1. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    A question for math people and those who like mysteries

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lessa, May 13, 2008.

    I have admitted here that math is beyond my brain skills. I am math dyslexic.
    I really enjoy the show Numbers where the FBI use a math genius to help solve crimes.
    He gets information and then sets about setting up the crime scene and what will probably happen next.
    My question is "Is this possible?"
    I find it fascinating but I am a bit sceptical. I figure it is useful but is it possible to do this?
    open to any comments and discussion.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'm not a mathematician, but I'd have to say it's highly unlikely- as I'd guess that the maths element is inserted into the script after the fact, to back up the plot, in the same way as science in Star Trek.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's a stupid show, imo... and all that character's going on and on and on about his supposed logarithms, et al., is mind-numbingly dumb, boring and lame... watching that show is like reading a tom clancy book and having to keep skipping over all his boring technical show-offy stuff, to get back to the plot!

    as for whether all that mumbo-jumbo makes any sense, i'd seriously doubt it, but only a real top-level mathematician can give us a valid answer...
     
  4. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    A very valid question, one Ive thought of plenty of times.

    So I asked a mathematician, and he said "to an extent. but mostly bull****."

    So there ya go.
     
  5. ILTBY
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    ILTBY Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I agree, it's too straight forward. Real life things just aren't that simple, everything in TV shows and movies seems to stick to themes and patterns and such but IMO life is really too chaotic and changeable and variable for things like that to work.
     
  6. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I figured it might be based on fact with a lot of hollywood tossed into the mix.
    But maia, the mathematics genius is so cute he is worth putting up with the rest of the show.
    I like cute nerds.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    he may be cute [not to me!], but his boringly egocentric lectures make commercial breaks a welcome relief!
     
  8. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's interesting to know the isle of Tinian receives the show Numbers. I didn't realise it was so popular. It has a late night timeslot here in Australia.

    Do you get all the hit shows, mammamaia? :)

    To answer the question: 90% of it is unrealistic, according to a mathematician I asked a few years ago when the show first started.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I only watched a couple episodes. I didn't find the characters all that endeaing, and the math I saw was pure technobabble. Bits and pieces were real math, but with daring intuitive leaps that inexorably led to sprained credibilities.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i may be out in the middle of nowhere, but we do have cable, of a sort... and why would you assume we wouldn't we get the major networks, if anything?... we actually get two sets of 'em!... one from hawaii, with a day's delay and the other from australia, a week later than you see it... plus, all the usual cable channels and movie ones that cost extra...

    that said, there are no satellites positioned to be accessed here, other than the chinese one/s, so all we see has to be sent on tape to guam, where it's then sent out to us up here in 'the sticks' of saipan, tinian and rota... this often causes us to have to see the same rundown of shows two days in a row, when the delivery is late...
     
  11. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find that sort of information fascinating. I'll stockpile it and tell someone later down the track if the opportunity arises.

    I assumed, since you're out in the middle of the ocean, you'd have a bigger disadvantage, but I guess the world is so technologically advanced these days that you'd have to be in a third-world country not to receive western society 'privileges'.

    Final question on this topic: what Australian station do you get?
     
  12. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    The only way you can use maths in solving mysteries are encrypts.....solving typical three-dimensed probs whcih end up to a single direction, or something like that. My Dad was telling me this once. And yeah we do use contours to figure out heights and stuff, but that's more of geography....so the stuff they show on tv, is....welll yeah..bull****.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't go that far. There are many uses of mathematics applicable to criminology. Just not as "There! His name is Walter Simms, and he lives on a third floor apartment somewhere in a 70 yard radius of..."

    But ballistics is a very mathematical science, so is blood spatter analysis - there ar emany specialized tools.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, i miswrote... the second set of major networks we get are from guam... the other from hawaii... but there are 2-3 oz channels, though i don't know what they're called, 'cause i don't watch 'em... one is 'australia network'...
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I must disagree about the math used for that show. I've seen the numbers and they are 100% accurate. Producers ran the plots past a series of mathematicians, accountants and actuaries, who then set up complicated algorithms to test several models. After determining the format with the highest statistical probability, they produced the show...voila (and just as predicted)...profits hit the nail right on the head!

    Aren't those the only numbers that count in Hollywood?

    .....NaCl
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I can at least applaud that the show glorifies mathematics. Maybe a few people will be sufficiently intrigued by it to actually discover some of the true beauty and elegance to be found there.
     

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