Get rich working from home!

There are six math problems that will get you a million dollars each if you can solve them.

The Clay Mathematics Institute put together the Millennium Prize in 2000, listing seven important math problems no one had been able to answer.  If solved, they could unlock doors to new areas of mathematics.  Three years ago, an eccentric Russian guy solved one of them but turned down the money.  (!)

If those look too hard, a different group has smaller prizes for smaller problems.

How to cut the odds of autism almost in half

The Link: Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids’ Autism Risk

The Story:

Having an autistic child is hugely difficult.  Doing one simple thing can dramatically reduce the odds of having it happen to you.

A study published this year found that women who took folic acid supplements were  40% less likely to have autistic children.  (The ones who got the most benefit started taking the supplement a month before becoming pregnant and continued taking it for the first two months.)

It’s an amazingly easy, cheap, effective way to improve your odds as a prospective parent.  A forty percent improvement from a single cheap, common pill.

I don’t have any kids yet, but when my fiancee and I decide to have them, we’re definitely doing this.

Wonderful World pt 2: Little heroes of the big picture

The Link: 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 minutes

The Story:

Trevor Macy has a funny straight-faced blog called DIY Superhero where he details how to become a caped crimefighter, one post at a time.  I love it.  It makes me think of how superheroes relate to real life.

You’re never really going to be Batman, but the world is full of everyday heroes like nurses, firefighters, and teachers.  A lot of little heroes makes a big difference.

With all the terrible events on the news every single day, it’s easy to think the world’s going to Hell in a handbasket.  But looking at the numbers gives a better understanding of the big picture.  Literacy, life expectancy, and prosperity are at higher levels around the world now than ever before.  There have always been terrible things in the world, but the farther back in history you go, the more life was poor, nasty, brutish, and short.  (But not really solitary).

Like I said before: We may not always fully appreciate it, but living in the twenty-first century is awesome.

Every time you blow out a candle, you create a rainbow.

The Link: In fact, you create a whole series of rainbows.

The Story:

Dazzling photographer Grover Schrayer captured something I never knew: A candle always goes out in a small blaze of glory.  For a fraction of a second, the vaporized wax particles are carried along the puff of smoke and refract light to create a rainbow pattern.

Like with most of the rest of the universe, I don’t really understand it.

Flickr_Candle_Rainbow

Image by Grover Schrayer

It passes by so fast, you don’t even notice it.  Life is always like that.

I’m reminded of something Krisi Metzen shared, the work of another photographer who captures the beauty of the fleeting moment.  There is beauty in such things because they reveal underlying patterns–the mathematical structures of nature.  These beautiful patterns are everywhere.