Wrong, But Useful: Episode 61


In this month’s episode of Wrong, But Useful, we’re joined by @mscroggs, one of the editors of @chalkdustmag1.

  • Colin has a bug and an article in Chalkdust
  • Matt gives some insights into the editing process at the magazine
  • Number of the podcast: 8
  • Black History Month: Matt refers to Episode 53, when @seanjamshidi and #NikiWithoutTwitter mentioned their work on last year’s edition. Chalkdust are running articles and events again this year
  • Ada Lovelace Day: None of us did anything for this this year, shamefully. The Aperiodical is orgainising Noethember, an Inktober in November illustrating mathematical legend Emmy Noether’s life. Matt asks after the Wikiquote editathon, which we discussed here.
  • Guess who: when there are three people left, should you just guess? Should you take more risks when behind?
  • Dave isn’t going to Big MathsJam. If that’s an incentive, you can book here.
  • Parabolic multiplication: Matt describes how to multiply using a parabola, and mentions @realityminus3’s lovely logarithms article.
  • Hannah Fry has a new TV series out. We talk about off-the-beaten-track popular maths. Matt mentions a Chalkdust article about a magnetic pendulum
  • The etymology of ‘average’
  • Consistency vs higher average. Dave asks: when might you prefer a low-average low-spread outcome to high-average high-spread?
  • Shooting stars: Matt’s eye was caught by this puzzle by @statsjen. @robeastaway has a nice write-up.
  • Puzzle feedback: Gold star to @chrishazell for 8-1-15-10-6-3-13-12-4-5-11-14-2-7-9. For more, [watch @numberphile](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1m7goLCJDY)
  • From the Chalkdust quiz: Are there more words in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix or entries in the OEIS?
  • This month’s puzzle: Adapted from a recent MathsJam Shout: you have cards labelled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 face down in a random order on the table. You predict the order of the cards before turning them over. What’s the probability of getting all five correct? Four? Three? Two? One? None?

Next month is the Big MathsJam special.


Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.

  1. A magazine for the mathematically curious []


One comment on “Wrong, But Useful: Episode 61

  • Amelia farr

    Consistency vs higher average question:

    Say David Gale had an argument (with a certian memeber of the maths department over who MR G actually is) and the situation esculated to the misuse of a compass resulting in serious injury …….when having to choose between two lawyers to argue his case, one lawyer (having the higher average in terms of good outcomes but with reputation of the odd tragically handled case) might be passed over in competition with a lawyer with a lower good outcome average but more consistency.

    (Also, LOVED the parabola multiplication trick!)

    Question- are you actually sponsored by chalkdust?

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