Progress in upgrading math's tools has been uneven: blackboards have become whiteboards, but calculators and software have come up short in trying to replicate the speed and simplicity of pencil and paper. Math-o-mir is the result of the surprisingly difficult effort to develop a software-based equation editor to meet that need. It's a free tool with one goal, to make writing and editing mathematical equations as easy and natural as scribbling on a pad. It's not a math engine, design tool, or image editor, though it uses some of the same concepts, such as freehand drawing and … Read more
There's a celebration for everything these days--National Yo-Yo Day, Ice Cream Day, even Corduroy Day. March 14 was Pi Day--3.14... get it? On Pi Day, which celebrates the number that represents the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle, enthusiasts had pie-eating contests and played educational games.
Guess what today is! It's Tau Day. Tau represents the circumference of a circle divided by the radius, which is approximately 6.28. Today is June 28... get it?
Apparently, people have been celebrating this day for 10 years. On Tau Day last year, theoretical physicist Michael Hartl launched the Tau Manifesto, which explained why pi is confusing and instead should be replaced with tau.
One of his reasons: Since tau is the ratio of circumference to radius of a circle, circles are more naturally defined by their radius than diameter. (Are you still following this?)… Read more
Yesterday's batch of free iPhone games got me in the mood for more free stuff. I mean, even cheap deals cost money, right? Sometimes you just gotta give the credit card a rest.
With that in mind, I've rounded up a handful of freebies for today. Nothing earth-shattering, but some worthwhile stuff to satisfy your daily-deal sweet tooth.
First up, Amazon is offering a free $2 credit for use at its MP3 store. Just click that link and enter code CLOUDMP3. Presto: you've got two bucks to blow on the songs or album of your choice. (If … Read more
It can be hard to get a techie to relax. We are often found toiling away at Internet start-ups, programming under pressure, or blasting away at Call of Duty as enemies swarm across the lines.
The new emWave2 stress management system from HeartMath features several components that geeks love: a gadget, a computer program, and lots of cool graphs. It also has 20 years worth of stress research behind its development, but the glowing lights are what first catch your eye.
According to HeartMath, emWave technology is already being used by more than 10,000 health professionals, including 65 Veteran Administration hospitals and clinics for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment. The second-generation emWave2 is designed for personal use and is portable enough to tuck in your pocket. It also adds a computer interface and desktop program that can track your results, and it has several additional applications including a slideshow and a garden game that adds colors and images as you relax.
I got my hands on the emWave2 and took it for a stress-test drive. The $229 kit includes both an ear and a thumb monitor for your heart rate. I used the thumb monitor. It also includes a line of blue lights that give you visual feedback for controlling your breathing.… Read more
Save for the cheesy name, World's Ultimate Brain is quite a well-put-together puzzle game for Android. It tests your brain's speed and agility across four different categories: Calculation, Memory, Visual Recognition, and Logic. Your simple job is to race the clock and answer as many questions correctly as possible. Once you finish, the app will calculate your score, and submit it to the worldwide leaderboard. If you're extra proud of your intellectual skills, you can even have it post your score to Facebook, Twitter, or (inexplicably) MySpace.
While World's Ultimate Brain is indeed fun, easy to … Read more
Honoring some of the nation's brightest high school seniors for achievements in math and science, Intel yesterday awarded the three highest prizes in its Science Talent Search for three very different types of projects.
The top prize of $100,000 went to Evan O'Dorney, 17, of Danville, Calif., for a project in which he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer, discovering which one was the quickest. Though that may sound abstract to non-math people, the results of O'Dorney's research allowed him to solve other equations that could be used to encrypt … Read more
In Massachusetts today, hundreds of apple pies are being delivered to math and science teachers within a 3.14-mile radius of the Raytheon headquarters in Waltham. If that first sentence didn't clue you in as to why, then you aren't living up to your mathletic potential.
Yes, number geeks, it's 3/14, the 22nd year the date has officially been observed as Pi Day, in honor of that trigonometric wunderkind also known as 22/7. The first Pi Day observation was spearheaded by the San Francisco Exploratorium, but the museum is closed on Mondays, so this year it's up to the rest of us to pick up the slack.
Fortunately, there's no shortage of pi celebrations taking place around the world:One of the biggest pi parties today takes place at Princeton University, where the day is also celebrated as Albert Einstein's birthday. It's all part of Princeton's Geek Freak celebration, which wraps up today--plenty of pies and Einstein look-alikes are on hand. If you're part of the Silicon Valley start-up scene, there's a SXSW Pi Day party at the British Bankers Club in Menlo Park with the requisite pi recitation contest. The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., is offering discounts today (Salvador was a big pi fan), and in Tampa at the Museum of Science and Industry you can take the Pi Day challenge, solve a series of logic-based puzzles, and get in for free.… Read more
It's almost like a "Wizard of Oz" moment for Texas Instruments, which is opening the door to color displays on its popular calculators.
Next month, the semiconductor and educational technology giant is launching the $165 TI-Nspire CX handheld, its thinnest and lightest graphing calculator ever. The specs completely blow away the TI-84 that I used in college.
Thankfully, TI has moved away from the monochromatic screen of yesteryear and boasts that the CX has a 3.2-inch 16-bit color LCD (320x240) with a respectable 125 DPI. TI also bumped up the memory in the CX series compared to previous TI-Nspire models with 100MB of onboard storage and 64MB of RAM. I can imagine hackers are already salivating to get Doom and Game Boy Color emulators running on this thing as soon as possible.
Of course, the real strength of a TI calculator is its ability to handle higher-level mathematic concepts. The TI-Nspire CX is designed for pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, trigonometry, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics, business and finance, biology, physics, chemistry, and calculus classes.
An alternate Computer Algebra System (CAS) model is also available and is approved for standardized testing, such as the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, AP, IB, and Praxis exams. I wonder if it can calculate how many commas were in my last two sentences. … Read more
What's better than one great deal? Three great deals, of course! Now that I'm all rested up after the long weekend, I bring you this money-saving threesome:
1. Today only, a deal-of-the-day outfit called PricePlunge has an 8GB Dane-Elec flash drive for $7.99, plus 99 cents for shipping. Compatible with Windows and Mac systems, the drive is capless and retractable, two features I quite like. Plus, it comes with a five-year warranty. I should note that I've never purchased anything from PricePlunge, so I can't vouch for the reliability of the company. (If you can, … Read more
LAS VEGAS--After a long, hard week at CES, a little stress relief is in order. But can you achieve a peaceful state through a portable PC gadget?
Being demoed at CES this week is the Emwave 2 personal stress reliever from HeartMath. This portable device lets you monitor your stress levels and help you calm down. Specifically, it monitors your heart rhythms as an indicator of how stressed you may be. To use the device, you connect it to your PC and place your finger on its small monitor. A graph charting your heart patterns then appears on the PC.… Read more