MHN: Breast Self-Exams


Read my most recent article in the college newspaper:

“The jelly breast implant is used to teach the proper procedure for performing a Breast Self-Exam (BSE), which has been a method for detecting breast cancer since the 1930s. However, in recent years the benefits of performing BSE have come into question.”


Reblog: Parable of the Polygons


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If you haven’t seen it yet, you should stop reading this blog right now and go check out Parable of the Polygons!

It’s a project created by Vi Hart and Nicky Case called a “playable blog post.” It’s a sort-of game, sort-of blog post, sort-of math modelling presentation, sort-of social comment.

The interactive post focuses on the issues and segregation that occur when even just a small amount of “shapism” exists in society. The post is incredibly relevant to the current events regarding racism in the States, but also successfully comments on any sexism/size-ism/homophobia/etc.

The thing about the Parable of the Polygons that I think is really amazing is how universal the game is. It’s very appropriate for kids and schools, yet the “cuteness” of the shapes and demos does not make it too young for adults. It’s interesting for mathematicians and scientists since it takes a data-driven look at society, yet is no where near too dense for non-STEM individuals. And, although the post has been public for less than a week, it has already been translated into five languages by volunteers!

I also love that it brings together mathematics and humanities, something that is a relatively new and exciting interdisciplinary frontier. The interactive blog post is a good example of how powerful mathematics can be when applied to a topic you won’t think it apt. Vi Hart says:

[I]f there’s two subjects that get a really defensive and hateful reaction, it’s mathematics and social justice, so we figured we’d do them both at once.
(Vi Hart on her blog)

Go check it out! What do you think?

A Few Other News/Blog Posts on the Parable of the Polygons (because it is getting a lot of attention!):

Radiolab: Numbers


Radiolab: Numbers

I really love podcasts. A lot. Maybe it has something to do with being a musician, but I actually prefer just having audio as opposed to watching a movie. It helps me imagine what I’m hearing a lot better, and I think they’re fun to listen to.

One of the podcasts I listen to is the Math/Maths Podcast by Pulse Project. The podcast is no longer running, but the archive of 127 episodes at an hour in length each should keep you going for a while. (: I like their humor and current event stories (well, what was current during the recording) related to math.

During a recent episode, they advertised NPR’s Radiolab, specifically the Numbers episode. They actually said that if you have never listened to Radiolab, stop listening to Math/Maths and go listen to Radiolab instead! 

I didn’t. But I asked my NPR-loving friends if they’d listened to Radiolab, and their response to me was: You HAVEN’T?! :)

Now I have.

I’ve just started the Numbers Episode. I really like thinking about the idea that babies might sense numbers in a logarithmic way. The calculus students I’m TAing for are struggling with logarithms right now– It seems impossible to imagine that maybe we all used to think about numbers in that way naturally! And now they just say “I hate logs.” (Not that I blame them. I’ve said it too.)

Origami Notes


Origami Notes (click for link to pattern)

I really love folding origami. I love the feeling of the paper under my fingertips, and the way the paper holds the creases. I love the challenge of learning a new pattern, and the excitement when you finally get it to look the way you want it to.

I found this “love notes” pattern yesterday and made a few for a friend. I think they’re cool, and I like that even though I’ve only folded the pattern about 5 times, I’ve already memorized it. ;) I think it is actually the easiest pattern I’ve ever folded. Try it! If you think you can’t fold– you can.IMG_5655

I spent a little while trying to decide if it made sense to post an origami pattern on my math blog, and I think it does. I think learning origami patterns are kind of like solving math problems/proofs– there is one solution you are trying to get to, you know when you have gotten it, but you will take many wrong turns and many tries before getting it. Then, once you have, it is beautiful. <3

Also. I was talking to my math professor, and she was telling us about how she will be giving an “inspirational” talk to res life. I asked her if it was supposed to be about math, and she said: “Well. I think it’s supposed to be personal. So, since it is about my life, it will necessarily be related to math.” Yes.