Mathematics is remarkably effective in describing the physical world in part due to isomorphisms, relationships between concepts that reveal a similar underlying structure. In 1935 Charles Vernon Theis was working on groundwater flow, a subject with little mathematical treatment at the time. He thought that perhaps a well tapping a confined aquifer could be described [...]
Most visualizations of the Lorenz attractor are of a long history of a single point after convergence to the attractor has occurred. I was interested in what the surrounding space looked like, so I randomly selected 20,000 starting points from a three dimensional Gaussian distribution with a standard deviation of 100. Each point was iterated, [...]
There is underlying mathematical structure everywhere – it’s just a matter of finding the best way to unfold it from the data. I’ve been working on a project to objectively rank mixed martial arts fighters. It’s not anywhere near done yet, but I’ve collected a fair bit of data. Here’s what nearly 2000 MMA fights [...]
A brain teaser goes as follows: a farmer is returning from market, where he has bought a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. On his way home he must cross a river by boat, but the boat is only large enough to carry the farmer and one additional item. The farmer realizes he must shuttle [...]
Imagine you’ve just phoned into a radio station as part of a contest. You’re the ninth caller, and you can win a fabulous vacation simply if you identify the song about to be played.
TheHiggs boson is one of the most important, most abstract, and most interesting ideas in current physics. Dubbed the “god” particle after an editor disallowed one of the co-discoverers from calling it “that goddamn particle”, it is the only remaining particle in the Standard Model that has not been directly observed by humans.
Relax to a slow flythrough of an interesting subset of the quaternion Julia fractals.
Solar flares, Chinese hobos, and undersea noises on deck for this Monday. Live in STEREO One of the largest solar flares in recent history was captured last week by STEREO, a pair of satellites staggered along Earth’s orbit to obtain a constant clear view. The flare was about half the width of the sun, [...]
A few little things for Monday – 5000 fish and recommended reading from MIT.
Ski lift operators have proved that it’s not only conidae snails who can produce the Sierpinski triangle in their natural environment.