XKCD or Why we need science literacy : Mathematics Edition

Science Literacy Week logo

September 19-25 is Science Literacy Week and we are celebrating it at the Leddy Library.

As we explained yesterday, one noble reason to become science literate is to understand the jokes of the web comic, XKCD by Randall Munroe. Randall describes himself as, "I'm just this guy, you know? I'm a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around." Munroe is also the author of What if? : serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions and Thing explainer : complicated stuff in simple words , both of which can be found on the shelves of the Leddy Library.

Every day this week, I'm going to offer some XKCD comics dedicated to Physics, Earth Science, Biology-Biochemistry-Chemistry, Computer Science and - today - Mathematics!

Don't worry if you don't get the jokes - each cartoon is linked to it's respective XKCD Explain entry!


PROOFS

http://www.xkcd.com/1724/

Next, let's assume the decision of whether to take the Axiom of Choice is made by a deterministic process ...


MARGIN

http://www.xkcd.com/1381/

Alt-text : PROTIP: You can get around the Shannon-Hartley limit by setting your font size to 0.


URN PROBLEMS

http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1381:_Margin

Alt-text: Can this PLEASE be drawing with replacement?


PI VS. TAU

http://www.xkcd.com/1292/

Alt-text: Conveniently approximated as e+2, Pau is commonly known as the Devil's Ratio (because in the octal expansion, '666' appears four times in the first 200 digits while no other run of 3+ digits appears more than once.)


PURITY

http://www.xkcd.com/435/

Alt-text: On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation.


FORMAL LOGIC

http://www.xkcd.com/1033/

Alt-text: Note that this implies you should NOT honk solely because I stopped for a pedestrian and you're behind me.


TEN THOUSAND

http://www.xkcd.com/1053/

Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time


 

Tomorrow: The Computer Science edition of XKCD!