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megustaleer

Lost in 'The Magical Maze'

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My copy arrived yesterday. I opened it at a random page, to find a scary diagram looking back at me. That filled me with trepidation, and now you say you need help already! I am going to be scared of starting this one now.

 

I have just finished the two books that were holding me up from starting anything else, and Magical Maze is supposed to be next.

 

Is this going to be a hand-holding exercise?? (Or do I try Ukrainian tractors first instead??)

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I get scared by numbers, so I'll need to have my hand held :eek:

 

Finally I may be able to make myself useful! Maths is my "thing", so I can help with hand-holding! :)

 

Don't read too much at once - stick to one chapter at a time, you'll find it easier to take in the different subjects, expeically if you're getting scared of the numbers...

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I'm very sorry, I've been busy working a 6 day week on this programme (see Anything But Books), and haven't had time to do even the basics on this forum.

 

I will get to it very shortly - and look out for another free book offer over the weekend, for a new novel written by one of our long-standing members.

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Well I started reading the book on the train in my normal commuter-style, but I have quickly decided it needs my undivided attention and probably a notebook, rather than a background of newspaper rustling and "The train now arriving..." announcements. So I'm going to take it on holiday!

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We did say that our reading should be challenging - or maybe that was just me.

 

I'm still waiting for mine to arrive but this is really whetting my appetite.

 

Thanks for your offer of support Fiona_1984 you might need to do a lot of hand holding over the next month given that most of us will be non-mathematician's!

 

Thanks too to Bill for setting up the forum. Fitting this in with my proper job is quite a feat a times - God knows what it must be like for you!

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I am really looking forward to reading this, especially as I see something about fractals later in the book. I’ve been fascinated by them, from a creative and artistic point of view, since catching a random TV programme on them years ago.

 

 

I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant, because my Maths certainly couldn’t compete with Ian Stewart’s, but isn’t there a mistake on P 25. The arithmetic seems fine but the conclusion awry, so I would put it down to a typing error –but if so it is mentioned twice….. on the other hand I could just be missing something.

 

PASSAGE 1 – The Magic of Numbers Page 25,

I make the date 22nd September not 22nd August.

 

243 days takes us to the end of August

 

31 (Jan)

28 (Feb)

31 (Mar)

30 (Apr)

31 (May

30 (Jun)

31 (Jul)

31 (Aug)

243 (total days)

 

We have 265 days in the example, which leaves 22 days unaccounted for after we have reached the end of August.

 

265

243

22 (days difference)

 

These 22 days must be the start of September, making the date 22nd September.

 

 

These things happen – and shouldn’t detract from the book’s worth, but I was aware that one or two readers sound daunted before they start and didn’t want them to be poring over this again and again, as I did.

 

If I’m wrong, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

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First of all, apologies, as I did start posting on this book a bit early ( I think we are supposed to wait a fortnight for people to get hold of it, and start reading), but I had a panic attack on page 18!!

 

It had all been going well, and I could follow the 'John The Baptist' puzzle until it was set out in notation form.

 

When I took "O" level Maths in 1961 I had never heard of numbers being 'congruent', nor met that weird symbol for it of = with an extra -, neither had I come across a 'modulus', and as my maths skills have gone backwards since then, from lack of use, this is going to be a bit of a struggle :eek: Goodness knows how I passed!

 

I am now on page 24, having, I think, got a grip on John the Baptist and his calculation.

I'm not sure if I've taken in the intervening pages, as my brain seems to go into a sort of paralysis when I see a string of numbers. My eyes pass over them, but nothing registers until I've read it at least 3 or 4 times, very slowly. :o

 

The whole point of picking this book was to cure number-paralysis, so I hope it works :rolleyes:

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I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant, because my Maths certainly couldn’t compete with Ian Stewart’s, but isn’t there a mistake on P 25. The arithmetic seems fine but the conclusion awry, so I would put it down to a typing error –but if so it is mentioned twice….. on the other hand I could just be missing something.

 

PASSAGE 1 – The Magic of Numbers Page 25,

I make the date 22nd September not 22nd August.

 

243 days takes us to the end of August.

 

We have 265 days in the example, which leaves 22 days unaccounted for after we have reached the end of August.

 

265

243

22 (days difference)

 

These 22 days must be the start of September, making the date 22nd September.

 

 

That confused me too. I had to read it a couple of times and then put it down to a typo.

