Flipping out

Matt Parker, employing the enviably pithy prose typical of a content creator forged on the unforgiving fires of social media, asked the simple question back in 2018:

How thick is a three-sided coin?

Translated into mathematician-ese, this means

What aspect ratio of a flipped coin leads to the chance of landing on either edge being the same as landing on a particular face?

Such is Matt’s reach that this question has been answered thoroughly manytimesbefore, but that’s never discouraged us. Let’s take a look.

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Losing it

Here’s a fun question – let’s consider, purely in the abstract, the notion of quickly putting on a lot of weight. If, hypothetically, one were to weigh themselves every day and, conceptually, throw away all of the results which showed an increase in weight, what, in a strictly Platonic sense, are the odds that actually they’re just a fat shit not actually losing any weight?

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Matlab is an archaic piece of software, is stupidly expensive, has a ridiculous syntax, horrible UI, and a whole host of bizarre quirks that you just put up with because that one grad student 10 years ago wrote a controller in it for a camera from a company which no longer exists and your supervisor refuses to buy a new one because apparently that’s a ridiculous price for only 14 bits of dynamic range.

Deep breath.

And despite all that, when I was in the zone I’m not sure I’ve ever been as effective in another piece of software. Let’s see about bringing it up to scratch.

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A light sprinkling of maths

I’ve got a house now which, amongst other things, means that all of my future posts will be depressingly domestic. In particular, as I sat watching a sprinkler water my new well-shaded lawn, I noticed that some parts of grass were being watered more than others. It wouldn’t be right to fix these kinds of problems without first wringing all possible interest from them however, so let’s first understand what’s going on from the safe, dry comfort of a computer screen.

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Shady business

Since the start of lockdown, I’ve found ever more reasons to be grateful for the surprisingly sunny postage-stamp of a garden I enjoy here in London. I am however moving to a new house soon, and have been curious to know how the new garden will fare in comparison. Hopefully so are you, as we’re about to enjoy it in painful detail.

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High flood pressure

It’s winter again in the UK which means even more rain than usual, often accompanied by oddly-named storms. Sadly this also occasionally means flooding for many parts of the country, a fact which I usually watched with some detachment from the other (safer) side of a news report. This year is different – I have bought a house quite near the river Avon, which makes the issue more immediate. I suppose I could campaign for flood defences, or petition my new local MP, but for now let’s stick to what I know: data and maths.

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