Monday, August 16, 2010

New Book: Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception

Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception
According to MSNBC, having a child makes you stupid. You actually lose IQ points. Good Morning America has announced that natural blondes will be extinct within two hundred years. Pundits estimated that there were more than a million demonstrators at a tea party rally in Washington, D.C., even though roughly sixty thousand were there. Numbers have peculiar powers—they can disarm skeptics, befuddle journalists, and hoodwink the public into believing almost anything. As Charles Seife explains in this eyeopening book, "Proofiness" is the art of using pure mathematics for impure ends. Bad mathematics has a dark side: it is used to bring down beloved government officials and to appoint undeserving ones (both Democratic and Republican), to convict the innocent and acquit the guilty, to ruin our economy, and to fix the outcomes of future elections. As silly as proofiness can be, it is also incredibly dangerous; indeed, it is threatening the foundations of our society.

"A delightful and remarkably revealing book that should be required reading for... well, for everyone."