.

Here's one for anyone who dyes their hair – a look at the chemistry behind the process! Read more (& larger image) here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-1cP___really cool science in action.

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2015-05-17 05:51:35 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

funky

Dangception - Waiting For The Kick - Photography by Dang Tran 500px.com/photo/40104278 #photoediting #creativephotography #wotafoto___funky

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2015-05-16 11:59:45 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Well have all, sometime in our lives, talked about a regular dice that is biased. But this is a really mind-twisting thought: an irregular dice that is unbiased!

Skew dice: the dice are skewed but the odds aren't. Joint work with +Robert Fathauer. ___Well have all, sometime in our lives, talked about a regular dice that is biased. But this is a really mind-twisting thought: an irregular dice that is unbiased!

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2015-05-16 11:36:42 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

fascinating idea: Self-healing concrete.
Bacteria is added as an extra ingredient at the time of dissolving and mixing the concrete. It remains dormant until the concrete cracks and water gets in.

fascinating idea: Self-healing concrete.
Bacteria is added as an extra ingredient at the time of dissolving and mixing the concrete. It remains dormant until the concrete cracks and water gets in.___

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2015-05-16 05:48:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

A 6-minute explanation of Quantum Computers

A 6-minute explanation of Quantum Computers___

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2015-05-16 05:47:19 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Do the five minute Oxford happiness questionnaire to see how happy you are compared to others.

Do the five minute Oxford happiness questionnaire to see how happy you are compared to others.___

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2015-05-16 05:17:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

I love all geometric proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem. This one being by Perigal (1891)

here's a version of Perigal's proof (1891) of the Pythagorean theorem___I love all geometric proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem. This one being by Perigal (1891)

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2015-05-16 05:16:32 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

looks absolutely awesome.


Kinetic Sand an interactive table that responds to touch by creating plumes of sand that seem to whirl and dance around objects placed on top of it. The table is the latest creation from Adrien M / Claire B Company: http://www.am-cb.net/ This kinetic table accepts input from up to 32 simultaneous touches and responds by creating different kinds of animation using small dust-like particles.
Video > https://vimeo.com/124395296___looks absolutely awesome.

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2015-05-15 12:26:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

this is me. LOL! ;(

___this is me. LOL! ;(

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2015-05-15 12:25:04 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Most jokes are funny as they reflect a degree of truth.

#Programmer
Agree ?___Most jokes are funny as they reflect a degree of truth.

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2015-05-15 12:24:13 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

an interesting idea, especially with the new trends of infinite scroll.

There Is No Fold

"If you are assuming people engage above the fold as a lot of design literature will tell you, you’re likely wrong. More engagement happens right at and below the fold than above."

#design   #fold   #interface  ___an interesting idea, especially with the new trends of infinite scroll.

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2015-05-12 10:27:55 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Beautiful quote

'Education'...___Beautiful quote

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2015-05-11 08:52:15 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

very detailed and insightful commentary on the state of technology.

very detailed and insightful commentary on the state of technology.___

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2015-05-11 08:49:22 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

I wonder how many other potential achievements and discoveries have been lost because we failed to give women equal opportunities to shine?!

Happy birthday Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin!

wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecilia_Payne-Gaposchkin

#womeninscience   #science   #astronomy  ___I wonder how many other potential achievements and discoveries have been lost because we failed to give women equal opportunities to shine?!

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2015-05-11 08:47:30 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

This is a fascinating commentary to remind us that often the greatest acheivements and discoveries begin with people being naturally inquisitive and curious.

An impossible dream

Kepler, the guy who discovered that planets go in ellipses around the Sun, was in love with geometry.  Among other things, he tried to figure out how to tile the plane with regular pentagons (dark blue) and decagons (blue-gray).  They fit nicely at a corner... but he couldn't get it to work.

Then he discovered he could do better if he also used 5-pointed stars!

Can you tile the whole plane with these three shapes?  No!  The picture here is very tempting... but if you continue you quickly run into trouble.  It's an impossible dream.

