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Rubik’s Tube

James Grime, cubing hard

Numberphile filmmaker and general internet legend Brady Haran has been busy putting together a series of YouTube videos about the Rubik’s cube, with contributions from Aperiodical friends Matt Parker and James Grime. The videos also feature lots of solving clips sent in by viewers, and Aperiodical Editor triumvir and sometime maths-talker-abouter Katie Steckles (that’s me) occasionally pops in to make comments and state facts which are no longer true (a world record was broken 4 days after filming).

Science Lives profile of Robert MacPherson

Just quickly, here’s something I saw on MetaFilter and enjoyed. The Simons Foundation has a “Science Lives” series of “extended interviews with some of the giants of twentieth century mathematics and science”.

This one is with Robert MacPherson, who invented instersection homology with Mark Goresky. I’d never heard of him and topology gives me the heebie-jeebs, but I’ve spent a very happy morning reading the fascinating biography and listening to the interview. The interviewer is Robert L. Bryant, also a research mathematician, so the questions don’t stray away from difficult topics. MacPherson comes across as an all-round excellent guy; I really recommend playing through all the clips when you have some time.

ACMEScience NEWS NOW ep 2: Sally Dodson-Robinson

Samuel Hansen is a busy man. As well as finishing off Relatively Prime, he’s continually making up new ideas for podcasts. His latest effort is ACMEScience NEWS NOW, a series of video interviews with the people behind scientific and mathematical research stories in the news.

We didn’t post about episode 1, with Paul Hines talking about crowdsourcing, due to it coming out in that weird bit of the Summer where all three of us fell asleep for a few weeks. But last night Sam posted episode 2 — an interview with Sally Dodson-Robinson about modelling planet formation — so here it is:

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You can subscribe to the ACMEScience NEWS NOW channel on its YouTube page.

The Mathalicious weekly video series has launched

You may remember Math52, a Kickstarter project from Mathalicious which reached its goal in June. This promised, “every week for a year we’ll create a short video exploring a unique application of math in everyday life”. Now the Mathalicious video series has launched with two videos, both less than two minutes in length, available via YouTube.

The first video, Tip Jar, explores tipping in restaurants.

When we go out to eat at a restaurant, it’s customary to tip as a percent of the total bill. But is this fair? And what are some other ways we might pay waiters & waitresses?

The videos are snappy and nicely produced. The Mathalicious website offers free lesson plans and materials to support the video in the classroom.

YouTube channel: Mathalicious: the Video Series.

Maths Jam July 2012 – Paper Enigma

Having discovered this wonderful design for a paper Enigma machine, which uses a standard size crisp tube and does a pretty good job of encoding things like an Enigma machine, I decided it was worth trying it out. What better opportunity to use something which can encode secret messages than to send messages between two monthly Maths Jam events via the medium of Twitter? The public sending of the messages would be incomprehensible to anyone not willing to get their hands dirty with a crisp tube and scissors. Unless they’ve got an actual Enigma machine.