Monthly Archives: October 2007

Bumped off

Two of the best science-blog articles of 2007 appeared early in the year at Cosmic Variance. They were written by John Conway (not the John Conway, the other John Conway) and gave an inside view of what happens in a … Continue reading

Posted in physics | 1 Comment

The family tree

When is a tree (large, woody plant) not a tree (connected acyclic graph)? This has something or other to do with the topic of the previous post. (The tree (?) is a crepe myrtle near the campus of North Carolina … Continue reading

Posted in biology, computing, mathematics | Comments Off

How many of your ancestors are you related to?

David Aldous asked me that question over lunch one day. I didn’t have an answer, so he explained: In the simplest model of human genetics, you get half your genes from each parent, a fourth from each grandparent, and so … Continue reading

Posted in biology | 9 Comments

Hung over

The drawing below, brazenly swiped from a 1964 Martin Gardner column, illustrates the solution to a well-known puzzle. If you stack n bricks on a table, how far can you make them extend over the edge without toppling? The answer … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, physics, problems and puzzles | 1 Comment

Multicore madness

The new issue of American Scientist is now available both on the web and on paper. The subtitle of my “Computing Science” column makes the following rash assertion: Multicore chips could bring about the biggest change in computing since the … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 2 Comments

Conquering divide

This morning I am enjoying the benefits of jet lead. My watch says it’s 7:30, but the hotel-room clock reads 4:30, so I have a few hours free to lie awake and solve the world’s problems. As a warmup exercise … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 17 Comments

Antinomies on the landscape

From the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Travel Guide to the Pacific Northwest, page 218: In spite of its name, False Creek is not a creek at all….

Posted in mathematics, quote | 2 Comments