Joan Miró = Sun Sign

April 20th, 2009

116 years ago today abstract painter/sculptor Joan Miró was born in Barcelona. He had an obsession with imaging the Sun in new ways. Apparently, so do IBM and Oracle.

(From left to right) The Red Sun, Dancing Under the Red Sun, The Adoration of the (Blue/Red) Sun, The Gold of the Blue, Managing the Sun, Upsidedown Under the Red Sun.

Innovation = It isn’t rocket science

February 9th, 2009

Oh yeah, … it is!

This is based on real events, and was produced and directed by a NASA astronaut.

On a brighter note, the 2009 online calendar for Yuri’s night parties worldwide is up.

“Yuri Gagarin was the first human to go into space on April 12th, 1961. The US Space Shuttle first launched on April 12th, 1981. Yuri’s Night is like the St Patricks Day or Cinco de Mayo for space. It is one day when all the world can come together and celebrate the power and beauty of space and what it means for each of us.”

Interestingly, there is no party yet for either Boston nor Moscow.

Mystery Mathematicians by Eisenstaedt = D. Blackwell

November 22nd, 2008

As we guessed, some of the uncaptioned photographs by Life Magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt are indeed of famous mathematicians. We’ve identified 3. Here is the first.

David Blackwell, is perhaps the world’s most famous black mathematician. While the Rao-Blackwell theorem may be his most important, his favorite paper is On an Equation by Wald, written while teaching at Howard University, where he taught for 10 years after a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study with the likes of Einstein and Von Neumann in 1941 at age of 22. That appointment included nomination as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton, causing controversy and opposition from the University adminstration. Perhaps that is why he only applied to teach at black colleges.

In 1954 things had changed sufficiently to where he could move to the new Statistics department at UC Berkeley. In 1965, a year after these photos were taken, he became the first black elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He co-wrote a classic textbook that is still in print. There is a wondeful interview from 2002 online. Professor Blackwell is actively retired in Northern California with his large family. Next April 24th he celebrates his 90th birthday.

Mystery Math Portraits by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life = unpublished book

November 20th, 2008

Time Magazine has already opened its archives, and now Time/Life and Google have an index to Life Magazine‘s photographs. This is great news, because Life chronicled and portraited America in photographs; and no one better than the great photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. He gave us “the kiss” and Marilyn Monroe.

Apparently, in 1962/3 mathematician/computer scientist Dr. John G. Kemeny was preparing a math book using Eisenstaedt’s portraits of famous scientists. There are over 30 in the archives, including a famous picture of Kurt Godel, a great shot of the wonderful Stanislaw Ulam, and some other facinating portraits.

But who are they?  Is that Eugene Wigner? The captions don’t say. I invite elucidation.

1/!5 = historic

November 5th, 2008


Patrick Moberg illustration. BTW, BHO will be President number 44 = !5 = number of derangements of the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}.

Match = Pol to Car

October 9th, 2008

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi & Stanislav Petrov = Men who saved the World from war

October 2nd, 2008

Born on this date in 1869 and assassinated 60 years ago, Mahatma Ghandi’s great TRUTH is the possibility of using non-violence to achieve freedom and justice.  He said,

If the mad race for armaments continues, it is bound to result in a slaughter such as has never occurred in history.

On September 26, 1983 it almost happened. As recounted in an upcoming documentary by independent director Slawomir Grünberg, a Soviet Lieutenant in charge of monitoring US missles correctly assessed 5 blips on his radar as system errors, and did not push the red button.  For his courage, Stanislav Petrov was retired early with a $200 per month pension. After the incident was declassified, Petrov won a $1000 award from the Association of World Citizens.

Director Grünberg has been filming in High Def using the Sony HDW-F900, a camera with an MSRP of $100,000 that can be picked up for a mere $40,000 on the street. Recently Canon announced the EOS 5D Mark II at a MSRP of under $2800.  Vincent LaForet demonstrates why this is a revolutionary camera.

!eggstrondinary = BA on APOD (again)

September 21st, 2008

Okay, its Autumnal not Vernal, but can’t an Equinox go by without egg balancing, and the obligatory reference to the Bad Astronomer’s explanations.  According to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (available as a Windows background), edited by Robert Nemiroff, who has a free Astronomy course online, and Jerry Bonnell, apparently no.   APOD again published the picture of BA Plait (whose new book is out October 20th) balancing eggs in his kitchen.  The kids above show Phil up by balancing eggs on their (Blefuscudian) small end.

Update: eggPOD