Monday, July 31, 2017

Dodgers Get Yu Darvish (and Two Left-Handed Relievers)!

The Dodgers made a huge trade today: we acquired starting pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers for three prospects.

In separate deals, we also traded for left-handed relief pitchers Tony Watson of the Pirates and Tony Cingrani of the Reds.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dodgers Win (Again)!

Dodgers win!

This team is so amazing.

We now have an astounding 74–31 record (after our 8th win in a row, and recently we had 10-game and 11-game winning streaks).

We also now have a 14-game lead!

Adrián Beltré Gets 3000th Career Hit!

Adrián Beltré just got his 3000th career Major League hit.

Next stop, Cooperstown! And it will be on the first ballot.

Beltré has been appreciated more in recent years as his counting numbers approach 'magic' milestones, but I still don't think most people truly appreciate just how excellent his career has been. I can't remember who wrote this — was it — but I recently saw an estimate that put him in the top-5 third basemen of all time.

There is also a discussion at about future members of the 3000-hit club. The next member will be Albert Pujols, who will become the second person from the Dominican Republic (Beltré is the first) in the 3000-hit club. I believe that the next person after that will be Miguel Cabrera and then Robinson Canó. (Here are the active leaders in career hits.)

Update: Here's a new article in about Beltré's greatness as both an offensive player and defensive player.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Super Geniuses :)

(Tip of the cap to Melanie Mitchell.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Amazing Street Art

This street art is amazing!

(Tip of the cap to multiple people.)

Things Rick Astley Would Never Do: 30-Year Anniversary

I wore my 'Things Rick Astley Would Never Do' shirt two days ago, but had I known that the song was released 30 years ago yesterday, I would have instead worn the shirt yesterday to celebrate in a proper manner.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Proper Way to Record 'A-Ha' Moments

We've spent a lot of time this week talking about A-Ha moments for students, and now I know the app that I'm going to use to record them!

(I don't normally care about gratuitous apps, but I am seriously geeking out over this one! I want to try this out.)

P.S. The video for "Take on Me" is the best music video of all time! And this is one of the best songs all time — definitely in my top 5.

Mathematican–Footballer John Urschel Retires Abruptly

Mathematical and National Football League (NFL) player John Urschel has retired abruptly after the release of the latest chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) study.

It's too bad that he won't continue pursuing both careers, but I have to say that I feel warm and fuzzy about passion for mathematics being such an important facet of his decision. (And his publication record for somebody at his career stage is very impressive even before considering the fact that he's simultaneously been playing pro football, which then makes it astounding.)

"I think it hurt my ability to think well mathematically," Urschel said. "It took me about three weeks before I was football-ready. It took me a little bit longer before my high-level visualizations ability came back."

(Tip of the cap to Eric Eager.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Highlighting Responses to Reviewers


A 1995 Dystopian Vision of the Web

This article, presenting a dystopian vision of the Web, was written by astronomer Clifford Stoll in 1995. A recent article discusses Stoll's 1995 piece.

(Tip of the cap to Manlio De Domenico, who retweeted Valids Krebs.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Math Profs are the Least Boring (And Other Observations from Data Analysis)

Here is some interesting data analysis using reviews from Rate My Professors.

You can see from this data analysis that math professors appear to be the least boring among all professors (yay!) and there are some expected (and perhaps more surprising) gender gaps (boo!) in the reviews.

(Tip of the cap to Nicholas Christakis.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'National Nobody Cares Day'

April 11th is `National Nobody Cares Day'. Yes, this really exists.

(The things I learn when listening to a baseball game... The context, unsurprisingly, is all of the rather specific days there are — several of them each day — and most of them seem rather pointless. For example, tomorrow is National Lollypop Day.)

Wow! The Dodgers are Insane!

We're leading 9–1 today in the 6th inning, so presumably we will win.

That will make 11 wins in a row and a 31–4 record in our last 35 games!

Entering today, with our record of 65–29, we were more games above .500 than we have been any day since the last day of the 1974 season (so before I was born), when we won 102 games.


Also, based on current records (or perhaps All-Star break records?), 30 out of our first 36 games after the break are slated to be against teams that are under .500.

"The Tonight Show" Starring Edward Teller?

