Category Archives: Fun (Maths NSFW)

Merry mathematical Christmas!

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Sociologists vs statisticians tweet

A brief comparison of the first tweets of the WES: Work, employment and society (sociology) conference in Leeds and the RSS – Royal statistical society conference in Manchester which are happening at the same time. 

How do sociologists vs statisticians tweet about a talk they like? Adjectives vs nouns+verbs!

WES:

“Genuinely one of the best opening plenary talks I’ve ever listened to. Succinct and sophisticated #Wesconf2016”

At the same time the typical response to a good talk at the RSS conference is more matter of fact and informative:

Xia-Li Meng giving brilliant talk on big data at #RSS2016Conf ‘the bigger the data the more likely you will miss the target’ #RSS2016Conf

Or humorous: 

Coffee in hand. Let’s bring on the stats. #RSS2016Conf

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How is a theorem born?

A nice short review of Cédric Villani’s book, Birth of A Theorem (by Stephen Muirhead, PhD student at UCL)

http://chalkdustmagazine.com/blog/review-of-birth-of-a-theorem/

 

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The Perils of Maths

This would be funny if it weren’t real. When I read this story I first thought it was a remake of the old joke about Al-Gebra (check out the link for a detailed history of this dangerous terrorist movement):

“At New York’s Kennedy airport today, a person later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a drafting triangle, a compass, and a calculator.

During a press conference the Attorney General said he believed the man was a member of the notorious al-Gebra movement and the FBI intends to charge him with transporting weapons of math instruction. […]”

(from Weapons of Math Instruction, http://daryld.com/weapons-of-math-instruction/)

And there was another joke, about a postdoc from Iran flying to a conference and working last minute on his paper about “blowing up points on a plain”.

But alas. This week, a real mathematician, Guido Menzio of the University of Pennsylvania, recipient of the 2015 Carlo Alberto Medal for best Italian economist under 40, was questioned and removed from a flight because a fellow passenger thought that his differential equations were “in Arabic”, he was concentrating too hard, and suspiciously avoiding questions, and the flight attendants had to investigate the complaint.

Dr Menzio was brought back with an apology and the 40-minute flight did leave, with a 2 hour delay.

The whole story (written up with some good humour): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/05/07/ivy-league-economist-interrogated-for-doing-math-on-american-airlines-flight/

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Happy Pi day!

Freie Universität Berlin  

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The Factory Academy (poem by John Kinane)

When they step out to the other side

Make sure they are the models described

Obedient and clean, just as prescribed

Trust in the academy production line

Value added and progressed tracked

Fit for purpose, packaged and stacked

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

It’s a grand parade of inane individuals

Processed and classified with positive residuals

Ready for use in our brave new worlds

Trust in the academy production line

Institutionalised bullying stereotyped lies

Dehumanised products no light in their eyes

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

If the factories performance shows invention

They will come under scrutiny through inspection

If inspiration is used you will get intervention

Trust in the academy production line

A new linear structure uniform on time

Schooled factory primed and sublime

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

So here we are at the factory gates

Select and synthesise your class awaits

A generation of clones produced by the state

Trust in the academy production line

For you knew it would always be fine

When you sell your autonomy right on time

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

 (Reposted from http://www.leere.co.uk/#!in-the-poetry-pipeline/crw7)

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