However, Kepler figured out that he could go on forever if he also used overlapping decagons, which he called 'monsters'.  Look at this picture he drew:

https://plus.maths.org/issue45/features/kaplan/kepler.gif

If he had worked even harder, he might have found the Penrose tilings, or similar things discovered by Islamic tiling artists.  Read the whole story here:

• Craig Kaplan, The trouble with five, https://plus.maths.org/content/trouble-five

How did Kepler fall in love with geometry?  He actually started as a theologian.   Let me quote the story as told in the wonderful blog The Renaissance Mathematicus:

Kepler was born into a family that had known better times, his mother was an innkeeper and his father was a mercenary. Under normal circumstances he probably would not have expected to receive much in the way of education but the local feudal ruler was quite advanced in his way and believed in providing financial support for deserving scholars. Kepler whose intelligence was obvious from an early age won scholarships to school and to the University of Tübingen where he had the luck to study under Michael Mästlin one of the very few convinced Copernican in the later part of the 16th century. Having completed his BA Kepler went on to do a master degree in theology as he was a very devote believer and wished to become a theologian. Recognising his mathematical talents and realising that his religious views were dangerously heterodox, they would cause him much trouble later in life, his teacher, Mästlin, decided it would be wiser to send him off to work as a school maths teacher in the Austrian province.

Although obeying his superiors and heading off to Graz to teach Protestant school boys the joys of Euclid, Kepler was far from happy as he saw his purpose in life in serving his God and not Urania (the Greek muse of astronomy). After having made the discovery that I will shortly describe Kepler found a compromise between his desire to serve God and his activities in astronomy. In a letter to Mästlin in 1595 he wrote:

I am in a hurry to publish, dearest teacher, but not for my benefit… I am devoting my effort so that these things can be published as quickly as possible for the glory of God, who wants to be recognised from the Book of Nature… Just as I pledged myself to God, so my intention remains. I wanted to be a theologian, and for a while I was anguished. But, now see how God is also glorified in astronomy, through my efforts.

So what was the process of thought that led to this conversion from a God glorifying theologian to a God glorifying astronomer and what was the discovery that he was so eager to publish? Kepler’s God was a geometer who had created a rational, mathematical universe who wanted his believers to discover the geometrical rules of construction of that universe and reveal them to his glory. Nothing is the universe was pure chance or without meaning everything that God had created had a purpose and a reason and the function of the scientist was to uncover those reasons. In another letter to Mästlin Kepler asked whether:

you have ever heard or read there to be anything, which devised an explanation for the arrangement of the planets? The Creator undertook nothing without reason. Therefore, there will be reason why Saturn should be nearly twice as high as Jupiter, Mars a little more than the Earth, [the Earth a little more] than Venus and Jupiter, moreover, more than three times as high as Mars.

The discovery that Kepler made and which started him on his road to the complete reform of astronomy was the answer to both the question as to the distance between the planets and also why there were exactly six of them: as stated above, everything created by God was done for a purpose.

On the 19th July 1595 Kepler was explaining to his students the regular cycle of the conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter, planetary conjunctions played a central role in astrology. These conjunctions rotating around the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun around the Earth, created a series of rotating equilateral triangles. Suddenly Kepler realised that the inscribed and circumscribed circles generated by his triangles were in approximately the same ratio as Saturn’s orbit to Jupiter’s. Thinking that he had found a solution to the problem of the distances between the planets he tried out various two-dimensional models without success. On the next day a flash of intuition provided him with the required three-dimensional solution, as he wrote to Mästlin:

I give you the proposition in words just as it came to me and at that very moment: “The Earth is the circle which is the measure of all. Construct a dodecahedron round it. The circle surrounding that will be Mars. Round Mars construct a tetrahedron. The circle surrounding that will be Jupiter. Round Jupiter construct a cube. The circle surrounding it will be Saturn. Now construct an icosahedron inside the Earth. The circle inscribed within that will be Venus. Inside Venus inscribe an octahedron. The circle inscribed inside that will be Mercury.”

This model, while approximately true, is now considered completely silly!   We no longer think there should be a simple geometrical explanation of why planets in our Solar System have the orbits they do.

So: a genius can have a beautiful idea in a flash of inspiration and it can still be wrong.

But Kepler didn't stop there!  He kept working on planetary orbits until he noticed that Mars didn't move in a circle around the Sun.  He noticed that it moved in an ellipse!  Starting there, he found the correct laws governing planetary motion... which later helped Newton invent classical mechanics.

