Last week there was no post because my computer was still feebly recovering from a power outage. Next week there will be no post because I’ll be taking a group of high school mathletes to a competition in Las Vegas. And this week there is a special post that is not a section of a chapter. So the question of whether Chapter 3 will ever get written is still unresolved.
This excerpt is a historical tale about a magnificent cat named Magnus who had a historically significant tail. Not only is there no math in it, but there’s very little physics in it. (more…)
This is the final excerpt of the chapter, which finally explains the chapter’s title (Newton’s Cat’s Kittens). (more…)
Yet another short excerpt, including a physics approach to analyzing catfood. (more…)
Last Friday was the first one on which I didn’t post an excerpt since this project began, 14 weeks ago. The reason why is that I was unusually busy, because a major project (an opportunity to sell my math clocks at a festival) was suddenly superimposed on an already very full weekend. However, no matter how busy I am, I am sufficiently obsessive-compulsive that I would have squeezed it in, except that I completely forgot about it. Ironically, this lapse of memory was probably due to lack of sleep, which in turn was due to my staying up late to watch a movie (because it had to be returned that morning) that – here’s where the irony comes in – was about a literately successful blogger, namely Julie and Julia. Perhaps hearing about her attentions from vast quantities of blog readers caused me to repress thinking about the contrast with my small set of readers and even smaller set of commenters. And even when I did belatedly remember this project, I was not inspired to get back on track.
So I really want to encourage comments on the blog. For those of you who know me, who keep giving me comments in person or by email, please put them on the blog instead. And for those felines among you, I realize it’s hard to type when your paws are wider than the keys, but know that I really appreciate your efforts.
Meanwhile, I am making up for this lapse it by including a double excerpt today, with lots of pictures, including a couple of cartoons. Although today is National Hairball Awareness Day, I cannot think of any way to relate that to the topics in today’s excerpt. Maybe that’s a good thing – there are no gross hairballs forthcoming. Rather, you will see graceful ice skaters and ballet dancers, both human and feline, and learn some of the secrets behind their motions. Also revealed are the related but more complex directions for the even more graceful maneuvering required for you to always land on your feet.
A mathematical excerpt, using integration to calculate moments of inertia of inanimate shapes, such as a cat flap door. (more…)
Another short excerpt, with a high concentration of feline toys and habits, including a cartoon (more…)
This short excerpt is just about cross products, including the well-known Right Paw Rule, which humans call the Right Hand Rule. (more…)
The next excerpt from Chapter 2 is fairly mathematical. It introduces the concepts of centripetal force and torque. (more…)
In Chapter 2, we are no longer restricted to motion in a straight line, but take into account all that twisting and turning that can get you out of tight places. This first excerpt includes the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, famous for connecting algebra to geometry and infamous for throwing a cat out of a window. (more…)