Category Archives: modern life

The friendlier skies

It’s not the best picture I’ve ever snapped while climbing out of Logan Airport, but it’s the first one in years that I haven’t taken furtively, palming the camera to conceal it from the cabin crew. And what if the … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, photography | 1 Comment

Flying Nonmetric Airways

It’s the nature of triangles that no one side can be longer than the sum of the other two sides: For triangle ABC, AC ≤ AB + BC. This is the triangle inequality. Euclid proved it (Book I, Proposition 20). … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life | 14 Comments


It’s been two weeks since the storm called Sandy hit the East Coast, with devastating effects on both people and infrastructure. I have some remarks to make about just one aspect of the damage: the prolonged power outage in parts … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, technology | 1 Comment

Methuselah’s choice

My late friend Stan Ulam used to remark that his life was sharply divided into two halves. In the first half, he was always the youngest person in the group; in the second half, he was always the oldest. There … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life, social science | 7 Comments

The Right Click

For a few hours yesterday the front page of the New York Times was stealing right clicks. If I right-clicked on a hyperlinked headline (or option-clicked, or made a two-fingered tap on the trackpad), I did not get the usual … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 4 Comments