Wow. Here are some pictures of Edward Teller as a television-show host.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Wow! These turkey tail 'shrooms are beautiful!

(Tip of the cap to GrrlScientist.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Not "Atomic Blondie"

I saw a billboard for the movie Atomic Blonde from my apartment building, and I was really excited that there was going to be a biopic about the band Blondie. So I looked up the IMDB entry, and the movie is in fact rather different.

This, by the way, was a very natural mistake to make. I hope that the song "Atomic" is in the film, at least.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bansky's Tweet about Modern-Day Education

The cartoon below illustrates the point very effectively.

Just about* every time that I got into trouble at school was an instance of rebelling against this (which was already the case when I was in elementary school and high school).

* Most other instances involved a radio and a baseball game.

(Tip of the cap to Nalini Joshi.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

RIP Maryam Mirzakhani (1977–2017)

Another person has been taken from us way too soon, and this one is particularly sad. Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman to ever win the Fields Medal (though I look forward to changing that description to "the first" rather than "the only"), has died of cancer at age 40.

Here is the BBC's obituary.

(Tip of the cap to Nalini Joshi.)

Update: The Stanford obituary was written nicely. (Tip of the cap to Leslie Sheppard.)

Update: Here is Terry Tao's tribute.

Update (7/18/17): Here is the AMS's brief obituary, which includes links to some other tributes as well as prior articles.

Update (8/15/17): Here is a blog entry by Anna Haensch with links to various articles about Mirzakhani and other prominent women mathematicians who died recently.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Do the Laws of Australia Supercede the Laws of Mathematics

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull apparently thinks so. To quote him, "Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia."

Good luck with that one.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Uncountably Many Espresso Combinations

The new SMBC is about both mathematics and coffee, so it's right up my alley.

I'm pretty sure that one can also use a modification of the "diagonal argument" to prove that the set is uncountable. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What Happens in Pittsburgh Remains in Pittsburgh

I am heading off to the 2017 SIAM Network Science Workshop, which I am co-organizing with Michelle Girvan. I'll also be making occasional cameos at the SIAM Annual Meeting. On Friday night, I'll go to the local baseball game to see the Pirates host the Cardinals.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What Happens in Nottingham Stays in Nottingham

I am off to Nottingham for today and part of tomorrow for a collaboration meeting about piecewise-smooth systems.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

7.5-Game Lead!

With today's Dodger victory, coupled with a loss by the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have extended their lead in the National League West to 7.5 games. We are now 61–29, which is the best record in Baseball! (Yesterday we narrowly went ahead of the Astros.) If we play .500 baseball the rest of the year, we'll end up with 97 wins, which is the most that the Dodgers have had in the regular season since 1977. Very cool!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

"Mean-Field Approach to Evolving Spatial Networks, with an Application to Osteocyte Network Formation"

One of my papers came out in final form today. Here are the details.

Title: Mean-Field Approach to Evolving Spatial Networks, with an Application to Osteocyte Network Formation

Authors: Jake P. Taylor-King, David Basanta, S. Jonathan Chapman, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: We consider evolving networks in which each node can have various associated properties (a state) in addition to those that arise from network structure. For example, each node can have a spatial location and a velocity, or it can have some more abstract internal property that describes something like a social trait. Edges between nodes are created and destroyed, and new nodes enter the system.We introduce a "local state degree distribution" (LSDD) as the degree distribution at a particular point in state space. We then make a mean-field assumption and thereby derive an integro-partial differential equation that is satisfied by the LSDD. We perform numerical experiments and find good agreement between solutions of the integro-differential equation and the LSDD from stochastic simulations of the full model. To illustrate our theory, we apply it to a simple model for osteocyte network formation within bones, with a view to understanding changes that may take place during cancer. Our results suggest that increased rates of differentiation lead to higher densities of osteocytes, but with a smaller number of dendrites. To help provide biological context, we also include an introduction to osteocytes, the formation of osteocyte networks, and the role of osteocytes in bone metastasis.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Best. Erratum. Ever.

I love it! :)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

What Happens in Newcastle Stays in Newcastle

I just spent much of the weekend in Newcastle hanging out with old friends.

A Wikipedian Text Adventure

Someone wrote some software to turn Wikipedia into a text adventure in a really nice homage to Infocom. I approve!