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A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

In this book, John Allen Paulos continues his liberating campaign against mathematical illiteracy. Although a lover of newspapers, he recognizes that they do not give us the truth in black or white. Whatever they tell us about health scares or racial quotas, voting patterns or DNA testing, this book argues that it is certain to be simplified. Chaos theory, for example, reveals why it is pointless to predict economic or environmental trends. This series of essays takes the reader through an imaginary newspaper - from politics and business to arts and sports - and looks at the ways in which we use maths, roaming through such mathematical and scientific issues as probability, chaos theory, paradox, game theories and their bearing on our everyday existence.
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About the Author

John Allen Paulos is professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is author of several books, including the bestseller Innumeracy which was a New York Times bestseller for 18 weeks and A Mathematician Plays the Market. He has appeared on many television and radio shows in the United States and has contributed articles to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the London Review of Books. In 2003, Paulos won the American Association for the Advancement of Science award for promoting public understanding of science.


Math professor Paulos's irreverent investigation of the often faulty use of statistics and fact in newspaper articles. (Apr.)

Mathematics is all around you. And it's a great defence against the sharks, cowboys and liars who want your vote, your money, or your life - as Paulos's latest book makes crystal clear * Ian Stewart, author of Does God Play Dice? *

Whenever mathematicians or scientists read a newspaper or magazine article, they have a tendency mentally to compose a letter to the editor taking issue with the conclusions or mode of presentation. Most are content to leave these letters unsent, but not Paulos (Beyond Numeracy, LJ 4/1/91). He writes not only letters but also op-ed articles in his continuing effort to combat the innumeracy of the general public. In this book, he presents a collection of these compositions, covering almost every type of feature that might appear in your daily paper, from the front page to the advertisements. Some of these pieces are new, and some have appeared elsewhere. They are mathematically undemanding, humorous, and instructive. Hopefully, the reader will learn from them to apply a dose of mathematical common sense when reading the papers rather than automatically accepting everything that appears. For popular math collections.‘Harold D. Shane, Baruch Coll., CUNY

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