Category Archives: Mathematics and Logic

William Tanner and the Peterloo Massacre

On the Sixteenth of August, 1819, a crowd of some 80,000 gathered on St. Peter’s field in Manchester. Their main purpose — besides enjoying the uncommonly good weather — was to demand reform of the rigid parliamentary rules that disenfranchised … Continue reading

Posted in History, Manchester, Mathematics and Logic, Science and Medicine, The Lost Journals of William Tanner | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Misleading medical tests

Kerfuffle There’s been a kerfuffle in the media recently (March 2012) about a blood test that will with “90  per cent accuracy” predict whether people over 70 will develop Alzheimer’s Disease within three years. You can Google “test Alzheimer” to … Continue reading

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Bozo counts!

Some 30,000 Americans have signed a petition urging the U.S. government to spend 850 quadrillion dollars in building a “Death Star” to protect the country. The stupidity is awe-inspiring. These bozos have no inkling of size. How much is 850 … Continue reading

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Stuck? Try the world’s oldest solvent.

In most professions, most of the time,the job goes as smoothly as driving a bus. Take medicine, for example. Patient presents with a problem; doctor performs standard diagnosis and consults that big reference book that years of training and experience … Continue reading

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Tossing a biased coin

Each Friday, the ever-entertaining Professor Richard Wiseman poses on his blog a problem for readers to solve. He posts the solution on Monday. (Wiseman is at the University of Hertfordshire in England, so watch out if you are several time … Continue reading

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How not to make money at a casino — or watch that denominator!

First, be assured, there is a sure-fire method for making money at a casino, but you’ll have to wait until (or skip ahead to) the end of the blog. The associated problem of how not to make money at roulette … Continue reading

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Some Day, It Had to Happen — A Mathematical Genealogy

It was inevitable, mathematicians being what they are. Some of the more obsessive members of the Mathematics Department of the University of North Dakota somehow got funding for the Mathematics Genealogy Project, a web-based family tree that lets you trace … Continue reading

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“Just say no”: Does chastity work?

The recent amazing discovery that teens like sex has led to campaigns promoting chastity among high school students. Advocates for this crusade condemn the promotion of condom use, claiming that avoidance of sex is the only way to prevent unwanted … Continue reading

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Do you believe in evolution?

The author and aphorist G.K. Chesterton once wrote “When people stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” Did you like that? If so, beware. It’s a human failing to mistake glibness for insight, and … Continue reading

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Which countries are research giants?

On its news website, the journal Nature recently published a graphic illustrating scientific research activity around the world as measured by the number of papers published from January to October 2011. Nature obligingly arranged the data by country. A glance … Continue reading

Posted in Research, Statistics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment