124

Yes, humans are more predictable than random chance. It is known as the "Blue-Seven Phenomena", because when asked for a colour and a number from one to nine, these perform beyond expectation. This 2015 encyclopedia entry surveys the research. One large sample of Japanese university students found: As for the preferred number, the subjects in Saito’s ...


52

You ask whether it's a reasonable interpretation of the text. Book IV of Augustine's Confessions (in Latin), which was cited in this answer, includes: Itaque illos planos, quos mathematicos vocant, plane consulere non desistebam, quod quasi nullum eis esset sacrificium, et nullae preces ad aliquem spiritum ob divinationem dirigerentur. So the text ...


46

Human beings are really bad at picking random numbers. The reason is that we are hard-wired to identify patterns in nature -- even to the extent of seeing patterns where none exist. But while this helps us hunt (we are predators, after all, and the outline of an animal shape in the bushes means prey), we experience a cognitive dissonance when trying to ...


44

Yes, this is true – though it's in principle a bit problematic to talk about individual water molecules. Disregarding molecules for a moment: almost all water on earth has been drunk by dinosaurs at some point. To quote from Randall Munroe's "What If" blog Dinosaurs, as a taxonomic group, have been around for 230 million years, but their heyday was the ...


37

A user on YouTube, called TheRationalizer has examined the claim that Kaaba, in Mecca, lies upon (one of) the Golden Ratio points between the North and South pole, and between Greenwich Meridian. His three minute YouTube video reproduces the calculations, using the freely available tools of Google Earth and Wolfram Alpha. He shows each of his calculations ...


36

Given the following definitions: S = distance from Mecca to South Pole N = distance from Mecca to North Pole L = distance from left side of rectangular map to Mecca R = distance from Mecca to right side of rectangular map I will make the following statements: The fact that both S/N and (N+S)/S are the golden ratio is not a surprise. That is one of the ...


30

Did Manahel Thabet develop a groundbreaking formula to measure distance in space without the use of light? NO! This extraordinary claim which came from Wikipedia: In 2012, Thabet developed a formula that measures distance in space without the use of light.[2] The formula was considered ground breaking in the field of quantum mathematics and is 350 pages ...


29

The Egyptians and other cultures really did use twenty-sided dice as evidenced by studies and artifacts, such as the one at the Met. For example, "A Demotic Inscribed Icosahedron from Dakhleh Oasis" by Martina Minas-Nerpel published in the The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 2007 (Vol. 93, pp. 137-148), describes "a unique icosahedron found at Qaret el-...


27

This is not my field, but I have taken graduate-level courses on Andalusian history and the history of mathematics. From what I can tell, the claim is at best imprecise and at worst an outright misrepresentation of history. For example, in an article published by the British Society for the History of Science, "From Abacus to Algorism: Theory and Practice ...


25

The source of this image is an article in NY Times Magazine, the text of which (about a quarter down the page) is quoted exactly. Kevin Drum, a blogger for MotherJones, tried to track down the source of this anecdote. He found a tweet by the article's author, Elizabeth Green, saying that she got it from "Threshold Resistance", the memoirs of Alfred Taubman, ...


24

Classmates.com lists her, with a photograph, as having attended a "DePaul Academy, Chicago IL" from 1992-1996 for high school. There was a DePaul Academy high school in Chicago that closed in 1968 and was all boys, but I'm not aware of another. This high school was originally part of the DePaul University, and based upon the information discussed below, ...


21

See Book IV of Augustine's Confessions (Project Gutenberg link). This translation is credited to E. B. Pusey. I remember also, that when I had settled to enter the lists for a theatrical prize, some wizard asked me what I would give him to win; but I, detesting and abhorring such foul mysteries, answered, "Though the garland were of imperishable ...


19

There are vastly many more 40-move chess games than atoms in the visible universe, which we will prove below. But first, some clarification: Earlier posts mention the Shannon number, which is his estimate for the game-tree complexity of chess (i.e., the number of possible games). Shannon gave the estimate 10120 as a remark in "Programming a Computer for ...


15

also the proportion of eastern and western elongation, are equal to the Golden Mean. First of all, Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (The Grand Mosque) was established in Mecca in 638. That's thousand years before Greenwich observatory was established. Secondly initial meridian is completely arbitrary. Historically there have been dozens of them. Greenwich has been ...


