Yearly Archives: 2010

Dotted lines

Where I grew up, a dotted line ran through the neighborhood, just beyond my back yard. On maps, that line marked the boundary between the city of Philadelphia and its inner-ring suburbs. On the ground, it was a racial divide—absolute … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, social science | 1 Comment

I could carry less

The fabled carefree residents of the Carryless Islands in the remote South Pacific have very few possessions, which is just as well, since their notion of arithmetic is ill-suited to accurate record-keeping. When they add or multiply numbers, they follow similar rules to ours, except … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 1 Comment

In the zone

Before leaving on a trip to the West Coast, I copied my return flight information onto my Google calendar: SFO to BOS, 12:50 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Now that I’m nearing the end of my visit to the Mythical State … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 6 Comments

The ormat game

Here’s the deal. I’m going to give you a square grid, with some of the cells colored and others possibly left blank. We’ll call this a template. Perhaps the grid will be one of these 3×3 templates: You have a … Continue reading

Posted in computing, games, mathematics, physics, statistics | 2 Comments

The state of the spamosphere

BP has finally stoppered the Macondo well with a plug of mud and cement, but the gusher of spam continues to pollute inboxes everywhere. Maybe we need a relief well? It’s been six months since my last spam update. The good news, … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 8 Comments