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Mathematics

Driving without a blind spot may be closer than it appears

TechAndComputer (June 7, 2012) — A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.

Traditional flat mirrors on the driver's side of a vehicle give drivers an accurate sense of the distance of cars behind them but have a very narrow field of view. As a result, there is a region of space behind the car, known as the blind spot, that drivers can't see via either the side or rear-view mirror. It's not hard to make a curved mirror that gives a wider field of view -- no blind spot -- but at the cost of visual...

Finding good music in noisy online markets

TechAndComputer (May 31, 2012) — In 2004, a trio of researchers at Columbia University began an online experiment in social-media marketing, creating nine versions of a music-download site that presented the same group of unknown songs in different ways. The goal of the experiment was to gauge the effect of early peer recommendations on the songs' success; the researchers found that different songs became hits on the different sites and that the variation was...

Math predicts size of clot-forming cells

TechAndComputer (May 25, 2012) — UC Davis mathematicians have helped biologists figure out why platelets, the cells that form blood clots, are the size and shape that they are. Because platelets are important both for healing wounds and in strokes and other conditions, a better understanding of how they form and behave could have wide implications.

"Platelet size has to be very specific for blood clotting," said Alex Mogilner, professor of mathematics, and neurobiology...

Mitigating disasters by hunting down Dragon Kings: Forecasting natural or economic disasters by identifying statistical anomalies

TechAndComputer (May 3, 2012) — Professional Dragon King hunter Didier Sornette from the Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, together with his colleague Guy Ouillon, present the many facets of Dragon Kings in a review about to be published in EPJ ST. Their work will appear alongside nineteen other contributions exploring the ways in which this emerging field of statistical analysis could become further established.

Dragon Kings are events...

Polluting China for the sake of economic growth

TechAndComputer (Apr. 27, 2012) — China's economic growth will continue to be energy-intensive and highly polluting for the foreseeable future with emissions and efficiency far below capital growth on the agenda, according to a study published in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues.

Economist Yanqing Xia of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics and the Northeast Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Liaoning has looked at almost a decade's worth of...

Study finds twist to the story of the number line: Number line is learned, not innate human intuition

TechAndComputer (Apr. 25, 2012) — Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins -- notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude -- are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural?

Now, challenging a mainstream scholarly...

Study finds twist to the story of the number line: Number line is learned, not innate human intuition

TechAndComputer (Apr. 25, 2012) — Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins -- notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude -- are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural?

Now, challenging a mainstream scholarly...

Inequality and investment bubbles: A clearer link is established

TechAndComputer (Apr. 19, 2012) — "Money, it's a gas," says the sixties rock group Pink Floyd in their song "Money." Indeed, physics professor Victor Yakovenko is an expert in statistical physics and studies how the flow of money and the distribution of incomes in American society resemble the flow of energy between molecules in a gas. In his lectures to be delivered on April 19 at New York University and April 20 at the New School for Social Research, Yakovenko will bring his...

Math teachers demonstrate a bias toward white male students, study finds

TechAndComputer (Apr. 16, 2012) — While theories about race, gender, and math ability among high school students have long been debated, a recent study found that math teachers are, in fact, unjustifiably biased toward their white male students. This study was published in a new article released in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society (GENDSOC), the official journal of the Sociologists for Women in Society, published by SAGE.

"This speaks to the presence of a perhaps...