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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.

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