Tags: math

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the Origins of Opera and the Future of Programming – The Composition

An interesting piece by Jessica Kerr that draws lessons from the histories of art and science and applies them to software development.

This was an interesting point about the cognitive load of getting your head around an existing system compared to creating your own:

Why are there a thousand JavaScript frameworks out there? because it’s easier to build your own than to gain an understanding of React. Even with hundreds of people contributing to documentation, it’s still more mental effort to form a mental model of an existing system than to construct your own. (I didn’t say it was faster, but less cognitively strenuous.)

And just because I’ve spent most of last year thinking about how to effectively communicate—in book form—relatively complex ideas clearly and simply, this part really stood out for me:

When you do have a decent mental model of a system, sharing that with others is hard. You don’t know how much you know.

Metaballs

Metaballs, not to be confused with meatballs, are organic looking squishy gooey blobs.

Here’s the maths behind the metaballs (implemented in SVG).

How many dimensions are there, and what do they do to reality? | Aeon Essays

In this terrific essay by Marina Benjamin on the scientific and mathematical quest for ever-more dimensions, she offers this lovely insight into the mind-altering effects that the art of Giotto and Uccello must’ve had on their medieval audience:

By consciously exploring geometric principles, these painters gradually learned how to construct images of objects in three-dimensional space. In the process, they reprogrammed European minds to see space in a Euclidean fashion.

In a very literal fashion, perspectival representation was a form of virtual reality that, like today’s VR games, aimed to give viewers the illusion that they had been transported into geometrically coherent and psychologically convincing other worlds.

The Nature of Code

A web book with interactive code examples.

How can we capture the unpredictable evolutionary and emergent properties of nature in software? How can understanding the mathematical principles behind our physical world help us to create digital worlds? This book focuses on the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems using Processing.

Beyond Curie—a design project celebrating women in STEM

Beyond Curie is a design project that highlights badass women in science, technology, engineering + mathematics. 

The math of CSS locks

A very very in-depth look at fluid typography in CSS using calc.

Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace—Stephen Wolfram Blog

A detailed history of Babbage and Lovelace through the lens of Wolfram’s work today:

Ada seems to have understood with some clarity the traditional view of programming: that we engineer programs to do things we know how to do. But she also notes that in actually putting “the truths and the formulae of analysis” into a form amenable to the engine, “the nature of many subjects in that science are necessarily thrown into new lights, and more profoundly investigated.” In other words—as I often point out—actually programming something inevitably lets one do more exploration of it.

If this piques your interest, I highly recommend the Babbage biography The Cogwheel Brain by Doron Swade.

How Not To Sort By Average Rating

I don’t understand the maths, but the logic is fascinating.

aM laboratory

A beautiful piece of musical mathematical poetry.

Firefox 4: the HTML5 parser – inline SVG, speed and more ✩ Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

Henri Sivonen gives the lowdown on the HTML5 parser that will ship with the next version of Firefox. This is a huge development ...and yet users won't even notice it (by design).

NEW MATH by Craig Damrauer

Equations to live by.

Quantum Random Bit Generator Service

There's no such thing as a good CAPTCHA but if there were, these would be ...Best. CAPTCHAs. Ever!

Fun (and Fraud Detection) with Benford’s Law | Data and the Web

Benford's law blows my mind. Be sure to watch the video. This is all related to network theory and power law distributions ...I'm just not sure how.

The Long Now Foundation - Essays

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine.

'Cool Cash' card confusion - News - Manchester Evening News

A seasonal twist on the lottery card is withdrawn because people don't understand how negative numbers work. "I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher – not lower – than -8 but I'm not having it."

BBC - Radio 4 - 5 Numbers

Simon Singh talks about zero, pi, the golden ratio, the square root of minus one, and infinity.