I’ve been working in the past two days on a lecture about DNA transcription. For those who don’t remember their basic biology, transcription is part of the process of getting from the genetic code in DNA to functional proteins in your body. How much do you remember about the genetic code? I will remind you of this much, there are quite a few numbers involved!

I had bookmarked this a while back, but hadn’t really played with it. This is a visual method of multiplication using lines and intersections.

Cool, right! I love different thoughts about how to do math. Can you see how this one works? The lines crossing are basic multiplication, and then the design stacks the appropriate columns for tens, hundreds, etc. With very small numbers (4 or less) I can see how this might be easier, especially for people who do better with visuals then numbers, or perhaps someone like me who would prefer to count dots than remember multiplication tables. I never did learn most of those because I could do the math just as fast in my head. However, with large numbers it becomes tedious with too many points (which you might as well just multiply!).

Of course, thinking about multiplication this way, you could always just break numbers into their component parts for multiplying and it’s almost the same thing, right? For example, if I’m multiplying 4 by 52 (like, how many days a year I run approximately) I would multiply 4 by 50 and get 200 and then multiply 4 by 2 which is 8 and add them for 208. Same concept, but mental instead of visual.

Have you got any sneaky mental or visual tricks for complex multiplication?

I saw this and I just couldn’t resist popping it up here for a math Monday!

Who wants to try these awesome dance moves out? I know I would, that is, if I danced. Now, the real question is whether they work better in 4/4 time, 3/4 time or 6/8 time. Screw all those, let’s do 11/8! Now 1, 2, 3 – 1, 2, 3 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

I found this originally on Geeks Are Sexy and thought that it was the perfect intersection of movie geeks, logic geeks, and math geeks. Since I’m most of the above (my husband is a bigger movie geek than me, but that means I still watch a lot of movies with him), I definitely enjoyed these and I thought you would too!

Here’s the original on Spiked Math. Oh, and there are two more:

So, can you get them? The only issue here is that I couldn’t find an actual answer key, but if you pop into the comments, there are plenty of great options!

Got any other ideas? I was trying to come up with something for Walk the Line, like a function from x+1 to infinity for the equation ax+c = y (like stepping up a line, get it!). Anyway. Lots of math, logic, and movie fun!

I love math. I love pie. I didn’t make pie because I’m still recovering from PAX and catching up on real world stuff like grocery shopping and cleaning.

Have some pie. Draw some circles. Enjoy what’s left of Pi Day!

PAX wrap-up to follow this week sometime. Really, I mean it!

Clocks, not the Coldplay song (although I insist that band has 1 song with 4 titles), are inherently mathematical because they are an even division of time. However, there are those out there who can make them even more geeky and here are a few.

Just in case you think it’s too easy to read an analog clock, here’s one that makes you calculate each number in the process! More

I’m back, sort of, or at least this week, at least through Thursday. Anyway, time for posts, yay!

First of all, it’s 02-21-2011 or 2-21-11, that combination of digits amuses me for no significant reason. Tomorrow will be 02-22-2011. That’s a lot of two’s.

Okay, onto the real Math Monday. Dawn is a miracle child in my family. Why do I say that? Well, because the probability of her features as they exist is only 1.6%. Yup, today I want to talk about genetics and probabilities. Partially because I have been talking a bit about genetics on my job interviews, and partially because my family has always been a bit obsessed with them. Salient points:
– We call Dawn the “recessive” child due to her very visible blond hair and blue eyes, both recessive genes. She’s also a lefty. Skinny might be recessive too, we’ll see.

My Dad apparently thought it was fun to teach me random math skills at a young age. When I was 8 or so, he taught me basic algebra. When I was about 11, I learned the quadratic equation, including aspects of its derivation. When I was 14, he taught me how to solve square roots on paper. This skill became surprisingly useful because I had a high school chemistry teacher who insisted that you couldn’t pass her tests without a calculator, and I felt like that was a challenge. Interestingly enough, she also insisted that you couldn’t get an A in her class without studying. I won on both accounts, and part of that was my ability to do square roots.

Here, I show you stepwise how I do it. I’m not going to explain the process here because I like these to be quick, but there is a good explanation to be found here.

This techniques also makes an excellent timewaster. If you are ever bored, you just write a series of random numbers and take the square root out as far as you can without driving yourself crazy. Try it with your birthday or home address.

For a long time, I was crummy at taking notes, so most of what I did in class was doodle. Now, I’m pretty far from an artist, so most of my doodles were just lines instead of pictures or other such things. Interesting thing about it all was that the more I doodled, the more I discovered interesting patterns in my little drawings. Specifically, I doodle symmetrically. It’s actually pretty amusing that I will make things like a series of little triangles or a diamond with an extended pattern coming off of it. I counted the pieces, and made sure there were even numbers of things like short and long lines and curved lines.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is planning a Happy New Year! How many of you traveled for your Holiday plans? I know we did. The family gathered down at the parent’s house in Florida, and although my husband and I were supposed to return yesterday, the rather insane snowstorm in the Northeast we are hanging out in Florida until tomorrow. Because of that, I packed everything yesterday and now have to pack everything again tomorrow. Fortunately, I’m a packing nut.

Yup, you heard that correctly, a packing nut. I’ve always been really excited to try and fit more stuff in smaller spaces. I think maybe it was my Girl Scout upbringing, and having to carry my week’s worth of clothes all by myself to the campsite. I tend to think of packing like a live game of irregular Tetris, and I always loved Tetris!

My unfinished packing job. Items of note: Star Wars cookie cutters, Supernatural Season 5 on BluRay, and The Who T-Shirt