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The Joy of $x$, by Steven Strogatz

Steven Strogatz has written a book based on his series of columns for the New York Times, The Elements of Math. The book’s called The Joy of $x$, and Steven’s recorded a trailer for it. I bet he hopes the trailer will convince you to buy the book.

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Steven Strogatz series on “what math can reveal about us and our world”

Steven Strogatz has begun a six-part series in a New York Times blog. ‘Me, Myself and Math’ apparently “looks at us through the lens of math”. Steven explains that this will focus on

how the subject I love — math — relates to the subject we all love — ourselves.
From the DNA that encodes us, to the fingerprints that characterize us, to our place in the universe and our friend counts on Facebook, we are mathematical marvels. In the coming weeks we’ll see what math can reveal about us and our world, and at the same time, how the wonders of us have inspired advances in math.

The first outing, ‘Singular Sensations‘, discusses the topology in patterns on the body like hair and fingerprints.

Source: Me, Myself and Math.

Redrawing the map of Great Britain from a network of human interactions

This is just about the most right-on, 21st-century paper and associated PR I’ve seen this year. MIT’s SENSEable City Lab has produced this little video to go with a paper by some of their researchers, led by Carlo Ratti:

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So we have a slickly produced YouTube video announcing an open-access paper about big data with a trendy creative commons 8-bit music track behind it. I don’t know whether to applaud them on a job well done or to have an adverse reaction against that much political correctness and PR budget in one place.