Category: Mathematics

The New NFL Extra Point

For the 2015 NFL season the NFL adopted a new provisional rule for that season about extra points. The new rule states that an extra point field goal attempts will be done at the 15 yard line instead of the 2 yard line and additionally if a defense blocks the field goal they can run it back for 2 points. Likewise for a 2 point conversion if a defense intercepts or recovers a fumble they can run it back for 2 points. These rules were provisional for the 2015 season and then made permanent for the 2016 season.

So I started to wonder when should a team should go for a 2 points instead of the regular field goal after a touchdown. Now, I’m considering the general case and not a specific scenario of, “We just scored a touchdown and we are down by 2 points with 30 seconds left, should we go for two or one?” The answer is pretty clear in that example.… Read more

Lebron James Kia Commercial

So I was watching the 2016 NBA finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers and I saw this commercial, (Edit: Apparently the video keeps being taken down)

Now first I want to state that I don’t hate Lebron James and this post isn’t about bashing him. I’m sure he was not involved in the mathematics of the Kia commercial.

However, this commercial just doesn’t make sense. If event A never occurs then we can conclude that it’s the empty set and so it’s meaningless to talk about the probability of B given A.

Plus I wonder why it seems commercials or movies always have to have a blackboard jam packed with, more often than not, random math formulas or just mathematical notations.

Oh, well. It’s just a Kia commercial.… Read more

Philosophical Devices by David Papineau

I was recently able to get my hands on Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Sets.

Philosophical Devices

The purpose of this book is that it intends to be an introduction to technical ideas that are used in contemporary philosophical discussions. So if you look at the basic outline of the chapters, which have subsections in the book, you’ll figure there is going to be a discussion involving naive set theory, infinite sets, probability, modality, epistemology, logic, etc.

When I bought this book I actually thought it was going to be more technical than what it was, but I think for the intended audience it’s at about the right level. If I remember right, all but two chapters have exercises at the end with answers in the back of the book. Additionally, there is a further reading section right before the exercises so if you are interested in studying a topic in more depth you are given resources to do so. I found that to be very helpful. Now, I think if you have studied set theory, probability, epistemology, logic, and metaphysics then chances are good that you already know most of the material in this book.

I really do not … Read more