The First Word Calculator

word calculatorThis is a pretty awesome widget from the folks at Wolfram Alpha:  a word calculator!

It does the basic things you’d expect, like give you definitions, pronunciations, synonyms, and the like.  But it also gives you cool things like word frequency (“frequency” is the 3209th most common word) and hyphenations (me-di-e-val has 8 letters and 4 syllables)

And, when I typed my name in, I learned that 599,125 people are named Patrick, and our most common age is 46.

WolframAlpha’s mission is to make the world’s information computable–not just searchable.   I guess the lesson here is that everything is computable in some way.

What’s So Special About 733?

number spiralThis is a nice resource from Erich Friedman, a math professor at Stetson University:  it’s a list of distinctive characteristics of [most of] the numbers between 1 and 9999:

Now, maybe knowing that 215 is equivalent to 555 in base 6 isn’t that useful, but there are a lot of great ideas woven throughout this list of integers.  If you can fill in any of the gaps (do you know anything distinctive about 6821?), I’m sure Dr. Friedman would love to hear from you.

Mobius Battle

One of many witty, math-y cartoons from

To create this, I think you’d need to draw panels both on the front and the back of a strip of paper, making sure that the end of one side can precede (or follow) the end on the other side in the story.  I imagine it would be best if the circular story had no beginning or end.


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