ch3cooh: (Fringes of Chaos)
For context, I'm making an activity for high school students in an afterschool math program. The activity is aimed at estimating, understating, and working with really big numbers, and this part of the program (4 sessions) is focused on bijections and infinties, with a theme of how mathematicians think about topics that are too large or abstract to handle with intuition, and for how mathematicians make choices that shape what the mathematics we study looks like.
More Details )

The list so far:

* The approximate number of primes between 0 and 2^57,885,161 − 1 (???)
* If two 'opponents' at Go are actually collaborating to make the game as long as possible, approximately how many turns might the game last (on a 19x19 board)? (???)
* The approximate number of different chess games for which the board never returns to a previously experienced state. (???)
* The approximate number of atoms in everything living on the earth (???)

* The approximate circumference of the earth in miles (~10^4)
* The approximate number of sheets of paper in a stack as tall as the height of the Transamerica Pyramid in SF (~10^6)
* The approximate number of seconds in a human life (~10^9)
* The approximate number of people in the world right now (~10^10)
* The approximate number of neurons in a human brain (~10^11)
* The approximate number of seconds between now and when a dinosaur last lived (~10^15)
* The approximate number of ants in the world right now (~10^16)
* The approximate number of calculations that can be done by the world's current fastest computer (The Tianhe-2 supercomputer) in 1 minute (~10^18)
* The approximate number of stars in the universe (~10^30)
* The approximate number of atoms in the earth and everything on it (~10^50)
* The approximate number of different ways a deck of 52 cards might be shuffled (~10^68)
* The approximate predicted number of atoms in the universe (~10^80)
* The approximate number of rabbits that would exist in the universe after a year if, starting with 2 rabbits, ever day, every pair of rabbits alive mate and produce 6 offspring, and no rabbits ever die. (~10^219)
* The approximate value of the largest known prime number (~10^17425169)

See more at my ask MetaFilter page.
ch3cooh: (Cell Phones)
Woot! I survived the week!
MoMath has been very very full of school groups for the past few weeks.  I've been teaching 5 or 6 classes nearly back-to-back every day.  Mainly Cryptography though, which is my favorite of our three classes.
But I'm finally settling into the 'routine' of this, and re-finding the time and energy to do other awesome projects at home on the weekends. :)

Way back in January, a bunch of friends sent me amazing pictures... and I got hosed and hoarded them all to myself.  No more of this.  Here are the results (my favorite pictures) from week 2 (of 4)  More soon.

Category 1:  ID -- Can you ID the subject matter of each of these shots?  (hints behind the cut)
hints/full images )

Category 2: Sometimes the subject matter is simply awesome
full images )

Category 3: Beautiful Locations
full images )


Dec. 12th, 2012 12:12 pm
ch3cooh: (Yosemite)

Interested in mathematical origami or Swedish folk music?  How about online education or filmmaking?  If so, you might want to take a look at the project I'm working on, a site at  It's a page of video-lessons organized in 2 trees of subject matters: "Swedish Folk Music" and "Origami Design."


First of all, I hope you just think it's pretty.  I had a lot of fun doing the art - and the visual metaphore is that 'topics' are trees suspending glowing spheres: 'concepts' so to speak.  I'm not enough of an artist to fully demonstrate how beautiful this idea looks to me:  a forrest, (perhaps more like a garden for the variety ;-) full of softly glowing spheres connected by strings of smaller lights, like a neural network of lights draped over a living forrest.  If I could, I'd make a video in which you zoom out now and see that this lit forrest is itself inside a glowing sphere with thin lines connecting it to nearby concepts in aesthetics, education, and engineering:

So, in that order:


And more feedback/recomendations/insights on what's up already would, of
course, be appreciated!  So comment or email me if you have ideas! :)

ch3cooh: (Default)
LJ! Hi! you haven't read all of the same material, but I think these ideas are awesome, so, over the next few weeks, I'm going to post about them and see if I can maybe even have some awesome discussion.

