## Flu

Swine flu is no joking matter, so I’ll keep this one short and to the point, and just comment that the spread of the virus (or, for that matter, any virus) is another example of a stochastic system. Partly predictable, and partly random. The spread of viruses such as SARS have been well studied by […]

## Technology

WARNING: This entry relies entirely on my memory, and as such I make no guarantee of its authenticity. I recently read an article in NZ consumer magazine about  LCD televisions. What ones are worth the price etc. That prompted a memory from years ago (I think end of 1992 but I might be mistaken) when, as […]

## Three is a big number

Carrying on the big number theme I will now tell you that three is a good working approximation to infinity. Yes, three, you know, the number that comes after two.  As in one, two, infinity. So you are thinking I’ve finally lost my marbles.

## More than a googol things to count

So this week I said that there weren’t a googol of things in this universe to count.  That might not be quite true. It really depends on what you mean by a thing. If it’s something tangible, that you can hold in your hand (like a grain of sand), then that is true. But we […]

## The fate of the earth (We’re all doomed)

I’ve just been reading this article on the BBC website about the puzzling lack of sunspots. The sun should be entering a period of high activity (equals lots of sunspots) but observations show otherwise. Maybe it’s just a bit late, or possibly our star is doing something rather different to normal. I’ll leave discussion on what […]

## Ninety Eight, Ninety Nine, A Hundred…

My niece, the one who was interested in reflections, is now into maths. She’s recently added the number ‘googol’ into her vocabulary. As in "Uncle Marcus, I’m going to count from one to a googol; one, two, three, four…" – though I’m not convinced she’s actually done it yet. A googol (not to be mistaken for […]

## Hot exam tip number 1

I was marking some of my third year students’ work last week. One would have thought that by the time a student had reached third year at university, he or she would know the basic rules of answering an exam or assignment question. But apparently not. I know it isn’t exam season for you school students […]

## Brief pause…

Being Easter, blogging may take a back seat for a few days. Be assured that like governer Schwarzernegger, I’ll be back.