Daily Archives: January 8, 2008

mathematics in the year 3008

One of the special features on the DVD to the Futurama movie Bender’s Big Score is an honest to goodness math lecture. I am not making this up. The math lecture is given by Appalachian State professor Sarah Greenwald, who explains the extremely subtle math references on Futurama, which is written by PhDs in math and computer science. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it really is a math lecture — a P and NP reference is only reference that could pass as an OR reference. If you don’t want to rent the DVD, you can check out Futuramamath.com and read this article in Math Horizons, which basically summarizes everything in the math lecture.


forecasting fun: polls, primaries & caucuses

With a newborn at home, I don’t have the time to be a politics junkie with the 2008 Presidential election upon us. To be honest, I don’t know what a caucus is. But I like to follow the news as the various primaries occur. Predicting the presidential elections is a forecasting problem that receives a lot of attention. I love the uncertainty, but journalists rarely get the math right.

The Numbers Guy blog has a few good posts about polls and the Iowa Caucus, including posts on polling, more on polling, and Iowa caucus math. The links in these posts are really interesting, and they show that polling is becoming more accurate.

Want to forecast yourself? Up-to-date raw poll numbers can be found at
pollster.com and Real Clear Politics. If you don’t want to forecast, I have heard that there will be a few OR election applications presented at the 2008 INFORMS Annual Meeting in DC.

The Swamp is a good politics blog that has up to the date news during the primaries. It tends to have a lot of Obama news since the blog is run by the Chicago Tribune (Barack Obama is the hottest thing to come from Illinois since Abe Lincoln).