News from the world of Maths
In a major and expensive setback for NASA's Mars program, both the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft appear to have been lost. Soberingly, while the fate of the Mars Polar Lander is unclear, it appears that the Mars Climate Orbiter was lost due to a simple mathematical error.
Combining the computational powers of modern digital computers with the complex beauty of mathematical fractals has produced some entrancing artwork during the past two decades. Intriguingly, recent research at the University of New South Wales, Australia, has suggested that some works by the American artist Jackson Pollock also reflect a fractal structure.
Tax harmonisation, a common market, EU-wide laws: the trend is for ever-increasing standardisation across Europe. Ironically, there is currently a popular rebellion in France against one of the earliest pan-European standards, the Prime Meridian - the line of longitude from which all time zones are referenced.