Posted in podcasts.

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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Posted in integration.

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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Posted in maths police.

“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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Posted in basic maths skills, fractions, reader questions.

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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Posted in basic maths skills, fractions, reader questions.

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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Posted in ninja lives.

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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Posted in reviews.

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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Posted in talks.

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.

Read More →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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Posted in ninja maths.

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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