# NBA Players Scoff at Mathematical Model Suggesting When to Shoot

Interesting application of math to sports. In analyzing teams’ shot quality, shot rates and shot percentages, Skinner found that the average NBA squad has a 4 percent probability of shooting the ball when left with 15 seconds on the shot clock in their final possession. The ideal rate is 12 percent. Skinner didn’t offer guidelines for exactly when a team should shoot. So many variables exist, particularly the subjective nature…

# Cracking the BBC’s Code at Bletchley Park | Magazine | Wired.com

Some people have taken in The Code passively, by simply watching the broadcast episodes; some have played the Flash games as casual gamers; some have turned their hand to real-world exploration or artistic photography for the Prime Number Challenge; some have used pen and paper to individually work out the classic puzzles; some have turned their talents to creating spaces for group problem-solving, and others have collaborated in those spaces.…

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# From Fish to Infinity

Yesterday, my eight-year-old said, “I don’t like math, but I’m good at it.” This is a huge improvement from the math-related tug-of-wars we’ve encountered almost daily for the past year and a half. Yesterday, she also finished a “Star Wars Math” game, where the idea is to play a Trivial Pursuits style game, spaced-out versions of blackjack, and other games where you have a better chance of winning if you…

My son has finally found a math textbook he enjoys. A few years ago, he was happy to play Timez Attack, which was really the first 3D game he had played. Now my daughter is ready to learn her times tables, but we’ve been playing Fate and Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons Online, so sadly Timez Attack has just not been holding her attention. Whilst…

# Copernicus

After hearing that the 16th-century astronomer Copernicus was to be reburied with honors in a Polish ceremony, I checked the Wikipedia entry. Woah! Among the great polymaths of the Renaissance, Copernicus was a mathematician, astronomer, physician, quadrilingual polyglot, classical scholar, translator, artist,[3] Catholic cleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist. Among his many responsibilities, astronomy figured as little more than an avocation – yet it was in that field…

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# Who Needs Mathematicians for Math, Anyway?

In Pensylvania, homeshool kids have to take standardized tests every few years (at grades 3, 5, and 8).  When he took the grade 5 exams last year, Peter did very well in all subjects, including math, though he 1) often says he hates math and 2) wastes a lot of time not doing math (staring into space and finding excuses to get up from the kitchen table) that he could…

# Mathematical Notation Gets an Upgrade

I can’t say I understand, but someone invented every symbol and bit of notation that we use from emoticons to the alphabet.  It’s cool to see the story of the need to invent new symbols.  via Wired.

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# A Math Paradox: The Widening Gap Between High School and College Math

My sixth-grader has scored very well on standardized tests for math, but he finds a blank page of math problems intimidating and boring. He spends hours — literally hours — wasting time at the kitchen table, not doing his long division or word problems. Yet for pleasure, he reads Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries and the last two bedtime stories we’ve finished have been kid-friendly biographies of…

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# On the Edge of Math and Code

Great stuff from Mark Marino… not only is the content fascinating, but the blog-sized presentation, for discusison, of a fundamental theoretical concept is a great example of what the blogging medium can do for (and to) scholarship. Item for today: = In Donald Knuth and Luis Trabb Pardo‘s article on the history of computers, the note the moment at which = moves from equivalency to assignment. Here is a moment…

# Margin of Error

I’m gearing up to introduce my journalism students to a news project that requires a basic knowledge of math. I don’t want to make it too frustrating to them, but I do want to emphasize how easy it is to be misled by the math. Margin of Error deserves better than the throw-away line it gets in the bottom of stories about polling data. Writers who don’t understand margin of…