Monthly Archives: March 2010

Which Steve invented the iPad?

Maybe Wolfram? Or Omohundro and Skiena? Back in 1988, a contest sponsored by a major computer company asked for visions of a future personal computer. The winning team came from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The faculty advisers were … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 2 Comments

Fake fits

A few weeks ago I committed an act of deception. I needed a graph showing a few sets of data points, with curves fitted to them. This was strictly for show; neither the points nor the curves would mean anything; … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, statistics | 6 Comments

Statistical error

Tom Siegfried, the editor of Science News, has published a blistering indictment of statistical methods in science and medicine. I am moved to speak for the defense. Siegfried discusses a number of specific cases, mainly drawn from the biomedical literature, … Continue reading

Posted in statistics | 9 Comments

A double flip

All my closest friends know about my strange obsession with the mathematics of mattress flipping. A few thousand other people also know my secret, since I have written about it in an American Scientist column (HTML, PDF), which later became … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life | 6 Comments

Home-baked graphics

A couple of commenters have asked what software package I use to create the graphs that appear in bit-player posts–illustrations like the one below, which is a slightly improved version of something I posted last week. Let’s call it Figure … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 20 Comments