The Flying Colours Maths Blog: Latest posts

Happy $\pi$ day!

Happy Pi Day! mu-tant cow pi by janemariejett In the American date format, today is 3.14 - a pretty good approximation to $\pi$, which (as any fule kno) is the ratio between a circle's diameter and circumference. It's also the focus of most of the jokes about maths, because -

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Squaring halves (and fives): Mathematical Ninja Secrets

The trick: someone says 'what's 7.5 squared?' and - mentally squaring in a flash - you say: 56.25. Squaring halves Squaring halves is really easy if you know your times tables. Here's the method: Take your number and find the whole numbers immediately above and below. If you're trying to

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Free for all Friday

It's that time of the week again! What's been on your mind? What's giving you a headache? As always, drop your questions in the comments box and I'll get back to you as swiftly as I can!

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A tricky C2 question…

I was sent this by my friend and colleague TeaKay from Blogstronomy, and I've adapted the puzzle slightly to make the sums a little bit nicer. A curve has the equation $y = (x-2)^2 - n^2$. The area bounded by the co-ordinate axes and the curve in the first quadrant

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Uswitch, units and unitwit

A couple of weeks ago, a news story flashed by me on twitter: 49% of the UK have slower-than-average broadband. It was followed more or less immediately by a swathe of snipey comments saying 'isn't that the definition of an average?' To which the smart-arse answer is, no, there is

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Free for all Friday

It's that time of the week again! March already! What's been on your mind? What's giving you a headache? As always, drop your questions in the comments box and I'll get back to you as swiftly as I can!

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Statistics and the court of law

"He's not Judge Judy and executioner!" - Danny Butterman, Hot Fuzz There's a reason statistical experiments are sometimes called trials: they take up a lot of time and are pretty much the epitome of suffering. What's that? Oh, sorry. No, apparently, it's because they're very similar to a court case.

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The easy way to factorise nasty quadratics

Until about three years ago, I had literally no idea how to factorise nasty quadratics. I would turn straight to the quadratic formula, go bing bang boom and say 'there, job done.' This was a very effective short-cut - I got a long way with my ignorance - but I'm

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