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The maths problem that could bring the world to a halt
Looking at hundreds of campaigns over the last century, Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Overall, nonviolent campaigns were twice as likely to succeed as violent campaigns: they led to political change 53% of the time compared to 26% for the violent protests.

This was partly the result of strength in numbers. Chenoweth argues that nonviolent campaigns are more likely to succeed because they can recruit many more participants from a much broader demographic, which can cause severe disruption that paralyses normal urban life and the functioning of society.

In fact, of the 25 largest campaigns that they studied, 20 were nonviolent, and 14 of these were outright successes. Overall, the nonviolent campaigns attracted around four times as many participants (200,000) as the average violent campaign (50,000).

In Chenoweth’s data set, it was only once the nonviolent protests had achieved that 3.5% threshold of active engagement that success seemed to be guaranteed – and raising even that level of support is no mean feat. In the UK it would amount to 2.3 million people actively engaging in a movement (roughly twice the size of Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city); in the US, it would involve 11 million citizens – more than the total population of New York City.
mathematics  civildisobedience  blacklivesmatter  statistics 
6 weeks ago by campylobacter
A Single Cell Hints at a Solution to the Biggest Problem in Computer Science
Keio University's solution is different from the typical algorithmic solutions produced by other researchers, because the scientists used an amoeba. Specifically, the Physarum polycephalum slime mold. Physarum polycephalum is a very simple organism that does two things: it moves toward food and it moves away from light. Millions of years of evolution has made Physarum abnormally efficient at both of these things.

The Keio University researchers used this efficiency to build a device to solve the traveling salesman problem. They set the amoeba in a special chamber filled with channels, and at the end of each channel the researchers placed some food. Instinctively, the amoeba would extend tendrils into the channels to try and get the food. When it does that, however, it triggers lights to go off in other channels.
microbiology  mathematics 
december 2018 by campylobacter
Here are 300 free Ivy League university courses you can take online right now
Humanities (59 courses)
Computer Science (23 courses)
Art & Design (19 courses)
Business (66 courses)
Health & Medicine (25 courses)
Social Sciences (54 courses)
Data Science (21 courses)
Education & Teaching (17 courses)
Science (25 courses)
Engineering (16 courses)
Mathematics (11 courses)
Programming (4 courses)
education  informationTechnology  science  mathematics  PROGRAMMING  medicine  art 
june 2018 by campylobacter
Hidden Figures Movie vs the True Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA
Over the course of her three decades at NASA, Katherine Johnson's biography includes an impressive list of accomplishments. She calculated trajectories for Alan Shepard's groundbreaking 1961 spaceflight (America's first human in space), she verified the calculations for John Glenn's first American orbit of Earth, she computed the trajectory of Apollo 11's flight to the moon, and she worked on the plan that saved Apollo 13's crew and brought them safely back to Earth. For her accomplishments, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 24, 2015
mathematics  history  nasa  hollywood  cinema  racism  women 
january 2017 by campylobacter
How history forgot the black women behind Nasa’s space race
In 1943, sitting in the “coloured” section, Vaughan caught the bus for her first day of work at Langley as a “computer” – someone who made calculations and crunched numbers for the engineers developing aerospace technology. She had been a talented maths student, and became a teacher. By the time she applied to Langley, she was married with four children. Vaughan joined a small group of other black female mathematicians, who would become known as the West Computers, segregated from their white counterparts. It was the same elsewhere – black employees were barred from the white employees’ bathroom, and in the canteen a sign on one of the tables read “coloured computers”.

“Today it seems absolutely unthinkable and yet back then it was very normal,” says Lee Shetterly. “In every aspect of their lives, these women had to face the segregation that pervaded their lives. It made total sense in that context that it also governed their lives at work, and yet obviously people never stopped trying to find a way to break those chains.” The women kept removing the sign on the table, but it was always replaced. Until one day it wasn’t.
astrophysics  mathematics  nasa  feminism  racism  sexism  history 
september 2016 by campylobacter
Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus
1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.
2. It is scientifically nonsensical.
3. It is physiologically wrong.
4. It gets the logic wrong.
5. It's bad statistics.
6. It is lying by scientific authority.
7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.
8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high.
9. Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don't feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.
10. It embarrasses the U.S.
fatShaming  science  statistics  mathematics 
june 2016 by campylobacter
Figuring Out Apt Square Footage
Have you ever had someone tell you the square footage of a home and thought to yourself, "Amazing… what does that mean?"

Existing homeowners know exactly what 2,400 sq ft looks like. Recent college grads moving to NYC might not.

Below we take this sometimes-confusing unit of measure and give it some real-world applications. Now you can visualize square feet in terms you understand.

King Size Bed: 42.15 sq ft
School Bus (interior): 245 - 300 sq ft
Average 3-Car Garage: 600 - 640 sq ft
Acceptable Studio, 1, 2, Flex 3 Apartments: 1000 sq ft
NBA/NCAA Basketball Court: 4,700 sq ft
mathematics  realEstate 
june 2016 by campylobacter
0.3% is not 0.03%: representations of transgender frequencies in online publications (Gender Analysis 21)
In 2011, the Williams Institute at UCLA published an estimate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population of the United States. Reviewing various surveys and studies, the report estimated that about 0.3% of adults in the U.S. are trans. Since then, this figure has been repeatedly misquoted as “.03%”, often by conservative commentators who oppose trans rights.
mathematics  statistics  transgender 
june 2016 by campylobacter
Remember Your Old Graphing Calculator? It Still Costs a Fortune — Here's Why
College Board and other companies that administer the country's standardized tests have approved lists of calculators. TI-series devices are ubiquitous — mobile apps are nowhere to be found.
education  mathematics  profiteering 
september 2015 by campylobacter
Searching for the World's First Zero
I traveled to the compound called Angkor Conservation, in a field outside Siem Reap, on the way to the Angkor Wat complex. There, I searched among literally thousands of artifacts lying on the ground in large sheds. I don't know how -- but on January 2, 2013, late in the afternoon, I finally found K-127! I was elated. My wife, Debra, took several photographs of the inscription. Below is the only picture (with a few others my wife took) that exists of this priceless find. Cœdès had used only a pencil-rubbing, and never had a photograph. The dot in the center, to the right of the inverted-9-looking sign (which is 6 in Old Khmer) is the oldest zero ever discovered. His Excellency Hab Touch has promised me to bring K-127 back to the Cambodian National Museum in Phnom Penh, where it belongs, and where, hopefully, everyone would soon be able to see it.
zero  history  mathematics 
january 2015 by campylobacter

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