As you pass through an airport, you are photographed several times by security systems. Face recognition systems can identify you by comparing your digital image to faces stored in a database. This form of identification is gaining popularity, allowing you to access online banking without a PIN or password. [see TM146, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

## Posts Tagged 'Social attitudes'

### Face Recognition

Published September 6, 2018 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Algorithms, Computer Science, Social attitudes

### The Citizens’ Assembly: Why do 10 Counties have no Members?

Published January 5, 2017 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Social attitudes, Statistics

Recently, the Irish Government established the *Citizens’ Assembly*, a body of 99 citizens that will consider a number of constitutional issues. The Assembly meets on Saturday to continue its deliberations on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which concerns the ban on abortion. It will report to the Oireachtas (Parliament) on this issue in June [TM106 or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

Continue reading ‘The Citizens’ Assembly: Why do 10 Counties have no Members?’

### The Mathematics of Voting

Published February 4, 2016 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Algorithms, Arithmetic, Social attitudes

Selection of leaders by voting has a history reaching back to the Athenian democracy. Elections are essentially arithmetical exercises, but they involve more than simple counting, and have some subtle mathematical aspects [TM085, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

### You Can Do Maths

Published March 19, 2015 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Applied Maths, Arithmetic, Education, Maps, Social attitudes

Bragging about mathematical ineptitude is not cool. There is nothing admirable about ignorance and incompetence. Moreover, everyone thinks mathematically all the time, even if they are not aware of it. Can we all do maths? Yes, we can! [See this week’s *That’s Maths* column (TM064) or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

### Invention or Discovery?

Published July 24, 2014 Occasional Leave a CommentTags: Analysis, Logic, Number Theory, Social attitudes

Is mathematics invented or discovered? As many great mathematicians have considered this question without fully resolving it, there is little likelihood that I can provide a complete answer here. But let me pose a possible answer in the form of a conjecture:

** Conjecture:*** Definitions are invented. Theorems are discovered.*

The goal is to prove this conjecture, or to refute it. Below, some arguments in support of the conjecture are presented. Continue reading ‘Invention or Discovery?’

### Beauty is the First Test

Published July 3, 2014 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Geometry, Social attitudes

This week, *That’s Maths* in *The Irish Times* (TM048: Search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com) is about the beauty of mathematics.

### The Future of Society: Prosperity or Collapse?

Published May 15, 2014 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: modelling, Social attitudes

The article in this week’s *That’s Maths* column in the* Irish Times* ( TM045 ) is about a mathematical model to simulate the future of society.

Our extravagant lifestyle is draining the Earth’s natural resources. Population is climbing and climate change looms ever larger. Is the collapse of society imminent?

The historical precedents are ominous. Many civilizations have ended abruptly with drastic population reductions and centuries of oblivion. The fall of the Roman, Han, Mayan and Gupta Empires show that advanced and sophisticated civilisations can be fragile and impermanent. There are many causes, but over-consumption of resources and inequalities within society are primary.

Continue reading ‘The Future of Society: Prosperity or Collapse?’