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Matt Parker needs help building a domino computer

Friend-in-good-standing of The Aperiodical, Matt Parker, has something big planned for Manchester Science Festival and he needs your help.

Matt is trying to build a computer out of dominoes.

Spelling Bees Puzzle Blog

Hello. I’ve been talked into writing another blog post about my latest puzzle to appear in the Puzzlebomb. Spelling Bees appeared in the May and June issues. The solver is presented with a honeycomb grid containing letters and one bee (of the insect variety; the grid may contain several or no Bs). Their task is to find the two words (or phrases) that can be Spelling Bees Example Puzzletraced along a path through every cell (to use jargon that will be familiar to cruciverbalists and beekeepers alike) in the honeycomb grid. The bee acts as a wild card and will stand for a different letter in both words. The cells which are the first and last letters of each word are shaded to give an extra helping hand.

Happy π day

People celebrate today as “π day“, an official designation in the US*

3.141592653589793238462643383279502
88419716939937510582097494459230781
64062862089986280348253421170679821
48086513282306647093844609550582231
72535940812848111745028410270193852
110555964462294895493038196...5...

Do you know how we know those digits? If you’d like to find out, I’ve written a blog post over at Second-Rate Minds: “How to calculate π“.

* This is not necessarily the best day. “3.14” is a very crude approximation for π and translating 14th March into this number requires a month/day dating system. 22/7 gives 22nd July in day/month format and gives a slightly closer approximation for π: 3.142857… (3.14 is π-0.00159…, while 22/7 is π+0.00126…). Having said that, 14th March has the tantalising prospect of 1:59 and 2.65359… seconds giving an actual value of π… Perhaps we need a fourteenth month…

Wolfram|Alpha Pro

Stephen Wolfram writes what Wolfram|Alpha Pro does and what it will cost you. He says:

Over the two and a half years since we first launched, Wolfram|Alpha has been growing rapidly in content and capabilities. But today’s introduction of Wolfram|Alpha Pro in effect adds a whole new model for interacting with Wolfram|Alpha—and brings all sorts of fundamentally new and remarkable capabilities.

Broadly speaking, this adds capabilities around inputting into and download and customise the output from the system.

Announcing Wolfram|Alpha Pro.

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