Computer scientists say they’ve solved the mystery of the orb in Leonardo da Vinci’s _Salvator Mundi_: news.artnet.com/art-world/scie

My colleague and co-author Mike Goodrich has been working with computer graphics specialists to model the refraction in the clear ball (representing the universe) held by Jesus in Leonardo's painting. Their work shows that the model that Leonardo painted from was likely a hollow glass ball, not a solid crystal. Original paper: arxiv.org/abs/1912.03416

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Robert MacKay's Chaos Machine. Its configuration space is a genus three surface. The dynamics of the machine are equivalent to geodesic flow on the surface, which is Anosov, hence chaotic.

Computational Geometry Media Exposition coming in Zurich in late June: socg20.inf.ethz.ch/cgme-cfp.ht

It's one of the events associated with the annual Symposium on Computational Geometry, formerly called the video review of computational geometry. This year it's expanding to a much wider range of media. Submission deadline February 21; see link for details.

A major breakthrough in quantum complexity and its applications in von Neumann algebra theory that I totally don't understand: MIP*=RE, or "two entangled provers could convince a polynomial-time verifier than an arbitrary Turing machine halts", arxiv.org/abs/2001.04383

Bloggers closer to this area don't have much to say, but I'll point to their posts anyway: windowsontheory.org/2020/01/14 scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=4512

Background from an author: mycqstate.wordpress.com/2020/0

The algebra: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connes_e

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Interesting Quanta article explaining the "universal covering problem", aka finding the smallest convex region that can cover an entire set of shapes; even restricting to shapes of "diameter 1" still leaves a tough unsolved problem in

quantamagazine.org/how-simple-

New blog post: Counting grid polygonalizations, 11011110.github.io/blog/2020/0

The golden ratio appears mysteriously in the asymptotics of the number of simple polygons that have all points of a \(3\times n\) grid as vertices.

The New York subway system thinks it has copyright on any stylized geometric map of its system and is sending takedown notices to the artist of the unofficial map used by Wikipedia: vice.com/en_us/article/qjd8j3/, via news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2

(As the article clearly explains, none of the underlying data of the map, the approximate geographic locations of its stations, or the idea of geometric stylization are copyrightable.)

Russian Academy of Science cleans house: sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/ru, via boingboing.net/2020/01/09/anti

Their investigation finds 2528 plagiarized papers in 541 Russian-language journals, gets roughly 1/3 of them retracted, and threatens uncooperative journals with de-listing from their indexes. They also recommended blackballing 56 candidates for academy membership over plagiarism and other misbehavior.

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How few \(k\)-gons can make a polyhedron, for different choices of \(k\)?math.stackexchange.com/questio

The answers include an amazing high-genus polyhedron with 12 faces, each of which is an 11-gon, posted Nov 2018 by Ivan Neretin (sadly, with multiple adjacencies for some pairs of faces, dubious by some definitions of polyhedra, rather than having one edge per face pair).

Via mathpuzzle.com/ and indirectly via mathstodon.xyz/@christianp/103

‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (1924) just reached the public domain, showing the insanity of U.S. copyright law: latimes.com/business/story/202

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John Wallis and the Roof of the Sheldonian Theatre: soue.org.uk/souenews/issue4/wa, via an @aperiodical description of a 3d print of the same structure, aperiodical.com/2019/11/my-adv

It's an elegant way to build a wide roof out of short beams with no joinery. But the history is somewhat lacking: Similar structures were known much earlier to Leonardo Da Vinci, Villard de Honnecourt, and Sebastiano Serlio. See Sylvie Duvernoy, "An introduction to Leonardo's lattices", doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7643-872

I'm sad that Cambridge Zero (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridg) is not a name for the convention that, in writing a decimal number between 0 and 1, the leading 1's digit is included (e.g. 0.618034, not .618034).

One of the books I've been reading this week: Robert Bosch's _Opt Art: From Mathematical Optimization to Visual Design_, reviewed in mathlesstraveled.com/2019/11/1

Some others I'm also enjoying but are less mathematical: Susan Phillips _The City Beneath_ (the rare book about graffiti where the words are more interesting than the photos); Kelly & Zach Weinersmith's _Soonish_; _Spectrum 26: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art_.

New open-access journal Compositionality, on the mathematics of "how complex things can be assembled out of simpler parts": johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2

It's not a good fit for my own research, and the word "fuzzy" in the title of one of the initial papers is kind of a red flag for me, but I think it's a good thing that the move towards diamond-model open access is continuing.

Are reputation management operatives scrubbing Wikipedia articles? (Answer: duh.) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedi has details of one such case, involving Theranos.

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