I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the ingenuity behind this machine. I think I would pay good money to have one to demonstrate in my courses.
Both Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel became heavily used tools in my bioinformatics research. Scripting came in handy on occasion to automate tasks but my lask of “skills” in that arena left me relying heavily these applications. Within the last two months, I couldn’t count how many tables and queries I’ve created (point-and-click style) in Access, how many times I used VLOOKUP and MATCH in Excel. I’ve just recently discovered the many, many joys of Pivot Tables (amazing!). Oh and by the way, I’m flat in love with Excel 2007.
Here were a couple of new tips I stumbled across today:
Convert one column into two
Suppose you have a list of full names in a column, and you’d like to separate the first names from the last names. In Excel 2003, select the column and click Data*Text to Columns. In Excel 2007, click the Data tab, and select the Text to Columns button. In both versions, choose Delimited (unless all the entries are the same length, in which case you can select Fixed width), click Next, and check Space (or whichever option applies; see the screen below). You can leave “Treat consecutive delimiters as one” checked. Click Next again to view data-formatting options, and then Finish.
Select Space (or whatever separates the items in the column you wish to split) to create two columns where there once was one.
At this point, you may want to change the order of the columns. To do so, simply select the column header, right-click the selection, and choose Cut. Now click the header of the blank column you want to place the cut cells in, right-click, and select Insert Cut Cells.
Paste formatting with one keystroke
If you’d like several disconnected cells to share a format, such as bold text and a background color, it can be a hassle to select each cell one at a time, open its cell-format dialog box, and make the changes you want. Instead, reformat one of the cells, and then select all of the others by pressing Ctrl, and clicking them one by one. Once they’re all highlighted, press F4 to apply the formatting to all of them at once.
Move over Google Docs, there’s a new option for LaTEXies like myself. I still need to play with it a bit, but MonkeyTex gives the option of editing, storing, sharing and collaborating LaTEX documents. It has bibtex support as well as style sheets.
I’d like to use it as a way to train my students in typesetting their mathematics papers with LaTEX.
- I accidentally divided by zero and my paper burst into flames.
- I could only get arbitrarily close to my textbook. I couldn’t
actually reach it.
- I was watching the World Series and got tied up trying to prove
that it converged.
- I have a solar powered calculator and it was cloudy.
- I locked the paper in my trunk but a four-dimensional dog got in
and ate it.
- I took time out to snack on a doughnut and a cup of coffee, and
then I spent the rest of the night trying to figure which one to
- I could have sworn I put the homework inside a Klein bottle, but
this morning I couldn’t find it.
I guess I’d better get ready for a few more of these once I’m back in
Now that I have a “smart phone” I am hoping to be able to post quick
Twitter updates and maybe blog entries from the phone. Since I don’t
want to pay outrageous SMS fees or data line charges, I am going to
use my existing wireless infrastructure and post by email. This is a
test of that system. I am blogging this by email. A few features
need to be tested for implementation so if you see stray, stange
posts, you now know why.
Thanks for bearing with me. Can you tell I’m excited about my new
phone. For a long time, I have been waiting to get the phone that has
a thumb keyboard, wifi access, Windows Mobile platform and a camera. I
finally have one, woohoohoo. I still need to wrap it back up since
it, technically, is my Christmas present. I know you’re probably
thinking that I shouldn’t be using it but it needed to be fully tested
to see if it is, indeed, the phone I want. Otherwise, I would have
How long did it take him? 70 seconds
Alexis Lemaire, a 27-year-old Frenchman, correctly calculated the 13th root of a random 200-digit number from a possible 393 trillion answers. The so-called ‘mathlete’ produced the answer of 2,407,899,893,032,210 in 70.2 seconds, beating his previous record of 72.4 seconds, at London’s Science Museum. A computer was used to produce a random 200-digit number before he sat down to calculate the answer in his head.
The museum’s curator of mathematics, Jane Wess, said: "He sat down and it was all very quiet — and all of a sudden he amazingly just cracked it. "I believe that it is the highest sum calculated mentally. "He seems to have a large memory and he’s made this his life’s ambition. It’s quite remarkable to see it happen.
A very small number of people have this extraordinary ability; nowadays there is only a handful." Lemaire, who attends the University of Reims in northern France, began demonstrating his prowess by finding the 13th root of a random 100-digit number but gave up trying to improve his performance when he calculated an answer in under four seconds in 2004.
Like an athlete, he trains his brain daily for the far harder task of finding the 13th root of 200-digit numbers.