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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Math & Fantasy Football

Dan Flockhart is a Math teacher at College of
the Redwoods, in Eureka, California.

The author developed this book on 'Fantasy
Football and Mathematics" as part of a thesis
project for a Masters degree at Humboldt
State University by combining 20 years'
participation in Fantasy Football with 11
years experience teaching mathematics to
students in grades 5–8. The book can be
found at www.fantasyfootballmath.com
and lists for $19.95. Dan launched this
company in 2004.

The book can be used as a teacher’s
resource guide for grades 5-12. The
guide aims to motivate students and
close the achievement gap between white students and underrepresented
students by capitalizing on the phenomenal growth of Fantasy Football, a
game in which 30 million people worldwide participate. The book
illustrates fractions, linear equations, some geometry and more with
football statistics and various scenarios. The website that accompanies
the book has many examples and further explanation of the concept.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Again Fibonacci Patterns ...

Fibonacci patterns are numerical sequences that fascinated the Italian
mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci in the early 1200s. Each entry of the
sequence is obtained by adding the two previous numbers together: 0, 1,
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144....

The patterns have been noted to frequently appear in biological settings,
like the spiral arrangement of the florests, seeds, sepals and scales on
such plants as pinecones, pineapples and sunflowers. For instance, people
may find two sets of lines connecting the centers of each segment of the
pinecone, 13 in clockwise and 8 in counterclockwise; or, in terms of
sunflower spirals, the combinations can be in 21 by 34, 34 by 55 until 89
by 144.

Fibonacci patterns has come back to the news because for the first time
these patterns have been grown with inorganic materials on a micrometer
scale by Chinese researchers.

It is a big challenge for materials scientists to produce highly ordered micro-
and nanostructures in a designed pattern with uniform size and shape.
By controlling the geometry and the stress upon cooling, Chinese Academy
of Science (CAS) researchers coaxed a microstructure to self-assemble into
the triangular tessellation and Fibonacci number patterns on its surface.
Their work 'Triangular and Fibonacci number patterns driven by stress on
core/shell microstructures' was published on the August 5 issue of 'Science'.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Maplesoft's Maple T.A. 2.5

Yesterday Maplesoft, announced the availability of Maple T.A.(TM) 2.5.
The upgraded Web-based testing and assessment system is integrated
with Maple 10, Maplesoft's powerful math engine, and its new Equation
Editor. Maple T.A. 2.5 also includes updates to the Assignment Editor,
Question Bank Editor and Class Management. These updates enable
colleges and universities to further enhance modern post-secondary
mathematics education.

Maple T.A.'s integration of the new Maplesoft Equation Editor provides
access to the editor in all question types, as well as delivering improved
formatting of expressions and enhanced preview capabilities. The new
plotmaple command enables Maple plots to be created as algorithmic
variables and used in questions, hints, feedback and solutions.

Maple-graded questions in Maple T.A. 2.5 can now be programmed to
provide partial credit, grading students' responses with a mark between
0 and 1. And, with the integration of Maple 10, Maple T.A. 2.5 provides
access to the new functionality of the latest release of Maple. With these
enhancements, teachers are able to create more sophisticated questions,
create questions in less time and distribute richer content to their students.

For more information contact Maplesoft Sales at 1-800-267-6583, email custservice@maplesoft.com or visit

Thursday, August 18, 2005


EqWorld website Logo

The EqWorld website http://eqworld.ipmnet.ru is a much needed
internet-world of Mathematical equations maintained by an international
collaboration. It's a one-stop source of extensive information on algebraic,
ordinary differential, partial differential, integral, functional, and other
mathematical equations.

All link pages are useful and opens up various aspects of the wonderful
world of these equations. Page-links outline exact solutions and some
methods for solving equations and include interesting articles. It also
provides links to math software websites and lists useful handbooks,
textbooks, etc.

The website contains over 1200 web pages. All resources presented on
EqWorld are free to its users.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Knots of Inca Strings

Harvard University researchers Gary
Urton and Carrie Brezine used
computers to come closer to solving a
centuries-old mystery - by
deciphering knotted string used by
the ancient Incas. Experts say one
bunch of knots appears to identify a
city, marking the first intelligible
word from the extinct South American
civilisation. The coloured, knotted
pieces of string, known as khipu,
are believed to have been used for
accounting information. The researchers analysed 21 khipu and found a
3-knot pattern in some of the strings which they believe identifies the
bunch as coming from the city of Puruchuco, the site of an Inca palace.

In a report published in the journal Science, they wrote"We hypothesize
that the arrangement of three figure-8 knots at the start of these khipu
represented the place identifier, or toponym, Puruchuco. ... We suggest
that any khipu moving within the state administrative system bearing an
initial arrangement of three figure-8 knots would have been immediately
recognisable to Inca administrators as an account pertaining to the palace
of Puruchuco."

Most experts believed the khipu represented an accounting system, but
until now, no-one had been able to decipher them.