Pinball league's started up again this week. It's not even been quite a full month since the league last got together, but it's felt longer, partly because we spent so much time away from home, which always feels longer than it actually is. And partly it's felt long because when we've gone down to the hipster bar to play we haven't run into our friends. Probably they were just busy with the pre-semester crunch, as so many of them are connected to schools in one way or another.
And on the Facebook group ahead of the start of the season there was considerable despair about the shape the machines were in. Part of that is that, yeah, the machines could be in better shape --- Medieval Madness had a problem with the drawbridge prop getting stuck, and World Cup Soccer had a broken dot-matrix display, although both these problems were fixed by game time --- and part of it is, I think, some kind of pre-season jitters that people encourage in one another. But we had a good turnout, including a number of people come from Grand Rapids to play (that's about an hour away), and for this season we started playing four games a night rather than the three before.
After regular play some of the new folks suggested a dollar tournament, where all the participants put in a dollar for the prize pot. I figured, what have I got to lose (a dollar per game, it turns out), and had a great first ball on World Cup Soccer which almost got me the win. Our league's champion, though, squeezed out ahead of everyone on the last ball. On the second go-round, Attack From Mars, I started off with a bad first ball and never recovered. Ah well. It's just fun to hang around people playing way better than me.
Meanwhile, I've been failing to gather organized lists of my recent mathematics blogs so as to draw attention to them. Let me fix that here. Run since the last mathematics blog roundup have been:
- Reading the Comics, July 24, 2014: Math Is Just Hard Stuff, Right? Edition, first of the string of mathematics-themed comics posts of the past month.
- Lewis Carroll and my Playing With Universes, expanding on my toying around with infinitely old universes and describing matrices, which has an odd little linguistic diversion over towards Lewis Carroll.
- Reading the Comics, July 28, 2014: Homework in an Amusement Park Edition, mathematics comics that reminded me of something we saw at Cedar Point last year.
- July 2014 in Mathematics Blogging, a review of how things are going overall. (It's pretty well.)
- In the Overlap between Logic, Fun, and Information, a joke inspired by John Venn's birthday, celebrated so well this year for some reason.
- The Geometry of Thermodynamics (Part 1), reblogging Peter Mandel's post about Gibbs's work making thermodynamics subject to geometric intuitions.
- Combining Matrices And Model Universes, showing matrix multiplication as it applies to my little universes.
- Reading the Comics, August 16, 2014: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Edition, math comics with a lot of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal this time around.
- Writing About E (Not By Me), as there's a long string of posts you can read that describe ways to compute e.
- Machines That Think About Logarithms, drawing on that Giant Brains: Or Machines That Think book, because I wanted to share some neat calculations it did.
- Reading the Comics, August 25, 2014: Summer Must Be Ending Edition, the most recent bunch of mathematics strips.
Trivia: A log house built in Norway in 1250 still stands (albeit in a museum). Source: A Splintered History of Wood, Spike Carlsen.
Currently Reading: A Nation Of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, Scott Reynolds Nelson.