Numb3rs

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Stief
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Numb3rs

Postby Stief » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:21 am UTC

No, it's not a 1337 mis-spelling, it's a great tv show...thought that the people in here would appreciate it ^_^

It's a crime show, where one of the main characters is a cop, and his brother is an extremely gifted mathematician...

basically...the main plot for most episodes is as follows;
-Starts with the two brothers in their house, talking to their dad about a problem of his or theirs...
-A crime occurs, making our cop do work...
-he investigates, but hits a dead end
-him and his fellow police force workers all sit around scratching their heads
-main cop goes to brother, who tells him of a random mathematical formula
-he then applies said formulae to crime, making some sense...
-sometimes, however, he hits a metophorical brick wall...
-their extremely smart Physicist friend tells math guy about some random thing, which in turn makes math guy think about his formula
-he then goes back to his formula and manages to figure it out...
-tells his brother
-crime is eventually solved after some drama (involving guns most of the time)
-every show (I've seen anyways) ends with the two brothers and their father talking about the same thing, but solving it...

I've not done it ANY justice...but give it a look ^_^

(If you want proper information, IMDB it)
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Postby william » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:42 am UTC

It seems pretty good from what I've watched of it.
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Postby Traisenau » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:08 am UTC

I liked the first couple seasons, but I really just don't care about it anymore.
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Postby Peshmerga » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:20 am UTC

I remember the first episode. The math guy used logic based on approximations of the killer's previous victim locations, giving police a rough radius in the city to investigate before he attacked again.

This is, of course, an absolutely bogus situation- the killer would have randomized the locations of his victims, not distribute those points equally on a map.
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Postby marshlight » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:53 pm UTC

It's kind of bad that the show is that formulaic - like Johnthemage, I started out loving it but then got tired of the framework. But still, if it's on and I have nothing better to do, I will watch it. Plus, Charlie is quite cute and so is his lady (I'm assuming Amita is still his lady, haven't watched it in a while).
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Postby Sprocket » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:34 pm UTC

My ex watched this. He thought it was terrible, but as a mathematician to be, he felt obligated.
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Postby recurve boy » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:51 am UTC

Peshmerga wrote:I remember the first episode. The math guy used logic based on approximations of the killer's previous victim locations, giving police a rough radius in the city to investigate before he attacked again.

This is, of course, an absolutely bogus situation- the killer would have randomized the locations of his victims, not distribute those points equally on a map.


I remember that episode. It was one of the better ones and was half plausible.

Like the show describes, when people think 'random', then tend to come up with things that are nicely distributed. It's like asking a person to write a series of Hs (heads) and Ts (tails) in a random manner. They pretty much always try to balance the Hs and Ts so that there is an even split. But if you calculate the probability of an even split occurring for real flips, it's not very likely at all.

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Postby SpitValve » Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:01 am UTC

Apparently the first episode was based on a real case, but the others since then were made up.

Sometimes the maths kinda makes sense in itself, but usually it doesn't really apply to the situation they're analysing.

It is pretty formulaic, but meh. I just watch it because it has maths in it :)

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Postby Vaniver » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:22 am UTC

Peshmerga wrote:I remember the first episode. The math guy used logic based on approximations of the killer's previous victim locations, giving police a rough radius in the city to investigate before he attacked again.

This is, of course, an absolutely bogus situation- the killer would have randomized the locations of his victims, not distribute those points equally on a map.
Not really. The assumption that he made (that the killer would use "human random," instead of real random) is a valid assumption; people don't think clusters are random, when they are.

But the important thing is that he was establishing a base of operations, not the next target- as pointed out, predicting the next target is next to impossible. But it *is* possible to guess where someone is coming from, after watching their pseudorandom output.

But, what was ridiculous was that the killer moved during the killing spree, and Charlie's method correctly found his old location, and his new locations (he adapted it to go from one focus to two foci).


The first season was pretty good; I only catch it sometimes (my mother watches it regularly). The later seasons seem to be getting progressively worse; there are a limited number of easily graspable mathematical tricks that they can use, and once you take away the mathematical tricks, you're left with a crime drama that isn't particularly compelling.

[edit]Also annoying is the things they gloss over to make a nice story. There's been an arson? Well, I'll use my data mining techniques on the records of the fire departments in order to determine vital clues. And, somehow, even though there are only 19 variables in each report, I'll extrapolate to have a lot more variables. And, somehow, all of this data is already in a computer system I have access to; I don't have to deal with the data entry of reams of data.
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Postby Karrion » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:14 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:And, somehow, all of this data is already in a computer system I have access to; I don't have to deal with the data entry of reams of data.


He is a university professor... what do you think grad students are for? ;-)

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Postby Okita » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:17 pm UTC

Karrion wrote:
Vaniver wrote:And, somehow, all of this data is already in a computer system I have access to; I don't have to deal with the data entry of reams of data.


He is a university professor... what do you think grad students are for? ;-)


Specially if Navi Rawat is your student...
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Postby Delalyra » Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

Numb3rs was the first prime-time show I ever watched (I have since gotten addicted to Grey's Anatomy...), and I love it. Mind you, I know nothing about teh maths, so I really couldn't care if any of it's correct or not. But nerds on crime shows with hookups every so often? I'm not complaining!

Oh, and the way Larry always uses astronomy metaphors when he's talking to Meagan. I find that way too adorable.

