## Archive for the ‘Cool Videos’ Category

## Math about the Electoral College

This was a surprisingly good video about the math of the U.S. Electoral College system. At first I kept saying “but wait a minute…” but all my concerns were addressed in the video, and then some. I was surprised by the revelation (towards the end of the video) that it is theoretically possible (although not likely) to win the seat of President of the United States with less than 23% of the popular vote. Wow.

There is some great math of ratios and percents here. You can find data and other pertinent information about the Electoral College here.

You might also enjoy playing the Redistricting Game with your students, where you can “recast” who wins an election based on how you draw the boundaries on a map.

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## A reason to calculate the vertex

If you ever needed a REASON to calculate the highest point of a parabola that opens downward, here’s one.

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## Nature by Numbers

If you teach Math for Elementary Teachers or Math for Liberal Arts, you just have to see this Nature by Numbers video by Eterea Studios.

The Nature by Numbers website provides background information about the mathematics in the movie.

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## David McCandless: Data Detective

I just finished watching the TED Talk by David McCandless called “The Beauty of Data Visualization” and it is stunningly awesome! In the talk, he discusses the importance of understanding the relativeness of data when it is reported in the news. ”Visualizing information is a form of knowledge compression” where we squeeze enormous amount of information and understanding into a small space. McCandless was not trained in graphic design, but “”being exposed to all this media over the years had instilled a kind of dormant design literacy in me.” He says he is something of a “data detective” (see his graph “Mountains out of Molehills” in the talk for an example).

Edward Tufte also discusses the importance of data visualization, but he is something of a technology Luddite. David’s interactive digital data visualization “Snake Oil” is simply awesome and demonstrates a path that “information supergraphics” could take if Tufte were to embrace technology instead of just bashing it (I went to one of Tufte’s workshops last year and I can tell you that the only “good technology” was his iPhone).

If there was ever a video to show a math or statistics class at the beginning of the semester, this might be it. Of course, then you’ll actually have to DO some data visualization during the semester, but hey – it will keep you honest!

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## My Interview at Wolfram Alpha HomeworkDay

Believe it or not, it was scarier to watch the video than to do the interview! I think I will tuck my hair behind my ears next time.

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## Math Videos at the Sputnik Observatory

The Sputnik Observatory, is dedicated to providing a venue for viewing and sharing ideas and philosophies of contemporary culture. Jonathan Harris, who worked on the mindblowing sociological website We Feel Fine, is the site director and blog creator for Sputnik Observatory. Sputnik also has a host of codirectors with diverse backgrounds in journalism, architecture, and ballet. Members of Sputnik have spent the last ten years interviewing scientists, philosophers, academics, and the like. They have over 200 videos of conversations on themes such as coherence, interspecies communication, and urban metabolism.

“Sputnik Observatory is a New York not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the study of contemporary culture. We fulfill this mission by documenting, archiving, and disseminating ideas that are shaping modern thought by interviewing leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology from around the world. Our philosophy is that ideas are NOT selfish, ideas are NOT viruses. Ideas survive because they fit in with the rest of life. Our position is that ideas are energy, and should interconnect and re-connect continuously because by linking ideas together we learn, and new ideas emerge.”

Here are some of the short interviews that involve mathematics (and all really COOL mathematics). All of these can be embedded into course shells.

Will Wright – Possibility Space

Ian Stewart – Alien Mathematics

Ian Stewart – Pattern-Seeking Minds

Lord Martin Rees – Simple Recipe

Trevor Paglen – Geologic Agents

Jacques Vallee – Information Universe

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## Calculus Rhapsody

A great find (thanks Caroline) … students definitely make the best videos.

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## Sixty Symbols

Do you ever come across a Greek symbol in your reading and think, “now what does that stand for again?” Professors and other experts at the University of Nottingham have made a series of YouTube videos that will (hopefully) jog your memory. Their site is called Sixty Symbols (I wonder what they’ll do when they find more than 60 symbols?).

They also may make nice descriptors for those symbols you cover in class. You can also embed the videos in an online course shell in the appropriate topics.

Here’s ∞ (infinity) for your any level of math class after the first discussion of interval notation.

And *j* (for imaginary numbers, which is *i* in many U.S. math texts).

Or how about ω (angular velocity) for that Trig class you’re teaching?

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## Intriguing Inverses

Finally, I’ve made a sequel to Funky Function Notation. Here is Intriguing Inverses. Feel free to embed in courses or use in the classroom or presentations. Enjoy.

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## Mathematical Coral Reefs

Margaret Wertheim speaks at TED about the beautiful mathematics of coral reefs, hyperbolic geometry, and more. In particular, I liked her bit (around the 8-minute mark) where she says that if zero and one are already possible answers, then mathematicians would become immediately suspicious that infinity might be one too (think, how many ways can two lines intersect). She also discusses the inability to see a principle when it is right in front of your face (like the hyperbolic geometry in leafy lettuce).

Margaret Wertheim on the Beautiful Mathematics of Coral Reefs

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