# Number Flavors Part IV: The Complexes

A professor of mine once marveled at how nonintuitive the real numbers are. If you were going to pick a set of numbers to do math with, would you have made sure to include the square root of 17?

His casual comment points to something essential about numbers, something that every mathematician knows but that no one seems to talk about.

# The AI on Your Nightstand

Artificial intelligence is real. It is evolving right now.

Should we be worried?

# A Pocket Puzzle: Solution

A solution for the Pocket Puzzle of last post. If Alice flips 2010 coins, Bob flips 2009 coins, and Bob wins if he gets more heads or ties with Alice, is the game fair?

# A Pocket Puzzle

You’re sitting on the subway. Your phone has low battery, and you have nothing to read. How do you kill time?

I like to carry around a puzzle with me. Not a physical puzzle, like a jigsaw or a Rubik’s cube. A mental puzzle – something to think about for fun.

# Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat?

I love movies, books, and video games about smart robots: friendly, murderous, misunderstood, or loving robots. But here’s the thing: artificial intelligence is real.

# What “Solving” Means

“Solving for” a variable is simple idea – and it’s all about simplicity.

If you had the opportunity to live in a world with Harry Potter magic, but no computers, what would you do?

# Making Maps: Part III

We spent the last two posts talking about functions. I used a lot of examples. If you’re sick of examples, bear with me – they’re building up to something cool.

# Making Maps: Part II

In the last post, we introduced the idea of maps, also known as functions. It’s hard to overstate how important functions are in modern math. Functions make things happen. They explain mathematical relationships. And they make up a language from which mathematical concepts are built. But before we get to anything like that, let’s look at a few more examples. First, we’ll consider […]

# Making Maps: Part I

Suppose I have a basket of fruits. And a bunch of English words in a dictionary. We can use these two things to build something called a “map,” or “function.”