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Claude Shannon, the Las Vegas Shark

Long before the Apple Watch or the Fitbit, what was arguably the world’s first wearable computer was conceived by Ed Thorp, then a little-known graduate student in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Thorp was the rare physicist who felt at home with both Vegas bookies and bookish professors. He loved math, gambling, and the stock market, roughly in that order. The tables and the market he loved for the challenge: Could you create predictability out of seeming randomness? What could give one person an edge in games of chance? Thorp wasn’t content just pondering these questions; like Shannon, he set out to find and build answers.

More here – The Nautilus

Getting Hit In The Head Is Bad For You

I have written about the remarkable John Urschel before and I did make a comment that it would be a shame to see such a remarkable intellect blunted by repetitive injuries.

One of the N.F.L.’s smartest players did the math and decided to retire after just three years in the league.

John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens who received much publicity for his off-season pursuit of a doctorate in math at M.I.T., told the team on Thursday that he was hanging up his cleats at 26.

Urschel’s agent, Jim Ivler, said Urschel was overwhelmed with interview requests but would not be speaking to the news media. On Twitter, Urschel wrote that “there is no big story here” and that the decision to retire was not an easy one to make, but “it was the right one for me.”

He added that he planned to return to school full time in the fall, “to take courses that are only offered in the fall semester” and spend time with his fiancée, who is expecting their first child in December.

Urschel’s decision came two days after the release of a study in which all but one of 111 brains of former N.F.L. players showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

More here – New York Times

The Scientific Method & Investment Management


 

A Man in a Hurry: Claude Shannon’s New York Years

….English philosopher George Henry Lewes once observed that “genius is rarely able to give an account of its own processes.” This seems to have been true of Shannon, who could neither explain himself to others, nor cared to. In his work life, he preferred solitude and kept his professional associations to a minimum. Robert Fano, a later collaborator of Shannon, said, “He was not someone who would listen to other people about what to work on.” One mark of this, some observed, was how few of Shannon’s papers were coauthored……

More here – IEEE Spectrum

 

Why Cant Monkeys Talk?

Decades ago, while Philip H. Lieberman was soaking in a bathtub and listening to the radio, he heard anthropologist Loren Eiseley ponder an evolutionary puzzle: Why couldn’t monkeys talk? Like us, they’re social primates, intelligent and certainly not quiet. Rhesus macaques grunt, coo, screech and scream. Infant macaques make sounds known as geckers. Despite the grunting and geckering, though, no other primates — not even the chimpanzees and bonobos, our nearest ape relatives — can make the vowel and consonant sounds we know as speech.

More here – Washington Post

PS: You mean Planet of the Apes is not possible….WTF?

A MATH GENIUS BLOOMS LATE AND CONQUERS HIS FIELD

….Huh’s math career began with much less acclaim. A bad score on an elementary school test convinced him that he was not very good at math. As a teenager he dreamed of becoming a poet. He didn’t major in math, and when he finally applied to graduate school, he was rejected by every university save one.

Nine years later, at the age of 34, Huh is at the pinnacle of the math world. He is best known for his proof, with the mathematicians Eric Katz and Karim Adiprasito, of a long-standing problem called the Rota conjecture.

Even more remarkable than the proof itself is the manner in which Huh and his collaborators achieved it—by finding a way to reinterpret ideas from one area of mathematics in another where they didn’t seem to belong. This past spring IAS offered Huh a long-term fellowship, a position that has been extended to only three young mathematicians before. Two of them (Vladimir Voevodsky and Ngô Bảo Châu) went on to win the Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics….

Dont worry too much about the fact that this is about a mathematician who specialises in a very rarefied field – absorb the lesson that often it is never too late.

The revolution in managing chronic pain

What is pain and why does it sometimes persist? In this week’s podcast, South Australian pain scientist Lorimer Moseley will surprise you about the real cause of chronic pain and what this understanding means for its treatment.

Moseley, the Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of South Australia, is helping to develop ways to help people control their pain through scientific understandings of its mechanisms.

The good news is that these techniques can – over time – reduce or even remove pain for some chronic sufferers.

“There’s a whole new sense of the possible,” he says.

Source – InDaily

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