Our June was bisected. The first half of the month we spent in France, taking one last trip out of Paris to Brest in Brittany and then heading back into the big city and trying to do all that last Paris stuff we hadn't gotten around to yet. The second half of the month we were back at home in Salt Lake City. The first week we were back, we had trouble keeping ourselves from just gawking at the mountains the entire time. We've taken a couple hikes and bike rides in the area and are trying to wrangle our house back into shape after being gone for six months. We had a great time in Paris, and now it's good to be home. I hope your June was filled with your preferred mix of travel and home.
On World Tessellation Day, I looked down at my kitchen floor.
The Impossible Mathematics of the Real World. Last year I learned about the idea of the mathematical near-miss, "an exact representation of an almost-right answer," as Craig Kaplan describes it. In this article for Nautilus, I explore this murky boundary between perfection and imperfection, mathematics and the real world. I also wrote about this idea on my blog: The Perfection of Imperfection.
From Oliver Roeder at Five Thirty Eight, Math Has No God Particle. On some challenges of publicizing cutting-edge math research.
The white marble statues we imagine used to grace every street corner and home entrance in Athens were actually painted in bright colors. We need to start seeing them that way, argues Sarah E. Bond in an article for Hyperallergic.
"Do not define a man by his wealth. Among other drawbacks, this would create confusing equivalence classes of indistinguishable men." Ben Orlin offers up some nice commencement speeches for mathematicians.
"In the past decade, all sorts of marvelous things have happened for African literature. African writers have won or been shortlisted for some of the most prestigious literary prizes and accorded prominent display in leading bookshops. Contemporary African voices are finally telling African stories.
But we are telling only the stories that foreigners allow us to tell." A New York Times article by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani on African books for Western eyes.
A couple years ago my spouse and I visited Barcelona and loved the beautiful architecture. After one memorable lunch, we ambled back to our hotel and noticed a beautiful, colorful house that looked a little worse for the wear. It turns out it was Casa Vicens, the first home Antoni Gaudí ever designed, and it's about to reopen to the public.
I have two friends in Texas who are going to be giving birth this month. The maternal mortality rate in Texas is extremely high. It's much lower in California. Why is there such a difference? Julia Belluz writes about how California lowered its maternal mortality rate.