## Internet highlights – w/c 25th March 2018

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## How not to be wrong, the hidden maths of everyday life – by Jordan Ellenberg

30 03 2018Over 2 months on a book isn’t going to help at all with my 30 books in a year, but I promise it was a good book!

It’s full of interesting thoughts on lotteries, perspective, statistics, music, correlation, voting systems, sports, all sorts! Complicated in places, but he always starts a section at a level we can all understand, and at some points I just had to just read the words to get to the point I understood the next bit, but it’s all written in a way that makes it fairly easy to read!

That all said, it was lovely to delve back into the world of maths, stretching my brain, seeing what I could remember, and enjoying some of the common sense that is shared.

As with any book of this sort it is of course full of gems, so here are some I particularly enjoyed:

- “Dividing one number by another is mere computation; figuring out
*what*you should divide by*what*is mathematics.” - “Improbable things happen a lot.”
- “The natural logarithm is the one you always use if you’re a mathematician or if you have e fingers.”
- “Mathematics as currently practised is a delicate interplay between monastic contemplation and blowing stuff up with dynamite.”
- “In real life, mathematicians are a pretty ordinary bunch, no madder than the average.”
- “I’ve found that in moments of emotional extremity there is nothing like a math[sic] problem to quiet the complaints the rest of the psyche serves up.”
- “I encourage you to write directly in the book, if it’s not borrowed from the library or displayed on a screen.”
- “An inelegant axiom is like a stain in the corner of the floor; it doesn’t get in your way, per se, but it’s
*maddening*, and one spends an inordinate amount of time scrubbing and scouring and trying to make the surface nice and clean.” - “Genius is a thing that happens, not a kind of person.”
- “[The stereotype is that mathematicians are] determined to compute everything to as many decimal places as possible. It isn’t so. We want to compute everything to as many decimal places as
*necessary*.” - “Mathematics, the extension of common sense by other means.”

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Tags: book reviews, non fiction, popular science

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