Documentary on solving Fermat’s Last Theorem

Blogging will be light during the holiday break but if you too have time on your hands, I think many people will find enjoyable this 46-minute documentary made (I think) in 1997 that looks at Andrew Wiles’s quest to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. I did not understand almost all of the sophisticated mathematics involved but that did not matter.
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Balmy weather in the northeast US

Those of us who live in the northeast of the US have all been remarking on how warm it has been, with temperatures often running at twenty degrees Fahrenheit over normal. Today is expected to be in the mid 60s, about 30 degrees above normal. It is truly strange to see people wearing shorts and walking their dogs past green lawns on Christmas Eve in Cleveland. In response to yesterday’s post, commenters who live in Australia also weighed in with how much of a heat wave they are going through right now.
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Great moments in airport security

Forrest M. Mims III is an award-winning inventor who attends conferences all over the world. This requires him to travel with all manner of gadgetry that contains exposed circuits and the like. Naturally this results in airline security becoming alarmed and he writes about his experiences, including one that ended up with him being put in a chokehold by the pilot of his plane.
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Where people like and don’t like to be touched

In our social interactions with others, there is often some touching involved, such as handshakes, hugs, pats, kisses, and so on. Clearly the limits are also influenced by the relationship of the two people and some things that are acceptable with friends may not be so with acquaintances. Complicating matters are gender and culture, with some societies seeking to eliminate contact entirely between strangers or acquaintances. This whole area is full of pitfalls that accompany inappropriate touching and I tend to take the cowardly way out and let the other person initiate the level of touch.
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Creepy Cruz on climate change

There is something vaguely creepy about Ted Cruz.

It is more than the smug expression that is his standard face. He also has the sly expression of someone who thinks he is way smarter than you and can argue better and thus can make you believe what he says. This confidence is shown in the way he flatly distorts things and uses his skills in sophistry to try and make his lies sound truthful.
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That’s science, baby!

Residents of a North Carolina town reject solar power plan because they think it will use up all the sunlight and kill the plants.

A town meeting in Woodland, North Carolina heard public comments on a proposed solar farm in which citizens, including a retired science teacher called Jane Mann, spoke out against the proposal.

Ms Mann opposes the solar expansion because she believes it would lower her property values. She also said that plants near solar farms do not thrive because there wasn’t enough sunshine left over for them to photosynthesize. She also evinced a belief that solar panels cause cancer. Her husband added that solar panels “suck up all the energy from the sun.”

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