November 2011

Math Helps Track Development

 

Many parents keep close eyes on their children’s early development, which is made easy by the numerous resources from doctors, books and online. But, it becomes much more of a challenge to keep track of where your child falls in development of certain skills like mathematics. How do you know if your child is meeting the standards of your state, or what other children his age is are doing?

Chaos Theory: Making Random Not So Random

 

Everyone is familiar with the Butterfly Effect. A butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and California gets a torrential rain shower. The goal is to show that a seemingly random set of events actually coalesce to form a dramatic conclusion.

This finding patterns in seemingly random events is a trademark of Chaos theory. While made popular in movies and television as the cool science fact of the week, chaos is actually one of the most mathematically complex sciences there is.

The key to chaos is the anticipation of the many variables that can happen in a complex system. As Malcolm from “Jurassic Park” so eloquently pointed out. In any action, there are hundreds if not thousands of variables that can change the outcome.

Super computers can calculate millions of variables, but there are still systems to complex that a supercomputer working on it for weeks still can't fit in all the variable information to create a credible model.

Where Math and Beauty Meet

 

When you think about math, generally makeup and cosmetics don't automatically spring to mind. The two haven't exactly been closely associated... ever. Until self-proclaimed math geek and Star Trek fan, Parham Arabi, stepped on the scene.

Parham, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, is literally changing the face of the cosmetics, fashion and plastic surgery industries one uploaded photo at a time with his digital makeover application, ModiFace.

With ModiFace, women can upload their pictures to the program and virtually try on clothing, cosmetics and even get a sneak peek at how they'd look after having a cosmetic surgery procedure.

Math Activity For Kids

 

Halloween may be over, but the candy sure isn't. If your household is anything like mine, you've got bags of sweets locked up like Fort Knox and a few munchkins who can't get those sugary morsels out of their heads.

My wife and I only let our kids choose a few pieces of candy each day, and we've noticed that there is definitely a pattern. Chocolate disappears first, then Twizzlers, and so on and so forth until what's left is half a bucket of the less popular treats that slowly dwindle down until we decide that they just need to be pitched.

The other day, my wife was dipping into some of the goodies that kids usually don't choose first. As she was munching down some Smarties one at a time, I noticed that she was methodically sorting them, lining them up, and moving them into patterns.