Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

Archive for the tag “math”

Take A Number

An iPhone developer anonymously recorded iPhone users’ numerical passcodes.  Using statistical analysis i.e. mode and average, he created a list of the ten most common PIN.

Because I am concerned about unintentionally selecting a number or password with meaning I use a random number generator to create a PIN.  I still have a bias; however, because I dismiss numbers like 7777 or 1234 even thought they arise randomly.  The most common numbers are listed below.  Every phone, GPS, and garage keypad I come across will experience me entering these numbers.

  • 1234
  • 0000
  • 2580
  • 1111
  • 5555
  • 5683
  • 0852
  • 2222
  • 1212
  • 1998

Also of note, 1990 – 2000 were in the top 50 passwords and 1980 – 1989 were in the top 100.

Lightning Calculation Calendar

The gentleman who created the 2010 nomogram calendar has created a calendar for 2011 which will add in your ability to do lightning calculations.  If you have ever wanted to convince someone that you are a robot demonstrating your ability to perform rapid mathematical operations will certainly aid in that endeavor.

Nom Nom Nomogram

A variety of older technologies fascinate me, but I am particularly fond of slide rules.  I believe my fascination follows this course of reasoning: Suppose Y2K did shut down all of our computers and computer automated processes, with a slide rule we wouldn’t be sent back to the Iron Age, but rather the 1940s or 1950s.  If you ignore the second World War and fear of communism – those times did not seem so bad.  Among other things, slide rules were most helpful in landing on the Moon and returning a crippled space craft safely.  Quite simply, I am impressed by the wide range of what a slide rule can do.

I have recently become intrigued with another analog computation device called the nomogram.  A slide rule is a general calculator, while the nomogram is a graph which provides a quick answer from a complex calculation.

In nursing & medicine we use nomograms frequently for tracking and calculating weight & height & BMI, medicine administration, and more.  I was not aware of their varied calculations until I came across this 2010 calendar and a website, Dead Reckoning, featured on Make.  The blog is very fascinating and I can only hope there is a 2011 calendar featuring elegant-but-lost math.  I’m tired of looking at my pin-up girls calendar.  That’s not true.

The Prisoner of Benda Therom

Any time a sci-fi show runs into a problem there is usually some manipulation of the known world which solves the problem.  Typically, the solution is a completely wrong extrapolation of something we learned in high school science with jargon flying left and right to misdirect and make it sound creditable (I’m looking at you, Eureka).  When this occurs geeks and nerds across the Internet get on forums and discuss the unrealistic minutiae while being content with the Moon actually being blown off its orbit instead of being blown apart.

I digress, a writer of Futurama decided to make a mathematical proof of the plot point so as to not remove its viewers from a suspension of belief.  You can read more about it here.  You can also get a clear view and explanation of the therom here.

*Jamie & Paul, should I have said therom when I meant proof or proof when I meant derivative just imagine it was a typo.

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