The Other Half – Parable of the Polygons

Anna Haensch and Annie Rorem are the hosts of a new podcast, The Other Half. This is the second of two posts based on the first episode, about racism and segregation.

In the first part of episode one, we use the Racial Dot Map to get a sense of what race looks like in our country. And while it certainly gives us a picture of the stark racial lines segregating in our communities, it doesn’t necessarily help us understand how we got to be this way, and perhaps
more relevant, how we can fix this. In the second part of episode one we look at Parable of the Polygons, a playable blog post by Vi Hart and Nicky Case, to help us understand these slightly more nuanced questions.

parable of the polygons

The Racial Dot Map

Anna Haensch and Annie Rorem are the hosts of a new podcast, The Other Half. This post is based on the first episode, about racism and segregation.

In episode one of The Other Half, we look to mathematics as a potential tool for understanding racism and segregation in our society. To get a sense of the extent of segregation in the United States, we turn to a beautiful, startling tool to visualize it. Literally.

racial dot map

RIP John Nash

John Forbes Nash, Junior. Photo by Peter Badge, from Wikipedia, CC-BY-SA licensed

John Nash, famous for his work in game theory and as the subject of the film A Beautiful Mind, has died in a car crash, according to the BBC.

As well as winning the (in memory of but not actually a) Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994, Nash was recently awarded the Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations.

More information

‘Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash killed on the BBC.

Famed ‘A Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash, wife killed in taxi crash, police say at

John Nash’s unique approach produced huge leaps in economics and maths by Alex Bellos in the Guardian.

Alex Bellos’s short essay about the work which earned Nash and Nirenberg the 105 Abel Prize.

Equilibrium points in N-person games, the 1950 paper in which Nash introduced the concept of the Nash equilibrium.

The bargaining problem, Nash’s 1950 paper which introduced his solution to the classic economics problem.

The Nash-Kuiper embedding theorem was used recently to construct an amazing isometric embedding of the flat torus in Euclidean space.

Nash’s letter to the NSA (PDF) in which he described an encryption-decryption machine, anticipating more recent ideas of computational complexity.

Integral House is for sale!

You might have heard the story about the author of a calculus textbook that made so much money he could afford to build a mansion in the shape of an integral symbol.

Well, his name was James Stewart and he died last December, so now Integral House is up for sale, for $23m.

Yes, textbooks are that ridiculously expensive in North America.

The Daily Beast has written an article about the sale, and there’s a good thread on MetaFilter with a mix of discussion about the house itself and lots of griping about the American textbook racket.