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New Pattern Found In Prime Numbers 509

stephen.schaubach writes "Spanish Mathematicians have discovered a new pattern in primes that surprisingly has gone unnoticed until now. 'They found that the distribution of the leading digit in the prime number sequence can be described by a generalization of Benford's law. ... Besides providing insight into the nature of primes, the finding could also have applications in areas such as fraud detection and stock market analysis. ... Benford's law (BL), named after physicist Frank Benford in 1938, describes the distribution of the leading digits of the numbers in a wide variety of data sets and mathematical sequences. Somewhat unexpectedly, the leading digits aren't randomly or uniformly distributed, but instead their distribution is logarithmic. That is, 1 as a first digit appears about 30% of the time, and the following digits appear with lower and lower frequency, with 9 appearing the least often.'"

Mathematics Reading List For High School Students? 630

Troy writes "I'm a high school math teacher who is trying to assemble an extra-credit reading list. I want to give my students (ages 16-18) the opportunity/motivation to learn about stimulating mathematical ideas that fall outside of the curriculum I'm bound to teach. I already do this somewhat with special lessons given throughout the year, but I would like my students to explore a particular concept in depth. I am looking for books that are well-written, engaging, and accessible to someone who doesn't have a lot of college-level mathematical training. I already have a handful of books on my list, but I want my students to be able to choose from a variety of topics. Many thanks for all suggestions!"

What Spoils a Game For You? 214

MTV's Multiplayer Blog is running an interesting piece about what constitutes a spoiler in video games. The interactivity of a video games, argues the author, often makes it necessary to spoil or reveal at least general characteristics of a game during a review or other informative article. He says, "I believe that writing about games is overly careful. I believe that game scripts, game plots and game endings have been given a pass because critics tend to avoid them or address them with the most ginger touch. I'd at least like the discussion about spoilers to cease being so binary. There is room between avoiding mentioning a plot event and reporting its main details. There is value to addressing anything and everything that is most interesting in a game, and value in doing it with words that express meaning rather than those designed to mask it." So, what do you consider a spoiler for a video game, and how do they affect your enjoyment of the game?
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Banned Words List Carries Its First Emoticon 333

DynaSoar writes "Lake Superior State University in Michigan's Upper Peninsula ('The land of four seasons: June, July, August and Winter') has just published its 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. Besides such unsurprising inclusions such as 'green' corporations being 'game changing' due to concern with their 'carbon foot print,' this year's list contains an emoticon for the first time — not a smiley face or variant, but the 'heart' symbol made from the characters 'less than' and 'three.' It's perhaps a sign of the evolution of language, or at least of this volunteer linguistic watchdog group, that a symbol compounded of two characters, neither of them a letter, is considered not only a word, but a particularly egregious one."

Girl Wins Right to Change Stupid Name Screenshot-sm 3

A 9-year-old New Zealand girl, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, has been made a ward of the court so that she can be given her a name that won't "... make a fool of the child and set her up with a social disability and handicap." This was not the first crazy name Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt has encountered. Among some of the most memorable: twins named Benson and Hedges, Violence, and Number 16 Bus Shelter. Some other New Zealand Names that were denied by The Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages include Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, and Sex Fruit. On a more personal note, there are still some hard feelings at our office as Mr. Malda did not name his child "Zanzibar Buck Buck Mcfate" as agreed to at lunch.

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"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham