Monday, August 20, 2018

Math Is Haaaaaard

It's a lot easier to complain about the patriarchy than it is actually to learn or accomplish something:
Engineering education has been infiltrated by a “phalanx of social justice warriors” who are steadily corrupting the field, according to a Michigan State University professor.

“They have sought out the soft underbelly of engineering, where phrases such as ‘diversity’ and ‘different perspectives’ and ‘racial gaps’ and ‘unfairness’ and ‘unequal outcomes’ make up the daily vocabulary,” asserts Mechanical Engineering professor Indrek Wichman in an essay published Wednesday by the James G. Martin Center.

“Instead of calculating engine horsepower or microchip power/size ratios or aerodynamic lift and drag, the engineering educationists focus on group representation, hurt feelings, and ‘microaggressions’ in the profession,” Wichman adds.

Citing the Purdue University School of Education Engineering as a case study, Wichman claims that “engineering education” schools increasingly focus on concepts that are incompatible with the actual discipline, such as “empowering” students and “reimagining” engineering as a more “socially connected” field of study.

“For the record, engineers ‘empower’ themselves and, most important, other people, by inventing things,” he points out. “Those things are our agents of change.”
Hear hear, it's about time someone in academia points this out.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Jordan Peterson on IQ


The End of an Epic Quest

I have a friend whose parents adopted him at birth.  He's known forever that he's adopted, and we've known each other since 1st grade. 

He was a dutiful son, and his parents were doting.  They deserved each other, and in the best of ways.

But of course he always wondered about his biological parents.  It was certainly nothing against the parents who raised him, but I wonder if there isn't some biological urge to know.  We're roughly the same age, and I'm kind of old, so he's wondered for a very long time.  His parents weren't forthcoming about his biological parents until late in their lives, and some of the information they had wasn't all that accurate.  Still, he wondered.  And sometimes searched, but to no avail.

Last year he did a 23&Me DNA test, and shortly after that received an email saying something to the effect of, "This test says you're my brother, is that possible?"

A few months ago I drove him to a city about 4 hours from here so he could meet some of his new-found siblings--I didn't think someone should drive that far alone when dealing with so much anxiety.  Thankfully their meeting went off without a hitch.

This weekend he drove further, but on his own.  He met another sibling, as well as his biological father.  He sent me a picture.  I wonder which of us had the bigger smile as he told me about the meeting.  And to think that he's gone from being an only child to having siblings, and nieces and nephews!

How must it feel, to reach the literal and absolute end of a lifelong search?

Not Quite What I'd Do, But...

He wasn't violent, which is more than you can say for leftist protesters when they show up at non-leftist gatherings.  He was shocking, and his actions mortified those present.  And he didn't do anything illegal.

Which is more foul, this or wearing pussy hats in public?
A meat-loving YouTuber staged a “shocking” demonstration at a vegan food festival in Amsterdam by chowing down on a raw veal heart “literally dripping” with blood.

Breaking Spaghetti

It's not a problem I've ever considered, but it has some interesting properties and ramifications:
If you happen to have a box of spaghetti in your pantry, try this experiment: Pull out a single spaghetti stick and hold it at both ends. Now bend it until it breaks. How many fragments did you make? If the answer is three or more, pull out another stick and try again. Can you break the noodle in two? If not, you're in very good company.

The spaghetti challenge has flummoxed even the likes of famed physicist Richard Feynman '39, who once spent a good portion of an evening breaking pasta and looking for a theoretical explanation for why the sticks refused to snap in two.

Feynman's kitchen experiment remained unresolved until 2005, when physicists from France pieced together a theory to describe the forces at work when spaghetti—and any long, thin rod—is bent. They found that when a stick is bent evenly from both ends, it will break near the center, where it is most curved. This initial break triggers a "snap-back" effect and a bending wave, or vibration, that further fractures the stick. Their theory, which won the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize, seemed to solve Feynman's puzzle. But a question remained: Could spaghetti ever be coerced to break in two?

