# Swing and a miss

After my last post, where I noted that 45 degrees was the optimum angle to shoot a projectile the farthest, a commenter asked if the same was true for jumping from a swing. “Of course!” I initially thought. As we shall see, it isn’t actually that simple.

# Briechistochrone

One of the many sad consequences of the current lockdown, possibly the most unfortunate of all, is that the famous Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling competition will almost certainly not be taking place this year. In the spirit of finding light in the darkness, let’s at least have a look at how we may improve it for next year. With maths!

# Wraptimisation 2: The Wrappening

It’s been that time of year again, where I am forced to face my one and only weakness: wrapping presents. Rather than confront my failings, I’ve once again turned to my old friends: maths, computers, and bad puns.

# The perfect speed bump

Sitting in traffic in the middle of London gives you a lot of time to think. Here’s a fun problem born entirely of frustration sat waiting to cross the Hammersmith bridge.

# Cooking the books

Since Christmas, at my house we’ve been cooking with 5 ingredients or fewer thanks to the acquisition of Jamie Oliver’s new book, the contents of which are mostly available online here. The recipes are unanimously very tasty, but that’s besides the point. The real mark of culinary excellence (in my humble opinion) is how efficiently one can buy ingredients to make as many of the recipes as possible in one shopping trip. Let’s investigate while the lamb is on.

# Swype right

I wrote this blog post because I saw a woman throw a banana at Russell Brand. Bear with me on this one.

# Regularisation

Here’s a post which combines my favourite bits of writing a blog – fairly mathematical, not too simple or difficult to implement, mostly based around pictures, not covered in my undergraduate education, and pretty damn useful in my job. Excited? You should be.

# On which shaped planet am I the heaviest?

Continuing on from my last post concerning optimisation and Lagrange multipliers, I came across a neat little paper on the arXiv here, which asks and answers the question: what shape should a planet be to maximise the gravitational force at a given position? This is a fun problem, solved using an extension of the techniques from the last post, namely the use of Lagrange multipliers to optimise a function given some constraint.

# Wraptimisation

It’s that time of year again where I am forced to come face to face with my one and only flaw: wrapping presents. Yes, the great staff of Debenhams may as well be superheroes to me, expertly taping seams and tying ribbons while I look on with envious bewilderment. My efforts in comparison look like they’ve washed ashore after six months at sea due to a tragically festive shipping accident. In an attempt to reclaim some Christmas pride then, let’s see if there is anything interesting in the present wrapping process, without, you know, actually doing any wrapping.

# Annealing the Underground

I was reading the other day about the Tube Challenge, where people attempt to visit all 270 stations on the London Underground in the quickest possible time. Apparently successful routes are a closely-guarded secret, which got me thinking about how difficult an optimisation problem it must be to find the best route.