Occupy Math announces a book by Daniel Ashlock


bookpicOne of Occupy Math’s research areas is figuring out how to get computers to produce game content more-or-less automatically. This post announces a book that summarizes many of Occupy Math’s findings. You can buy a copy from my publisher Morgan and Claypool, but if you are part of a university or other institution that subscribes to the Morgan and Claypool synthesis series then an e-book with unlimited use for students and faculty will show up in your library presently. Profits go to Occupy Math’s consulting company, which funds students and research!

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Image of the Week #97

This is a deep zoom into the cubic mandelbrot using leaf convergence.  It has an odd, finished character.IOTW

Tiling the Wall, a K through 4 Activity


This week we have an activity that Occupy Math has used for math activity nights at schools. There is often a shortage of activities for younger children at a school math night and today’s post hopes to help with that. An earlier post on kid’s math books includes the idea of a reading table that gets parents and young children involved. The activity Construction by Instruction appears in the post on cooperative games. This week is the activity Tiling the Wall

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What do you mean “Random”?


People use the word random pretty casually, but it is actually a big deal. What would it mean, for example, for a crowd in a movie to look “random”? Oddly, it seems to be one-sixth women and five-sixths men — this is a result found by the Geena Davis Foundation, which examines the issues of representation of women in media. Since there are slightly more women than men (women live slightly longer), a really “random” crowd would, logically, be about half women, probably slightly more. Asking audience members when a crowd looks balanced returns a positive response when the crowd is composed of about one-sixth women. When the crowd is one-third women, audience members think that the crowd is majority female. This is a simple, if startling, example of how human beings are terrible at determining if something is random.

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Tricking Yourself into Being Bad at Math

trickOccupy Math has already written on the issue of thinking you’re not a math person and this week’s post examines the issue from another perspective: the value of hard work. If you want to be good at hockey or baseball, you go in knowing you’re going to have to practice. Contrast that with the way most people believe that either you can do math or you can’t. The academic tradition in Asia contains a strong belief that working on an academic subject makes you better at that subject. Americans — on average — only believe this about sports. This goes a long way to explaining why Chinese students are ranked top in math and Americans are in the bottom half.

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Image of the Week #69

This is what happens when you use quadrant convergence on a Newton’s method fractal with a tiny rotation added into the iterator.  This one is for z^6-1=0 with a rotation of about 0.2 radians.