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Randomness Explains Flat Tire Anecdotes Perfectly Well

Figure 2. First five simulated periods of 30 years.

Flat tires are random events. However, it seems that the human mind expects random events to be more regular than they actually are. This intuition on randomness might lead to the feeling that your own experience is somehow unexpected or strange, with anecdotes such as “my uncle seems to never have any flats, but my sister had three in the last year alone”. This is related… read more

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Submitted on 22 January 2017

Some Mathematics Behind "Catching Them All"

Pokémon Go logo

Mathematics is everywhere. In this article, I present some of the mathematics behind “Catching Them All”. Say that a rare Pokémon pops up in your Sightings, and that you walk in a straight line until it disappears again. What have you then learned about the position of that Pokémon? Well, since the… read more

Submitted on 28 September 2016

Radio Meteor Zoo

If you’ve enjoyed, or simply read, my articles on the BRAMS network, you might be interested in the Radio Meteor Zoo. The Radio Meteor Zoo is a so-called citizen science project. In these kinds of projects, members of the public can help scientists with… read more

Submitted on 9 August 2016

The Diverging Color Map Is the New Rainbow Color Map

Figure 1. The diverging color map is the new rainbow color map.

I am not a visualization specialist, but I’m convinced that the often used rainbow color map is not well suited for scientific visualization. It might be attractive, but it is not effective. This post mainly introduces diverging color maps as a much better alternative… read more

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Submitted on 16 November 2015

If You See a Fireball, Please Report It

Figure 2. Sightings of a single fireball that appeared on 2015-03-15.

If you have ever seen a fireball, which is an unusually bright meteor (or shooting star), then you know that they can be very impressive. But did you also know that reporting your observation can help to further science? Fireballs, and meteors in general, are like… read more

Submitted on 21 March 2015

Why Did this Image Cause a Traffic Spike on TomRoelandts.com?

Figure 1. Floating Ship.

At first sight, this image has nothing to do with my site. I have not posted it or mentioned it. The picture is real, by the way, it is not “Photoshopped”. It is from TV coverage of the Scottish Open golf tournament in Aberdeen, and the effect is caused by atmospheric refraction. But the details of… read more

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Submitted on 31 July 2014

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