The answer, according to a new MIT study, is yes—with a twist. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that they have found a way to break spaghetti in two, by both bending and twisting the dry noodles.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Only An Educated Person Could Believe Something So Stupid

You'd think the field of math would be a bulwark against such idiocy, but you'd be wrong:
An Illinois professor who focuses on “equity” in mathematics will present her plan to redefine the field of study to oppose “objects, truths, and knowledge” at a 2019 conference.

University of Illinois education professor Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez will give her talk, titled “Mathematx: Towards a way of Being,” at the Mathematics Education and Society 10th International Conference in India during January and February 2019.

“The relationship between humans, mathematics, and the planet has been one steeped too long in domination and destruction,” Gutierrez notes in her presentation’s description. “I argue for a movement against objects, truths, and knowledge towards a way of being in the world that is guided by first principles — mathematx.”

“This shift from thinking of mathematics as a noun to mathematx as a verb holds potential for honouring our connections with each other as human and other-than-human persons, for balancing problem solving with joy, and for maintaining critical bifocality at the local and global level.”
Other-than-human persons?  As Sonny would say, "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs":

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why Is The School Involved In This At All?

School isn't even in session yet, and district personnel believe the video was not made on district property.  So why is the district even involved?
The Sacramento City Unified School District is investigating two of its students for allegedly posting a video with racist slurs in it on Instagram, Superintendent Jorge Aguilar wrote in a statement Wednesday.

A blurry, nine-second screengrab of the video was shared Tuesday on Facebook by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, and shows a male and a female teen wearing blackface or black masks. In one scene, a male voice says “I don’t think this bird likes n------.” In the second scene, he says “Hi, n-----,” as a female laugh is heard.

District spokesman Alex Barrios said the district believes the two people in the video are students at C.K. McClatchy High School, but has not yet determined their identities.

Excitement In The Homeland

It seems an ISIS killer has been captured here in River City:
An Iraqi national who entered the U.S. as a refugee was arrested this afternoon on charges he participated in ISIS killings in Iraq in 2014.

The arrest of Omar Abdulsattar Ameen comes after an arrest warrant was issued by an Iraqi court in May...

A side note: Sacramento is a declared "sanctuary city." 
What were the lefties chanting this past weekend?  Oh yes:  "No border, no wall, no USA at all."  Geniuses.

Last Day!

Students show up tomorrow.  Whatever I've done or failed to do, I've got to perform superbly starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The 3 C's

Today was our first official day back at work, and in the morning our teachers rotated through 5 or 6 different classrooms with a different type of instruction occurring in each.  I was one of the presenters, and I instructed on how to set up our online grading program.  There are some good ways, and some not-so-good ways, to set up the online grade book, and my goal was to give options how to set up a grade book using the good ways. 

What constitutes "good", you might ask, and that's a good question!  And the answer just came to me, and it was so fun that I used for each group of teachers that came in today.  A "good" setup is one that allows us to avoid "the 3 C's"--calls, complaints, and conferences.

It's not that I don't think teachers should talk to or meet with parents, it's just that I don't think teachers should have to do so unnecessarily.  I just have to believe that given a choice between going home or dealing with questions about how grades are calculated, most teachers would choose the former.  Set up your grade book in an intelligent, reasonable, and defensible manner, and you won't have to explain or justify it to people.  Save those interactions with parents for things more important than how the computer calculates grades.

We should strive to avoid or minimize the 3 C's:  calls, complaints, and conferences.  Good planning helps do that.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Eisenhower Warned About The National Debt

In the same speech in which he warned about the military-industrial complex and the scientific-technological elite, President Eisenhower also gave a warning about federal debt:
As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."
Debt to GDP ratio in 1961, when he gave that speech:  52%
Debt to GDP ratio today: 107%

I'm Not Surprised

Seems a little shady to me:
Google continues to store users' location data even on phones that have privacy settings set to prevent that kind of tracking, according to an Associated Press report released Monday...

