Monthly Archives: November 2006

Erreurs de mathématiciens

At the library the other day I requested an old book from off-site storage. When I called for it at the circulation desk, I felt as I would when buying some lurid tabloid at the drugstore checkout counter. The book … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 1 Comment

Abel to Zygmund

Potentates and plutocrats get their names plastered all over the landscape, but as far as I know you can’t yet buy the naming rights to a theorem in mathematics. You’ve got to actually do the math. I’ve just (belatedly) discovered … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 1 Comment

Radio alert

Christopher Joyce of National Public Radio is about to launch a series of reports on the “Industriosphere,” in which I am taking part. As in my book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape, the subject matter is all … Continue reading

Posted in modern life | Comments Off

Running on empty

Driving over the river and through the woods yesterday, I was running low on fuel. My car has two kinds of instruments to tell me that I’ll soon be standing by the side of the road feeling foolish. A conventional … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life, science | 1 Comment

Jacobsthal numbers

In an item published here last May I stumbled across the sequence 1 3 5 11 21 43 85 171 341 683 1365 2731 5461 10923 21845 43691 87381 174763 349525 699051 which I dubbed “the oddest numbers” but which … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics, problems and puzzles | 2 Comments

Stupid questions

Whether or not anyone else is reading the stuff I’m posting here, the spammers have discovered me. And I’m afraid that “comment spam” is not as amusing as the e-mail variety. I have therefore installed one of those annoying sentry … Continue reading

Posted in uncategorized | 4 Comments

What’s so special about {0,2,3,4,7,11,12,14}?

Three postings here (1, 2, 3) have discussed what happens when you form all pairwise sums and differences from a finite set of integers. The number of differences almost always exceeds the number of sums—a fact that lends special interest … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, problems and puzzles | Comments Off

The backblog

I want to thank those of my friends who sent me links to Jenn Shreve’s amusing collection of bloggers’ “haven’t posted in awhile” excuses and apologies. What has kept me away all this time is the search for an adequate … Continue reading

Posted in uncategorized | 1 Comment