Monday, May 10, 2010

My weekend math

Hi math fans! I'm just going to briefly talk about my experience with math over the weekend. I didn't get a chance to do any paper and pencil math, but I did watch a few basketball games and revisited one of my favorite awful-yet-amazing TV shows Xena: Warrior Princess.

I don't get a chance to watch a lot of professional basketball, but one of my roommates is a die-hard Spurs fan. So we watched the Spurs play the Suns on Friday night and again on Sunday night. Some players are much better mathematicians than others. Steve Nash is a genius at basketball math and while Tim Duncan is a good defender and guard, his math for making free throws needs work. Just listening to the sportscasters was interesting, they talked about basketball statistics a lot, how many shots they've taken and how many they've made. The percentages for whole team, how many points the bench has, etc. Lots of math, but no one went to the AT&T stadium to hear or think about math. It's sad that the Spurs lost, but I got to see lots of math in action.

I also found that Netflix has Xena online for members, and I took advantage of that by watching a few episodes of season 1. Keep in mind, Xena the Warrior Princess is a very old-school action show with low budget graphics, exotificiation of cultures, campy humor, and plotholes galore. But I grew up watching the show with my family on Saturday nights, and I'm obsessed with Lucy Lawless (who is more talented than most people give her credit for).

No matter how improbable or completely outrageous the show is, Xena is an excellent mathematician. One of her main weapons is the chakram, or a metal disc with sharp edges that she either 1) chucks at the bad guys or 2) uses to cause avalances. She takes her geometry and trigonometry into consideration before she throws her chakram and always hits her target. She uses angles to ricochet her chakram all over the place. It's some pretty accurate math if you ask me. Sure, the laws of physics make it difficult to tell if she can actually do such chakram acrobatics, but it makes for a good show.

A video of her chakram

And that's what a math nerd thinks about over the weekend. More soon!


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