# November, 2012

## Silly Questions Amnesty

It's St Andrew's Day, which ought to be a day off in any sensible society. What's on your mind? Any silly questions for me?

## The Age of Maths

If you study physics or astronomy, you get to learn about stuff that’s really only just been published. If you’re a biologist or a chemist, recent discoveries form a big part of your studies. Historians consider the modern era fair game, and no English Literature course would be complete without

## Secrets of the Mathematical Ninja: Percentage adjustments

If you’ve been reading the ninja secrets over the last year or so, you’ll have noticed that adjusting by percents is a big part of ninjary, but I’ve never really explained how to do it. Let me put that right. It works pretty much as you’d expect: you work out

## Silly Questions Amnesty

Happy Black Friday to my American friends. While you're waiting in the queues for the shops to open, how about dropping me a silly question? Unfortunately, I can't tell you what time Macy's opens, but ask me one about maths!

## A Co-Proof of the Birthday Problem

“[In this context] Co- just means ‘opposite’ — so a co-mathematician is a machine for turning theorems into ffee.” — Miles () Matt Parker () laid down a challenge on Day 1 of the MathsJam conference: he said that proof by MathsJam was acceptable, because if it wasn’t true, you

## Secrets of the Mathematical Ninja: The magic of 0.7

0.7 doesn’t sound like a magical number — at best, it’s a relatively obscure decimal. It’s in a fairly comfortable ‘higher than average’ zone, I suppose, if you’re looking at probabilities, but… well, it’s one of the Mathematical Ninja’s favourite numbers. It comes up in two major places: \$\ln(2) \simeq

## Would an infinite number of monkeys eventually write Shakespeare?

“If you had an infinite number of monkeys, there’d be no room for typewriters.” — Jason Arnopp Yes, an infinite number of monkeys would eventually — in fact, before very long at all — write Shakespeare. The problem, then, is finding which of the monkey-poo-smeared manuscripts is actually the whole