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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
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
Posted in Chance, Probability, Science and Medicine, Statistics
Tagged Bayes' Theorem, diagnostic tests, predictive value, sensitivity, specificity
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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 aweinspiring. These bozos have no inkling of size. How much is 850 … Continue reading
Posted in Crank science, Education, Mathematics and Logic
Tagged ignorance, stupidity, witless
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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
Posted in Mathematics and Logic, Quotes
Tagged alcohol, art, beer, mathematics, writing
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Tossing a biased coin
Each Friday, the everentertaining 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
How not to make money at a casino — or watch that denominator!
First, be assured, there is a surefire 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
Posted in Chance, Mathematics and Logic, Probability, Skepticism, Statistics, Uncategorized
Tagged denominator problems, fallacies, gambler's fallacy, gambling, roulette
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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 webbased family tree that lets you trace … Continue reading
Posted in Education, Mathematics and Logic
Tagged Cantor, Erdos, Erdos number, Gauss, genealogy, history of mathematics, Sofia Kovaleskaya, von Neumann
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