Posted in silly questions amnesty.

Happy Friday! What's on your mind today? Anything I can help with? Any questions about maths... or anything else?

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Posted in reviews.

When I was a student, there was a holy trinity of popular maths authors: Douglas R Hofstadter, Martin Gardner, and Ian Stewart. Those were the bad old days, before geekery was cool -- no Festival of the Spoken Nerd, no Marcus du Sautoy1, no MathsJam... back then, good maths books

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Posted in ninja maths.

This is a fairly specific trick, but it comes up often enough that you can dazzle people once in a while by multiplying numbers that are close together. You need to know how to square numbers (check back to this series of posts). Here's the trick: say you need to

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Posted in silly questions amnesty.

It's Friday, so it's SQA day. It's 5/10, which simplifies to... well, ask if you don't know! I promise to be nice, and I'll turn it into a blog post if I can!

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Posted in talks.

Ooh, a rare out-of-sequence snippet! I'm thrilled to announce I'll be talking at the Wimborne Literary Festival on "Uglification and Derision: the curious maths of Alice in Wonderland". More details will follow. Meanwhile, one of the nice things about having a 'B' name is that I look like I'm topping

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Posted in exam technique, gcse, revision.

A reader, concerned for a friend sitting GCSE, asks: A friend of mine needs to pass GCSE maths for his uni course and is struggling -- any tips on books/sites? He's just failed the Foundation so he's now going for the Higher as the score needed for a C is

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Posted in ninja maths, radians.

"Oh," says the student, "I'll just put it in my calculator." I fold my arms. "$\sin\left(\frac{\pi}{6}\right) = 0.00914$!" he says, confidently. I sigh. "Oh!" he continues, brightly, "is it meant to be in radians? I don't like radians." This is the problem with calculators Now, I love calculators. Machines that

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