Math Challenge: Light Bulbs Count

Today’s Nasty Mathematics Challenge: Watch this video (taken by astronauts on the International Space Station with a camera that picks up low-intensity light, and then edited by Michael König, and sped up), and estimage the number of light bulbs whose light is visible: [vimeo]32001208[/vimeo] HINT: The task is easier (but not much) if you enlarge […]

Just the facts, man… The persistence of misconceptions

Derek Muller writes (and explains in more detail than I’m presenting here): “It is a common view that ‘if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more people would understand.’ However it is debatable whether clear, concise explanations really work…. People have existing ideas about real world phenomena before they encounter […]

Heavens on and off the earth

Nicholas Heavens [pictured below] is a postdoc in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. Heavens has turned his wond’ring gaze to what happens on our own planet and to the goings-on elsewhere. You might enjoy reading his take on Martian dust distribution: Heavens, N.G., Richardson, M.I., Kleinbhöl, A., Kass, D.M., McCleese, […]

Improbable Research