Monday, June 24, 2013


1. Math Wars: NYT Opinionater piece by Alice Crary and Stephen Wilson making the case for teaching algorithms. (H/T Alexandre Borovik). The comments section, as usual, is very entertaining.

2. How not to shoot a monkey (Empirical Zeal).

3. The footnotes to (2) above reference the excellent Radiolab segment "Escape", which talks about Newton's "moon problem": Why does the moon, unlike an apple fall, not fall straight towards the earth?

I had heard before that the Newton's apple story was probably apocryphal. Apparently, it was perpetuated by Newton himself as a cunning ruse to claim primacy over the concept of gravitation (from rival Robert Hooke). It turns out that the real story was far more interesting, and I wish it received as much air-time as that darned apple. If you don't want to listen to the Radiolab episode, this link explains the idea.

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