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Wrong, but Useful episode 41

February 22, 2017

On this month’s episode, myself and @icecolbeveridge are joined by @evelynjlamb, who is Evelyn Lamb in real life. She writes the Roots Of Unity column for Scientific American.

Nice numbers

We discussed the idea of some numbers being ‘nicer’ than others. This really is a bit a weird topic and hard to describe but I think we all have an inner feeling of which numbers seem nice. You may have heard someone say, “ooh, let’s make it a nice, round number” for example. Alex Bellos has written about how people have favourite numbers and that the most popular choice is 7. My current favourite number is Belphegor’s Prime:


3s, 6s, and 9s

I also talked about taking a string of 3s (or 6s or 9s) and squaring it. See what happens.

33333² = 1111088889

15* kievs

We talked about when 15 = 16 or when 15 is a square number:

Some questions that came from twitter:

  • What are bounds for the radius of a kiev?
  • What’s the minimum number of kievs you might get in a bag?
  • How can they be so precise about the amount of salt in a kiev that seem to vary in size?
  • If the * is a power, what does it equal?
  • What percentage extra did I get?
  • How many chickens were harmed to make this bag?

A game or two (Two. It’s definitely two.)

I also made a hash of describing a game called Areamaze. Evelyn did a better job of describing Euclid, the Game. Try them yourself!

Thanks for listening. If you’d like to be on an episode, let us know.


From → Maths

  1. While Euclid, the game, was very nice, I think it has been superseded by
    The latter is basically the same, but a nicer interface and a lot more levels. Also, for constructions that aren’t unique, there is a bonus for finding the other version(s).

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