Posted in ask uncle colin

Dear Uncle Colin1, Supposing $\pi$ were to start repeating -- how long would it take to confirm that it actually was? - Recurring Over Uncanny Numbers of Decimals Dear ROUND2 , Great question! $\pi$, as I'm sure you know, is a number close to 3.1416 that represents the ratio between

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Posted in ninja maths

The Mathematical Ninja placed his quadruple espresso on the table; @dragon_dodo looked up from her laptop and smiled. "You're taking it easy on the caffeine this morning, I see?" The Mathematical Ninja nodded. "Yeah, this is only my third cup. What are you working on?" "Computing assignment." The Mathematical Ninja,

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Posted in ask uncle colin, matrices

Dear Uncle Colin, I'm working on a (3D) computer graphics course, and my notes have some equations in that I don't understand. I have a point light at (4D) position $\vec L$, an object translated by a 4D matrix $\bb M$ and a (4D) point on the surface at $\vec

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Posted in maths police

This is a guest post, courtesy of @Dragon_Dodo and @FennekLyra. Thanks, Dominika and Eva! It was an unusually quiet morning at the Maths Police HQ. ‘If a mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems, what do you reckon the conversion rate is?’ mused agent Dodo over her morning cup

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Posted in ask uncle colin, modulus

Dear Uncle Colin, I have an inequality that involves two pairs of modulus signs, and I can't make head nor tail of it. It's $\left| \left| 3 - x \right| - 2x\right| \le 9$. Please help! -- Absolutely Bewildered, Driven Absolutely Barmy Well, ABDAB, I'd normally recommend sketching something like

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Posted in reviews

One of the key measures of how much I like a book is how quickly I get through it. Turing's Cathedral went back to the library today after having being renewed the maximum of three times; I did finish it, but only just. I can't put my finger on what

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Posted in ask uncle colin, geometry

Dear Uncle Colin, I've carelessly interlocked a couple of regular pentagons together like this and need to find the area of the overlap because of reasons. For still other reasons, I don't want to use trigonometry. How do I negotiate my way through this minefield? Trigonometry's Always Overrated Hi, TAO,

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Posted in ranting

A week or two back, it was announced that computers had verified that $2^{74,207,281}-1$ was a 22-and-a-bit million digit prime number. Cue headlines on the BBC and silliness on Twitter and slight derailment of maths lessons across the country. But me? It leaves me cold, and here's why: because of

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Posted in ask uncle colin, logarithms

Dear Uncle Colin, I have a problem with a limit! I need to figure out what $\left( \tan \left(x\right) \right)^x$ is as $x \rightarrow 0$. -- Brilliant Explanation Required Now! Our Understanding's Limited; L'Hôpital's Inept Right, BERNOULLI, stop badmouthing L'Hôpital and let's figure out this limit. It's clearly an indeterminate

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Posted in podcasts

This month's episode is an interview with podcaster extraordinaire, @samuel_hansen, who is Samuel Hansen in real life. If you're not listening to Relatively Prime, I don't know what's wrong with you. Go and listen to it.

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