So it pays to be persistent - but also not get stuck believing your first good idea.

Read The Renaissance Mathematicus here:

https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/kepler%E2%80%99s-divine-geometry/

Puzzle: can you tile the plane with shapes, each of which has at least the symmetry group of a regular pentagon? 

So, regular pentagons and decagons are allowed, and so are regular 5-pointed stars, and many other things... but not Kepler's monsters.  The tiling itself does not need to repeat in a periodic way.

#geometry #astronomy  ___This is a fascinating commentary to remind us that often the greatest acheivements and discoveries begin with people being naturally inquisitive and curious.

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2015-05-09 13:17:07 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Cedric Villani, maths Fields Medallist gives a really interesting talk
(I also love his beautiful cursive writing style).

Cedric Villani, maths Fields Medallist gives a really interesting talk
(I also love his beautiful cursive writing style).___

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2015-05-09 08:13:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

This is really cool. Might get some kits to play with my son.

This is really cool. Might get some kits to play with my son.___

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2015-05-09 08:10:20 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Amazing how sophisticated Google's web crawlers are getting.

Amazing how sophisticated Google's web crawlers are getting.___

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2015-05-09 08:08:13 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

How innovative! Making a waterpark inside an airship hangar!

A waterpark constructed inside an old airplane hangar in Germany ... 
Looks really nice !!! 
Its called Tropical Island Paradise ... 
It seems you can spend your holiday there in tents and small apartments ... 

Here's the wiki link ... 
Check it out ... 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Islands_Resort 

Here's a short, fun video showing the inside of the park ... 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFMa_kAANGE ... 

#Germany   #Airplane   #Hanger   #WaterPark   #themepark  ___How innovative! Making a waterpark inside an airship hangar!

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2015-05-09 07:59:54 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

this animated gif makes a nice change from the typical cat GIFs.

Animated GIF by beesandbombs over on Ello:___this animated gif makes a nice change from the typical cat GIFs.

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2015-05-09 07:58:52 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

This guy is very smart. Well worth reading anything he talks about.

"It is my understanding that the universe is saddle-shaped. My question is, at the time of the big bang, why didn’t everything expand in all directions equally, causing a spherical shaped universe?"

Sorry, Simpsons fans, Homer's theory of a donut-shaped Universe might be intriguing to Stephen Hawking, but it's time to listen to what the evidence says! Find out how the Universe is shaped on this week's Ask Ethan.___This guy is very smart. Well worth reading anything he talks about.

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2015-05-08 15:47:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

this is me everyday before noon!

Had coffee.  Now I need more.___this is me everyday before noon!

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2015-05-08 13:48:26 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

really interesting article. Well worth the read.

really interesting article. Well worth the read.___

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2015-05-08 13:40:35 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Good news and depressing news -- all in a single statistic....

Just a little ebola perspective for ya... ___Good news and depressing news -- all in a single statistic....

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2015-05-08 13:36:43 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

I live in a city of only 200k people, seeing interchanges like this is so surreal.

I live in a city of only 200k people, seeing interchanges like this is so surreal.___

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2015-05-07 06:41:07 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

why i am no longer a school teacher... LOL!

Maths___why i am no longer a school teacher... LOL!

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2015-05-05 10:24:37 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

So bizarre, so gross!

The Gorgonorhynchus
So the strange white thing that seems to “erupt” from the worm is its proboscis. This is a tubular sucking organ that some worms use to feed.
During eversion, which takes place almost explosively, the short main trunk first appears, then this divides and the finer and filter branches appear, but since each one of these is the result of an evagination the effect is almost indescribable. It is as if a large number of lively, wriggling, minute worms had been shot out.

Paper:
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2457629?uid=3738920&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21106699460623

  #gorgonorhynchus   #worms   #proboscis   #coolcreatures  ___So bizarre, so gross!

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2015-05-03 09:39:45 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Sad, but true...

Evolution of the mobile phone

h/t @itredux___Sad, but true...

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2015-05-03 09:30:58 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Love this quote!

"Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another." ~ #NelsonMandela​ from Long Walk to Freedom, 1994 #LivingTheLegacy #Education #Literacy

www.nelsonmandela.org
archive.nelsonmandela.org ___Love this quote!

