Crafty, Geometry Joys, Math Tricks, Murderous Maths, Simon teaching, Simon's sketch book

Inscribed angle theorem

“It reveals itself once you complete the rectangle to find the centre. Because, of course, the diagonal passes through the centre once you inscribe a rectangle inside the circle, because of the symmetry”.
Tiling the quadrilaterals Simon has crafted applying the inscribed angle theorem.
Tiling the “shapes generated by the inscribed angle theorem”
“The theorem says that if you have a circle and just three random points on it, then you draw a path between te first point to the second, to the centre, to the third point and back to the first point”.
art, Coding, Geometry Joys, Murderous Maths, Museum Time, Notes on everyday life, Together with sis, Trips

Back at Stedelijk

As for Morellet’s RGB colored cells, very inspiring for a sandpiles coding project. (The photographs don’t convey half of the effect the original canvasses invoke. Morellet’s cells actually appear to be moving when you gaze at the original).
Installation by Barbara Kruger
Installation by Barbara Kruger
Read this poem from top to bottom and it’s depressing, from bottom to top and it’s empowering.
Coding, JavaScript, Murderous Maths, Physics, Simon teaching, Simon's Own Code, Simon's sketch book

Heat Equation Visualization

A visual solution to Fourier’s heat equation in p5. Play with the two versions online:

Inspired by 3Blue1Brown’s Differential Equations series.

Geometry Joys, Math Tricks, Murderous Maths, Simon teaching, Simon's sketch book

Triangular, Square, Pentagonal, Hexagonal Numbers

Applying one of his favorite materials – checkers – Simon showed me the tricks behind polygonal numbers. The numbers written in pen (above) correspond to the actual triangle number (red rod) and the row number (blue rod).
Square numbers
Pentagonal numbers
And the next pentagonal number
(Centered) Hexagonal numbers
Fragment of the next (centered) hexagonal number
The following morning I saw that Simon came up with these general formulae to construct square, pentagonal and hexagonal numbers using triangle numbers. The n stands for the index of the polygonal number. Later Simon told me that he had made a mistake in his formula for the hexagonal numbers: it should not be the ceiling function of (n-1)/2, but simply n-1, he said.

I asked Simon to show me how he’d come up with the formulae:

Here is a square number constructed of two triangle numbers (the 5th and the 4th, so the nth and the n-1st)
The working out of the same construction. In the axample above n equals 5, so the 5th square number is indeed 25.
The nth pentagonal number constructed using three triangle numbers: the nth triangle number, and two, n-1st triangle numbers.
The working out of the pentagonal number formula
The nth hexagonal number
The formula for calculating the nth hexagonal number from six n-1st triangle numbers plus 1. (Simon later corrected the (n+1) into (n-1)).
Coding, Math Riddles, Math Tricks, Murderous Maths, Python

Number Guessing Game

Simon writes: Made a little game where the computer thinks of a number 1-100, and you try to guess it within 7 takes! Hint: the algorithm is called “Binary Search”.
You can also play the fullscreen version here:

Now also a reversed version, where you think of a number and the computer guesses it:

Coding, Computer Science, JavaScript, Simon teaching, Simon's Own Code, Simon's sketch book

Back to the sorting algorithms: Beadsort (and a short lecture about the generator function)

Link to the project:
Made my Beadsort step-by-step with a generator function! (Scroll down to see the “Next” button!) Code:
The video also contains a bonus tutorial about what a generator function is!
Coding, Computer Science, English and Text-Based Data, Python, Simon teaching

Encoding and Cracking Codes in Python

Had great fun learning how to crack codes using Python! Simon is currently following the Programming with Python course on and showed me how to see whether an encrypted piece is gibberish or a real text is hidden behind it.

Simon writes:

A Caesar Shift is a simple cipher, which was a standard in Roman times. It works like this: shift every character by some fixed amount in the alphabet. Something like this:

Example: Suppose some professor writes his name on his board:


It’s encoded with a caesar shift. Because it’s a professor’s name, it probably starts with “Dr.”, so it’s probably a shift that turns D into E, and R into S. So we can work backwards from that shift, and get:


That was an easy one, so let’s do something more complex with code.

One of the messages below is a real text, encoded using a Caesar Shift, the other one is just a random sequence of letters. Can you tell which one is which?

Text 1:
Text 2:

Simon has explained a way to see whether the encrypted piece contains meaningful (real) text: one can plot the frequency of each letter as it’s used in the encrypted piece. If all letters have generally similar frequency, it’s not a real text, because in real texts, certain letters are encountered much more often than others. Below are the frequency plots Simon made for the texts above, using a Python package called matplotlib:

Frequencies for text 1:

Frequencies for text 2:

As you can see, the second plot depicts a greater variety in frequencies. “For example, o appears the most, but g does not appear that much. And t does not appear at all!” Simon showed me.

As it turned out, we could actually use our knowledge about which letters naturally appear more frequently in English-language texts to crack the code! “Which letter is the most frequent one in English writing?” Simon asked me. “Letter e!” I guessed. “So now we know that the letter o in the encrypted text stands for e in the real text!” Simon exclaimed. “All we have to do to decode it now is simply shift the letters by 10 letters back, because e is 10 letters behind the o!”

Simon Writes:

So, what is the message about? Simon tweaked Brilliant’s code to make sure it shifted by the amount of 10…


…put the spaces and punctuation in appropriately…

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

So, it’s about Archeology! This is the poem Ozymandias by Percy Shelley (1818).

Source Code

Encoder / Decoder:

alphabet = "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"

# convert between letters and numbers up to 26
def number_to_letter(i):
    return alphabet[i%26]

def letter_to_number(l):
    return alphabet.find(l)

# How to encode a single character (letter or not)
def caesar_shift_single_character(l, amount):
    i = letter_to_number(l)
    if i == -1: # character not found in alphabet:
        return "" # remove it, it's spaces or punctuation
        return number_to_letter(i + amount) # Caesar shift

# How to encode a full text
def caesar_shift(text, amount):
    shifted_text = ""
    for char in text.lower(): # also convert uppercase letters to lowercase
        shifted_text += caesar_shift_single_character(char, amount)
    return shifted_text


message = """
paste the text here

code = caesar_shift(message, 2)

Code for Plots:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
alphabet = "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"

code = """
paste the text here

letter_counts = [code.count(l) for l in alphabet]
letter_colors =[0.8*i/max(letter_counts) for i in letter_counts]), letter_counts, color=letter_colors)
plt.xticks(range(26), alphabet) # letter labels on x-axis
plt.tick_params(axis="x", bottom=False) # no ticks, only labels on x-axis
plt.title("Frequency of each letter")