Linkonomicon 14

1. Fixing the “saddest graph” makes it more & less depressing.
2. One equation to rule them all.
3. I like this free equation editor (via @labroides).
4. How to fold a fitted sheet (The Finch & Pea tested & approved).
5. Making a better mousetrap was Newton’s Sin #5.

Fibonacci of FIRE!

On Monday, photographer par excellence Russ Creech tweeted a photo of Katy Chalmers making a Fibonacci spiral of FIRE!

For some, words like “Fibonacci” and “fire” are enough to set the little reward bells jingling in your nerd/pyro synapses. I, however, am made of more quantitative stuff1. How “rough” was Katy’s rough Fibonacci spiral (of FIRE!)? Continue reading “Fibonacci of FIRE!”

On the road and in your genome with Poisson

This will probably seem simple and obvious to many Finch and Pea patrons, but one of the mind-blowing features of nature, the real world, Plato’s cave, or what have you, is that very different phenomena often give rise to the same pattern, because they share a fundamental quantitative relationship. The world really does run on math. Some of the best examples of this are probability distributions, like the Poisson distribution, which is basically the law of rare events. I like to think of the Poisson distribution as the result of an infinite number of flips of some giant cosmic coin which only rarely, very rarely, lands on the side I’m hoping for.

The classic illustration of a Poisson distribution is the randomly-passing car problem. Continue reading “On the road and in your genome with Poisson”

On days like this I wish I was a mathematician

Titles of the references on the Hawaiian earring Wikipedia page, clearly designed to make math actually seem fun:

“The big fundamental group, big Hawaiian earrings, and the big free groups”

“Anomalous behavior of the Hawaiian earring group”

“The fundamental groups of one-dimensional wild spaces and the Hawaiian earring”

“The singular homology of the Hawaiian earring”

“The topological Hawaiian earring group does not embed in the inverse limit of free groups”