Saturday, February 15, 2014

Units Matter

From Wired:

"A disaster investigation board reports that NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere because engineers failed to convert units from English to metric.
. . . 
A NASA review board found that the problem was in the software controlling the orbiter’s thrusters. The software calculated the force the thrusters needed to exert in pounds of force. A separate piece of software took in the data assuming it was in the metric unit: newtons."

Math as Art

The BBC cites a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience as finding that mathematicians' viewing formulas they considered beautiful caused similar activity in their emotional brain centers as is caused by viewing art.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Math and the Law

The law firm Foley & Lardner has written a program using algorithms to predict the cost of litigation. It will aid attorneys in presenting legal options to clients.