12 January 2010

"Orthogonal" at the Supreme Court

Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy points to arguments in a U. S. Supreme Court case yesterday which used the word "orthogonal" in the technical-jargon sense defined, say, at the Jargon File. (See page 24 of the original transcript.) There's a follow-up here by Eugene Volokh, basically saying that there's no point in using big words if your audience doesn't understand them. (And the justices did stop to ask what the word meant.)

07 January 2010

How most mathematical proofs are written

From Abstruse Goose: How most mathematical proofs are written, dramatized as people driving around and getting lost.

Sometimes I've wondered what an actual map of the various possible proofs of certain results would look like.

02 January 2010

Magic and mathematics

Sunday's New York Times has a bunch of magic tricks based on simple algebra, by Arthur Benjamin.

For some magic tricks based on "deep" mathematics, check out this mathoverflow thread. Rumor has it that Persi Diaconis thinks there's no such thing, though, and he would know.