Jonathan Mayer, the former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau and a current computer scientist at Princeton, told the AP he believes Google is being dishonest.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”
In the same speech in which he warned about the military-industrial complex, President Eisenhower also warned about a "scientific-technological elite".  Hmmmm

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What Could Possibly Be The Cause of This?

Have you noticed that stable democratic countries don't experience hyperinflation?
RUBEN GALINDO: Why should you be tied to any specific type of money if it's not working for you?

GONZALEZ: His website, AirTM, allows everyone in the world to trade currencies. He hires 25 people in Venezuela, including Mila. And then they all get an email.

GALINDO: This is the Ministry of Finance. What you're doing, we don't like it. And you guys should stop because if not, we're going to put you in jail for 10 to 15 years.

GONZALEZ: Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, doesn't want too many people to have U.S. dollars. And economists say this is actually a reasonable fear. If too many people have dollars, they might refuse to use the local money. This happened in Zimbabwe in 2008, and the government was forced to make the U.S. dollar its official currency.

And something really important happens when you adopt another country's currency. You lose your ability to print money when you need to pay your bills. Venezuela's government says they've arrested more than 200 people for exchanging money on the black market, and they are looking for Mila. This is why we're not using her last name.

MILA: The charge is fake exchange rate of the dollar - terrorism financiation (ph).
What's the cause of this?  Well, it starts with "s", and rhymes with "ocialism".  That, and a strongman government that thinks it's stronger than the laws of economics.

Update, 8/13/18Here's more from the Bolivarian socialist paradise:
Fuel in the oil-rich nation may be practically free, but motorists are finding it increasingly hard to keep their vehicles on the road. Petrol shortages are ever more common: motorists commonly wait for six hours or more in fuel queues...

 Now, the government is attempting to alleviate the fuel crisis with a nationwide census of vehicles, and though officials have not been forthcoming with specific details, the president, Nicol├ís Maduro, has said it will lead to “rational” fuel use.
Even more government control.  I'm sure that will work.  But let's return to our story:
Meanwhile, the bolivar, Venezuela’s currency, is practically worthless, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that inflation will reach one million per cent by the end of the year....

Painful

Shouldn't university students know something?
Campus Reform's Cabot Phillips traveled to Columbia University, an Ivy League school, and offered $20 to any person who could name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Not one student was able to list the five freedoms, which are freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, and petition.

While Phillips reported that many students were able to name one or two of the freedoms, many were seen on camera struggling to name even one.
There's video at the link.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Priorities

I wonder what their math grades are like in school?
Some parents have new dreams for their kids—make them Fortnite experts.

With more than 125 million players across the world, Fortnite’s immense popularity, which has drawn everyone from pre-teens to superstar musicians like Drake, has led to some parents hiring video game coaches to help their kids win.

“My son was actually beginning to play and he actually wanted to get a little bit more competitive,” Nick Mennen, whose son plays Fortnite, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “When I saw that there was a university that started offering a scholarship for it, I decided that it was a good approach for his future.”

Parents are willing to shell out around $20 per hour for a coach to help their kids improve, according to Fortnite coach Cesar Sainz.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

This Will Not Discourage Bad Behavior

A stitch in time saves nine.  Failing to punish this type of behavior now almost certainly means that we'll see more of it, and worse:
A former Diablo Valley College philosophy professor has taken a plea deal resulting in three years of probation for attacking Trump supporters with a bike lock, Berkeleyside reported Wednesday.

Eric Clanton was previously charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury after he assaulted several conservative demonstrators at the so-called "Battle of Berkeley" last year.

Clanton was identified by 4chan sleuths as the antifa goon who committed the violent assaults during what was dubbed a “free speech” rally in Berkeley on April 15, 2017.

This brutal sucker punch was captured in a video clip that went viral...

He could have killed someone that day.

Berkeley police said Clanton bashed at least seven people in the head that day, seriously injuring three. The individual in the above video received a head laceration that required five staples to fix.

And yet he ends up with only a minor misdemeanor battery charge with no jail time? Like he just threw water on someone?
As Instapundit repeatedly says, the left is not going to like living under the rules they're creating.