The realistic and honestly pretty terrifying version of parallel universes that split exponentially as the realization of every choice that could have been made

Awesome things related to this topic:
This story by Borges: The Garden of Forking Paths
This painting by Escher: Angels and Demons
This startrek episode, particularly after 35:00: Star Trek TNG Season 7, Episode 11: Parallels
This old batman/superman movie: Justice League: Crisis on two Earths
and a little bit of Lovelock by Orson Scott Card and even some Fight Club (an awesome movie that I swear I won't spoil at all)

I cut this massive wall of text for your convenience, but if you read and/or respond to it... <3 <3 <3 )

ch3cooh: (Default)
This post is really just a salute to (got it free online! yay!)... and proof that I either have too much spare time, no time management skills, or really really weird priorities...

By the way, if you ever get it in your head to make some dominion cards, poke me if you want the templates I've found and made.

ch3cooh: (ESP)
Halloo, I've been working on a Dominon set for ESP (MIT student group that runs programs where college-students+ teach classes for 7th-12th graders.)  I want the set to be at basically the same power level as normal dominion (aka, if I introduced a card from this into normal dominion, it wouldn't be very over or under powered.)  And I think I want this following list of cards to be the base set.  So, it should have a good balance of costs, card draw, buys, money, actions. Before I spend a bunch of time printing and cutting, etc.  I'd love to get feedback - anything from typos to massive play glitches in the new cards would be very good to know!  Suggestions for other cards, also cool. :)
There's A Lot of Stuff Behind this Cut! (including some pictures) ) 
ch3cooh: (Mr. Red - size huge!)
Yes, yes we did.
The 5 year D&D run that I joined last year just ended. :-(
And, in celebration of the one of the main NPCs, who, incidentally fit the DM's personality pretty well - a giant red dragon, Mr. Red - we made an enormous strawberry shortcake rum-cake. :-D
He was delicious.


More Pictures... om nom nom )
ch3cooh: (Reena-Rabbit the Matrix has you)
I've been working on a series of poems for a class I took this semester, a poetry workshop.  During the first half of the class, there were more specific prompts, but the assignment for the rest of the year is just to write.  I decided to write a series of poems about something about which I dane ;-)  to know a bit more than average: food, cooking, and flavor.

I'm calling the project, "The Life of Flavor" and it's hopefully going to be an interesting cookbook of sorts, where each recipe is preceded by a series of poems that describe, separately, the main flavors and ingredients of each dish.  The idea is that the impression from each poem should hold strongly enough that the reader, having read the poems in quick succession can 'taste' the dish.  :)

For example, a recipe key lime pie would be preceded by four poems on a page:  lime, cool and smooth, graham cracker, and whipped cream.  So far, I've written a poem about lime, and another about... another food (it would spoil reading the poem a bit for me to tell).  Anyway, I've posted the two poems below, and I'd love feedback.  But I'm mainly posting because I'm looking for a few people to help me write.  If you're interested, either post in response or send me an email.

Poem #1 )
Poem #2 )
ch3cooh: (Insomnia)
Answers to this question either of the practical nature, or of a mathematically interesting nature would be much appreciated!

I'm currently scheduling interviews for teaching positions in a summer camp (Junction, an MIT ESP program) I talked with the interviewers and made a schedule of all of the interview slots during which we can convene for interviews. Now I need to email a bunch of prospective teachers and somehow learn enough of their availability to schedule them each for an interview. I'd like to do this without too much email correspondence back and forth since it's a lot of people to keep track of. My current plan is a bit complicated and something less complicated or technology that would help with this would be very appreciated.

