Monthly Archives: May 2010

On the air

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a gig on “The State of Things,” broadcast by North Carolina Public Radio. The main subject of discussion will be Scott Huler’s new book On the Grid; I’ll be present as supporting cast (call me a … Continue reading

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A shy woodland creature

Martin Gardner died over the weekend. He was 95 and living in Norman, Oklahoma, not too far from his birthplace in Tulsa. Like many others, I grew up on Martin’s “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American. Later I joined the … Continue reading

Posted in games, problems and puzzles | 5 Comments

The big blip

If you were an astute or lucky stock trader on the afternoon of May 6, you could have bought shares of Accenture PLC for a penny each and sold them a minute later for almost $40. Or you could have … Continue reading

Posted in social science | 1 Comment

A new Handbook

The Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables (better known as Abramowitz and Stegun) is a much-storied book. Not that it’s a book full of stories; truth is, there’s not much of a narrative thread running through those formulas, … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 2 Comments

Pilgrim’s Progress

In the past few weeks I’ve had little time for bit-playing; I’ve been playing with atoms instead. I’ve been sorting and packing and toting atoms, then hauling them, rearranging them, offloading them, storing them. Lots and lots of atoms: maybe … Continue reading

Posted in modern life | 5 Comments