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IntMath Newsletter: Counting, irrationals and taxis

By Murray Bourne, 11 Aug 2010

11 Aug 2010

In this Newsletter:

1. Number Sense
2. Math resource - Wolfram|Alpha
3. Math tip: Irrational numbers
4. Taxicab Geometry
5. Friday math movies: (a) Smarter Math (b) Murderous Math Tricks
6. Final thought - Do something meaningful

1. Number Sense

Suitable for: Everyone.

numbers 1, 2, 3

Can animals count? How about babies? What is counting all about?

Read more: Number Sense

2. Math resource: Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha is a "computational knowledge engine". It's an excellent resource for math students (and instructors too!).

Did you know it can answer a wide range of questions about math as well as do actual algebra questions?

For example, it will solve equations for you (When you get there, click where it says "Show steps"):

solve x^2 - 2x - 3 = 0

It will perform integrals written in plain English:

integral from 0 to 4 of e^x sin(x)dx

Here are 10 more things from their blog (and these activities are not only for "kids"):

10 Fun Questions Kids Can Answer with Wolfram|Alpha

3. Math tip: Irrational Numbers

Suitable for: Everyone.


Irrational numbers were a real dilemma for the ancient Greek mathematicians. They didn't believe in them, but they knew they could construct them!

Read more: Irrational Numbers

3. Taxicab Geometry

Suitable for: Everyone. This starts with a simple concept, and leads on to some interesting considerations for calculus.

taxicab geometry

Here's a curious type of geometry that leads to a very strange result.

Learn more: Taxicab Geometry

4. Friday math movies

(a) Smarter Math: Equations for a smarter planet

Suitable for: Everyone.

internet of things

Here's a positive message about math from IBM. We also learn about their "The Internet of Things". There are too many neagative messages about math in the media!

Watch the video:
Friday math movie: Smarter Math: Equations for a smarter planet

(b) Murderous Math Tricks

Suitable for: Everyone.


Here's some fun. How do these math tricks work?

Watch the video:
Friday math movie: Murderous math tricks

5. Final thought - Do something meaningful

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple and very successful developer of iPods, iPhones and iPads, once said that his goal was not to die the richest man in the cemetery. It was to go to bed at night thinking that he and his team had done something wonderful.

Those who do meaningful things with their lives tend to be the happiest. This almost always involves helping others.

Until next time, enjoy whatever you learn.

See the 8 Comments below.

8 Comments on “IntMath Newsletter: Counting, irrationals and taxis”

  1. Elias Simutowe says:

    I really enjoyed the news letter. This is very good for us as young mathematicians scientists

  2. mekuria says:

    Thank you my dear for sharing this kinds of education.

  3. Mrs Rigelsford says:

    Thank you for a great newsletter. I have asked all of my Year 10 Extension Mathematics students to subscribe. What a coincidence this month as these students are currently working from a chapter from the Murderous Maths series and you have put a link to a video by the author of these fabulous books!

  4. Murray says:

    Elias, Mekuria and Mrs Rigelsford: You're all welcome and I'm glad you found the IntMath Newsletter useful!

  5. dilli prasad sapkota says:

    Thank you first of all for sharing this math article.It is most comprehensive knowledgable site to learn mathematics.

  6. Thomas says:

    Dr. Bourne,

    Your latest newsletter just helped me tremendously!

    I did not know about Wolfram Alpha, and as a Mathematica addict, I'm often unable to share my excitement for this tool with our Civil Air Patrol cadets who do not have the software. Now I can at least offer them that!

    I'm really grateful to you. Your efforts make this world a better place, sir!

    I will put a link to your website on our Georgia Wing website shortly... and will continue my efforts to "do something meaningful."

    Very Respectfully,
    Capt Thomas A. Owens CFI/II

  7. Murray says:

    Hi Thomas. It pleases me that my suggestions may help future pilots! (Explanation: "CFI" means "chief flight instructor", or trainer of pilots.)

    And thanks for the promotion, but I am just a "Mr"!

  8. Mbhamali Sihle says:

    If I knew before about IntMath I would have passed my high shool better than I did .It is a must have tool for evry math student

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