Well, from my perspective at least, the conference was a success. We all made it through in one piece, and no one got trapped on the subway. If any of you are looking for the videos of the talks, they can be downloaded from this page. That’s a only a temporary hosting solution, but at [...]
This post is by Phil. Last summer my wife and took a 3.5-month vacation that included a wide range of activities. When I got back, people would ask “what were the highlights or your trip?”, and I was somewhat at a loss: we had done so many things that were so different, many of which [...]
Well, it’s been a while, but it’s now a new semester here in Hamburg, and I wanted to go back and look at some of what we talked about in last semester’s research seminar. This semester, Susama Agarwala and I are sharing the teaching in a topics class on “Category Theory for Geometry“, in which [...]
Noam Chomsky elicits a lot of emotional reactions. I’ve talked with some linguists who think Chomsky’s been a real roadblock to research in recent decades. Other linguists love Chomsky, but I think they’re the kind of linguists I wouldn’t spend much time talking with. Many people admire Chomsky’s political activism, but sociologist blogger Fabio Rojas [...]
Part 1. The ideal policy Basbøll, as always, gets right to the point: Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police. But, he continues: There is, at any self-respecting university and any self-respecting academic journal, a plagiarism policy, and there sure as hell is a “morality” [...]
The hairy-ball theorem says that there is no continuous non-zero vector field on the surface of a sphere. There are lots of popular accounts that tell you what this means, giving great examples. Here's a Youtube video for example: My...Show More Summary
After our discussion of the sad case of Darrell Huff, the celebrated “How to Lie with Statistics” guy who had a lucrative side career disparaging the link between smoking and cancer, I was motivated to follow John Mashey’s recommendation and read the book, Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, [...]
After a small break while traveling, I continue the discussion of my paper with Fouvry and Michel, continuing from here. But first of all, I’m happy to mention two proofs of the counting identities mentioned in my introductory post: one that D. Zywina has sent me, a nice proof based on explicit computations of modular [...]
My student Amirali Abdullah attended a recent MRC event on discrete and computational geometry at Snowbird, organized by Satyen Devadoss, Vida Dujmovic, Joe O'Rourke, and Yusu Wang. This is his (lightly edited) report from the event....Show More Summary
I bought this book in the Zürich Kunsthaus shop before even realizing that the cover was an example of an Apollonian circle packing. Statically, this doesn’t look like much. But with the proper tool, it moves… (click on the picture to get the movie; more examples here..) The author is Takahiro Kurashima, and the publisher [...]
The multiplicative weight update method (MWU hereafter) is a neat algorithm design technique with applications in machine learning, geometry and optimization among others. However, it's viewed (and discussed) as an advanced technique,...Show More Summary
As I mentioned earlier, STOC 2012 is repeating the successful poster event from STOC 2011. For more details on the logistics of submitting, see my post. What I'd like to do is give you more reasons to submit ! No one attends talks ! Ok,...Show More Summary
I was told that the last two posts — on Hitler and serial killers — were too depressing, and that I need to post something more cheery So here is a careful analysis of the physics of My Little Pony.
At this point, I’m sure everyone has seen at least one of the YouTube videos of Hitler ranting (actually actor Bruno Ganz from the movie Downfall) with fake subtitles. Here’s one showing Hitler’s reaction to discovering that in topology a … Continue reading ?
You should watch Vi Hart's stop-motion animated story of Wind and Mr. Ug.
You may have heard that it's 11/11/11. (Or, if you live in the UK, 11/11/11.) When I was growing up, I'd get confused and think that World War II ended on this day, one hundred years ago. You know, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh...Show More Summary
(Sung to the tune of "War", and with a Jackie Chan accent for bonus points) Jo-ur-nals ! What are they good for ! Absolutely nothing ! There are popular tropes in current discussions on crowd-sourcing research. There's the "scientists as Mean Girls" view of the current state of affairs. Show More Summary
In the past, I've written about free-energy cranks like Tom Bearden, and I've made several allusions to the Brown's gas" crankpots. But I've never actually written in any detail about the latter. Brown's gas is a term used primarily by cranks for oxyhydrogen gas. Oxyhydrogen is a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen in a two-to-one [...]
One of my left-wing colleagues pointed me to this Fox TV interview in which UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose expresses displeasure with having his research criticized by liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America. My colleague thought it was irresponsible and unprofessional for Groseclose to get all indignant about the criticism. But I understood. I [...]
Alright, folks. You should give some money to Samuel Hansen's Kickstarter project Relatively Prime: Stories from the Mathematical Domain. This is what it sounds like -- Samuel will tell eight hours' worth of stories about mathematics. Show More Summary