There are 35 good interview slots and another 16 ok slots. But for convenience, I'll simply say there are 51 slots. I'll call this set S (interview slots). S is a finite set of non-overlapping hour long intervals between February 21st and March 5th. They are either from an hour to an hour (ex:5pm-6pm) or from a half hour to a half hour (ex:5:30pm-6:30pm). They are distributed irregularly within the range of Feb 21st and March 5th. 20 teachers currently need to be scheduled for interviews, I will call the set of teachers, T. And each Teacher, t_i, has a subset of the interview times that they would be able to make, A_i < S. What is an efficient way to get information from each teacher about their A_i in order to find a unique interview time for each teacher? To further specify 'efficient', let's say that I don't want to ask for more than 10 bits of information in an email, and I want each teacher to need to send me as few emails as possible.

An algorithm that is communication efficient but not always the best is ok (EX: normally requires 2 passed emails with a handful of exception cases where 5 emails may be necessary). However, in this case, know that the trend in my past experience are that some people are very busy and some people are very flexible.

Right now, I'm planning on emailing them all a google form that asks for a bunch of basic info about their class. And, at the end of the form I would ask them to select a subset from a list like this:
Morning of Sunday Feb 21st
Late Evening of Sunday Feb 21st
Early Evening of Thursday Feb 25th
Late Evening of Friday Feb 26th
Where they select an entree if they are available for most of that time range.
I define each time-range of day as follows: Morning (9am-12:30pm), Afternoon(12pm-3:30pm), EarlyEvening(3pm-6:30pm), Late Evening(6:30pm-10pm)
I would then email each person two or three time slots to choose between within one or two of their specified time zones. And they email me back a final time selection.
1) They get an email from me
2) They fill out a form
3) I send them a couple times to choose from
4) They pick a final time

But, honestly, this feels way too complicated! So a better method (from either mathematical or practical experience) would be awesome!



Mar. 30th, 2009 04:45 pm
ch3cooh: (Winter)
Spring break just ended. I don't feel absurdly relaxed or happy at the moment, however, re-reading a few private LJ entries from last week, the difference is pretty remarkable. Cheers to the power of getting regular (if cold) sleep and being surrounded by trees for a few days!

Trip Details

We (Beth, Kree, and I) got into the park by public transportation late Wednesday evening. Behold! we were not even the first MIT students to Acadia. Another group was having their last camp fire and heading out Thursday morning. (too many board games, my first thought was, now, even if another force moves in, Acadia will still be flagged by MIT unless the foreigners choose to fight) We pitched tent by flashlight, and, upon stove failure #1, borrowed a stove from our neighbors to cook dinner.

On Thursday, the other MIT group let me hitchhike with them into Bar Harbor to get some snow cleats that were obviously necessary given the hike up to the Blackwoods base camp (road completely iced over) and parts for the stove. Getting back around 2pm, we decided we only had time for a day-hike to the coast. This turned out to be an amazing choice. The coast trails were icy in the woods, but the cliffs themselves were pretty clear. We climbed all over the cliffs for the afternoon (risked a nasty death to get sprayed with ocean water, climbed up to a rusted banister sticking out of one cliff side) then hiked back into blackwoods and, after stove failure #2, were offered a stove by a recently ex-soldier who made a campfire with us that night.

Friday was an epic attempted hike along a brook. Inland, the trails were not only icy, but had about 16inches of standing snow in most parts. We spent about 3hrs hiking 2 miles up an, albeit beautiful, if freezing cold (yes, by experience) stream. Picking out the trail was non-trivial, at times, I think we were hiking literally on top of the river by accident. Only fell through once, but when we hit an intersecting carriage trail 2 miles in, we decided to take that back to the main road. Even the carriage trail had 8in of snow. Frozen, frozen feet. :-P

We almost canceled the hike over Cadillac Mt. but, having a few hours to spare at the end of Friday, we had decided to check out the first leg of the trail. Something about being well used or well marked made the main trail much more accessible. :) So, on Saturday, we packed up camp (I think my backpack weighed 40 or so lbs) and did an awesome hike across the length of Acadia - 10 miles total. There were some gorgeous, liken covered balds; a few rough spots with 1-2 yards of snow or steep snow that we slid down in phases, woods, of course. The very last leg of the trail was kind of impassible, so we did the last 3 miles by road - disproved a sign claiming that the 'restrooms were closed for the season' :P.

