I recently gave a public talk about George Green’s mathematical education and influences, the audio for which is now available online.

# Watch out! I’m a blue whale and I’m about to land on you!

I don’t know why this question popped into my head, but it’s been sitting there for the past week and showing no signs of moving on.

Suppose an enemy of mine threw a friendly blue whale at me. Being a friendly whale, it makes the blue-whale-noise equivalent of “DUCK!” to warn me it’s coming.

How quickly does the whale need to be travelling for its warning to be useful?

# Puzzlebomb – November 2014

Puzzlebomb is a monthly puzzle compendium. Issue 35 of Puzzlebomb, for Novmber 2014, can be found here:

Puzzlebomb – Issue 35 – November 2014

The solutions to Issue 35 will be posted at the same time as Issue 36.

Previous issues of Puzzlebomb, and their solutions, can be found here.

# Apparently I’m not a maths genius (or, On the Subject of Parcel Sizes)

This article on BBC News caught my eye because it has “maths” in the headline. Yes, I’m that easily pleased.

Somewhere in the middle, it says that myHermes requires the “volumetric area” of a parcel to be less than 225cm. That’s right: the “volumetric area” is neither a volume nor an area but a length. Anyway, the formula for volumetric area of a package with sides $a,b,c$, where $a \leq b \leq c$, is

\[ 2(a+b) + c \]

(Importantly, $a$ and $b$ are always the two shortest sides of the package)

So the constraint is

\[ 2(a+b) + c \leq 225 \]

In the next paragraph is the puzzling statement that the maximum allowable **volume** for a package is $82.68$ litres, or $82680$ cm^{3}. How did they get that?

I decided to do some calculus of variations, or whatever it’s called.

# There’s a new StackExchange site for History of Science and Maths

Just a little note to let you know that there’s a new StackExchange Q&A site for “History of Science and Maths”. Some of the maths questions that have already been asked include:

- Whose shoulders did Newton stand on? (apparently the answer is not “giants”)
- Were transcendental numbers considered rare, pre-Cantor?
- What is the history behind the Erdős number?

So if you’ve got a burning question about Maths in the Past, there’s now a place to ask it.

**Visit the site: **hsm.stackexchange.com

# An Alan Turing expert answers your The Imitation Game questions

*The Imitation Game* is the new film starring Sherlock Holmes as Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, and Keira Knightley as Kate Winslet as Joan Clarke. Together they are two mathematicians in World War II trying to build a bombe. The film will soon be available on DVD, blu-ray, and as an animated GIF set on tumblr.

These are the *Imitation Game* FAQs.

# More to be done between universities and industry

I saw the video below, which is Rachel Riley being asked questions about her maths education at a Your Life event, in a tweet by Rob Loe, who quoted a section of one answer around 4:50 where Rachel says: “stop saying proudly that ‘I’m really bad at maths’ because you wouldn’t say ‘I can’t read’, you wouldn’t say ‘I can’t write’ as a proud thing.”

What particularly caught my ear was this section (around 5:30):