Reading the Comics, 16 May 2013

It’s a good time for another round of comic strip reading, particularly I haven’t had the time to think in detail about all the news in number theory that’s come out this past week, and that I’m not sure whether I should go into explaining arc lengths after I trapped at least one friend into trying to work out the circumference of an ellipse (you can’t do it either, but there are a lot of curves you could). I also notice I’m approaching that precious 10,000th blog hit here, so I can get back to work verifying that law about random data starting with the digit 1.

Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County (May 2, rerun) throws up a bunch of mathematical symbols with the intention of producing a baffling result, so that Milo can make a clean getaway from Freida. The splendid thing to me, though, is that Milo’s answer — “log 10 times 10 to the derivative of 10,000” — actually does parse, if you read it a bit charitably. The “log 10” bit we can safely suppose to mean the logarithm base 10, because the strip originally ran in 1981 or so when there was still some use for the common logarithm. These days, we have calculators, and “log” is moving over to be the “natural logarithm”, base e, what was formerly denoted as “ln”.

Continue reading “Reading the Comics, 16 May 2013”

I Try Telling Jokes, Too

I’d like to take a moment — after my most popular month ever, according to the WordPress statistics, one in which my little math blog managed to reach not just the 7,777th viewer but also the 8,000th, with the nice round 8,192nd looking like it’s coming soon — to announce the inauguration of another blog of my hopefully creative writing.

This one,, is for the writing that I at least intend to be funny, and while I concede the number of people who actually share my sense of humor is perhaps not overwhelming, there’s probably some out there who do, and I’d appreciate your looking and following if you like what you see. Right now I’m still in the stage of starting a new project where I feel hideously embarrassed that I put myself forward like that, all set for public humiliation and whatnot, but that feeling will pass. I hope.

Also, I found a setting that lets me turn on little numeric ratings for all my various articles. I’m hoping that people enjoy this because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Internet, it’s that people like getting to click stuff. Plus turning it on satisfied my urge to fiddle with the look of this blog a while, since I can’t find another WordPress theme that I like for it.