Having left Blackwoods at 11am, we got into Bar Harbor at 7pm, ate dinner at a restaurant, saw Watchmen at a local theater (which was very good), and caught a cab into Ellsworth at midnight. then hotel, bus, bus, T, cab, home! :D
ch3cooh: (nerd)
Pecker (my dorm floor) totally owned the Bad Ideas Green Building Challenge.
For non MITers, this is a ridiculously stupid competition wherein MIT students climb the 20 floor Green Building as many times as they can in 4hrs (10pmFri.-2amSat.). The competition is by team and scoring is cumulative.

Pecker Owned.

--Random (Pecker)--
jacob 31 FIFTH
lauren 29
paul 30
yau zhu 10
danny zhu 17
phil 25
kenneth 21
kenan 23
tedrick 20
maria 42 FIRST
eric 32 FOURTH (tie)
zandra 15
shauale 29
noah caplan 30
seb 17
krishanu 11
jeff wu 27
Avg: 24.058

As a team we had
1) Highest total number of green buildings, thus winning the competition (2nd place Tetazoo with 215 green buildings)
2) Highest average of green buildings per person (2nd place BTB with 20 average GB/person)
3) A runner who ran the most runs of any one competitor -- 42 runs, setting a new girl's record
4) Second best turnout
5) By far, the best morale of any team. It was awesome!

I, myself, did about as much as I could do without hurting myself. (maybe a little more, two days later, my calves are still fairly sore) That was 15 GB's

Just for note:
Random Factoids about the Green Building Challenge:
*Current record is 48GB's by some random 5W-er
*Vertical Mile is equivalent to 20 GB's
"*Tetazoo has been the moral and actual winner in every single Green Building Challenge
since its inception. Just ask any Tetazoa." -- until this year, when Pecker completely owned the entire competition :-P!!

My floor is awesome!
ch3cooh: (Punting)
courtesy of Niki (Niki, /you/ are 'vi-o-let sky!')
Mika - from his album Life in Cartoon Motion
An actual music artist from our generation - 23yrs old :)
by order of frequency I have listened to them tonight:
1) Grace Kelly (on the order of 20 times)
2) Over My Shoulder (5-10)
3) Billy Brown
4) Happy Ending
5) Love Today
a lot like Queen with respect to the variety and relaxed if pop like quality of the music.

Ok, back to Cartesian Dualism :)
ch3cooh: (Insomnia)

This... is an olympic sport -- THE MOST AWESOME OLYMPIC SPORT EVER. MIT has a 'curling club.' -- ET is going to go as fans... because we aren't cool enough to curl.

