A Simple Conjecture
The Collatz conjecture is an unsolved mathematical riddle posed by German mathematician Lothar Collatz in 1937. It remains a mystery to this day. Why has it temped so many mathematicians over so many years and yet remained unsolved? It is especially exasperating because it is so simple. The question is, “Is it even computable?” If not, then mathematicians and computer scientists should stop trying.
Continue reading The Collatz Mystery
I remember as a child my parents always insisted I wash my hands with soap before sitting down to eat. I have never forgotten this, and sometimes get odd looks because of it.
In a restaurant, I always go wash my hands before the food is delivered even though no one else at the table does. Worse, when I visit friends in their homes, I do the same thing. I imagine they must think I have some kind of mania about cleanliness on a par with Lady Macbeth: “Out, out, damned spot!” While the good lady does not explicitly mention soap, there is a Lady Macbeth soap on the market anyhow. I don’t have a cleanliness mania. But I do have due consideration for the advice I received from my parents—and continue to receive from the medical community.
Continue reading Soap: Extraordinary Ordinary Things
Some time ago I heard the story of an eminent
scientist (I don’t remember the discipline) who had developed a controversial
ground-breaking idea, which had been under attack for several years. Each time
it was attacked, he had been able to successfully repel the criticisms.
Continue reading I’d Rather Be Wrong Than Be Corrected
Spaghetti code is not getting any respect. Software experts denigrate it; coding classes avoid it like the plague; and when students go out into the world, they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to follow their mentors’ instructions. This unalloyed disparagement of spaghetti code is unfortunate, because we owe so much to it. Continue reading In Praise of Spaghetti Code