Traffic that grinds to a halt and then restarts for no apparent reason is one of the biggest causes of frustration for drivers. Now a team of Japanese researchers has recreated the phenomenon on a test-track for the first time.
You add two numbers to get the next number in the sequence (as in 2+3=5), then you add that number to the previous number in the sequence to get the following one (3+5=8), and so on. Greg Ross at Futility Closet explains that this sequence lets you convert miles to kilometers, where 8 miles equals 13 kilometers, 13 miles equals 21 kilometers , etc. Greg explains that this works because "the two units stand in the golden ratio" -- approximately 1.6180339887. But the great thing about it is, even if you don't understand HOW it works, you can still use it. Like your computer or your car. And when I say you I mean me.
Breitbart reports (via Ace) on mathematical research that seems to support the theory of parallel universes:
Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists . .
The parallel universe theory, first proposed in 1950 by the US physicist Hugh Everett, helps
explain mysteries of quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for
decades, it is claimed.
In Everett's "many worlds" universe,
every time a new physical possibility is explored, the universe splits.
Given a number of possible alternative outcomes, each one is played out
- in its own universe. . . .
According to quantum mechanics,
nothing at the subatomic scale can really be said to exist until it is
observed. Until then, particles occupy nebulous "superposition" states,
in which they can have simultaneous "up" and "down" spins, or appear to
be in different places at the same time.
Observation appears to
"nail down" a particular state of reality, in the same way as a
spinning coin can only be said to be in a "heads" or "tails" state once
it is caught.
According to quantum mechanics, unobserved
particles are described by "wave functions" representing a set of
multiple "probable" states. When an observer makes a measurement, the
particle then settles down into one of these multiple options.
The Oxford team, led by Dr David Deutsch, showed mathematically that
the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting
into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature
of quantum outcomes.
Terry Pratchett fans will recognize that the "bush-like branching" referenced above is in fact a phenomenon known on Discworld as "the trousers of time."
According to a report at AlphaGalileo, medieval Indian scholars made a significant breakthrough in mathematics that is usually attributed to Newton:
A little known school of scholars in southwest India discovered one of
the founding principles of modern mathematics hundreds of years before
Newton – according to new research.
Dr George Gheverghese Joseph
from The University of Manchester says the ‘Kerala School’ identified
the ‘infinite series ’- one of the basic components of calculus - in
The discovery is currently - and wrongly -
attributed in books to Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the
end of the seventeenth centuries.
The team from the Universities
of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala School also discovered what
amounted to the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10
and later 17 decimal places.
And there is strong circumstantial
evidence that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically
knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the
That knowledge, they argue, may have eventually been passed on to Newton himself. . . .
“The brilliance of Newton’s work at the
end of the seventeenth century stands undiminished – [says Joseph] especially when it
came to the algorithms of calculus.
“But other names from the
Kerala School, notably Madhava and Nilakantha, should stand shoulder to
shoulder with him as they discovered the other great component of
calculus- infinite series.