(the two people in front are sweeping the ice to make it slightly warmer so that the rock (yes, it's a rock with a handle being thrown down an ice rink) goes a bit faster and straighter.
ch3cooh: (Tombstone)
ET has acquired a possibly semi-permanent, hand-carved marble tombstone from one of it's summer residents.  This is the story of how it came from campus to ET at 12:30am last night.:
    I got a call from Dragon (owner of tombstone) at 11:05 last night asking "hey, where are you, we need to get this out of here tonight."  So I caught the 11:15 Saferide back to ET and found the van to have a dead battery.  Getting the hood open was an epic puzzle in itself -- took me nearly 20min since ET evidently has *no* working flashlights :-P.  Fist step was finding this small lever on the driver's side and then sitting on the driveway for 10 minutes staring at the still-closed latch under the hood (now exposed by popping the hood with the lever) until I realized it needed to be pushed sideways 1cm in order to uncatch.  But, - oh *no* -  ET has no jumper cables either!  So I need to go to Comm. Ave. at 12:15 now to catch a cab, but, wait, I have no money (HSSP really soaks it out of the Directors - program's supposed to go overbudget of 400 students * $30 = $12,000 and about 1/4 of that passes through the directors - HSSP owes me about $2000 right now. :-P).  But I know that ET keeps a big cup of spare change so I grab that and offer to exchange with a few other summer residents.  One of them thinks it would be hillarious to pay off his friend in dimes and nickels, so I get $15 with a promise to count it out later.  I run down to Comm. Ave.  Grab a cab, but, WAIT - IT CAN'T START.  At this point I kind of feel like I'm exuding a negative charge field, but I ask the driver if he has jumper cables and he says yes.  Then another cab, seeing us stranded, offers a ride, and the two drivers negotiate (in some language that I can't understand at all, with a lot of clicks and pops) that the latter can take the former's jumper cable and help me jump the van.  So I take this cab and the cables up to ET and after two tries (black of working, running car -black of discharged batterg, /then/ red of working - (*be careful, it sparks*) red of disfunctional car, and then start the disfunctional car).  Fails.  The driver tells me to get water, sketchily washes the corrosion off of ET's engine, and tries again. AND IT STARTS!  So, then to campus, pick up this 250lb beautifully hand-carved tombstone (white marble relief of a crouched girl), and back to ET where it now sits in the living room.  :-)  One hell of a night!

pict of Dragon's tombstone:
ch3cooh: (Shiny Calculator)
:-D  Today I learned that my window's accessory calculator can change to //Scientific Mode// in which it is a super-computer of awesome that eats numbers in base hexadecimal!

as context, every Friday/Saturday/Sunday I do an overhaul-shift so that I can be nightshifted during the week (I get up at 5pm for Junction) and super dayshifted for HSSP, Sunday (I get up around 5am to print out and write stuff, get the carts together and... sometimes finish class prep) -- this shift generally occurs by being up for most of some 24 hr period.  If I'm bad, then It's the 24hrs around HSSP -- that makes me sad since I'm teaching for the /last/ 5.5 of those hours so I prefer to shift Friday or Saturday -- so, i've been awake for a while... the world is beautiful... my calculator fascinates me...
ch3cooh: (Fringes of Chaos)
Nice!  My HSSP students are SO shiny!  Fringes of Chaos II is officially on for next spring.  I mean, I gave them this:

IFS Fractals, Hausdorff Dimension, Topological Dimension, The Mandelbrot Set, The Chaos Game, Fractals In nature, Colors of Noise, Neural Nets, Intro to Cellular Automata, The game of Life, Fractals in Literature, Fractals in Ancient Art and Architecture,  Rigorously Defined Chaos, Significant Dependence on Initial Conditions, Strange Attractors, The Logistic Equation, Lorenz's Water Wheel, Shannon's Coding, Rigorously Defined Information Entropy, The Philosophy of Entropy in Physics, The Carnot Engine, and Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

and they still want more!  And so this:

More Information Theory, Statistical Mechanics (thermo), Intro to Continuum Systems, Theory of Computation, Turing machines, Boolean analysis, Computability, Time and Space complexity of algorithms, Decidability, the Halting Problem, Complexity Theory, Interactive proof systems, Non Deterministic Computational Models, and I'll probably throw in some lambda calculus, Godel's Incompleteness, Goldbach's conjecture, and then ending with the edge of Quantum and bounds of Information transfer in physics

is the course I get to prep.
And we're reading through and discussing Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid over the summer. :-)

Aaaaah!  My students rock so much!  This class is going to be awesome!!
ch3cooh: (Insomnia)
Hmm, retrospectively, 16:00 is a bit of an odd time to be going to bed... ah well... better set the alarm to cinnimmon- wait! no, nutmeg! or I'll be late.  Tomorrow's Gonsday after all and I'll need to be ready in time for the dustbuster SCUBA (Self-Contained Undercarpet Breathing Apparatus) convention at 14:165...
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