Wrong, But Useful: Episode 63

In this month’s installment of Wrong, But Useful, Dave and I are joined by @honeypisquared, who is Lucy Rycroft-Smith in real life.

We discuss:

  • Mathematical board games, including
  • Number of the podcast: Lucy doesn’t like numbers so we don’t have one.
  • Does your collection of maths people exclude anyone?
    • Lucy went to Big MathsJam this year. Bowled over by the time taken to make sure people felt included. Clearly an intentional, thoughtful approach.
  • Is stats actually maths1 ?
  • Christmas books:
  • Via Adam Atkinson - Money Box. £35 000 per year for life or £480 000 now?
  • The great makeup heist
  • Postal systems and nutri-grain
  • Quick bits:
  • Puzzle feedback: @schwartstack and Adam Atkinson both found answers in the region of $3.5 \times 10^{38}$, rather than quadrillions. Gold stars all round. On looking into it more, the Fantasy Flight Games site claims 104 septillion (still several orders of magnitude too small.)
  • This month’s puzzle: Prove that 3 times the sum of 3 squares is the sum of 4 squares.
  • This month’s second puzzle: A parent buys a pack of 24 candles. On their first child’s first birthday, they use one candle; on the second, two candles and so on. At some point, a younger sibling arrives, and the candles are used in the same way. On one of the first child’s birthdays, the parent finds they have exactly the right number of candles left for that birthday. How old is the first child, and how old were they when their younger sibling was born?

* Edited 2019-01-15 to fix some of the links. Thanks to Adam Atkinson for pointing out the error.


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. QTWTAIN []


One comment on “Wrong, But Useful: Episode 63

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the Sum Comfort newsletter and get a free e-book of mathematical quotations.

No spam ever, obviously.

Where do you teach?

I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

On twitter