Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's Norwegian and Commutes?

Why, an Abelian plane, of course!

Norwegian Airlines has pictures of famous Scandinavians on the tails of their planes, including the mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829). You can see some of the other ones here. Oddly enough, the Norwegian Air website itself only lists a few of them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Creationists Try to Do Mathematics - Again

It's always amusing when creationists try to do mathematics.

At the recent very silly Engineering and Metaphysics conference, there were at least three different talks with mathematical content.

But the funniest by far was by Eric Holloway, whose masterful work I admired once before. You can watch Eric

  • claim that intelligent design will revolutionize all human thought
  • shamelessly promote Dembski's "complex specified information", without mentioning that this bogus concept has been debunked in detail
  • claim that physics deals with only two kinds of "agents"
  • claim that a "search process" is not an "algorithm" - and then later talk about "search algorithms" (!)
  • confuse the complexity classes NPC and EXPTIME
  • claim that all polynomial-time algorithms depend on "incrementally find[ing] better solutions"
  • confuse finding solutions with maximizing a function
  • claim that the travelling salesman problem can be solved in polynomial time (at 19:14)
  • claim that humans can solve the travelling salesman problem in linear time
  • repeat Stephen Meyer's lie that "only intelligent agents create information"
  • claim that "clouds" have "no information" (and hence imply that weather prediction can be done without any information at all!)
  • claim that a specific instance of a maze can be changed, by removing a wall, into an NP-complete problem - thus making two fundamental errors in one sentence

All good stuff! You can see why creationists have to set up their own parallel pseudoscience conferences, because junk like this would be laughed out of any real scientific or mathematics conference.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Larry Moran Would Approve

It's pretty easy to get to: you go to Victoria Rail Station, and take the train to Bromley South. Trains run rather frequently. Once at Bromley South, you walk out of the station and up the street to the right a bit, and catch the 146 Downe bus. Your Oyster card works for the train and the bus - very convenient. The last stop is Downe Church, and then it's a short walk up Luxted Road.

The walk along the road is a bit unpleasant, since it is narrow and there is no sidewalk, so here's a tip: walk up until you see a sign on the left of the road that indicates the footpath to "Cudham". Follow this footpath until there is a sign indicating "Down House" to the right.

Inside you will find exhibits about Darwin's life and work, including his study and library. Outside, you find his gardens, and the famous Sandwalk. Not to be missed if you are in the London area!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Map Quiz

This is a rather famous map; indeed, it was even the subject of a recent book. What is it, who made it, and where was this picture taken?

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Death of Nano-Thermite

Did 9-11 "truthers" mistakenly identify ordinary epoxy, clay, and steel as "nano-thermite"?

That's what a new study concludes.

Gee whiz, it looks like the conspiracy crackpots got something wrong again. Who's surprised?