### How to get beautifully typeset maths on your blog

Lots of people have blogs where they talk about maths. Lots of these people just use plain text for mathematical notation which, while it gets the point across, isn’t as easy to read or as visually appealing as it could be.

MathJax lets you write LaTeX and get beautifully typeset mathematical notation. And it’s really really easy to set up: you just need to paste some code into the header of your blog’s theme. To make it really really really easy, I’ve written some very detailed instructions of what to do for each big blogging service. (If you’re reading this after I wrote it, which you definitely are, beware that the interfaces I describe may have changed, so the advice below might be inaccurate.

### Interesting Esoterica Summation

I’m going to try collecting additions to my Interesting Esoterica collection in let’s-say-weekly posts. I’ll link to each item, maybe paste its abstract, and write a sentence or two about it. Let’s see if it catches on. I’m not sure if I’ll have the will to do this regularly. I’m in a bit of a getting-things-done mood today.

As this is the first one, and I’ve added loads of stuff in January, for this first post I’m using everything  I’ve added since the New Year. Future posts shouldn’t be anywhere near as long.

I should explain what the Interesting Esoterica collection is about.

### The sign on my office door

Recently, someone left my office at Newcastle University and a new person took their place, so we needed a new sign on our front door. I wanted to do something clever with it, but it needed to be instantly legible to lost supervisors trying to find their students.

My first thought was that since there are seven of us, something to do with the Fano plane would look good. Our names didn’t have enough of the right letters in the right places for it to work, though.

That got me thinking about the Levenshtein distance. The Levenshtein distance between two strings is a measure of how many changes you need to make to one to end up with the other.

### Newcastle MathsJam December 2011 Recap

Amazingly, December’s MathsJam had a non-trivial attendance of six whole people. And not just any people! Puzzling heavyweight David Cushing had yet more Renaissance-era riddles to test us all, and the other regulars were in similarly bamboozling form.

I balanced things out by failing to prepare anything or bringing anything to take notes on and subsequently forgetting most of what the others talked about. So this isn’t going to be a very accurate record of what happened, unless I get some reminders in the comments.

I’m going to start with a rather lengthy deconstruction of a puzzle Matthew Taylor posed:

## A “lights out” puzzle

Matthew posted this puzzle on twitter a couple of days before the MathsJam night.