Author Archives: Graham Shawcross

About Graham Shawcross

Architect PhD student at Edinburgh University Interested in order, rhythm and pattern in Architectural Design

Number Names and Words

Number Names George Lakoff has pointed out that we do not normally distinguish numbers from what might be more properly be called number names. (Lakoff 1989)  The most common number naming systems adopt base-10 and use ten single-digit number names, … Continue reading

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What Counts

Numerical Abilities As well as being able to roughly compare continuous quantities, humans and animals of various sorts share a method of recognising small numbers of objects or sequences of events that is independent of language.  See Subitising and  Counting Ants Both … Continue reading

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Counting Ants This is not about how to count ants but how ants count. The post follows research by Zhanna Reznikova and Boris Ryabko that investigates the numerical capacities of ants using ideas from Information Theory such as Shannon entropy and Kolmogorov complexity. … Continue reading

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Cafetières, Disorder, Chaos and Anarchy

At breakfast this morning my wife spilt the coffee because she hadn’t aligned the strainer in the lid of a Bodum cafetière with its pouring sprout.   I suggest this is a stupid design, and “why aren’t the strainer holes all … Continue reading

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William Tutte’s Hidden Past

If William Tutte is remembered at all by architects, it is for his contribution to solving the problem of Squaring the Square . (Tutte 1958) A solution using Graph Theory and Kirchhoff’s Laws for electrical flow in wires that was subsequently used in Philip … Continue reading

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Missing Pullover Found

My long lost 1970s pullover, slip-over, or perhaps more properly 70s tank-top, has turned up at the back of a cupboard. Last year we had turned the house upside down looking for it. The design is apparently based on the colour … Continue reading

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Spatial Representation of Number

Francis Galton “…this peculiarity is found so far as my observations have extended, in about 1 out of every 30 adult males or 15 females. It consists in the sudden and automatic appearance of a vivid and invariable “Form” in … Continue reading

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