This New Scientist article by Leah Crane is a plot-device-generator gift for science fiction writers. It begins: “Travel far enough in the universe and you could end up back where you began. Measurements from the Planck space observatory have shown that the universe might be shaped like a sphere rather than a flat sheet, which […]
Round numbers, sharp numbers, and their perceived credibility
If someone told you that a soap was “99.44% pure” would you be more likely to believe their claim than if they rounded the number to “99% pure”? A 2006 paper in the journal Advances in Consumer Research authored by professors Robert M. Schindler (Rutgers University-Camden) and Richard F. Yalch (University of Washington) entitled: ‘It […]
Banana shape(s) – the math(s)
Have you ever mused upon the question: ‘Is the cross section of a banana an ellipsoid, and if so, can it be used to gauge its volume and surface area? Yes? Then a report in the International Journal of Agricultural Science, Research and Technology (IJASRT) 2011 Vol. 1 No. 1 pp. 1-5, may be of […]
Preference peculiarities: Curves good – or angles bad?
In 1753 (or thereabouts) William Hogarth published his study into ‘The analysis of Beauty’ (“Written with a view of fixing the fluctuating ideas of taste.”) He was particularly interested in the ‘Perfect Curve’. For Hogarth, number 4 hit the spot. Scroll forward to April 2015 for another study about curves, which asks whether peoples’ apparent […]
Fitness: round holes and square holes, pegged
Wolfram Mathworld bores down into a much-discussed-by-others-but-usually-idly question about pegs and holes: The answer to the question “which fits better, a round peg in a square hole, or a square peg in a round hole?” can be interpreted as asking which is larger, the ratio of the area of a circle to its circumscribed square, or the area of thesquare to its circumscribed circle? […]
About-Face on Face Shape?
A new study about faces implies than an old study about faces (which we wrote about way back when) should not be taken at face value: “Lack of Support for the Association between Facial Shape and Aggression: A Reappraisal Based on a Worldwide Population Genetics Perspective,” Jorge Gómez-Valdés, Tábita Hünemeier, Mirsha Quinto-Sánchez, Carolina Paschetta, Soledad […]