The Reel Deal

If you went to the movies last year, there's a good chance that you had your feet planted in mystery stickiness for a period of more than 120 consecutive minutes. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, for instance, was just shy of two and a half hours long. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug kept you glued to the concrete for a whopping two hours and 41 minutes. All told, the five top-grossing (live action) movies of 2013 ran for an average of about 134 minutes. That's more than a 20% increase in length since 1980. In fact, over the past 30 years, the most popular movies have been getting steadily longer, adding about an extra minute of running time annually. What gives?

To continue reading, click here.

The Real Worlds

In part of his ongoing “real world vs. fake world” series, Dan Meyer offered three versions of the same problem, and asked us at Mathalicious to opine on which we considered the most “real,” and how we evaluate the real-ness of a mathematical task: Version A Given an arbitrary point P on a line segment […]

To continue reading, click here.

Bracketology

March is a little bit madder than usual this year, ever since investment mogul and noted suit-wearer Warren Buffett put up (along with Quicken Loans) a cool $1 billion for anyone who can perfectly predict the results of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. No purchase necessary.

While that's certainly an astounding offer, it comes with a bit of a mathematical asterisk. It's almost impossible to win. That might not be totally surprising, given the magnitude of the prize. Or maybe you followed last year's bracket-busting: none of the more than 8 million people in ESPN's online contest even got through the first round unscathed. But just how slim are your chances of buying that island?

To continue reading, click here.

Overrated

The internet is a shopaholic's paradise.  If you can dream it, you can probably buy it; from an 85-inch TV to a tin of unicorn meat, millions of items are only a few clicks away from being shipped directly to you.  But with so many items to choose from, it's a mathematical reality that some […]

To continue reading, click here.


It's a Date

Quick, how many days are there in March?  Thirty?  Thirty-one?  Definitely not thirty-two.  Probably.  At least some of you are reciting a poem right now.  Or counting on your knuckles.  It's okay, we've all been there.  Let he who has never been surprised by March 31st cast the first stone. Because we use it every […]

To continue reading, click here.

Hitting the Slopes

Now that the Winter Olympics have ended, people can turn off the television and focus on what really matters: predicting which countries will win big at the next Winter Olympics.  Is this a bit premature?  Perhaps.  But from World Cup results , to presidential election outcomes, to Olympic medal counts, many people seem to enjoy […]

To continue reading, click here.

Decoder Ring

Imagine you've got an important message to send that you need to keep private.  Maybe it's a love note meant for the object of your affection; maybe it's a classified communiqué meant only for your handler.  Whatever the case, if you're going to keep the message secret, you're going to need a way to encrypt […]

To continue reading, click here.

Mathalicious 2.0

I’m so happy to welcome you to this new version of Mathalicious.  I started Mathalicious in 2009, named it after my favorite rap group, and since then have dedicated to it more of my life than I care to admit, indeed more than was probably healthy.  And yet, for all those years and all those […]

To continue reading, click here.

Text Me Later

Everyone knows that texting while driving is, to put it mildly, a bad idea.  Each year, thousands of people are killed or injured by "distracted drivers," a category which includes distractions by phone.  The statistics are readily available and heavily publicized.  In fact, AT&T has run a campaign called "It Can Wait," which is geared […]

To continue reading, click here.