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Truly Interesting Animation Breaks Down The Story Behind Zero And Why It's So Important

Video: The story of the history of maths and how zero came to be is actually quite fascinating! They should have taught us that instead of actual maths in high school, if you ask me. Thankfully, Hannah Fry tells us in the animation below all we need to know. There’s fascinating bits about how the number system (and zero) was resisted by the Romans, and why it’s very important to calculus and things like the binary system.

The Correct Way(s) To Load A Dishwasher

The dishwasher! The perennial optimization problem. Even the chronically untidy have been known to harbour strong opinions on efficient loading technique. But did you know dishwasher manuals actually include photos and illustrations of ideal rack layouts? (Be honest — did you even realise your dishwasher had a manual?)

Vintage Mechanical Calculator Shows Why It's A Bad Idea To Divide By Zero

Everyone learns in primary school that you can’t divide by zero, but few of us ever learn (or fully understand) why. The stock answer is that it gives you an answer of infinity. The truth is a bit more nuanced than that, and an old mechanical calculator offers the perfect illustration.

Does Infinity Really Exist?

Our universe appears to be bound by a finite set of laws, yet we often talk about things that go on for an eternity. “Infinity” is a strange idea. But it’s crucial if you want to understand anything from philosophy to mathematics. Here’s why.

Mathematicians Discovered Something Super Freaky About Prime Numbers

Mathematicians have discovered a surprising pattern in the expression of prime numbers, revealing a previously unknown “bias” to researchers.

Now We Know How Many Ways We Can Arrange 128 Tennis Balls

Here’s a question worthy of the ball boy at Wimbledon: if you have 128 tennis balls packed into a container, how many different ways can you arrange them? Answer: 10250 — more than the entire number of subatomic particles in the universe.

This 8-Bit Guess-the-Correlation Game Is Way More Fun Than It Should Be

Guess the Correlation is a very simple game indeed: Look at a scatter plot, guess the correlation coefficient, win or lose. Are you mathematically minded enough to take on the challenge?

How Pointy Brackets Became A Computing Icon

Video: The <pointy brackets> are an archetypal pair of characters in the world of computing. But if you’ve ever wondered how they became so pervasive, you’re in luck.

Fractal Analysis Proves People Hate The Suburbs 

A new fractal analysis of London’s dense network of streets and intersections reveals that a green belt meant to encourage migration to the suburbs had the opposite effect. The city has just became denser. People really seem to love urban living, especially in a thriving city like London. The work could shed light on how modern cities evolve, and help guide future urban growth policies.

Ponder The Physics Of Chocolate Fountains During Your New Year's Revels

We now know a little bit more about the dynamics of chocolate fountains, thanks to the efforts of Adam Townsend, a graduate student at University College London. He decided to figure out why that “curtain” of molten chocolate always falls inwards and the ensuing paper appeared last month in the European Journal of Physics.

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