August, 2013

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 6

The end of August is upon us… is it really Episode 6 already? Apparently so. This month, @reflectivemaths (Dave Gale) and I talk about… My talk in Edinburgh and the Maths Inspiration people Abuse of pie charts: East Lancs and the TES have things mixed up, and graphs you don’t

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Why I Can See My Car works

A few weeks ago, the Mathematical Ninja revealed that he integrated trigonometric functions using a cheap mnemonic. As reader Joshua Zucker pointed out, this was most unlike the Mathematical Ninja. Had he been kidnapped? Surely not; no Ninja would ever be taken alive. Had the Mathematical Pirate infiltrated? Had someone

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The Baffling Case of the Boscombe Boffin

“Graffiti?” said Gale. “We don’t do mindless vandalism.” “It’s not mindless vandalism,” I said, “it looks like it’s been pretty carefully thought out.” I brought the picture up on screen. Someone had covered a suspiciously blackboard-like wall in an awful lot of maths. “Bournemouth? That’s your neck of the woods.

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: “When you’re working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?” This is exactly the reason I don’t like BIDMAS – because it suggests something that simply isn’t true (that division is before multiplication and

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: “When you’re working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?” This is exactly the reason I don’t like BIDMAS – because it suggests something that simply isn’t true (that division is before multiplication and

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Gerolamo Cardano: Lives of the Mathematical Ninja

It’s been a while since I did a Ninja Lives post – let me put that right! Gerolamo Cardano is just what the MacTutor archives call him: in France, he’s Jerome Cardan; if you ask a Latinist, he’s Hieronymus Cardanus. Some people call him Geronimo, which is a pretty awesome

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Review: The Theory That Would Not Die – Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

I picked up The Theory That Would Not Die by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne on a whim, a rare dead-tree impulse purchase. And I’m awfully glad I did. Bayes’s Theorem is something you tinker around in S1 – it’s the stuff with the $|$ symbol in, about absorbing information you already

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A talk! A talk!

I’m not doing a proper blog post today because it’s the summer and I’m a lazy sod. Instead, I’m going to point you towards Edinburgh, where I’ll be on Thursday to give a talk about probability to the Edinburgh Skeptics. It will mention Stigler’s Law of Eponymy quite a lot.

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A reader asks: The Chain Rule

A reader asks: how do you do the chain rule? The chain rule was always my least favourite of the differentiation rules – although the quotient rule has now replaced it as an unnecessary evil. I suspect I didn’t like it when I learnt it because I learnt it more

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How the Mathematical Ninja integrates

The Mathematical Ninja pointed out of the window. “I CAN SEE MY CAR MAKING SMOKE!”, he yelled. The student looked out of the window, said “Oh no!” and then, after a pause. “Hang on, you don’t have a car.” The Mathematical Ninja smiled. “Correct. But you’ll now remember how to

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I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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