Marcus du Sautoy interview, Guardian

An interview with Marcus du Sautoy from last Monday’s G2 — which I’ve only just got round to reading. Pleasant.

“You know, I’m not terribly fast at my times tables, because that’s not what I think mathematics is about. I think it’s the same thing as thinking that a good speller will make a great writer. Well, no, actually – great writers can be crap at spelling, but have great vision and ways of bringing stories alive – and I think you’ve got to put over that mathematics is a similar idea.”

Sadly, I think he’s wrong that “nobody’s going to question” that there are infinitely many primes, despite the existence of a simple proof (woo Euclid!): I’m pretty sure I’ve seen crackpot pages on the web asserting that the whole thing’s part of a big conspiracy. Yes, of course they’re nonsensical crackpots who should be ignored, but when did that ever shut anyone up? (Eh, Dawkins!? Eh!? ;-) )

“Who ya gonna vote for? None of the above!”

Here’s one of my favourite little logic problems, courtesy of Faron. It’s about time I got this off my noticeboard and onto my interwebs.

Which of the following is true?

  1. All of the below.
  2. None of the below.
  3. All of the above.
  4. One of the above.
  5. None of the above.
  6. None of the above.

Solutions involving exhaustive analysis of the 2^6 possibilities are forbidden, although elegant code doing so will at least be admired for its cleverness, especially if it’s in Haskell. ;-)

Slide40 – presentations with 8 bit style

Slide40 example slide

From the same good people who brought you the lambda calculcus in a can [ultimate].

Traffic flow simulation applet

Traffic flow simulation applet — traffic as in “cars and trucks” not “data” [reddit]. German, so the top speed limit is 140kph. :-)

SAGE: open source mathematics software with python scripting

It’s possible (with fingers etc. crossed) that by the end of the year my job will have altered somewhat and I’ll be spending some of my time, amongst other things, doing the kinds of things one generally uses Mathematica and Matlab for. This would be a departure, but no doubt an interesting one.

And what should come steaming over the horizon into my view at this moment? Ah look, it’s SAGE, “Open Source Mathematics Software” in exactly that flavour, with scripting in Python. Maybe it’s half-baked rubbish, maybe it’s slick and up to the job; maybe I’ll never know. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be checking it out by the end of the year. For now: noted.