Still More Quick Snippets

Published on Sunday, December 15, 2013 in , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luc Viatour's plasma lamp pictureIt's time for December's snippets.

I've noticed the simpler, more direct skills prove popular, so this month will feature more skills you can learn, use, and demonstrate quickly.

• We'll start off with a simple skill: figuring out your longitude by looking at the night sky, assuming you're in the northern hemisphere. First, you need to find the star Polaris, which is why you need to be in the northern hemisphere for this to work. If you don't know how to do that, my post from September about learning to find various stars will be of help here.

The next step is to determine how many degrees above the horizon Polaris is located. This post from One Minute Astronomer shows how to measure the approximate angle using only your hands! This is a fun skill to demonstrate and teach, as well.

• From arrangements of stars, we come down to earth to arrangements of numbers. Michael Daniels, over at mindmagician.org, has posted a new magic square generator which can handle any integer from 34 through 9999. If you're curious about the method used to create these, you can learn more about it in his ebook, Mostly Perfect. You can even download free excerpts from the book for free!

• One of my favorite feats, the calendar feat, is taught in a very simple and direct version in the following video from Mister Numbers:

If you're not already familiar with Mister Numbers' work on YouTube, check out his channel, and see some of his other work in number patterns. He details more about this calendar procedure in his Kindle ebook, Amazing Calendar Math Magic.

This method has it roots in John Conway's Doomsday Method, and I show how to build on this basis in a simple way to handle almost any year in my ebook, Day One.

• Also from Mister Numbers, here's an impressive video that quickly teaches kids, or anyone really, to be able to handle multiplying the numbers from 1 to 40, and beyond, by themselves in a simple way:

I take advantage of this same basic pattern in my lessons on extracting the roots of perfect squares over in the Mental Gym, so this is a very useful pattern to know!

I hope you've found something quick an interesting. Have any quick and interesting math tips or patterns of your own? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

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