I have been amazed this week by the sheer number of people who read this blog. Moreover, it seems that from the initial flood of people who read my post about vaccination and mathematics, at least a few of you have decided to stick around and see what else I might write. I suppose that it’s the goal of any blogger to find an audience, but at the same time I am astonished that there are real people out there, people I have never met in person, who would be interested in reading what I write.
For the past eighteen months, the blog has served two purposes. First, it’s a way to force myself to keep a personal journal and family history. I even published a book version of the blog from its inception until Elena’s birth*. Second, it’s a convenient and unobtrusive way to let Elena’s grandparents and extended family know what’s going on in our lives. I plan to continue with those two purposes.
But there’s also something appealing about having other readers, who may not be quite as interested in the minutiae of our personal lives. You probably liked my mathematical perspective on vaccination, and would like to see similar material in the future.
Please forgive an anecdotal interlude. On one family vacation, we joked around about doing a TV spoof called The Mundane Race, based on one of our favorite shows. In our version, we planned to have extremely boring, ordinary activities replace the extreme challenges in faraway places. One of us would do our best Phil Keoghan impression and say:
In this challenge, a team member must enter the McDonalds, order a hamburger and then eat it. They will receive their next clue once they finish the burger.
What does this have to do with the blog? I envision a similar kind of project, except with Charlie Eppes as the role model. Instead of a two minute explanation of how math can help solve that week’s crime (the standard conceit in Numb3rs), I plan to put up a weekly post on how math is all around us. I’ll keep the posts short and readable, informed by the entrepreneur’s elevator pitch. Sadly, I won’t have the benefit of CharlieVision; I’ll have to rely on words, along with a few well-chosen illustrations.
For those who want more detail, I’ll also provide a more detailed technical summary of the issue at hand. It will still be concise–about two pages, but will include more details, formulas, and references for further study. Because of the smaller audience, I’ll make that available as a PDF at the end of the related blog post.
As I write all this down, it appears to be an ambitious project. I’m not sure I’ll accomplish the goal of weekly updates, especially with everything else I already have on my plate, but I’m going to try. I want to show people the wonder and usefulness of math, so I won’t be writing exclusively about controversial social topics. For instance, some of the things I plan include: a description of music compression, how GPS works, and maybe some thoughts on earthquakes. If you can think of a topic you would like me to address, please leave a comment or send me an email.
As before, you’ll mostly find updates about my happy little baby and all of her adventures. In a sense, I’ll be thinking of her future self as the audience for my math posts–I want to do my best to help her understand the complicated world in which we live.
*The book is certainly not worth the listed price; I set it up that way to deter buyers. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please contact me directly.