Monthly Archives: October 2009

Flights of fancy

As I have mentioned in the past, I’m fascinated by the acrobatics of bird flocks, especially the big congregations of European starlings that gather in the evening at this time of year. Evidently I’m not the only one with such … Continue reading

Posted in biology, computing, mathematics, physics | 4 Comments

A Wiki proof

This morning’s list of new submissions to the mathematics section of the arXiv brings a paper signed by “D. H. J. Polymath.” The name is too good to be true, of course. The paper is the first fruit of a … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 1 Comment

In the long run we’re all dead

So said John Maynard Keynes, but what did he know about the long run? He was a swell who spent his mornings in bed, trading international currencies over tea and crumpets. Yesterday was my day for the long run: I … Continue reading

Posted in uncategorized | 3 Comments

My dekasabbatical

The new issue of American Scientist is on the newsstands and on the web. My “Computing Science” column takes a stab at explaining the Hubbard model, a staple of condensed-matter physics that I’ve been struggling to understand for at least … Continue reading

Posted in uncategorized | 6 Comments

Argiope aurantia

It’s orb-weaving season in my part of the world. Out in the ivy, I have four webs of the golden orb weaver, Argiope aurantia, all within one square meter. The engineering talents of all the orb weavers are impressive, but … Continue reading

Posted in biology | 1 Comment

Congruent numbers

A press release from the American Institute of Mathematics two weeks ago announced that all the congruent numbers up to 1 trillion have been enumerated. Two questions leap to mind. What the heck is a congruent number? And who cares? … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 13 Comments