Monthly Archives: June 2007

Quantum numbers

Quantum computing gets a lot of attention, but we don’t hear much about quantum mathematics. The very idea is an affront to Platonist thinkers everywhere—those of us who consider the elements of mathematics to be independent of the physical universe. … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics, physics | 2 Comments

More Gauss anecdotage

The story about young Gauss and his trick for summing an arithmetic series just won’t stop. My archive now includes 134 versions. Almost all the recent additions were discovered by Barry Cipra. (For a recap on what this is all … Continue reading

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I watched the spelling bee on TV a couple of weeks ago and was stumped by word after word: aniseikonia, oberek, randkluft, cachalot, schuhplattler, cilice. It’s all enough to send you reeling back to Andrew Jackson or Mark Twain or … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 3 Comments

Twenty-six twiddles suffice

Among the 250 million Rubik’s cubes manufactured since 1980, how many lie abandoned in a scrambled state, having never regained their original configuration since being taken out of the box? Most of them, I would guess. Now comes word that … Continue reading

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More factoidal facts

Anthony G. Pakes of the University of Western Australia shines further light on the “factoidal” function, discussed earlier here on bit-player and in the May-June issue of American Scientist: I found your article about factoid(n) very interesting, and I offer … Continue reading

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