Category Archives: Diversions

More than you wanted to know about e – part 2

Part One of this post looked at the mysterious number called e, also called Euler’s number, a transcendental number (never resolving in our decimal numbering system) with a value of approximately 2.71828. That prior post showed examples of this value occurring repeatedly in nature and in the world of finance. This post gets a bit more technical to present perspectives… Read more »

More than you wanted to know about e – part 1

Chambered nautilus

If you ever owned a scientific calculator or used one on your computer, it is still likely that you have never used the button that reads ex. One of the most interesting secrets of the universe is evoked by pressing that button, but I have never heard it explained well. This post will likely add little to help that situation…. Read more »

Book review: Infinite Powers by Steven Strogatz

“At their deepest level, the laws of nature are expressed in terms of derivatives. It’s as if the universe knew about rates of change before we did.” – Steven Strogatz, Infinite Powers It is very hard to get non-math-inclined people to read a book about math. But I will try, because this is a really good one, accessible to even… Read more »

In an instant – the probability of February 29

If your birthday or wedding anniversary is February 29, your special day will pass this year in an infinitesimal moment at midnight. [1] The year 2019, when this is posted, is not a leap year, but given any random year, we usually think that the probability of it being a leap year, with a February 29, is one in four,… Read more »

Gods gone but not forgotten – Hail Janus!

Happy Janus day 1, in the New Year of 2019 AD or CE as you prefer. January is, of course, named after that Roman demigod Janus, the ruler of beginnings and endings. Humans have a way of discarding old gods while still letting them direct our lives, and Janus is a good example of that. Much of what we call “tradition”… Read more »

Albums you missed: Kate Wolf – Safe at Anchor

This is the second post in a series featuring music that remains in my iTunes playlist and in the complete original running order after a lot of years have passed. This one features the later singer-songwriter Kate Wolf. After a lot of years of playing the singer-songwriter circuit in northern California, Kate Wolf scored her first major television appearance in… Read more »

Albums you missed: John Stewart – Cannons in the Rain

This is the first post of a recurring series that I plan to run on Saturdays, looking at albums that remain on my iTunes playlist in original running order after a lot of years. For this first one, a look back at John Stewart, not the comedian and Daily Show host, but rather the less-well-known songwriter of one of the… Read more »

Playing Yahtzee® with God

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the award-winning documentary Three Identical Strangers, about identical triplets who had been raised separately, only to meet for the first time when they were teenagers. The film first explores the question of why these three men were so similar but ends on asking why their lives turned out so differently. The classic “nature versus… Read more »

Book review: “The Human Instinct” by Kenneth Miller

I have long had a habit of looking in used bookstores for copies of a 1999 book by biologist and best-selling textbook author Kenneth Miller entitled Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, which I then give to friends. Miller’s book is one of the few scientifically-competent books about evolution that is written with the sensitive… Read more »