The Mathematician and the Three Lost Men

Three men are in a hot-air balloon.  Soon, they find themselves lost in a canyon somewhere.  One of the three men says, “I’ve got an idea. We can call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices to the end of the canyon. Someone’s bound to hear us by then!”

So he leans over the basket and screams out, “Helllloooooo! Where are we?”

(They hear the echo several times).

MOTEGI Hot Air Balloon International Campionship

Fifteen minutes later, they hear this echoing voice: “Helllloooooo! You’re lost!” The shouter comments, “That must have been a mathematician.” Puzzled, his friend asks, “Why do you say that?”

“For three reasons. First, he took a long time to answer, second, he was absolutely correct, and, third, his answer was absolutely useless.”

Source: Math 2.0 Forum (Please inform me if you know the original author.)

Cryptography: The Science of Encoding and Decoding Messages

Sending secret messages using codes has been a practice since the ancient time. In the Roman Empire, military officers would let messengers cut their hair, tattoo a secret message on their head, and send them to another place to relay the message once the hair had grown.

cryptography

In Sparta, a device called  scytale consisting of a cylindrical tool with a strip of parchment was used to encode and decode messages.  Julius Caesar was known to perform letter substitutions to messages to make them unreadable. The method is now known as the Caesar cipher. Continue reading

10 Funny Math Quotes That Will Make You Giggle

Many of us find mathematics boring, so here are some funny math quotes that will make you smile or even giggle.

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“Mathematics is made of 50 percent formulas, 50 percent proofs, and 50 percent imagination.”

Women have a passion for mathematics. They divide their age in half, double the price of their clothes, and always add at least five years to the age of their best friend.

“Small minds discuss persons. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas. Really great minds discuss mathematics.”

“Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more.” — Albert Einstein Continue reading

What if your paycheck…

… looks like this? What would you do?

If I were you, I would immediately inform my employer that I can’t accept this paycheck since e^{i\pi} = -1 and \sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{1}{2^n}=1 (Why?). This is only worth 0.002 dollars.

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