Originally, this blog was supposed to be dedicated to math. Well, I quickly realized two things. One, I’m not particularly good at conveying mathematical ideas in a blog setting. There’s a couple of reasons, and sure, one of them is my own lack of experience or, to be more self-flagellating, my own incompetence. I do tutor some friends of mine in calculus/analysis, but it’s less didactic and more back-and-forth Q&A. The second thing I realized is that people don’t really read my math posts.

So I’m going to try something different. Instead of me picking some subject at random to talk about, how about I get some feedback from whoever actually reads this blog o’ mine?

Are there any mathematical questions or topics you’d like me to cover?

Leave your question or suggestion in a comment, and in my next post I’ll answer. Be as specific as possible, if you can. If all goes well, this may turn into a weekly thing.

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Posted by Jimmy Crankn on December 5, 2007 at 5:57 am

I could write a big long post about how hard it is to get some culture centered around math, which is related to what you’re saying, but who cares, right?

Math is like a foreign language. If two people aren’t in sync, they can’t really talk math together. That’s part of what makes math a loner endeavor.

I gave up on trying to find math culture, or maybe I haven’t.

How about if you start working through Principles of Real Analysis by Aliprantis on your blog? And I’ll follow along.

Or Abstract Algebra by Dummit and Foote.

Or The Theory of Numbers by Niven.

Or Combinatorics by Brualdi.

Or Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms by Hubbard, 3rd edition. I ordered the 3rd edition yesterday. I already have the 2nd.

Or pick a standard book in analysis, algebra, number theory, or combinatorics, and I’ll follow along, unless you’re too far ahead of me. (I’m sort of at the beginning graduate level in analysis and abstract algebra, and at the undergraduate level in number theory and combinatorics.)

It probably wouldn’t work. Community doesn’t work very well with math. There are all sorts of obstacles to get in the way.

Posted by Jon on December 5, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Well that was a bummer reply. 🙂

Posted by Jimmy Crankn on December 6, 2007 at 2:27 am

Why’s that?

Is it sort of like the novel Great Expectations? The young man gets an endowment, he thinks it’s the rich woman that gave it to him, and he eventually finds out, to his great disapointment, that it came from the escaped convict he helped out when it was a boy.

You were looking for responses from higher society?

Posted by Pavan M on January 1, 2008 at 2:40 am

How about something on Integral Calculus? Very Interesting, but often poorly understood by most people..

Posted by hucklesberries on January 3, 2008 at 4:23 am

Some of my favorites:

1) Flatland – by Edwin A. Abbot (the autobiography of a square)

2) Fermat’s Enigma – by Simon Singh and John (The Epic quest to solve the world’s greatest mathematical problem)

and for the really daring:

3) The Kyballion – by Three Initiates (no description offered)