Odds and Ends 

Pendulum Waves Make the Most Mesmerizing Physics Demonstrations

Check out this amazing homemade pendulum wave made with 15 billiard balls. More scientifically, what you are seeing is: Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and random motion. One might call this kinetic art and the choreography of the dance of the pendulums is stunning! Aliasing and quantum revival can also be shown. [source] If you want to delve deeper into the science of what you are watching check out this post from Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations…

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Odds and Ends 

Simple Gif Shows How People Can See the Same Thing Entirely Differently

Check out this gif. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it’s elegant. Like life, you can take from it what you want. To me, it shows how people can look at the exact same thing and see different patterns (you see triangles, I see squares) or focus on one aspect that fits their narrative. And before we see the lines drawn and patterns shown, it can easily seem random and arbitrary (maybe it still is?). Now I can admit that’s all just basic blogger bloviating. If we want to get more scientific,…

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Headlines 

In Search of Gods Mathematical Perfect Proofs

Paul Erdős, the famously eccentric, peripatetic and prolific 20th-century mathematician, was fond of the idea that God has a celestial volume containing the perfect proof of every mathematical theorem. “This one is from The Book,” he would declare when he wanted to bestow his highest praise on a beautiful proof. Whether the proof is understandable and beautiful depends not only on the proof but also on the reader. The book, which has been called “a glimpse of mathematical heaven,” presents proofs of dozens of theorems from number theory, geometry, analysis,…

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Headlines 

The Geeks Who Put a Stop to Pennsylvania’s Partisan Gerrymandering

The morning John Kennedy was set to testify last December, he woke up at 1:30 am, in an unfamiliar hotel room in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, adrenaline coursing through his veins. He'd never gone to court before for anything serious, much less taken the stand. Some time after sunrise, he headed to the courthouse, dressed in a gray Brooks Brothers suit, and spent the next several hours reviewing his notes and frantically pacing the halls. “I think I made a groove in the floor,” Kennedy says. By 3:30 pm, it was finally…

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Headlines 

Largest prime number discovered with more than 23m digits

With nearly one million more digits than the previous record holder, the new largest prime number is the 50th rare Mersenne prime ever to be discovered At more than 23m digits long, the number is something of a beast. But for mathematicians, the latest discovery from a global gang of enthusiasts is a thing of beauty: the largest prime number ever found. Known simply as M77232917, the figure is arrived at by calculating two to the power of 77,232,917 and subtracting one, leaving a gargantuan string of 23,249,425 digits. The…

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Odds and Ends 

Renaissance Portraits Made From Single Thread on Circular Loom

Using a single thread roughly 1-2 km long (0.6 – 1.2 mi), Petros Vrellis continuously wraps the thread in straight, continuous lines, from one peg to its direct opposite peg in a circular, 28″ loom with 200 evenly spaced anchor pegs on its circumference. Thus each artwork is made from 3,000 – 4,000 continuously intersecting straight lines of a single thread. Interestingly, knitting is done by hand, with step-by-step instructions dictated by a computer algorithm designed by the new media artist. Vrellis explains: “The pattern is generated from a specially…

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Odds and Ends 

Unravelling Ropes Into Fractal-Like Patterns (10 Photos)

In an ongoing series of artworks entitled ‘Ciclotramas‘, Brazilian artist Janaina Mello Landini unravels ropes into incredible fractal patterns that evoke tree roots, river basins, lightning strikes and circulatory systems. Landini has been developing this concept since 2010, using threads and strings to create site-specific installations that occupy the space in an immersive way. She adds: The idea is to “unstitch†Time from its inside, unraveling the threads of the same rope in constant bifurcations, until the last indivisible stage is reached, a point that holds everything together in perfect…

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Headlines 

Can you solve it? Are you smarter than a forester?

A puzzle about planting trees Hello guzzlers, Your mission today is to design an arrangement of trees on a desert island, like the one below. An aerial view of five trees on an island. When there is a single tree, no matter where you stand on the island you will always be able to see exactly one tree. An island with a single tree. From each of the two black dots you can see a single tree. With two trees, however, there are some places where you can see two…

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