Daily Archives: May 15, 2009

Liquid Wrench: Profanity in a Bottle

It was May, 1992, and I was in a stupor of post thesis-completion cortisol letdown and alcohol-induced lethargy, and Mark Pagel was talking to me as I slouched in a large comfortable chair in the Peabody Museum’s smoking lounge.

“It’s obvious what they need to do,” he was saying, and I could tell from the look on his face, even in my foggy state of mind, that a morsel of wisdom marinated in humor was about to be served up.
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The Monty Hall Problem by Jason Rosenhouse

Jason Rosenhouse, of the Evolution Blog, has written a book and it is now seemingly available for pre-order. It is The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math’s Most Contentious Brain Teaser. The book was recently reviewed very favorably, and you can learn more about that here.

I’ve not gotten a review copy, so I can’t personally tell you anything about this book, but I’m aware of Jason’s command of this particular topic, so I’m sure it’s fantastic. It has even been suggested that it could be used as a supplementary course text, so stats and probability instructors, take note!

Congratulations, Jason, nice job.

Happy Birthday Maria Reiche

Maria Reiche was an archaeologist and mathematician who worked on the Nazca lines in Peru. Originally, she worked with Paul Kosok, who discovered the remarkable drawings, and starting in the mid 1940s, Reiche mapped in the drawings. She believed that the lines represented a calendar and a sort of observatory. She is probably single handedly responsible for the preservation of these important archaeological features.

She died in Lima in 1998.

Several crackpots have suggested that the Nazca lines, since they can only be taken in visually from a height achievable only with flying machines such as airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons or … whatever … must have been drawn for the benefit of aliens in their UFOs.