Monthly Archives: May 2007

Easy as abc

It all starts with the equation a + b = c, which looks straightforward enough. Assume that a, b and c are positive integers that have no divisors in common other than 1; for example, the triple {1, 2, 3} … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 3 Comments

Amazon poker

Investors are constantly checking the stock ticker, gamblers check the point spread, and everybody is forever checking their e-mail. For a writerly type like me, however, the unshakeable obsession is checking my Amazon sales rank. calculates a sales rank … Continue reading

Posted in books, computing, mathematics, modern life | 9 Comments

Welcome MAA readers

I am pleased and proud to note that the previous posting in this space (A mathematical fable previsited) is doing double duty as a column for MAA Online, the Web presence of the Mathematical Association of America. Just so I … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 5 Comments

A mathematical fable previsited

A year ago, in my American Scientist column, I was deconstructing the oft-told tale of Carl Friedrich Gauss and his boyhood triumph over a despotic schoolmaster. As the story goes, Gauss applied a bit of mathematical ingenuity to quickly solve … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 3 Comments