Thanks a lot to Combinations and Permutations contributor Cody Palmer for the link to this fun math site. Check out what equation your name creates. (LINK)

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From **General**

# Number Gossip

Everyone has been posting abouit this but I have to put my 2 cents in the ring. Number Gossip is awesome. That is it, really my whole 2 cents. It is simply an awesome site that gives awesome info about any integer between 0 and 9999. Try it out, have fun with it. We just recorded episode 37 of C&P, which should be up Thursday night, and in honor of that here is what Number Gossip says about 37:

- 37 is the smallest irregular prime (submitted by Andy Baker and John Kiehl)
- 37 is the smallest left and right truncatable prime having more than one digit
- 37 is the only prime with period length three: 1/37 = 0.027 027 027 …
- 37 is the prime you get if a three digit number having the same digits is divided by its digit sum

# Mathematical Opionator

Former guest on Strongly Connected Components Steven Strogatz has been having a rather good year. Not only did he appear on our podcast, he told part of the story from his new book The Calculus of Friendship, just finished it myself a couple of weeks ago it is a great read you should go and buy it, on the Numbers Episode of Radio Lab, and he now also blogs for the New York Times. Strogatz has become a part of Opinionator group of blogs over at the New York Times website where he is writing a series of posts about mathematics in wonderfully descriptive plain language, he started with a post about numbers and is now on roots. From that first post:

Children learn from this that numbers are wonderful shortcuts. Instead of saying the word “fish” exactly as many times as there are penguins, Humphrey could use the more powerful concept of “six.”

As adults, however, we might notice a potential downside to numbers. Sure, they are great time savers, but at a serious cost in abstraction. Six is more ethereal than six fish, precisely because it’s more general. It applies to six of anything: six plates, six penguins, six utterances of the word “fish.” It’s the ineffable thing they all have in common.

No matter who you are Strogatz’s exposition is plenty good enough to hold your attention, and the content is parse-able by anyone. If you are a mathematician go and read this to help reground yourself in the most basic contents, then go tell all the non-mathematicians you know to go read this so they know what the hell you have been talking about for all these years. (Strogatz Opionionator)

# History of Mathematics Journal: 4

Early on this past week Professor Bhatnagar brought up the idea of mathematical funding, specifically how would any of us choose to fund mathematics if we were the government. The government of the United States of America currently funds mathematics through two main channels, the national Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, and many other side channels, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, etc. The National Science Foundation alone represents around 65% of the governmental funding for research in mathematics, and in their most recent budget they ask for an increase of $7.4 billion in total funding with an increase for mathematical research of 5%, a 16% increase in Graduate Fellowship money, as well as many other cyberlearning and outreach programs that will directly impact mathematics.

This resonated with me as I spent my weekend in the seat of United States of America’s federal power, Washington DC. I was there to participate in the Students for Free Culture, http://freeculture.org, annual Free Culture Conference. This conference is in the words of the creators: “A convening of the international free culture community for two days of networking, learning and acting. The vision is to bring together student activists and free culture luminaries to discuss free software and open standards, open access scholarship, open educational resources, network neutrality, and university patent policy, especially in the context of higher education.” The conference itself was a shot in the arm for me in particular, as it has pushed me towards really starting work on some projects that I have had on the back burner for a long time.

The conference, while concentrating a lot on education, spent a decent amount of time on politics, a subject that I have only allocated the minimal amount of interest to since I joined up and became on the few, the proud, the graduate students. It required that I open my mind and start thinking less like a mathematician, i.e. in closed logical fashion, where the strongest of formal arguments is obviously the correct one, and start cogitating in the way that normal people, and more specifically politicians, do on a daily basis. It was not the easiest thing for me to do, I would listen to some of the panelists talking about Net Neutrality or Open Educational Resources and immediately wonder why every does not just do things in the way that one of the panelists puts forth because it was obviously the best way. As a mathematician I often forget that most people do not think about the work in such a clean and dry way. One thing that became clear to me at this conference was that if I were the government I would spend as much money as I possibly could to make mathematics more open.

# Joint Mathematics Meeting

Very early tomorrow morning I will be boarding a plane to take me to San Francisco so that I can attend the Joint Mathematics Meeting. I will be presenting a talk about the effect the internet is having on mathematics at 1 PM on Thursday, so if you will be at the JMM and you have the time free I would love to see you at my talk after which please make sure you say hello. If you do not have the opportunity to see my talk please send me a message on the ACMEScience twitter or come to the JMM Tweetup on Thursday 2030 , 14 Jan 2010 in the San Francisco Marriott Lobby. In other ACMEScience news I have lined up a few interviews at the conference with mathematicians you want to hear for Strongly Connected components so check your feed for those over the next few weeks. Hope to see you there.