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2015-05-03 09:24:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

How to embed 5 interlocking tetrahedra into a dodecahedron. Funky stuff.

A 3-dimensional golden star

Here Greg Egan has drawn a dodecahedron with 5 tetrahedra in it.  This picture is 'left-handed': if you look at where the 5 tetrahedra meet, you'll see they swirl counterclockwise as you go out!  If you view this thing in a mirror you'll get a right-handed version. 

Putting them together, you get a dodecahedron with 10 tetrahedra in it.   You can see it here:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/mathematical/dodecahedron_with_10_tetrahedra.gif

The two kinds of tetrahedra are colored yellow and cyan.  Regions belonging to both are colored magenta.  It's pretty - but it's hard to see the tetrahedra, because they overlap a lot!

A cube has 8 corners.  If you take every other corner of the cube, you get the 4 corners of a tetrahedron.  But you can do this in 2 ways.  If you choose both, you get a cube with 2 tetrahedra in it:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/mathematical/cube_with_2_tetrahedra.gif

This picture is from Frederick Goodman's book Algebra: Abstract and Concrete.

All this is just the start of a much more elaborate and beautiful story which also involves the golden ratio, the quaternions, and 4-dimensional shapes like the 4-simplex, which has 5 tetrahedral faces, and the 600-cell, which has 600 tetrahedral faces!   You can read it here:

http://blogs.ams.org/visualinsight/2015/05/01/twin-dodecahedra/

I learned some of this story from Adrian Ocneanu at Penn State University.  Greg Egan and I figured out the rest... or most of the rest.  There's an unproven conjecture here, which needs to be true to make the whole story work.  Can you prove it?

Puzzle: If you take a regular 4-simplex whose vertices are unit quaternions, with the first equal to 1, can you prove the other 4 vertices generate a free group on 4 elements?

Hmm, I see that this puzzle has been solved by +Ian Agol and someone else on Mathoverflow:

http://mathoverflow.net/questions/204464/do-unit-quaternions-at-vertices-of-a-regular-4-simplex-one-being-1-generate-a

I don't understand the solution yet, because I don't know what a 'Bass-Serre tree' is... but I'll try to learn about this.  Math is infinite, there's always more to learn.

#geometry #4d  ___How to embed 5 interlocking tetrahedra into a dodecahedron. Funky stuff.

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2015-05-03 09:22:41 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

obligatory daily dose of bad jokes. ;)

I'm just going to leave this here for you...

#doughnut #foodhumour ___obligatory daily dose of bad jokes. ;)

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2013-11-01 23:56:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Really cute video trailer of the upcoming Lego Movie.

Really cute video trailer of the upcoming Lego Movie.___

2013-10-24 13:04:10 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Very impressive guy who is working hard and thinking deeply on what is the most effective way to teach school kids to program.

My New Strategy for Teaching Kids How to Code

We're one month into the second year of Catalyst, an after-school tech/computer class that I run for kids aged 9-13, and this year I've decided to try something different. [Last year, I had the kids learn in a browser-based / console-like IDE that I created - kind of like CodeAcademy, but ultimately it was just too much work to maintain and too limiting]. My new plan is to teach the kids how to build their own interactive websites from scratch using HTML, CSS and Javascript, and to do it on their own Linux VPS (CentOS 6) using Vim. I know it probably sounds crazy, but if the preliminary reception and results are any indication, I think it's going to be a success.

At this point, the kids already have a pretty solid understanding of basic HTML and CSS (inline styles and id and class selectors) , they're able to write simple Javascript event handlers (onmousedown, etc), and I've already transitioned a few of them over to working on their own VPSs via SSH and Vim. [I started them out on Neocities just so that we could get out of the gate quickly]. We worked on Javascript last year, so they have some background in it, but it's going to be interesting to see how well they can use it for building web pages that actually do things. I'm cautiously optimistic, but this is a lot to ask kids this young, even if they are gifted and talented, so we'll see how it plays out. Regardless, I've settled on a few component strategies that I think are going to stack the odds in our favor.

