Flying with Math

This month I have been on a plane like 6 different times, doing random vacations, a wedding, music festivals and hanging on the beach/surfing when I can. While escaping these horrible cold weather snowstorms, I was on the plane Monday night coming back from Fort Lauderdale Florida, and I noticed the layout of the land was so symmetrical in a way, and also very organized. When you are driving around on land, you don’t realize how specific architecture (if that is the right word lol) is and how it is laid out. Everything is almost a perfect square, circle, or rectangle when you are in the sky. It is very cool because during the day you can see the green, and the blues in the ocean, and at night you can see all the lights which show the boundaries of land, water and forest pretty clearly. Here are some cool pictures I took at night!! Goes to show when people structure building on land, they really have a method to it. I always thought people paved roads and blew out rocks for highways in random ways…interesting. 🙂

bottom picture is just off the coast of florida (east side), that is Miami you are looking at. You can see the land, and the water is the darkness you see on the left of the land.  The others are pictures of the land I flew over while in South Carolina.

Food Mandalas

There is a theory out there that people find things that are symmetrical to be more beautiful in nature. This could be how we are drawn to objects we like, or people’s faces we are attracted to all based on symmetry. When we look at something and it looks so intriguing, do a little digging next time because chances are that what you’re looking it is symmetrical in a way. Our brains are drawn to it, some scientists believe.
The other day in class we got to color and draw our own Mandalas, and it was fun. I noticed when we were all showing our papers to the class, not one was remotely the same and that was very cool. Each of us had a reason why we chose to do what we did, places to start and what techniques we used. I came across some really pretty symmetrical food pictures and they are suppose to represent mandalas. They are very visually appealing to look at, and I wonder if that has to do with the fact if you sliced it down the middle or in any way rather, that it would be the exact same reflection on the opposite side. They are shown below



As you can see above, I posted a picture of the T system (Subway) in Boston. I grew up in Boston, so this has become very easy for me to navigate, but if you are not from the area it could be an absolute nightmare. There is “inbound” and “outbound” as well as different color lines, that will reach specific routes and destinations.

Until we learned about this in math, it never clicked as to why there are different color lines that run. Since the train actually can’t turn around, it has its own path ways and essentially goes back and fourth on the path, but crosses a mutual point with other colors. They all intertwine, but branch out to an end point because it really is a tree format. It does not create a circuit.

An example of a circuit in the real world that I haven’t thought of – until now, would be a rollercoaster. The tracks go up, down and in different directions depending on how it is set up, and then comes back around to meet, which allows the carts to go around and around. While riding the rollercoaster, you always stay going “forward”, but in the subway you would essentially be rolling “backwards” at points, to go back in a straight shot the way you came in. It doesn’t loop around because it doesn’t have a circuit.

It is very interesting how all the points made in class are actually applied to absolutely everything we do. I have enjoyed learning about it this far.


Considering we are allowed to elaborate on any topic related to class, I have chosen to look more into the game of chess. Chess is not something I have an interest in playing, or have played growing up. I didn’t realize how mathematical the moves were until it was brought up in class the other day.

It then got me thinking about when we were talking about the voting methods, and the number of candidates determined the number of possible combinations. This can be true with a game of chess to, which also was relating to what we did today. I am talking about when we were given the worksheets and had to make it around the board passing each square once but never going back the same way. There is a trick to it. This then ties into the vertices and edges topic, then connecting lines which where you moved on the chess board and it looks like a big web.

I found some cool chess facts, that made me realize how mathematical this game really is.

  1. There are 400 different possible positions after one move each. There are 72,084 different possible positions after two moves each. There are over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each. There are over 318 billion different possible positions after four moves each. The number of distinct 40-move games in chess is far greater than the number of electrons in the observable universe.
  2. According to the America’s Foundation for Chess, there are 169,518,829,100 ,544,000,000,00 0,000,000 (approximately 1.70×10 29) ways to play the first 10 moves of a game of chess.
  3. The longest chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves.
  4. The first Chessboard with alternating light and dark squares appears in Europe in 1090.

To me, this is crazy that there are this many combinations of possibilities just depending on where that first person makes their move, and the rest of them after that. There kind of is no right or wrong way, and I am sure each person sees advances differently than the next. Each game must be so incredibly different from the last one played by the same person.

Just like at the beginning of this course, Donald told us that we would see math everywhere in everything. After realizing how math related a “board game is”, it makes sense that it is all around us in a lot that we do.

strange tax facts

As I was reading more about taxes, I came across some interesting facts. Some of them are still in place today, while others got cut – probably do to their foolishness. A few I found funny was:

  1. In England there is a tax on televisions. Color televisions are taxed more than black and white televisions, and if a blind person has a television they only have to pay half the tax.

I think this is funny, obviously black and white TV’s are going to be the “basic” route, color is a little more money and a blind person has to pay half- since they get half the sensory out of it; audio.

2. In an effort to keep citizens healthy, France imposed a “soda tax” on all carbonated soft drinks in 2012. They’re now about 3.5% more expensive than other drinks.

I agree with this, and in hopes to make the countries healthier, soda should be taxed higher. Maybe it would deviate people away from it, while saving money and their health. But also because sugar is looked at as an addiction in some cases,  its also smart for the government to make more money, knowing people will still buy it because they are hooked. In some ways, taxing can be used in strategic ways based on human behavior!