## Colbert Numbers

4/14/2011

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert
I just learned that there is a type of number named after Stephen Colbert.  It is a specific kind of megaprime (a megaprime is a prime with at least one million digits).  Rather than explain exactly what a Colbert number is, I'll just let you read about it here.  This site also includes several video clips of Colbert talking about math (though the folks at Comedy Central seem to be as confused as the rest of the population about the fact that science is not the same as math).  Be sure to check out the second clip--it is by far my favorite, and it coincidentally has a lot to do with my next video!

If you're interested in learning more about what Sierpinski numbers are, you can read about them here.

## Gears

4/12/2011

If you've read many of my other posts, it's probably become obvious that I enjoy spatial reasoning.  It's fun because it involves creating images in your head and knowing how things work together.

One of my favorite childhood toys was this set called Gearopolis.  It was made by Discovery Toys, and it only seems to be available used now.  But all is not lost for fellow gear-lovers who want to play with a toy like this.  Gear Tech is a similar set (and it even includes belts to connect gears!), and it's available from Amazon.com.

## Graphs can be fun, too.

4/10/2011

Several of the students I tutor have trouble when it comes to understanding graphs and charts.  I have the feeling that they only think they have trouble because the graphs and charts they're reading are on the ACT, and no one feels calm and happy when reading charts on the ACT.

GraphJam is a hilarious website that has graphs and charts of all types--and none of the graphs are serious.  If you think you don't understand graphs, check out this website, and you'll change your mind.  I promise.

## Why you shouldn't hate math

4/7/2011

Okay, so I can't pretend I haven't noticed that when most people hear I do math, they say, "Oh, I hate math!"  And it doesn't escape my attention that most of the students I tutor don't really like math even if they're good at it.  The fact is, most people don't think math is very important.

A student I worked with the other day said that her least favorite subject was math because she didn't like having to do problems and learn concepts that she would never use again.

## Math Win!

4/5/2011

Fail Blog posted a win yesterday that perfectly captures the elation (and frustration) of mathematics.  Check it out:

## Can you copyright a number?

4/3/2011

You may have noticed that the link to the musical interpretation of pi I shared on Pi Day (3/14) is broken.  This is because someone else had already written a composition using the first digits of pi and copyrighted that composition.

Now, if Michael Blake, who created the composition Itried to share, had used the exact same rhythm as the previous composition (which I doubt), I would understand the copyright claim.  But pi is a number--how can it not be in the public domain?  Well, we can still write the first digits of pi, and we can say them, but if you want to use them to create a song by numbering the notes of the scale, you can't.  It's copyrighted.