1. Don't Patronize We're working with real tools. No more sandbox, baby crap. I understand the motivation and thought process behind learning environments like Scratch and the various programming games and I appreciate the quality of work that has gone into many of them, but at the end of the day they're just not real enough (or, at least not for this group). I want the kids to develop real skills that they can use to create real things in the real world. Plus, the kids love it. Being able to login to their own server on the command line and create interactive web pages that the whole world can see is frankly pretty badass and they know it.

2. Breadth-first Learning Teaching the kids HTML, CSS and Javascript all at the same time isn't as hard as you might think because the technologies work together in a pretty common sense way. You just start with a little HTML, add in a pinch a CSS and Javascript, then rinse and repeat. Sure, all of the different types of syntax can be a little confusing at first, but it doesn't take long for them to pick it up. You just have to go slowly, step-by-step, and give them plenty of practice.

3. Challenges, Points and Levels Unsurprisingly, I've found that gamification works. For some reason, when you present a formal challenge to kids and assign points to it, they respond. I've tried just suggesting things for the kids to try out or work on, but often times that just results in a lot of screwing around with little progress.

Just so you can get a sense for the kind of stuff we're doing, here are the challenges from last night (session #4):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dR6TjmPW4szVbquppOgnyG-f4H1AKOely-wrCNd2XWk/edit?usp=sharing

Now I'm even going a step further and setting up a formal level system for each skill category - HTML/CSS, Javascript, shell / command line,  Vim, etc, which is something the kids are really excited about. The way it's going to work is that once you've completed enough points for a particular skill like Javascript, you can take a test to "level up". I decided not to follow the whole badges model like in scouts because that just seems like too much work and maybe even a little hokey, or belts like in karate because then you have to have them sort of figured out in advance, but with levels it's simple and open-ended. I can just keep inventing new levels as we need them, kind of like my old favorite, Dungeons & Dragons!

Anyway, it's all one big experiment and a work in progress, but it's exciting to see the kids progress and frankly I'm pretty much obsessed with it at the moment. More updates to follow ... ;)

Edit: Also, I owe a big shout-out and thank you to +Justin Vincent, my good friend, TechZing co-host and general partner in crime, for allowing me to Shanghai him into doing this with me. We've done 38 sessions so far and if there's one thing we've learned it's that teaching kids this young to code is NOT easy. In fact, I would have to say that it's easily the hardest 5-hours of my week and the sessions are only 90-minutes long! ;)___Very impressive guy who is working hard and thinking deeply on what is the most effective way to teach school kids to program.

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2013-08-19 11:46:05 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

This is so cool!

The Pythagorean theorem

a² + b² = c²

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who lived about 2500 years ago, and who developed the most famous formula in geometry, possibly in all of mathematics! He proved that, for a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides that join at a right angle equals the square of the third side.
#sciencesunday  ___This is so cool!

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2013-08-16 09:07:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I wish i could write code with this much excitement!

When a coworker is coding really loudly.___I wish i could write code with this much excitement!

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2013-08-09 09:13:56 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Right (y)

Right (y)___

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2013-02-12 12:43:41 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Machine Learning used to reconstruct ancient languages
I think it is cool that Machine learning is being used in so many aspects of society! 

Machine Learning used to reconstruct ancient languages
I think it is cool that Machine learning is being used in so many aspects of society! ___

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2013-02-12 04:22:24 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

"These days an absolutely staggering amount of research and development work goes into the very coarsely defined field of “machine learning.” Part of the reason why it’s so coarsely defined is because it borrows techniques from so many different fields. Many problems in machine learning can be phrased in different but equivalent ways. While they are often purely optimization problems, such techniques can be expressed in terms of statistical inference, have biological interpretations, or have a distinctly geometric and topological flavor. As a result, machine learning has come to be understood as a toolbox of techniques as opposed to a unified theory."

"These days an absolutely staggering amount of research and development work goes into the very coarsely defined field of “machine learning.” Part of the reason why it’s so coarsely defined is because it borrows techniques from so many different fields. Many problems in machine learning can be phrased in different but equivalent ways. While they are often purely optimization problems, such techniques can be expressed in terms of statistical inference, have biological interpretations, or have a distinctly geometric and topological flavor. As a result, machine learning has come to be understood as a toolbox of techniques as opposed to a unified theory."___

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