Nothing puts your home insurance premium up like having been burgled in the past – because it means you’re more likely to be burgled again. Stanford researcher Nancy Rodríguez, with colleagues Henri Berestycki (who is first author, for the record) and Lenya Ryzhik, has developed a travelling waves model to explain this phenomenon – and, more importantly, how to stop it.
Crime, according to past research, tends to cluster in particular neighbourhoods – and even individual houses. Once a crime epicentre has been established, criminal activity tends to spread out in a wave pattern, gradually engulfing larger and larger areas.
According to an article behind the Times paywall which I haven’t read, an “urgent review is under way into the reliability of some of the Government’s most crucial calculations in the wake of the West Coast Main Line shambles“.
The part of the article above the paywall reports that checks for ensuring the accuracy of models for climate change, income distribution, benefit claims and farming subsidies are all included in the audit. Website PoliticsHome expands on the basic Times link, saying that “every Government department has been required to draw up a list of ‘business critical’ models that they rely on to do their jobs”.
If you subscribe to The Times, you can get the rest of the story on its website: Maths check across Whitehall after West Coast rail line fiasco.
Google Code, one of now approximately a million different websites which start with the word Google, is a sharing platform for developers to exchange open-source programs and nifty things they have made.
One such nifty thing is this Reaction-Diffusion package, based on our old friend Alan Turing’s famous equation. The reaction-diffusion equation, originally given in Turing’s 1952 paper The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis, provides a model for how a mixture of chemicals, reacting with each other while moving under the action of diffusion, might result in the kind of patterns we see in animal print and elsewhere in nature.
New research looks at how language is used to convey information in context, something which is, according to its abstract “one of the most astonishing features of human language”. Apparently there have been “many” theories providing “informal accounts of communicative inference” but few have succeeded in making “precise, quantitative predictions about pragmatic reasoning”.
A collaboration between mathematicians and biologists has discovered “why platelets, the cells that form blood clots, are the size and shape that they are”, a better understanding of which “could have wide implications [for] healing wounds and in strokes and other conditions”.
(No, this story is not about plus-size fashion week)
The New York Times has published an interview with Carson C. Chow, an applied mathematician who models the factors causing obesity in the human body. He claims that the main cause of America’s obesity problem is the overproduction of food.
Dr. Chow has written a post on his blog about the interview, adding some more detail about what exactly he does and backing up his claim that availability of food causes obesity. He also points a commentor asking for more scientific details about his research to the obesity category on his blog, where he talks about his papers.
Interview: A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity
Research has been published describing a mathematical model that successfully predicts the ratios of left-handers to right-handers in different sports.