a weekly roundup of cartoons, links, and the updates you and your computer are both hankering for
I’m awaiting the day when the New York Times becomes a full-time math-only publication. This week brought us a step closer.
First, Manil Suri meditates on the social impact of mathematical discovery, by asking who invented zero.
And second, Jordan Ellenberg describes the state of gerrymandering in Wisconsin, where new computational techniques have elevated the old practice from an art to a science. “As a mathematician, I’m impressed,” writes Ellenberg. “As a Wisconsin voter, I feel a little ill.”
A gem from ArXiV: Marvel Universe Looks Almost Like a Real Social Network, applying graph theory to the Marvel comics universe. Each character is a node; appearing together in a comic book is an arc.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 99.4% of all characters belong to a single connected component of the graph.
Last thought: the Best Mathematics Writing of 2017 looks sharp.