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Tickle your mathematical funny bone

Tickle your mathematical funnybone (11/02/2005)

Q: What did the number 0 say to the number 8?
A: Nice belt!

So goes the Plus news editor's favourite maths joke - but do you have an even funnier one? Paul Renteln and Alan Dundes have, and you can read them all in their recent article "Foolproof: A Sampling of Mathematical Folk Humor", in the January issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society. We particularly liked the "aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall" song and plan to use it to while away the longest car journeys. But Philip Ball from news@nature.com thinks that that "mathematician's jokes betray a deep-seated anxiety about the size of their proofs". If you aren't worried about the size of your proof and have a joke you would like to share with Plus readers, please email it to us at Plus@maths.cam.ac.uk!

Get your own personal Black Chamber (11/02/2005)

Following on from his successful book, "The Code Book", Simon Singh gave us all a chance to play the code maker and code breaker online at The Black Chamber, and distributed 25,000 copies of his interactive CD-ROM version of the book (reviewed in Issue 26 of Plus). The good news is that this CD-ROM is now downloadable for free from Singh's website. It is a big download, taking approximately 3 hours via broadband, so you can still order it for just £5 by old fashioned post.

You can read more about Simon Singh and cryptography in "Safety in Numbers" and the Plus archive.

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