Short, left-handed pitchers in Major League Baseball

Baseball season is about to start (Go Phillies! and Go Mudcats!), and when I took a look at the Phils’ roster, I noticed that they have three pitchers who are listed at under six feet tall: Antonio Bastardo, Mauricio Robles, and Raul Valdes.  Curiously, all three are left-handed.  We’re defining handedness as the hand with … Read More


Today I discovered a lovely little result. If you list the vertices of a non-self-intersecting polygon in counterclockwise order, then the area of the polygon is where vertical bars denote the determinant. The first thing I thought when I saw this equation was that I could use the nth roots of unity to get the … Read More

So, about the title…

A heptadecagon is a 17-sided polygon. Back in 1796, Gauss gave a proof of the constructibility by straight-edge and compass of a regular (all sides equal, all internal angles equal) heptadecagon. He liked the proof so much that he asked to have one carved onto his tombstone. According to the story, the engraver, telling Gauss … Read More