 

 

I've got through Passage 1 and I think I have a grip on what he was introducing. Though as someone else said earlier I had to go and get a notebook to work out some of the stuff for myself to make sure I was understanding it.

 

I'm into Passage 2 and I think the notebook will have to stay with this book for the duration.

 

Don't worry about setting up an early forum Megustaleer there are no rules about when to start or stop only when to vote!

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There was a fascinating programme about trigonometry on the radio this morning. It told me lots of things I didn't learn at school (although, to be fair, 3D computer imaging hadn't been invented then...nor, probably, had the computer, come to that :eek:

 

I still don't know how to work out the height of a tree, which was the only thing I thought it could be used for, but I do know a lot more about its applications.

 

I am now feeling happier about returning to the Maze, hoping that it is going to give me similar enjoyment in learning about other aspects of mathematics, without requiring me to do any actual sums :P

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I'm afraid i am not getting on with this at all.

 

I quite like the puzzles, but as soon as he ses them out in mathematical terms I'm lost again.

 

The main problem I have is his basic supposition that his readers understand what to him are simple mathematical terms and symbols. Well, I don't :(

 

Many I have never met before, and my grasp of the ones I recognise was never very secure:o

 

There is also the problem of the words 'let' and 'if', as in the phrases 'let n=2', or 'if x=n-2'. I have identified those as the two words that put my brain into paralytic mode :confused:

 

Finally, my current irritation; Having read the dialogue between Theseus and the Minataur, it seems to me that Ian Stewart's grasp of the difference between a maze and a labyrinth is as secure as mine is of his version of a graph :rolleyes:

 

While I'm struggling with this book, there's a whole pile of others I could be reading and enjoying, so I'm not sure I am going to continue for much longer.

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I have to admit that I gave up on this around page 24! Seemed like a good idea when it was suggested. From the lack of activity on this thread, I imagine not many of us made it to the end of the Maze. Looking forward to the Science Fiction choice.

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Oh dear.....is there anyone out there who IS still reading this?? The library phoned me yesterday to say that the copy I ordered has just arrived. Is it too late????

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I'm having a break to read something for one of my postal book groups, which has to be sent on to the next reader at the end of the month.

I haven't put The Maze away, so may return to it in a week or so.

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I’m still going – slowly – because it’s been a mad few weeks at work, which has meant really burning the midnight oil to get through … and no energy left to read … or write to BGO.

I’ve just got past ‘Marilyn and the goats’.

I think it helps that my husband (Angle), more of a mathematician than I am, keeps picking up the book and dipping in. Sometimes we confer, but more often we are arguing (in the academic sense) from different corners. Angle is busy proving the maths, thinking that’s were my problem lies: I am understanding the maths and maintaining that the author has not matched his words to the maths and diagrams, as well as he thinks he has – the metaphors are helpful but don’t always extend as far as I think they should. Interestingly we usually end up with the discovery that we agree - it really does help to discuss it.

 

What is annoying is the inability to question Ian Stewart …….. and being told not to for ‘Marilyn and the Goats’ ……. He needs to point out more clearly that what he is always talking about is the probability of choosing a certain box working strictly from the entrance to the final outcome (conditional) (relevant for betting maybe), whereas most of us in practice would accept the outcome of the first stage, draw a line, and start again, working out from the choice of two left, which does turn out to be 50/50, when all options are logged. He knows that's what we are doing but treats us as if we are making a mathematical error rather than refusing to stick to his impractical context.

 

Megustaleer has a good point when she says

it seems to me that Ian Stewart's grasp of the difference between a maze and a labyrinth is as secure as mine is of his version of a graph
A little more clarity on his literal and literary side would help create a better picture of the mathematical side.

 

At least he has tried to make the maths accessible from another side and I thank him for that and will continue to the end. I still want to. It could be that his later books improve, but I’ll read a few stories first.

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I'm still reading it... or at least I am again now! I took a break from everything else for a week to blitz through Harry Potter but I'm done now, and will go back to it tomorrow! So when I've got a bit further then I'll be back! :D

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What a relief to read these comments! I've been trying to read the book and carefully avoiding the discussion until I felt ready to join in but have now given up. And what do I find - many others in a similar position! I can only bow with admiration at Angel's efforts and wish Claire success, but I'm with everyone else! I don't like admitting defeat - and perhaps I will return to it at some future point - but for now I think BGO's next book beckons! :confused:

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