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Sock, Horror indeed

You might have seen our Aperiodical Round-Up post, which was posted recently despite languishing in the drafts folder for six years. It wasn’t alone in there, and we’ve found a few other posts which somehow didn’t get published at the time, which we’re planning to release any day now when we get a minute. Enjoy this classic nonsense formula post from circa April 2016.

In our constant quest to make sure people aren’t abusing maths too badly, we recently came across a new campaign from a certain corporate electronics giant, who have invented a washing machine with a little door in the door. A meta-door, if you will, so you can add extra items while a wash is going on.

Resources for learning probability and statistics

I was recently asked for some recommendations of resources for learning about probability and statistics, for someone without a strong mathematical background. I did a little digging, and have collated what I found here in case it’s useful to anyone else. Add your own suggestions in the comments!

From the mailbag – circles of circles

Katie’s dad needs a little maths advice – so he’s asked his daughter for some help, and she’s used it as an excuse to go on about maths for a while, as usual.

Dear The Aperiodical,

I’ve been working on a scale model of an underground mine, which will be lit using fibre optics – thin cylindrical strands of clear material, which can transmit light from a source at one end and output light at points all over the model.

All the strands will come together behind the scenes and be pointed at a light source inside a box – but if I have 24 strands with circular cross-section, each 1.5mm in diameter, how big a hole would I need to drill in the box for all the strands to pass through?

Photograph of mine model

Mathematical Things To Do

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

If you find yourself at a loose end this month, want a break from focusing on work, or have younger mathematicians to entertain, here are some suggestions for online activities you can do/watch/attend. If you have any suggestions of your own, add them in the comments!

Carnival of Mathematics #179

Welcome to the 179th Carnival of Mathematics. The Carnival is a monthly post, hosted by a different maths blog each month, collecting interesting mathematical content from all over the internet. This time, we’re on home turf – here at the Aperiodical, with a post by regular guest author Paul Taylor.

The smallest unique Cheshire Cat

A red Cheshire cat wearing a blue hat

At the MathsJam annual gathering, one of the many activities attendees can participate in is a competition competition – entrants each come up with a competition and submit it into a larger competition, other attendees enter each of the competitions within the competition competition, and the organisers get the chance to make long and confusing (but strictly correct) announcements that contain the word competition a lot of times.

This year, we decided, after a spectacular last-minute MathsJam bake-off entry failure on the behalf of Katie, to enter a joint competition into the competition competition. Inspired by the ‘lowest unique answer’ style of competition, which has previously featured in various MathsJam Competition Competitions (and our recent lecture on game theory) we came up with an idea – what about a competition seeking a unique entry in a non-ordered set?