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The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it. Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer? How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God. Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
"Using the mathematician's method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman, minus the jargon ... Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need"--
The columnist for Slate's popular "Do the Math" celebrates the logical, illuminating nature of math in today's world, sharing in accessible language mathematical approaches that demystify complex and everyday problems.
One of Ashbery’s most important masterworks: Widely studied, critically admired, and essential to understanding one of the modern era’s most revolutionary poets The Double Dream of Spring, originally published in 1970, followed the critical success of John Ashbery’s National Book Award–nominated collection Rivers and Mountains and introduced the signature voice—reflective, acute, and attuned to modern language as it is spoken—that just a few years later would carry Ashbery’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Ashbery fans and lovers of modern poetry alike will recognize here some of the century’s most anthologized and critically admired works of poetry, including “Soonest Mended,” “Decoy,” “Sunrise in Suburbia,” “Evening in the Country,” the achingly beautiful long poem “Fragment,” and Ashbery’s so-called Popeye poem, the mordant and witty “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape.” The Double Dream of Spring helped cement Ashbery’s reputation as a must-read American poet, and no library of modern poetry is complete without it.
In the wrong hands, math can be deadly. Even the simplest numbers can become powerful forces when manipulated by journalists, politicians or other public figures, but in the case of the law your liberty—and your life—can depend on the right calculation. Math on Trial tells the story of ten trials in which mathematical arguments were used—and disastrously misused—as evidence. Despite years of math classes, most people (and most jurors) fail to detect even simple mathematical sophistry, resulting in such horrors as a medical expert’s faulty calculation of probabilities providing the key evidence for a British mother’s conviction for the murder of her two babies. The conviction was later overturned, but three years in prison took its toll—Sally Clark died of acute alcohol intoxication in March of 2007. Mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez use a wide range of examples, from a mid-19th-century dispute over wills that became a signal case in the forensic use of mathematics, to the conviction and subsequent exoneration of Amanda Knox, to show how the improper application of mathematical concepts can mean the difference between walking free and life in prison. The cases discussed include: -The Case of Amanda Knox (How a judge’s denial of a second DNA test may have destroyed a chance to reveal the truth about Meredith Kercher’s murder) -The Case of Joe Sneed (How a fabricated probability framed a son for his parents’ grisly killing) -The Case of Sally Clark (How multiplying non-independent probabilities landed an innocent mother in jail for the murder of her children) -The Case of Janet Collins (How unjustified estimates combined with a miscalculated probability convicted an innocent couple of violent robbery) A colorful narrative of mathematical abuse featuring such characters as Charles Ponzi, Alfred Dreyfus, Hetty Green, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Math on Trial shows that legal expertise isn’t everything when it comes to proving a man innocent.
This debut novel is a profoundly absurd campus satire about immortality, obsession, obscurity, and true love.
Forget everything you’ve been taught about math. In Burn Math Class, Jason Wilkes takes the traditional approach to mathematics education—with its unwelcoming textbooks, unexplained rules, and authoritarian assertions—and sets it on fire. Focusing on how mathematics is created rather than on mathematical facts, Wilkes teaches the subject in a way that requires no memorization and no prior knowledge beyond addition and multiplication. From these simple foundations, Burn Math Class shows how mathematics can be (re)invented from scratch without preexisting textbooks and courses. We can discover math on our own through experimentation and failure, without appealing to any outside authority. When math is created free from arcane notations and pretentious jargon that hide the simplicity of mathematical concepts, it can be understood organically—and it becomes fun! Following this unconventional approach, Burn Math Class leads the reader from the basics of elementary arithmetic to various “advanced” topics, such as time-dilation in special relativity, Taylor series, and calculus in infinite-dimensional spaces. Along the way, Wilkes argues that orthodox mathematics education has been teaching the subject backward: calculus belongs before many of its so-called prerequisites, and those prerequisites cannot be fully understood without calculus. Like the smartest, craziest teacher you’ve ever had, Wilkes guides you on an adventure in mathematical creation that will radically change the way you think about math. Revealing the beauty and simplicity of this timeless subject, Burn Math Class turns everything that seems difficult about mathematics upside down and sideways until you understand just how easy math can be.

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