Monday, October 23, 2006

Now for something quite different

Nick Szabo has posted some really good entries recently.

One post is about the contrasting fates of medieval China and Portugal. I loved the image on the right, which contrasts the size of Columbus' Santa Maria with that of one of the Zheng He "treasure ships" which the Chinese Emperor sent off on a voyage to "show the flag".

Another nice blog entry is about the Pigeonhole principle.
The pigeonhole principle readily proves that there are people in Ohio with the same number of hairs on their head, that you can't eliminate the possibility of hash collisions when the set of possible input data is larger than the possible outputs, that if there are at least two people in a room then there must be at least two people in that room with the same number of cousins in the room, and that a lossless data compression algorithm must always make some files longer. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what the pigeonhole principle can help prove.
And he claims his math is rusty!

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