Howdy, everyone! Tonight we’re rolling out Mathemedia, a compendium of math-related media — and we’re looking for your submissions!
Send us your favoritebooks, movies, songs, art, essays, and articles (etc.) that prominently feature mathematics or mathematicians — and we’ll add them to Mathemedia. But first! a few ground rules:
We prefer that material be accessible to anyone with a love of mathematics and access to Wikipedia — assuming, at most, a typical high school education in math.
In general, we’re looking for stories about mathematics — told either from the inside or outside. Fiction is great; non-fiction is good too, as long as it’s designed for more than a mathematically-trained audience. There are several great lists out there on the interwebs of seminal papers and great textbooks and phenomenal websites — this is not one of them.
If you have the time, please include a short description of the book, movie, etc. in question. This will help anyone browsing the list figure out what’s most interesting and appealing to them. If the material is legally available on the Internet (e.g., an article or music video), feel free to include a link!
Thanks for helping spread our love of math! We’ll start putting up what you submit later tonight.
Gross domestic product (GDP) losses are projected at 12.6 per cent for the Maldives, 9.9 per cent for Nepal, 9.4 per cent for Bangladesh and 8.7 per cent for India by 2100.
"Without global deviation from a fossil-fuel-intensive path, South Asia could lose an equivalent of 1.8 percent of annual GDP by 2050, which will progressively increase to 8.8 per cent by 2100 on the average under the business-as-usual scenario," the report said.
I think the bank underestimates the hit to GDP. If a storm wipes out major infrastructure (think Japan’s Fukushima), the effects on economies and lives will last for decades.
The First Mind-Controlled Bionic Leg Steps Into Reality
A team of scientists are getting closer to the holy grail of brain-powered prosthetics by developing the first advanced-movement prosthetic leg that communicates with the wearer’s mind.
Zac Vawter, 31, lost his leg just above the knee in a 2009 motorcycle accident. But today he’s the “test pilot” for the first bionic leg that can complete tasks like going up stairs or down slopes, all controlled by Vawter’s mind. A study announcing the progress of the limb is published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The leg is the brainchild of a collaborative group of engineers, neuroscientists, surgeons, and prosthetists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, funded with a $8-million grant from the Army. Similar technology has been used in the past for arm prosthetics, but this is the first prosthetic leg to communicate with the wearer’s mind. All Vawter has to do is imagine his toes curling or the gait of walking down the stairs, and the leg puts his thoughts into motion. The prosthetic limb uses sensors that rely on what are called reinnervated nerves, which are nerves that were formerly used to control Vawter’s leg muscles, but are surgically rewired to control his limb. The prosthetic reads the contractions from the muscles and nerves and makes the necessary movements in the knee and ankle joints that are part of the leg. Vawter told Bloomberg in an interview, “In my mind, it’s still the same thing in terms of moving my ankle down or up, or extending my leg forward or back. It’s just walk like I would normally walk. It’s not special training or buttons or tricks. That’s a big piece of what I think is groundbreaking and phenomenal about this work.”
Innovation in prosthetics is growing. Prosthetic limbs are no longer simply walking sticks that provide balance. There are more and more robotic limbs that move in ways that feel and look natural to wearers. For instance, Dr. Hugh Herr, Director of Biomechatronics at MIT and Founder and Chief Technology Officer of the prosthetic brand iWalk, has perfected the robotics in his company’s prosthetic limbs to replicate the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, which provide a push-off that helps propel the user and normalize their gait.
But don’t expect this new leg before it can be made available for people who need it, researchers say it still needs to be refined. Currently, Vawter only wears the leg for one week every couple of months when he visits the researchers in Chicago. California company Freedom Innovations LLC is also working to make the machine quieter and smaller.
This is a beautiful and ethereal display of a “bow shock” about a half a light year across in the Orion Nebula. A bow shock is created in space when two streams of gas collide. In this image, the young star L.L. Orionis emits a solar wind – a stream of charged particles moving rapidly outward from the star. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas from the surrounding Orion Nebula a shock front is formed, similar to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed.
(Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team, C. R. O’Dell, Vanderbilt University)
This is what your home on Mars could look like - NASA JPL and Makerbot have announced the winners of their Thingiverse Mars Base challenge to design and 3D print a human habitat for the Red Planet. - Humans living on Mars is a fascinating concept. We already have Mars One looking to establish a Mars colony, and NASA planning manned missions to the Red Planet, with one objective being to assess the feasibility of living there; whether Mars has the resources necessary for human survival, and whether we have the technology to create what we need. While, however, it’s still a distant dream, that hasn’t stopped people from thinking about how we might live if we get there. Recently, NASA and Makerbot held the Mars Base challenge: to design human habitation, using materials either found on Mars or brought from Earth, that could be 3D printed. With 228 submissions on Thingiverse, the competition was fierce — but the three top designs are in, with the first place winner receiving a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D printer and spools of MakerBot PLA filament going to second and third. (via This is what your home on Mars could look like - CNET)
Graphene-Based Artificial Retina Sensor Being Developed
Researchers at Germany’s Technical University of Munich are developing graphene sensors like the ones depicted above to serve as artificial retinas. The atom-thick sheet of linked carbon atoms is being used because it is thin, flexible, stronger than steel, transparent and electrically conductive.
TUM physicists think that all of these characteristics and graphene’s compatibility with the body make it a strong contender to serve as the interface between a retinal prosthetic that converts light to electric impulses and the optic nerve. A graphene-based sensor could help blind people with healthy nerve tissue see, they say.