Posted in logarithms, music.

A fifth – in musical terms – is really three-halves, and if you go through twelve fifths, you end up seven octaves higher. Wait, I’m starting all wrong. A musical note has a frequency – the number of times the sound wave it produces vibrates each second. Middle C, for

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Posted in mechanics 1, ninja maths.

The Mathematical Ninja twiddled absent-mindedly with the nunchaku he used as a stress toy. “Do you use SUVAT?” asked the student, timidly. The Mathematical Ninja shrugged. “Yeah, I suppose that’s one way.” He giggled. “I don’t know the SUVAT equations, though… I’ve been meaning to learn them.” “I wouldn’t bother,”

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Posted in triangles.

So, there I was, idly figuring out one of Barney’s fiendish puzzles (“How many pairs of dice would you have to throw to be 95% certain of seven being the modal total?”) when I started thinking about the binomial expansion (don’t tell the Mathematical Ninja!) You know it: if you

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Posted in ninja maths.

“You simply multiply by eight-fifths,” said the Mathematical Ninja, as if that was the end of it. The student looked hurt. “In my head?” He knew how to multiply by fractions, but much preferred writing things down. Fair enough, I thought. I interrupted, in the way the Mathematical Ninja hates.

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Posted in reviews.

I LOVE index cards. When I lived in the US, I would routinely make a trip to the bookstore just to pick up more index cards, the better to process my ideas. It’s much less intimidating to look at a blank index card than it is to look at a

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Posted in basic maths skills.

As you might know (if you’ve spotted the big yellow bar above), I’m training for the Berlin Marathon in memory of my grandmother (you can support me – and the Alzheimer’s Society – by sponsoring me here). One of the perks of marathon training is that I get to eat

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Posted in probability.

The population of Iceland is somewhere around 300,000. It’s not an incredibly big island, and there’s not a huge amount of immigration and emigration – which means, if you’re on the Icelandic dating scene, you have to be fairly careful not to go out with uncomfortably close relatives. Luckily, there’s

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Posted in core 2, core 4, ninja maths.

The Mathematical Ninja looked offended. For once, it wasn’t a student that was the guilty party, it was me. “You’re considering a series on the WHAT?!” “The binomial expansion,” I said, brightly. “Drivel!” said the Mathematical Ninja “Drivel, piffle and poppycock! Newtonian claptrap, not worth the space made for it

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Posted in podcasts.

In this episode, (who is Dave Gale in real life) and I talk about… Comments on our last episode Weinstein-gate: full coverage via (Peter Rowlett in real life) at the Aperiodical A boy called Tutankhamun: Owen Daniel’s TEDx talk, a variation on the Tuesday’s Child problem1 Making your cousin cry

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Posted in reader questions.

A question from my Uncle Bill, who’s one of my great heroes and a philosopher of some standing: How does one get from 1 to 2 other than saying by diktat that 2 is the name we give to 1+1? Now, I’m far from the world’s greatest expert on the

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