Circular reasoning works because…

They became a Venn diagram on the first date! Silly circles.

Square without corners or circle with corners?

Squares and triangles agree! Circles are pointless.

Posted by mathfail
on July 7, 2010
2 comments

Posted by mathfail
on July 7, 2010
1 comment

GASARCH over at Computational Complexity asks:

- What should everyone know?
- What does everyone know?

The questions are supposed to be in the context of mathematics, that is, particular theorems and results that you learn about in your academic career far later than you should have. If someone has a Ph.D. in mathematics, there are definitely certain “simple” things they should know. For example, elementary real analysis (cantor set), how to prove the irrationality of sqrt(2) using contradiction, and other basic results that produce hundreds of thousands of google search results.

When it comes to research, one big problem is that people often come across neat math results, but are unfamiliar with terminology/notation that already exists for the result. This has probably happened to every mathematician who has done some serious research. It’s happened to me, and also to my supervisors where certain math concepts have different terminology depending on the field.

Regarding personal experience, the University I am at hired an academic as a professor position who believes there are square matrices that don’t have any eigenvalues.

Posted by mathfail
on July 6, 2010
No comments

This is neat. Asur and Huberman (HP Labs California) have analyzed the rate of tweeting versus opening weekend box office revenue. As expected, they found a strong correlation between the amount of tweets concerning a forthcoming film, and its opening weekend box office return (lots of people talking about it, means lots of people want to see it, right?). MrScienceShow says:

“After examining the rate of chatter from almost 3 million movie tweets, the researchers constructed a linear regression model for predicting box-office revenues of movies in advance of their release. These results

outperformedthe Hollywood Stock Exchange, a market in which people can buy and sell virtual shares in actors, directors and individual movies and produces unusually accurate predictions of film popularity.”

The results can be found in their paper on the arxiv.

Posted by mathfail
on July 5, 2010
2 comments

(crossposted from my main site)

Hi math geeks (as well as nerds, dorks, and dweebs)!

I wanted to give a shout out and **huge thanks** to all my subscribers and random visitors. Some of you already know that I also host SpikedMath.com where I like to post lame math comics. Without your readership, comments and love I probably would have given up on these two sites.

Next month I’ll be officially launching a little store (which seems to be the “cool thing” to do) where you will have the option to own your very own geeky math merchandise (but you guys can have a sneak peak at what I have set up right now: math shirts). I don’t have any Spiked Math stuff posted yet, just some silly math shirts in a few of the categories – some of the categories are empty, but hopefully before the end of August I will find the time to polish it off. Some sample cheesy designs I currently have available are:

Hopefully I can get on top of this soon.

Once again, thank you for all of your support and for visiting Math Fail!!

Mike and the Math Fail Team (which consists of just Mike).

Posted by mathfail
on July 5, 2010
No comments

Posted by mathfail
on July 5, 2010
1 comment

FYI: There is a comic sans package available that makes Microsoft’s Comic Sans font usable in LaTeX. For example, the following is produced using the comic sans package:

Installation instructions can be found at ctan.org [pdf file]. Although, if you know how to LaTeX, chances are you may not like comic sans.

Posted by mathfail
on June 27, 2010
2 comments

It all makes sense now

See this forum post on Kongregate where Yllier explains that:

“Today I was playing with a calculator and found out that Pi, 1337 and 42 are all related. Well, kinda.

3.1415 × 13.37 = 42.001855

Or you can do division

42.001855 / 13.37 = 3.14.15

I just made my day.”

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