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Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"
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Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Evolutionary stories like the grandmother hypothesis are easy to construct from mathematical models, but how well do they reflect reality?

Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
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Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’

The all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect is far too simplistic to describe the real world.

Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
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The Slippery Math of Causation

If a forest is burning and we don’t know what’s responsible, does it have a cause?

Illustration for "How the DNA Computer Program Makes You and Me"
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Solution: ‘The DNA Computer Program’

Computer code serves as a useful analogy for what our genes do, but the complexity and messiness of life go well beyond simple analogies and mathematical models.

Illustration for "How the DNA Computer Program Makes You and Me"
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How the DNA Computer Program Makes You and Me

Can a set of simple instructions produce complex, three-dimensional living structures?

520px illustration of a man falling and missing a hay stack to land on.
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Solution: ‘When Probability Meets Real Life’

When our brains don’t have a good intuition for reasoning with numbers, explicit probabilistic thinking can lead to improved decision-making.

520px illustration of a man falling and missing a hay stack to land on.
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When Probability Meets Real Life

When faced with a difficult decision, should you go with your gut or carefully calculate the attendant risks?

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Solution: ‘Hanging Far Out Over the Edge’

A simple and elegant way to stack identical flat objects so that they project over an edge as far as possible.

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How to Hang Far Out Over the Edge

What formula describes the farthest you can stack flat blocks over the edge of a table to form a seemingly gravity-defying half-bridge to nowhere?