Plus Blog

July 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Scientists/cricket geeks have shown that the weather has a significant effect on the results of the Ashes cricket series between Australia and England when the series is held in Australia. The Australian cricket team is more likely to succeed after El Niño years, while the English cricket team does better following La Niña years, the opposite phase when the weather is cooler and wetter. But how significant is this effect and should the teams change their strategies accordingly?

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posted by Plus @ 1:44 PM

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July 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Meet the fastest mathematician on Earth

Fancy crashing through the sound barrier in a rocket propelled car that goes all the way up to 1000mph? Well, we can't give you that experience, but we can get you as close as any maths magazine ever will. Last week we interviewed Andy Green, currently the fastest man on Earth (and Oxford maths graduate), who's now gearing up to break his own land speed record in his Bloodhound SSC — a pencil shaped car powered by a Eurofighter aircraft engine. The car is currently being simulated on super computers, exploiting the full power of computational fluid dynamics and all sorts of other bits of engineering maths, and it's just about to move into the construction phase.

You will be able to read our interview and an article on the maths that makes Bloodhound possible in the September issue of Plus, but meanwhile go and visit the Bloodhound SSC website. It tells you all there is to know about this engineering adventure, the car, and the team behind it. There's a substantial education programme associated to the project — you can sign up for engineering and maths based teaching resources, from instructions to build your own balloon powered car to experimenting with the speed of sound. You can also sign up for an email newsletter, or follow Bloodhound on Twitter.

posted by Plus @ 7:33 AM

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July 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really win a landslide election on the 12th of June 2009? Many believe that he didn't, but only a full election re-run scrutinised by independent observers would bring absolute certainty. With this possibility thoroughly off the cards, as the Guardian Council has made clear, some analysts have had a long and hard look at the figures released by the very government accused of doing the rigging, to see if they reveal evidence of fraud.

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posted by Plus @ 8:29 AM

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At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is R. Mansilla. I work at National Autonomous University of Mexico. After professor Mebane, we used Benford Law to test a fraud in the 2006 presidential election here in Mexico. The results could be found at:
http://www.fisica.unam.mx/octavio/

 
June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last week's BBC programme The price of life highlighted the plight of cancer sufferers awaiting a decision by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, on a new drug that could add years to their lives. If approved by NICE, the drug, called revlimid and used to treat a cancer called multiple myeloma, could be prescribed freely on the NHS. If rejected, the prohibitive cost would spell the end of the line for many patients. In the light of the suffering facing myeloma patients and their families, the main criterion for NICE's decisions — cost-effectiveness — seems almost inhumane. But exactly what kind of mathematical considerations go into NICE's calculations?

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posted by Plus @ 12:00 PM

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June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thwack! Grunt! Wimbledon has started! And perhaps the unusually sunny weather this year might be an omen for an unheard of event... could this be the year of a British Wimbledon Champion?

We don't have the answer to that question, but you can test yourself and see what it takes to be a Wimbledon champion with our latest puzzle!

posted by Plus @ 11:15 AM

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June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What would you like to know about your Universe — The third online poll

This poll is now closed. The most popular question was: "What are dark energy and dark matter?" We will publish the answer in an article and podcast on Plus shortly. Thank you for taking part!

This is our third online poll in our series to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Choose your favourite question from the list on the right, and we'll put the one that proves most popular to world-leading astronomers and cosmologists, including Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and author and cosmologist John D. Barrow. The poll will remain open for a month and the answer will be published in a Plus article and podcast soon after. If your most burning question is not on this list, then leave a comment on this blog and we'll endeavour to include it in a future poll — there will be four more polls dotted throughout the year.

The most popular questions in polls far were was What happened before the Big Bang? and Are the constants of nature really constant?. Read the answers by clicking on the links, and discuss them on our blog.

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posted by Plus @ 3:33 PM

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At 8:32 AM, Blogger idkk said...

Dark matter is possibly "easy" to determine: neutrinos have mass. That simple (but hugely ignored) fact could provide both sufficient mass and energy to explain the otherwise unobserved masses and energies that puzzle us.

But how Gravity works - well, that's something I would really like to know.

 
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