Humans are primarily social creatures - Thoreau may have pretended he wanted to sit among nature by himself and write a book but he was in a house built by someone else, paid for by someone else, with clothes made by someone else, and writing a book that would be published by someone else.

People band together in groups to be stronger - about causes or for actual defense. How to prompt people to become social rather than anti-social is one of the central goals of game theory. 

Economics is a dwindling field. Long called the 'dismal science' it is now considered just another philosophical school of thought; people in the money business who want quantification hire physicists rather than economists.

And the lack of female interest in the field shows it is no longer in vogue. A new analysis finds that women make up 57 percent of undergraduate classes at UK universities but only 27 percent of economics students. The women who like math are doing something else with it. 1.2 percent of females apply to study economics while 3.8 percent of boys do.  

Now that Major League Baseball’s regular season has ended with the wild wildcard win by the Kansas City Royals over the Oakland A’s and with the Pittsburgh Pirates being eliminated by the San Francisco Giants, I've once again begun analyzing the probability of each team advancing through each round of baseball’s postseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (71%) and the Washington Nationals (68%) have the greatest chance of advancing to the National League Championship Series going into their first Division Series games. The Kansas City Royals (61%) and Baltimore Orioles (64%) after winning the first game of their Division Series have turned themselves from underdogs into favorites.

Mathematicians have introduced a new element of uncertainty into an equation used to describe the behavior of fluids, which might make it possible to better reflect the inherent uncertainties of the natural world.

An example of unidirectional cause and effect: bad weather means umbrella sales rise, but buying umbrellas won't make it rain. Credit: Mariusz Olszewski/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

By Jonathan Borwein (Jon), University of Newcastle and Michael Rose, University of Newcastle

Calculating the pros and cons is a time-honored method for making analytical decisions but focusing too much on numberscalculations, especially those involving money, can lead to negative consequences, including social and moral transgressions, says a new paper.

Based on several experiments, researchers concluded that people in a "calculative mindset" as a result of number-crunching are more likely to analyze non-numerical problems mathematically and not take into account social, moral or interpersonal factors.

Chen-Bo Zhong. Credit: Rotman School

A recent paper makes a connection between the quantum group SLq(2), which describes knots, and the elementary particles of the Standard Model.  A mathematical knot is an embedding of a circle in 3-dimensional Euclidean space. Unlike your shoes, with their knot
the ends are joined together so it cannot be undone. The Standard Model, created in the 1970s, is the dominant hypothesis concerning electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions in fundamental particles.

Some suggest that leptons, neutrinos, and quarks might be composite and the authors seeks to make the case that the structure is described by the quantum group SLq(2).

Mathematical techniques that not only identify whether two data sets correlate, but also whether one drives the other, have allowed researchers to look at a lot of old data in new ways. Methods have been developed to try to identify and correct for bias in the fossil record but the new research suggests many of these correction methods may actually be misleading. 

The new results show that out of all the geological factors, only the area of preserved rock drives biodiversity. Therefore, the other geological factors – counts of fossil collections and geological formations – are not independent measures of bias in the fossil record.

Depending on the analysis strategy used, estimating treatment outcomes in meta-­analyses may differ and may result in major alterations in the conclusions derived from the analysis, according to a study in JAMA which could easily apply to all fields. 

Money can't make you happy but perhaps math can predict how much less unhappy you will be than if you lived in poverty.

The happiness of over 18,000 people worldwide has been predicted by a mathematical equation, with results showing that moment-to-moment happiness reflects not just how well things are going, but whether things are going better than expected.