mathematics

Nice polynomials, nice polynomials …

For my math class, I was attempting to create a curve sketching question by writing the second derivative as a factorable quadratic, and working backwards to an order-4 polynomial. Along the way, I would fill in the missing constant terms by using synthetic division on an arbitrary binomial factor, and...

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How to spend an idle afternoon

Yesterday, I told another fellow computer geek an ’80s DOS joke about being prompted to “Enter any 11-digit prime number and press ENTER to continue.” She then suggested that a number with 11 1’s might be prime.  Having encountered this before in programs I’ve written, I warned her that you...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted for the Julian Calendar, a...

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Magic Squares: Errata

There were some mistakes with the construction of the odd-ordered magic squares. These mistakes ought to give us hope in finding squares that, if n is odd, you will indeed get (n!)2 magic squares with a random method. I had always maintained that, and until now I never had a...

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