We’re gettin’ nerdy in this week’s What I’ve Been Reading. So strap on your goggles, and let’s get this engine started.
- There’s a well-known conjecture in mathematics known as the ABC Conjecture that posits a hitherto unconfirmed deep relationship between addition and multiplication. Last year, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki claimed to have solved it, releasing a 512-page behemoth of a proof. The only problem? Nobody understands his proof. Caroline Chen of Project Wordsworth explains how this has set the academic mathematical community atwitter.
- The city of Montréal is finally lifting its ban on street food. However, they’re doing so in a heavily-regulated way, and they’re even going as far as to mandate that most food preparation take place off-site. Writing for Vice, Jonah Campbell explains how this unfairly advantages pre-existing businesses. To me, these regulations defeat the whole purpose street food. Food trucks exist to deliver culinary experiences that you can’t get at bricks-and-mortar establishments. I mean, why would I buy a shawarma from a Basha truck when I can just walk to any one of their dozen or so locations?
- In a fascinating piece for the Priceonomics blog, Alex Mayyasi explains the origins of for-profit academic journals and why these publications are an impediment to scientific progress. When even Harvard is feeling the pinch from the rising costs of journals, you know that there’s a problem.
- This is pretty nifty: Rick Aschmann has created a map of North America indicating all the various English dialects spoken across the continent. Apparently, I speak “Lowest Common Denominator English.” I’ll try not to take that as an insult.
That’s it for this week. As always, feel free to leave comments below.