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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for October, 2010

October 2010 in Black Lamb

Volume 8, Number 10 — October 2010

October 1st, 2010

In our cover article, Uncle Hob, John M. Daniel writes about one of his least accomplished but most memorable relatives. In There oughta be a law, Greg Roberts lists some surprising things that he thinks should be done away with. Dean Suess ruminates on the results of a tarot reading in In the cards.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Month summaries | Link to this Entry

Fun with math

October 1st, 2010

BY JOEL HESS

I just play all the time and am fortunate enough to get paid for it.
— Martin Gardner, 1998

Although this column is primarily concerned with language and linguistics, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the passing in May of one of the heroes of my youth, the inestimable Martin Gardner.

Gardner, born in Tulsa in 1914, never took a math course beyond high school, where he struggled with calculus. Even though at first he considered himself poor at mathematical puzzles, and majored not in mathematics but in philosophy at the University of Chicago, he ended up almost single-handedly reviving interest in recreational mathematics in the United States, first through his editorship of the children’s magazine Humpty Dumpty, where his innovative stories, puzzles and games in the 1950s inspired multitudes of wide-eyed kids, and later through his column entitled “Mathematical Games” in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and in a series of books based on those columns, in which he entertainingly delved into such mathematical curiosities as flexagons, game theory, tangrams, Penrose tiling, polyominoes, fractals, the board games Nim, Hex, and Mill, the artwork of M.C. Escher, Turing machines, hypercubes, Möbius strips, and much more. He even touched on recreational linguistics through his explorations of codes and ciphers.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Hess | Link to this Entry

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