Scripturient: The Geometry and Toplogy of Pasta

I’ve always had a geeky appreciation – and awe – of mathematics. I have spent countless hours tinkering with programs that create math-based designs like fractals and Spirograph-style curves. As a young teenager I spent hours playing with an oscilloscope making sound waves dance on the tiny screen. But I never really thought much about ...

Molly'sBlog: A Devilishly Smart Pope

A DEVILISHLY SMART POPE One of the books I’m reading now is John D. Barrow’s ‘The Book of Nothing’. The subject is  a look at the concept of ‘nothing’, the void, emptiness, zero, the vacuum and so on. There’s actually quite a bit to say about nothing, and book ranges from a history of the ...

Political Eh-conomy: Magic numbers and the math stick

Economics is often associated with numbers. We are bombarded with economic data: GDP, unemployment, inflation, debt, exchange rates, market indices…the list is seemingly endless. While many of these numbers change – we are encouraged to cheer when they rise, jeer when they fall – there are others that are presented as fixed, immutable boundaries between ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Doing it by the numbers

The first thing I learned – well, not the first but up there, for sure – is that volume measurements are for amateurs. Being an amateur (and expecting to be there for some time yet), I took it on the chin when asking typical neophyte questions about recipes and ingredients. Might as well have hung ...

Another Step to Take: 5 Reasons to Make a Set of Napier’s Bones

Napier’s bones are easier than slide rules,” my seven year old announced the other day. I had found extra-wide wooden craft sticks (popsicle sticks), shown him how to write the multiplication table on them, dividing the one’s digit from the ten’s digit with a diagonal line. Each stick contained the first ten multiples of one number. ...

Dead Wild Roses: Sodoku and Mathematics

Every wonder how many clues you needed to uniquely solve a Sudoku puzzle?  Watch and find out   Filed under: Science Tagged: Mathematics, Sodoku

Progressive Proselytizing: The N-Party Problem

There is a famous problem in classical mechanics, a branch of physics, called the n-body problem. While interesting in its own right, the problem can be used as an analogy that is illustrative towards politics; in particular, the issue of predicting long term trends of political systems with two or more major political parties.  The ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The sensitivity of the Ontario election results to the Green Party vote

One of the interesting results of the Ontario general election was the collapse of the Green Party from its 2007 peak of 8% down to just over 3% in 2011. In this post I run the math on various counterfactual scenarios to see what would have happened had this drop not occurred, or only partially occurred, and what ...

Progressive Proselytizing: On Objective Morality

Most moral theories are predicated, at their root, by various assumptions or axioms which in turn cannot be derived independently. That is, there does not seem to be some cosmically significant, absolute grounding for morality that simply and unquestionably exists in the universe. Without this, it might beg questions such as “why is it good ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The Concept of Infinity

It is often suggested that the human mind is incapable of conceiving of the concept of infinity. I would submit firstly that in many ways the concept of a finite universe is actually as hard if not harder to conceive of and, further, that looking deeper into the question of what it means to ‘conceive ...

Progressive Proselytizing: My Central Tension in Moral Philosophy

It would be nice to be able to say that my moral leanings followed a consistent system of moral belief and didn’t leave central questions such as the source of morality unanswered. Were that the case, it might superficially lend credence to the weight and convictions of my many moral claims as evidenced on this ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Electoral math II: vote splitting in the Liberal ridings the Conservatives won

While there was an enormous transfer of seats towards the NDP from the Bloc and to a lesser extent the Liberals, the Conservatives managed to move from a minority to a majority largely due to 26 seats they picked up from the Liberals. Three weeks ago, the NDP was stagnant in the polls before its ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Electoral Math I: Vote Splitting and the NDP+Liberal merger hypothesis

This historic election has seen the complete collapse of the Bloc Québécois and the decline in the Liberal party to historic lows while propelling the Conservatives to a majority government and the NDP to the official opposition. With the governing party still only receiving approximately 40% of the popular vote, and with two parties asking themselves existential ...