# The Wine Merchant’s Will

A wine merchant left 24 casks of wine to his three sons, and the casks were in the following conditions: 5 casks were full. 11 casks were half-full. 8 casks were empty. His last will said that each son must be bequeathed with the same amount of wine and the same number of casks. To […]

# An Ingenious Marble Adding Machine

From time to time, I would find something truly remarkable on the web and the following is a good example: Matthias Wandel was able to contruct a wooden adding machine that adds binary numbers. However, the most curious thing about it is that it is operated by marbles. Just watch the video to see its […]

# Gleanings from the Past #87

Geometry and Poetry Geometry seems to stand for all that is practical, poetry for all that is visionary, but in the kingdom of the imagination you will find them close akin, and they should go together as a precious heritage to every youth. — Florence Milner, School Review, 1898 Epitaph on Richard Adlam In the romantic village […]

# Creative Accounting

A farmer sent three sons to college. On their return home, wishing to see how their college education had fitted them for business, he gave to his youngest son ten eggs, to the second son thirty eggs, and to the eldest son fifty eggs. He told them to take their eggs to the market to […]

# “This Is Trivial” (Or Is It?)

There was a popular anecdote about mathematician G. H. Hardy (1877 – 1947) that goes like this: While conducting a lecture on Number Theory, he said that a certain mathematical notion was trivial. But after a little while, he hesitated and asked, “Is it trivial?” He then excused himself and went to his office. After […]

# Mathematicians And Demagogues

Here’s a little wordplay I came up with: There’s nothing special about it though a few people who heard it though that it’s amusing.

Imagine an infinite row of boxes, each unlocked, each with a key in its lock. At time , lock Box 1 and put its key into Box 2. At time , lock Box 2 and put its key into Box 3. . . . At time , lock Box  and put its key into Box […]

# Less Is More: A Poetic Paradox

Image: NASA In his Paradoxes in Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics (1986), Gábor J. Székely shared a paradox learned from his professor, Alfréd Rényi: Since I started to deal with information theory I have often meditated upon the conciseness of poems; how can a single line of verse contain far more ‘information’ than a highly […]