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Cousins

Mon, 17/12/2018 - 12:55 -- James Oakley
Cousin Explainer
Image Credit: Dean Kehoe

The past couple of weeks, this image has been circulating on Facebook, entitled the Cousin Explainer.

Given the huge number of likes (256, at time of writing this) and shares (3,400, at time of writing this), it seems I wasn't the only one who needed this mapping out clearly.

As a mathematician, it always bothered me that I could not explain, or even better 'define', what an mth cousin n-times removed is. Well, now I can. And I share it here so that you can too.

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Tunnel de Fréjus

Fri, 16/03/2018 - 12:56 -- James Oakley
Tunnel de Fréjus

Having travelled between France and Italy through the tunnel de Fréjus, I thought I'd post a few tips and facts to help others

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Twelve Days of Christmas - Counting the Gifts

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 17:47 -- James Oakley
The 12 days of Christmas

A few days back, I set a maths challenge:

Prove that, for arbitrarily large N, the total number of gifts given up to and including day N is

( N (N+1) (N+2) ) / 6

I hope you enjoyed it. It's time for a solution:

Lemma: Number of gifts on Day N

First, we need a lemma. (In mathematics, a lemma is a something we prove as a stepping stone towards our main result).

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Christmas Maths: Twelve Days

Tue, 27/12/2016 - 16:40 -- James Oakley
And a partridge in a pear tree

While we're in the Christmas season, here's a Christmas-themed maths problem.

The Christmas season is the 12 days from Christmas Day (25th December) until the day before Epiphany (which is 6th January, so the day before is 5th). From that 12 day period comes the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Many of you will know it, but for those who don't:

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French Supermarkets as SatNav POI

Wed, 01/08/2012 - 22:24 -- James Oakley

This is the time of year when many British people head over to the continent for their summer holidays.

One of the most visited pages on this site is my blog post giving information on how to obtain an electronic device allowing you to sail through the motorway toll booths in France, and pay later on account (by credit card).

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Télépéage - version 2

Thu, 19/04/2012 - 18:18 -- James Oakley

(Last updated 16th July 2016)

Back in September 2010, I posted on my experience (as an Englishman) procuring and using a Télépéage gadget for use on the French motorways. I wrote that post just in case it happened to help someone. Since then, it has become more than 3 times as popular as any other page on this website and the last time I checked it was #3 on google.com (searching for "telepeage" from the UK). It would seem that it has been helpful.

Since then, two things have happened. First, there are now 80 comments on that post. Lots of those comments are people asking questions, and lots of the same questions come up again and again. Second, a new UK-based player has entered the market as a "midddle-man" for obtaining these Télépéage gadgets.

So I thought it was time to repost my original post, bringing it up to date, and including an FAQ section at the end. That way, I can close the original post to new comments, and people can read answers to the most common questions without having to trawl through 80 comments to get there.

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Adjectives can be amiguous

Tue, 13/09/2011 - 12:40 -- James Oakley

Are they predicative, attributive, substantive, etc.? These questions matter, because an adjective placed in the wrong place can imply the wrong meaning.

Was this the correct headline?

Hacking MPs recall James Murdoch

What did those MPs think they were up to? Gamekeeper turned poacher?

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