20140415-001354.jpg

How to Lie with Data Visualization

Data visualization is one of the most important tools we have to analyze data. But it’s just as easy to mislead as it is to educate using charts and graphs. In this article we’ll take a look at 3 of the most common ways in which visualizations can be misleading. –Heap Data Blog.

The Value of Failure

Upon reading that recent message from my inbox, I wanted to shout out “let your child fail.” The shouting was not due to frustration, rather to be sure that my voice was heard by many. And when I say fail, I mean fall. Let them fall. How can we learn to get back up if we never fall? Or if someone else always picks us up. Too often today, students…

Students say “math class is stupid and boring,” and they are right. –Mathematician Paul Lockhart

I am working on some conference papers that touch on coding as a liberal art. While reviewing classics, like Stephenson’s In the Beginning Was the Command Line and Knuth’s approach to “Literate Programming,” From the insightful and quirky “A Mathematician’s Lament,” by Paul Lockhart. A musician wakes from a terrible nightmare. In his dream he finds himself in a society where music education has been made mandatory. “We are helping…

Surprise! ‘Star Trek’ gold shirts more deadly than red shirts

Fascinating. Barsalou then goes all math geek and applies to the data the Bayes’ Theorem formula for calculating conditional probabilities. After a little mathematical shake and bake, he determines there is a 61.9 percent chance that any given casualty is wearing a red shirt. That still sounds high, but it’s not really once you consider the sheer number of redshirts running around the Starship. “Although Enterprise crew members in redshirts…

Journalist math fail: “New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent”

Hold on… An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study. –New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent | WashingtonExaminer.com The math example doesn’t illustrate the…

Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 3.47.50 PM
1

Mathematics and What It Means to Be Human

A humanities faculty member and a math faculty member collaborate on a course about the meaning of math. “Don’t worry;” I told them. “You can’t find this more frightening than I do.” And it was true. Ever since the word problems my father forced on us at dinner, I’ve always been terrified of math. I probably skipped dessert for all of fourth grade in order to escape some design to…

Khan Academy: The hype and the reality

Sal Khan has done something remarkable in creating such a vast and varied library, and he deserves to be recognized. His commitment to making the site free is a rare and selfless act, and he deserves to be praised. Sal Khan is a good guy with a good mission. What he’s not, though, is a good teacher. Unfortunately, the media hype surrounding Khan Academy has created a level of expectation…

Remediation Nation: Why College Students Say High School Needs Change

Why don’t states require students to take four years of English and math, and three or four years of science? Why isn’t there a class dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of writing? For that matter, why don’t we require more than two years of history or social studies and foreign language? The students want it—69 percent of respondents say high school graduation requirements are “very” or “pretty” easy, while 37…

Cash-strapped Berlin stalked by 540-year-old debt

A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year. According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million). –Reuters.com. But hold on — 2012 -1562 imeans the debt is 450 years old, not 540.