The 20 most-watched TEDx talks so far News X marks the spot: This week’s TEDxTalks Each week, TEDx chooses four of our favorite talks, highlighting just a few of the enlightening speakers from the TEDx community, and its diverse constellation of ideas worth spreading. Below, give this week’s talks a listen. Fighting Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Dr. Benjy Seckler at TEDxBerkshires Potential medicines, especially for rare genetic diseases, take years to […] Global Issues 4 TEDxTalks on how the world could end today (but, chances are, won’t) Well, it’s December 21st, 2012, in EST time zones and, if you’re reading this, the world has not ended. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences is the title of an article published in 1960 by the physicist Eugene Wigner. In the paper, Wigner observed that the mathematical structure of a physical theory often points the way to further advances in that theory and even to empirical predictions. The miracle of mathematics in the natural sciences Wigner begins his paper with the belief, common to all those familiar with mathematics, that mathematical concepts have applicability far beyond the context in which they were originally developed. Another oft-cited example is Maxwell's equations, derived to model the elementary electrical and magnetic phenomena known as of the mid 19th century. The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. The deep connection between science and mathematics Responses to Wigner's original paper 1.
Chances are, we'd all benefit from a statistics lesson Vincent and Fast Eddie aka Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in The Color Of Money Photograph: Allstar/Touchstone/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar Today, in case you didn't know, is World Statistics Day, a UN-sponsored event celebrating the "many contributions and achievements of official statistics". I'm not sure why the UN felt the need to emphasise that only official statistics would be honoured, as if implying that unofficial statistics like your annual take-home salary or the number of women you've bedded are somehow less credible as contributions and achievements. Starting at the aesthetically pleasing time of 20:10 (on 20/10/2010), the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education kicks off a 10-year statistical literacy campaign, getstats, aimed at helping Britons understand numbers about numbers, so that we can make better-informed choices and live better lives as a result. One such tool of their trade might be a set of non-transitive dice.
10 TED talks about the beauty - and difficulty of being creative Ask a Mathematician / Ask a Physicist Using Mammography to Screen Women for Breast Cancer May Be Less Effective In Reducing Death Rates Than Previously Estimated - September 22, 2010 -2010 Releases - Press Releases For immediate release: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 Boston, MA — A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that a breast cancer screening program in Norway, which made mammographic screening available to women between the ages of 50 and 69, resulted in a 10% decrease in breast cancer deaths in that age group. “The observed reduction in death from breast cancer after introduction of the mammography screening program was far less than we expected,” said lead author Mette Kalager, a visiting scientist at HSPH and a surgeon at Oslo University Hospital in Norway. “The results showed that other factors, such as enhanced breast cancer awareness and improved treatment, actually had a greater effect on reducing mortality from breast cancer.” The study appears in the September 23, 2010 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. “Only one third of the mortality reduction we observed in the 20-year period was associated with the screening program.
Blog : Self-Description September 7, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development I am a big fan of Randall Munroe’s web comic strip xkcd. (Apparently I am not alone.) A while ago, Randall posted a strip with a self-referential chart of the amount of black ink in the image. If you have read my past blog items, you know I like recursive pictures. So I thought I would create a Mathematica version of this strip. The pie chart: The bar chart: The ink location chart: Next, I solved the equation f[x]=x, where f is the function that generates an analysis report on the ink in an image and x is the image of the report. If the equation is substituted into itself, it also solves f[f[x]]=x, and for that matter f[f[f[f[f[f[f[x]]]]]]]=x. If f meets certain convergence criteria, then this problem can be solved iteratively just by working out f[f[f[...f[x]…]]] for some random initial guess at x. So all I needed was a function that generates a cartoon strip based on the analysis of a cartoon strip.
The simple truth about statistics | Matt Parker | Science It is the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli who is famously credited with the phrase: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics" but the expression has been around almost as long as the word statistics (first coined in 1749 for those wondering). What is it about numerical data that sparks such distrust in people? Partly, there seems to be an assumption that anything involving numbers is an dark art that needs to be left to experts. Even when statistics are carefully checked, and don't have the decimal point equivalent of a typo, things don't always look right. Monday 9 August: "Breast cancer rates in the UK are more than four times higher than those in eastern Africa, the World Cancer Research Fund has revealed." Thursday 13 August: "Death rates from breast cancer have fallen more dramatically in the UK than any other European country, cancer researchers have said." Matt Parker's website is Stand-up Mathematician