Oh, the holidays. That blissful time of year when I can turn my thoughts away from deadlines (whose great idea was it to have a company blog, anyhow?) and stacks in my inbox and, for a brief but welcome change, contemplate the wealth of wonderful math resources on the Web.
These are just a few sites and videos that I’ve enjoyed in the last week. We Key bloggers will be taking next week off, so I hope these keep you entertained until the new year.
An NPR blog post led me to the videos of Vi Hart, who combines fast talking, amazing doodles, elephants, and camels to give life to infinite series and other mathematical topics. Trust me—it’s worth spending some time with her videos, while, her website showcases Vi’s creative work around mathematics and music.
Vi’s father is George Hart, the Content Chief for the Museum of Math in Manhattan, which is currently under construction. As you make your travel plans for 2011, see if you can arrange an intersection with its traveling exhibition of hands-on math activities, the Math Midway. Maybe one of my math-loving friends in Texas will put me up for a night so I can see the exhibition (hint hint).
If you love words as much as you love math, check out the Google Labs Books NGram Viewer. Google has digitized the text for millions of books and placed it all in a searchable database. I graphed instances of “boy” and “girl” in English-language texts from 1700 to 2000. As I expected, occurrences of boy generally outnumber occurrences of girl. However, the graph shows girl outnumbering boy for a few years around 1720, and then again just after 1970. Hmmm . . . the woman’s movement may explain the change in the 1970’s, but what happened in the early 1720’s? (Another search that might generate discussion in a history class: Search for relative occurrences of “capitalism” and “communism” in 20th Century texts.)
Finally, here’s a simulation of data that just may leave you feeling more hopeful as we bid farewell to 2010. Hans Rosling shows the change in average life expectancy and income in 200 countries over the past 200 years.
Key wishes you all a Happy Holiday! See you in 2011!