Wrong, But Useful: Episode 14

In the (very) late April episode of Wrong But Useful, with @reflectivemaths and @icecolbeveridge:

  • Colin has laser eye surgery and doesn't care about Dave's health...
  • ... but does care about 20481 . Colin mistakenly credits @notonlyahatrack for getting to 2048, when he meant 4096. Links: Numberphile, Cav, artificial intelligence 1 and 2, criticism.
  • Dave doesn't like being told to say two-thousand and forty-eight rather than twenty-forty-eight (like a sensible person). Colin doesn't like restrictions on vocab, full stop, as long as the meaning is clear.
  • Dave updates us on the statistics exam we'd all forgotten about (and that he's not taken this year) and brings up an odd difference between language and maths - "I don't dislike" isn't the same thing as "I like". Any other examples?
  • Colin thanks Patrick for pointing at Anki for flash cards, we digress onto Dave's experiment with tablets2 .
  • Colin suggests that everyone should learn LaTeX so they can type things like \left( \frac {3}{4} \right)^2 to get $\left( \frac {3}{4} \right)^2$. Dave suggests Equation editor, which Colin dislikes (not just because it's MS, it's also really tricky to edit) and MathPad, which Colin doesn't know. Can Siri solve it in the end?
  • Talking maths - is saying "$a$ by three all squared" less clear than "$a$ divided by three all squared"?
  • Dave's new segment! *fanfare* The @srcav Picks On Dave section, which will make everything worse. This month, it's Dave not being particularly interested in techniques for integration.
  • We agree we should do more decision maths and modern maths.
  • Colin thinks university courses should be more mathematically diverse, and Dave thinks universities should justify the topics they teach. Colin spouts off about the Cambridge course. (We'd love to hear from people who know more about the difference between university courses - @peterrowlett, we're looking at you.)
  • Dave explains why he went to Staffordshire's finest university (it's all down to the modern music). Colin incites revolution because fractals are better than princes. Dave tries to overthrow the Russell Group.
  • Cav's puzzle from last time - Dave's solution, and Cav's. (Colin enjoyed it more than Dave did).
  • Dave's puzzle for this time:

    Colin and Dave are playing a game. Colin has a probability of 0.2 of hitting the target with any given shot; Dave has a probability of 0.3. Whoever hits the target first, wins. Colin goes first; what is his probability of winning?

  • Dave doesn't understand: why we bother with constructions. Colin has a few ideas why. Do you have more? (Colin mentions the Poincare point disk).
  • Dave ends with a few gratuitous barbs at Colin.
  • Thanks to Renamed Misha for a four-star review; any advance on four?

Follow us on twitter at @wrongbutuseful, and leave us reviews on iTunes.

Colin

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. Please play responsibly. []
  2. Windows tablets, not pharmaceuticals []

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I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

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