2022 April 12


Nils Frahm - Says

Scala and Kolacny Brothers - Evigheden

Unicorn Heads - A Mystical Experience

A mathematical April fools joke: an interactive model of a sphere tiled by hexagons. I haven’t figured out how it works….

It’s not possible to represent real numbers exactly in a computer; the most common representation, IEEE754 has a variety of oddities, notably both positive and negative zero. For most purposes these behave identically, but one surprising difference is that compilers can optimize x + (-0) into x but can’t optimize x + (+0) into x! Why? Because (+0) + (-0) = (+0), so the additive identity in IEEE754 is negative zero! Therefore in some circumstances it might be slightly more efficient to use negative zero instead of positive zero.

A Japanese researcher conducted an experiment for 24 days in which they slept at whatever location their cat chose to sleep. They experienced no reduction in average quality of sleep.

“In reality, there are no such things [as dates in Excel spreadsheets]. What you have are floating point numbers and pious hope.”

Italy has started a superbonus scheme for investments in energy-efficient building upgrades. It is called a superbonus because the government subsidizes homeowners for 110% of the capital cost of the upgrade. An estimated 33 billion euros will be invested in the scheme, which has already this year increased GDP by 0.7%. The advantage of such a scheme is to delegate decision making to the smallest scale, where people can fine tune for their particular circumstances, and the 110% reimbursement helps cover the many non-financial burdens that come with upgrading your home. The limited time of the subsidy may encourage more uptake due to fear-of-missing-out. The downside of delegating decision making is that the system is vulnerable to fraud, with already 1 billion euro of fraud having been identified. (Using a fixed menu of subsidy amounts for each type of upgrade would be the reverse trade off: less room for fraud, but less flexible decision-making for the people most attuned to the circumstances.) Unfortunately fraud is inevitable in any country-sized project.


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