Category Archives: computing

The short arm of coincidence

James Tanton tosses off number theory problems the way John D. Rockefeller handed out dimes. I wrote about one of Tanton’s problems back in January. Then a few weeks ago this tweet about factorials and squares snagged my attention, and … Continue reading

Posted in computing, featured, mathematics, problems and puzzles | 14 Comments

The secret life of tweets

On Twitter you can say anything you want as long as it fits in 140 characters. The length limit is one of those frozen accidents of history, like QWERTY and the genetic code. In olden days (2006), tweets had to … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 4 Comments

The 39th Root of 92

My new office space suffers from a shortage of photons, so I’ve been wiring up light fixtures. As I was snaking 14-gauge cable through the ceiling cavity, I began to wonder: Why is it called 14-gauge? I know that the … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics, technology | 12 Comments

Getting to Know Julia

When I first started playing with computers, back in the Pleistocene, writing a few lines of code and watching the machine carry out my instructions was enough to give me a little thrill. “Look! It can count to 10!” Today, … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 12 Comments

Prime After Prime

Are the prime numbers sprinkled randomly along the number line, like windblown seeds?Of course not: Primality is not a matter of chance but a product of simple arithmetic. A number is prime if and only if no smaller positive integer … Continue reading

Posted in computing, featured, mathematics | 7 Comments