Magic, Math and Memory Videos!

Published on Sunday, June 25, 2017 in , , , , , ,

PBS' Infinite Series (left) and Nelson Dellis (right)I recently ran across a number of videos I figured would be interesting to regular Grey Matters readers, so I thought I would share them.

We'll start things off with a little math magic, courtesy of Tom London and his appearance on America's Got Talent earlier this week:

Yes, I could explain the method, but I don't want to ruin the fun and the mystery. Just enjoy the magic of the prediction for what it is, since that's how it's meant to be enjoyed.

If you want mathematical explanations, however, I highly recommend checking out PBS Digital Studios' Infinite Series. These are videos on assorted advanced mathematical topics, yet they're taught in a very accessible way. Back in March, I discussed a puzzle which required the understanding of Markov chains to solve. Compare that to their video Can a Chess Piece Explain Markov Chains?, which also happens to employ my favorite chess piece, the knight:

If you enjoy Grey Matters, you may also the work of 4-time USA memory champion Nelson Dellis, who focuses on both mental and physical fitness. He has a series of memory technique videos, as well as interviews with masters of mental skills. Both of these are available on his YouTube channel, as well. As a taste of his skilll, watch his video, Memorizing 28 names in less than 60 seconds!:

Curious how he's able to do that? He explains in the next video in the series, HOW TO // "Memorizing 28 names in less than 60 seconds!".

At this point, I'll wrap things up so you can get started on a potentially mind-expanding journey.


Yet Still More Quick Snippets

Published on Sunday, June 11, 2017 in , , ,

Luc Viatour's plasma lamp pictureIt's now been a few months since Grey Matters was back, so now it's time to bring Quick Snippets back!

This time around, we have plenty of mathy goodness, so it's best to just jump right in!

• Besides the Clay Institute's famous selection of Millennium Problems, which will make you a millionaire if you prove or disprove any one of them, there's a lesser known set, known as John Conway's $1,000 problems. Not long ago, the 5th conjecture, which claims that working through a certain procedure (described in the link an video below) will always end in a prime, was disproven by physicist James Davis. The Numberphile video below details the problem and James Davis' counterexample:

For more about the million-dollar Millennium Problems, watch the BBC's Horizon documentary, "A Mathematical Mystery Tour of Unsolved Mathematical Problems."

• Speaking of fun discoveries in recreational mathematics, check out Allan William Johnson's "Magic Square of Squares", discovered back in 1990, and just recently posted over at Futility Closet.

• James Grimes introduces us to a different sort of "Square of Squares", in his latest Numberphile video, "Squared Squares". The challenge here is to make a perfect square shape from a set of smaller square shapes:

• Presh Talwalkar, of Mind Your Decisions, posted an interesting puzzle recently. It's titled, "The Race To 32,768. Game Theory Puzzle". Read the article up to the point where you're challenged to work it out yourself, or watch the video below up to the 2:12 mark, and try and figure it out for yourself. If you get stuck, try going over my Scam School Teaches the Game of 15 post for inspiration.

• Late last month, mathematical video maker 3Blue1Brown posted a must-watch video on the visualization of all possible Pythagorean triples. Even if you remember everything from you math classes about Pythagorean triples, this video is both eye-popping and an eye opener:

• We'll wrap this set of Quick Snippets up with help from Mathologer. His videos are always interesting, but his latest one is one of those unusual approaches to math that makes you appreciate its beauty. This video is titled, "Gauss's magic shoelace area formula and its calculus companion", and it teaches an simple but unusual method for working out the area of any polygon that doesn't intersect itself. The host even goes on to show how this approach can be adapted in calculus to work out the area contained by curves!