August, 2015

The Mathematical Ninja and Ailles’ Rectangle

“$\sin(15º)$,” said the GCSE student, and the Mathematical Ninja — recognising that the qualification recognised idiotic angle measures — let it slide. “0.2588”, he muttered, under his breath, knowing full well that the exact answer — $\frac{\sqrt{6} – \sqrt{2}}{4}$ — would get him a blank stare. He sighed the sigh

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Wrong, But Useful, Episode 28

In this month’s exciting instalment of Wrong, But Useful, @reflectivemaths and @icecolbeveridge discuss: The number of the podcast: 36.16 seconds, the current world record for sorting a pack of cards Dave is reading The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure — and asks what happens if you colour in the multiples

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Ask Uncle Colin: a disguised quadratic

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, How do I solve $3x^{\frac{2}{3}} + x^{\frac{1}{3}}-2

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Using continued fractions to generate rational approximations

A redditor asks: How would I find a good rational approximation to something like $\log_{10}(7)$? The Mathematical Ninja mutters 0.85 under his breath, as a matter of course, reasoning that $\log_{10}(7) \approx \log_{10}\left(\sqrt{ \frac {10^2 }{2} } \right)$, although my calculator says 0.845098, so he’s off by about 0.6%. However,

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Ask Uncle Colin: How do I look at matrices

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin How can you look at a matrix

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How the Mathematical Ninja explains the Mathematical Pirate’s circle trick

“Let me see that!” commanded the Mathematical Ninja, looking at one of the Mathematical Pirate’s blog posts. “That’s… but that’s…” “It’s not wrong!” said the Mathematical Pirate, smugly. “It just works!” “But you’re presenting it as magic, not as maths.” The Mathematical Pirate nodded eagerly. “Lovely magic! How does it

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Ask Uncle Colin: why does the Newton-Raphson method work?

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, I know how to use the Newton-Raphson

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How the Mathematical Pirate finds the centre and radius of a circle

“Arr?” said the student, really not sure. “No, no, $r$,” said the Mathematical Pirate. “The centre is at C — or $(a,\, b)$, if you prefer — and the radius is $r$.” “Gotcha. So, if you’ve got something like $x^2 + y^2 + 8x – 12y + 3=0$, how do

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Ask Uncle Colin: a proof with logs in

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, I have a slightly embarrassing problem: I

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NME: The Sound Of Silence

Another piece from the Flying Colours Cartoonist, Dominika. Click to enlarge.

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