All 2 entries tagged Mathematics

Relating to all things Mathematical in nature.

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September 14, 2005

And beyond…

5 out of 5 stars

I first read this book half-way through A-Level and understood, at most 25% of the concepts contained within, it was well worth the read though. Having read the book again after completeing my first year at university, I can now say I understand at least 80% of the maths in this book.
The book is not a techincal mathematics book, there are no theorems and associated proofs etc, instead it is a look at the history of some of the most familiar parts of mathematics. Its a very interesting read, as you get more of feel for the history of the bits of mathematics that you use everyday.
The book also paints us a picture of the mathematicians that steer the subject, they are no longer just a name in a theorem, did you know that Galois died in pistol duel over a lady?
From here to infinity covers both classical and modern areas of mathematics, it stresses that mathematical theorems can never be outdated and replaced like scientific theorems (they can be wrong however). Ian Stewart briefly dips into chaos, computability and fractals, just enough to see if you're interested.

I would advise that to get the most from this book you should have at least done some university level mathematics, after all to understand the concept of non-standard analysis, you need to understand standard analysis.

If your a first year, get this book, and read it now, then read again in a year, and impress yourself with how much you've leaned.

September 09, 2005

Changebox madness

It would seem that a lot of my creativity stems from boredom, i.e. when I'm bored I challenge said boredom by being moderately creative.

Today was such a slow day at work, which meant I had plenty of time to think, and read, I was reading a book on mathematics, and I was confronted by the usual mathematical language. I realised that the changebox lacked any specialised 'lingo'. So I got thinking, firstly I had to name the coins so,

  • One pound coins become 'kings', not sure why but it sounds quite good I think,
  • Twenty pence coins become 'geeks', since not one really wants them, but they do have their uses.
  • Ten pence coins become 'whores', because ten pences are so dirty (Alan Partridge impression optional but recommended).
  • Two pence coins become 'Old Ladies', because its always the old ladies who wan't them, but they always ask for something else, like some geeks, but you give them twos anyway, because you know thats what they want.
  • A uniform set of coins becomes a deck, e.g ten ones is a deck, but nine ones and ten tens aren't.

Right, so now that I had a naming system, I needed some operations to perform on them.

The most common operation that I perform in the changebox is check that say a deck of ten coins is actually ten coins, I do this by quickly seperating the deck into two, and counting the two halves, this is defined as 'spitting the deck'. One can perform a uniform split, where the two halfs are of equal size. Also if the two halves are seperated fully, i.e. you not have two distinct decks, that is a 'hard split', otherwise, if the deck is just pushed apart briefly, then it is known as a 'soft split'.

Counting up money from bags onto the desk is now known as 'topping up'.

The coin counter, which is about to die btw, is to be known as 'stressed Eric' (in honour of cartoon of the same name). He always gets jammed after we put 50,000 coins through him in one day. He makes this horrible grinding noise every now and again, which makes you think that he's about to blow up.

The changebox itself is to be known as 'the cage' because thats what it feels like sometimes, you can't get away from the people, and sometimes you're in there for 4+ hours.

Customers are to be known as 'chumps' (least offensive thing I could come up with)

So now I can mildly amusing things like:
"I was in the cage putting some old ladies into stressed eric when this chump came up and demanded some whores, I replied that I hadn't topped up the whores yet and all I had were kings, geeks and old ladies. The chump then wanted a deck of eight kings, so I performed a uniform soft split on a deck of eight kings, before I ran off some cups of old ladies from stressed eric."

How bored was I? very.

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