A math question posed to Scottish teenage students has received a great deal of criticism for being too hard. Can you solve it?
For years, the Ig Nobel Awards have been famous for celebrating the most offbeat and ludicrous forms of scientific discovery. And last night, I was lucky enough to attend the 2015 Ig Nobel ceremony, because a friend was the proud winner of an Ig Nobel. »
Your education doesn’t have to stop once you leave school. We’ve put together a curriculum of some of the best free online classes available on the web this fall for the latest term of Lifehacker U, our regularly-updating guide to improving your life with free, online college-level classes. Let’s get started.
This is Shannon’s information theory, and it’s the equation that makes data compression possible. Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this article online right now. »
Space exploration, whether it be through telescopes watching the skies or probes sent to far away planets, is the culmination of thousands of people’s work, collaborating together to solve the innumerable problems that arise when you try to reach beyond what seems possible. »
There is a lie running through your cookbooks. No, it’s not that you can substitute crackers for apples in your pie and no one will know the difference (though, come on, let’s be decent to each other, folks: Knock that off.) The lie goes much deeper than all that, and is the source of what I call the Cookbook Paradox.
A number of math problems have recently garnered considerable attention, but the inability to solve these problems quickly is not indicative of a person’s overall math skill, nor should it prompt a crisis of confidence about the state of American math aptitude. »
When pouring tea, do you add the tea first or the milk first? If you think it can’t possibly matter, you’re unfortunately wrong — as Dr. Ronald Fisher proved at an innocuous tea party where he conducted an experiment that changed statistical science forever. »
In a charming TEDx talk at Binghamton University last year, complexity expert Hannah Fry applies her math skills to romantic relationships. Watch as she explains how pattern theory may help you get dates, how to use optimal stopping theory to pick a spouse, and how an understanding of negativity thresholds can help… »
For almost 200 years, Euler's conjecture reigned in mathematics unchecked. Then, a paper came out that turned the whole thing on its head... and it did it all in just two sentences. »
What is a kilobit equal to? The answer is 1,000 bits, but some people say it should really be 1,024. »
Searching for Waldo (or Wally, to give him his original name) is frustrating to the point of insanity. So when a doctoral student unexpectedly found himself snowed in last weekend, he decided to compute the most efficient way to look for the elusive red-and-white man. »
No less a mind than Bertrand Russell, of Principia Mathematica fame, was responsible for this paradox, which opened a hole in math. It's those barbers. The Barber Paradox shows that barbers are not to be trusted. »
Cantor's Dust is a famous fractal, a basic pattern that repeats itself over and over. It's a pretty pattern, but it didn't seem very useful at the time it was invented. Years later, it was invoked again at the dawn of chaos theory to explain an odd phenomenon in broadcasting. »
No profession is free from the kind of miserable jerks who ruin it for everyone else. No intelligence level is either. When great intelligence, prestige careers, and big egos come together, things get ugly. Johann Bernoulli was, as a person, very ugly. »
Last night, scientists from around the world gathered at Harvard's iconic Sanders Theatre for the "24rd First Annual" Ig Nobel Awards, the wonderfully peculiar annual awards ceremony that recognizes those achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. »