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Postby Oort » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:32 am UTC

I watched one episode. It was fun, but not especially great. It was about a plane crash. The math wasn't great either. He talked about "strange loops" that left data on the computers they were on. Couldn't he have just said "this computer data might have left clues on the computer."?

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Postby Agentlien » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:17 pm UTC

I've watched all of these series so far and I really do like it. I don't know enough of math to see the flaws, but enough to see that there's at least some truth in it, and it has been awarded simply for using math in a way which wakes interest in youth.. So in that way, it's cool. Also, I really like Charlie's character, as well as anything including Peter MacNicol (who plays Larry Fleinhardt, the physicist).
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Numb3rs season finale

Postby daedelus » Sat May 17, 2008 6:04 am UTC

Skip this if you didn't watch the Numb3rs season finale
Spoiler:
I'm not sure if any of you are Numb3rs fans (if not you should be!), but I just finished watching the season finale. In it, a colleague of Charlie Eppes (the main character and a mathematics professor at a California university) is arrested because of his association with a Pakistani fund raising organization, and the fact that he sent "restricted" information to Pakistani universities. The fund raising organization was suspected of being a terrorist front, but it turned out it was just one man embezzling money for his own use. Whoops!
Anyways, Professor Eppes' colleague is still in custody because of the information he sent to Pakistan. What he sent was really just information about how to increase crop yields by making disease and drought resistant crops, and he hadn't finished sending his research when he was arrested. Therefore, Charlie, in protest, emailed the remaining research to Pakistan. He was later arrested, and had his security clearance revoked (which means he can no longer work on FBI cases, the main point of the show). I've read a few posts in other places criticizing him for doing so, since he can no longer do the good he used to do by helping the FBI.



Ok, now to my real question:
In what situations is it better to walk away from something you think is wrong on principle, and when should you stick around and keep trying to repair a broken system from the inside? It's something that I've seen come up fairly often. When someone walks away from a problem, there are always the people who say they could have done more working within the system, whether it be a company or a country. Is it always better to continue doing things you think are immoral to prevent worse things from happening, or is it ever justified to just say that something is not right and get out?

Any thoughts?
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Re: Numb3rs season finale

Postby modularblues » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:38 am UTC

daedelus wrote:
Ok, now to my real question:
In what situations is it better to walk away from something you think is wrong on principle, and when should you stick around and keep trying to repair a broken system from the inside? It's something that I've seen come up fairly often. When someone walks away from a problem, there are always the people who say they could have done more working within the system, whether it be a company or a country. Is it always better to continue doing things you think are immoral to prevent worse things from happening, or is it ever justified to just say that something is not right and get out?

Any thoughts?


If I had enough resources and time, I would try to repair said broken system. But very often there are unintended consequences. Technology is a double-edged sword... radiation therapy vs. subatomic weapons, for example. There's always a fight between situational ethics and conscience... depending on how one weighs the variables :-P

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Re:

Postby modularblues » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:57 am UTC

Delalyra wrote:Oh, and the way Larry always uses astronomy metaphors when he's talking to Meagan. I find that way too adorable.

I find myself increasingly drawn to the Larry/Megan pairing because of the astronomy metaphors and how they're both intrigued by the how the mind works :-)

It's too bad nobody can thoroughly explain all the math in less than 45 minutes, but these people are giving it a post-facto try. It takes logic-defying stretches of imagination and a lot of luck to apply the math exactly like Charlie does, but there's usually relevance. He just solves everything too fast like how Iron Man constructed his armor... oh well, dramas and fictions.

Yeah, as the show continues, it's less and less about math and more about the characters. Probably because the characters have established a strong enough fan base who care about their relationships more than the technicalities :-P

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Re: Numb3rs

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:35 am UTC

Oh god the latest episode hurt to watch. I can usually suspend my disbelieve enough to watch it, even though I'm aware of how ridiculous the math is. But when they on top of that dump a truckload of hollywood misconceptions about computer hacking, it was just too much to be taken seriously.
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Re: Numb3rs

Postby adanedhel728 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:10 am UTC

I'm a senior math major, and I've always been told that if you like math, you'll like Numbers. I started DVRing it on TNT this week, and so far I've seen three episodes. It's not a bad show, but the math is rarely interesting, to tell you the truth. Maybe because it involves a lot of statistics and I hate statistics. And it moves so fast that I have a really hard time following it. More than half of the time, I think to myself, "Ok, how the heck did they know to go there??" I know I come off like I must hate it, lol, but I do actually enjoy it. At the same time, I think it's far from true to say that "if you like math, you'll like Numbers."

But, like I said, I've only seen three episodes so far. Maybe I'll have a more refined opinion after watching a few more episodes.

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Re: Numb3rs

Postby modularblues » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:40 am UTC

I'm a long-time fan but have been rather disappointed by the current season.

Spoiler:
Basically after Larry and Megan left, this series lost its 1337ness. Since whoever's casting the show can't find suitable replacements, they bring in really random and strange characters (even by my standard) and making Scooby-Doo references?!?!?!

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Re: Numb3rs

Postby wizardy42 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:17 am UTC

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Last edited by wizardy42 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:27 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Numb3rs

Postby MargaretK » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:39 am UTC

I'm sad that NUMB3RS is over. The series ended with Charles and Amita getting married, and his brother getting engaged. What bothered me was when Megan left the show.


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