Category Archives: General Mathematics

Yet More Gift Wrapping

My sister and I talk about these practical math problems all the time. Here is another good video that covers gift wrapping with a mathematical slant. Continue reading

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Old Way Of Specifying Phone Wire Diameter

I still work on old copper phone networks, and today I encountered wire specified as "300 pound". I had never seen a specification like this for phone wire before. As I thought about it, this specification seemed very similar to how the diameter of thread is still specified, which is by the weight in grams of a 9000 meters of fiber – a unit of measure called the denier. Continue reading

Posted in Electronics, General Mathematics, History of Science and Technology | Leave a comment

Letter Folding for Envelopes

I still occasionally write paper letters. In fact, I had some letters to write the other day, and I realized that was doing a bit of math when I folded the letters for placement into standard business envelopes that was worth discussing here. Figure 1 shows the business envelope that I normally use. Continue reading

Posted in General Mathematics, Origami | 2 Comments

Tree Height Measuring Example

I have been testing a number of Android applications that are intended to measure the size of objects knowing their range or vice versa. One application that I have found particularly useful is called Baumhöhenmesser – Tree Height Meter (my translation) – which is an application written by a German developer. I have found this application particularly useful, and I thought I would review its operation here. It is part of a suite of Android applications intended for forestry management. This app makes excellent use of the Android's ability to measure angles. Continue reading

Posted in General Mathematics, Geometry | 3 Comments

Stadiametric Rangefinding Approaches

Recently, I was reading about stadiametric range finding methods being used by hunters and their telescopic sights – I was surprised to find a lot of writing on the topic. As I researched the topic, I saw that there are three common approaches used in telescopic sights: milliradian (mil), Minute Of Angle (MOA), and Inch Of Angle (IOA). I will review these methods here. Continue reading

Posted in Ballistics, General Mathematics | 1 Comment

Optical SFP Power Estimation Using Curve Fitting

I was asked today how to use Excel to estimate the power usage of two optical components at case temperatures for which we had no data. I initially solved the problem in Mathcad by fitting an equation of the form $latex c_0 \cdot e^{c_1 \cdot T_{Case}}+e_2 to the data and computing the corresponding power. Continue reading

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Negative times a Negative is a Positive

On my team, I work hard to ensure that we have a non-threatening environment for questions – any questions. In fact, I often ask very basic questions in meetings so that I can make sure that I understand all the nuances of a situation. You would be amazed how often I learn things from asking questions so basic that you would think asking them would not be necessary. Continue reading

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Prime Number Magnitudes

I am responsible for some of the authentication features in our products and these features use prime numbers. People often have basic questions on prime numbers, such as:

What happens if I choose the same prime number as someone else?
Are there enough prime numbers? Continue reading

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Donor Chain Math

I just read an interesting article at Ars Technica on the mathematics behind setting up donor chains. The math is actually a variant of the prize-collecting traveling salesman problem, which is NP-hard. Continue reading

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Cat Litter and Radioactivity

I am not a cat person – the only time that cats come up in my family is in regards to Schrodinger's cat (Figure 1). However, I just came across an interesting web page by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities that discusses cat litter and the fact that it is slightly radioactive. Some cat litter is slightly radioactive because the contain bentonite clay, which contains small amounts of radioactive uranium (238U), thorium (232U), and potassium (40K). I find this web page interesting because it includes measured radiation data and an estimate of the heavy metals (uranium and thorium) that are contained in cat litter. Continue reading

Posted in General Mathematics, General Science | 4 Comments