Posted in podcasts

In this month's WBU spectacular: Big MathsJam is coming up - book quickly! The Relatively Prime Series 2 Kickstarter closes today. Donate quickly! Dave's got a chapter in a book - order quickly! Colin sails into the wind (virtually) Dave's moving house over half term: what maths are the movers

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Posted in algebra, cav being wrong, ninja maths, pirate maths, ranting

The Mathematical Pirate took one look at the piece of paper attached to the dock. “They’re BANNING formula triangles?! By order of @srcav?!” He swished his sword around. “Let me figure out where he lives, I’ll show him.” “He lives… inshore, cap’n” said the $n$th mate. “It’s too dangerous.” “Can

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Posted in revision

There's a constant refrain in the Flying Maths Classroom, these days, of "I can't quite remember..." Whether it's a trig identity or $21 \div 7$, the outbreak of amnesia in the quiet suburbs of Weymouth seems close to epidemic proportions. What can one tutor do, faced with an unstoppable tide

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Posted in exam technique, revision

A reader asks: I keep dropping marks in tests by making silly mistakes. Is that something I just have to get used to? Great question! I have, in a box of ancient relics upstairs, one of my GCSE mock papers. On the front of it is the number "100", scribbled

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Posted in core 3, inequalities, modulus

Solve $\sqrt{|x|-3} > x-4$ Difficult, as the man said. Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. It’s not that it’s tricky to solve it - it’s just… fiddly. Let’s start by drawing the graphs. The right-hand side is easy enough: it’s a straight line with gradient 1, through the point $(0,-4)$. The left-hand

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Posted in ranting

“We do these things… not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” - John F. Kennedy I love a challenge. I go out of my way to do Hard Sums in my head, in the hope of one day matching the Mathematical Ninja’s prowess. I run long distances.

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Posted in ninja maths, powers

Here at the Flying Colours Maths Blog, we're never afraid to answer the questions on everyone's lips - such as, why is $\left(1 + 9^{-4^{7\times 6}}\right)^{3^{2^{85}}}$ practically the same as $e$? When I say ‘practically the same’, I mean… well. 20-odd decimal places of $\pi$ are enough to get the

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Posted in maths police, psephology

Gale surveyed the destruction with a face somewhere between disgust and admiration. Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer wrappers strewn across the room. A smell of haggis in the air. Bottles of whisky, half-drunk. Constable Beveridge… well, you wouldn’t say half-drunk. “You were up watching the referendum results last night, weren’t you?” Beveridge

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Posted in ninja maths, ranting

The Mathematical Ninja didn't bother with a warning. The Mathematical Ninja didn't even do that impressive whirry thing he does with a sword in each hand. No. The Mathematical Ninja conjured up a pistol and pulled the trigger - BANG! It was a blank, of course, but the student wasn't

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Posted in ranting

Every few weeks, this bit of motivational excrement does the rounds on twitter (I saw it here, but it comes around from all sorts of sources). For a start, what's with the per cents? Per cents of what? You can't just take a number that's close to a hundred and

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