Film Review: Who Will Write Our History?

I recently had the fortune to see a new film about a group of Jewish men and women who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto and defied their Nazi oppressors by undertaking a project to document, collect, organize, and safeguard a record of their lives—all done under extreme secrecy and the looming threat of death had their operation been discovered. This group, led by historian Emanuel … Continue reading Film Review: Who Will Write Our History?

What would our planets look like if you flew by?

Artist Michael Benson has made some pretty fun and stunning images of celestial bodies in our solar system rendered in a manner that supposedly mimics the way our human eyes would perceive them if we were to fly by. For those of you in London, check out an exhibition of his photos along with original music by Brian Eno. > Read more and see more … Continue reading What would our planets look like if you flew by?

Nick Hanauer: Inequality is bad for the rich

Check out this quite compelling TED talk from Nick Hanauer, an entrepreneur, investor, capitalist, and self-described plutocrat. Hanauer is a billionaire, but makes the case that trickle-down economics and rising inequality are especially bad for the rich. One claim he makes: Some inequality is necessary for a high-functioning capitalist democracy. The problem is that inequality is at historic highs today and it’s getting worse every day. And … Continue reading Nick Hanauer: Inequality is bad for the rich

Cheryl’s Birthday Problem and Information Filtering

I love seeing teasers about math and logic gain popular appeal! Here’s the math (specifically, logic) problem that the internet is talking about today:

Cheryl's birthday problem

You can get the full problem nicely presented on either The Guardian or The New York Times websites. A number of other sites are talking about it today, too. Just Google “Cheryl birthday problem.”

I spent some time with the problem and put together this response here. I know that various online outlets have discussed the answer as well; here are the respective solutions presented by The Guardian and The New York Times (don’t click those links until you think about the problem for yourself). But I think there’s a useful “information” framework to use in considering how to arrive at the answer. I discuss that framework at the end.

Spoiler alert — I’m going to discuss the birthday answer starting in the next paragraph.

Continue reading “Cheryl’s Birthday Problem and Information Filtering”