15

Yes, this particular device is known as a hatchet planimeter - invented by Captain Prytz. See this Encyclopædia britannica page. For the mathematical theory of the device see Robert L. Foote: Geometry of the Prytz Planimeter. See also Mark Levi and Serge Tabachnikov On bicycle tire tracks geometry, hatchet planimeter, Menzin’s conjecture and oscillation of ...


14

Yes. But let's keep PNG or JPG out of the picture since they're quite complex formats. If we'd talk about a simple bitmap it's much easier. If you keep increasing one number (1, 2, 3, 4) and then another number everytime from 1 up to that number you get a sequence like this: 1 1 2 1 2 2 3 1 3 2 3 3 4 1 ... This is respectively the width and height of your ...


14

tl;dr; There are indications for this effect, but the research is still unconclusive. The claim as stated is probably false. The evidence This statement refers to the widely studied Stereotype threat effect, which is often described as the risk of conforming to stereotypes of one's social group. In particular, it refers to the study STEREOTYPE ...


14

Most likely no. X is one of many symbols used for unknowns throughout the history of mathematics, and comes from a notation in the 1600's that used several other letters alongside X. Some Arab mathematicians used the Arabic word for 'thing' to represent an unknown, however it was several hundred years between that and X becoming popular, with many other ...


13

In tournament play, which is not a particularly long trial, there seems to be evidence that skill plays an important role: Examining the performance in the 2010 World Series of Poker group of poker players identified as being highly skilled prior to the start of the events. Those players identified a priori as being highly skilled achieved an average ...


13

Yes it really happened, although the term "county fair" isn't exactly right, it was the annual show of the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Society at Plymouth, England. See the below articles for details. Vox Populi Nature 75, 450-451 (07 March 1907) (alternative link) After weeding thirteen cards out of the collection, as being defective or ...


12

This urban legend is false. According to The Prize's Rite and the peer-reviewed "Why is there no Nobel prize in Mathematics" he was never married and there is no written record of his motives except of his last will: ..the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred ...


12

The book Descartes: A Very Short Introduction (which at 100 pages vastly exceed most on-line biographies of him) only has this to say on the matter Readers who are familiar with representing solutions to equations by using X and Y axes to plot coordinates are acquainted with techniques that, if not invented by Descartes, were developed and applied by ...


10

During her 1988 visit to the United States, educational psychologist Professor Arthur Jensen, University of California, Berkeley, have tried to unlock the secret of her abilities. He published his work in Journal of Intelligence. Speed of Information Processing in a Calculating Prodigy Note: It's also the source of the answers in this post. Could ...


10

Edit 2019-01: answering this question boils down to knowing how many possible ways there are to play 40 move games of chess and how many atoms there are in the universe. The latter is known, and all of these answers ultimately cite chess experts, only varying in their interpretation of their figures. I like the answer from Douglas S. Stones the most as it ...


9

de Mesquita is no more able to predict the future reliably than anyone else There are two classes of forecasters: those who don't know and those who don't know they don't know. J K Galbaith What de Mesquita claims is, strictly, not to be able to predict the future, but to predict the outcome of certain classes of events where the outcome is determined by ...


9

There are studies that support what she is saying to some extent, but she is exaggerating. For example in Estimating number of lifetime sexual partners: Men and women do it differently 1999 (alternative link) Just looking at the top 10% (above the 90th percentile for men and women as one dataset, meaning more than 8 partners) men and women, as plotted in ...


8

No, calculators have no negative impact on learning. The studies done thus far show that calculators only have a positive impact on learning. Only one exception was the grade 4 class from a 1986 study. A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Calculators on Students Achievement and Attitude Levels in Precollege Mathematics Classes The findings of 54 research ...


8

I'll add some more evidence to the other answers, here's what I found. From a scholarly point of view, there seem little doubt that he meant astrologers, who at the time were called mathematici or genethliaci: this is clearly seen in a different book by Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana. Here's an extract from the English version available from the site of ...


8

An other approach, less to answer the question about statistics, but more about how to pull of the Trick. There are 2 Methothds that you can do this. One is trying to figure out, what number the other person is thinging based on tells (bodylanguage). Example here and explained here. The other one is more complicated, and needs a little preparation. The ...


8

Poincaré did say the one quote: We have just seen, through an example, the importance of words in mathematics, but I could cite many more cases. It is scarcely credible, as Mach said, how much a well-chosen word can economize thought. I do not know whether or not I have said somewhere that mathematics is the art of giving the same name to ...


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