Posted tagged ‘math’


January 3, 2015

ALGEBRA1I found this posted on FaceBook a few days ago and for some reason, it rubbed me the wrong way.   If you’ve been coming around here long enough to know something about me, you know I’m a scientist and you probably think, Algebra came easy to Older Eyes.  He doesn’t know what it’s like for the rest of us.  Just for the record, Algebra was not my best subject, nor was high school math in general.  High school math required too much memorization and provided too little evidence of usefulness to hold my attention.  My mathematical inclinations didn’t catch fire until I took calculus, which required not just memorization but understanding.   Since then, I’ve taken more math than some math majors.  My point is that while I understand that Algebra is not easy for everyone … and that many people have vocations that do not requireALGEBRA2 knowledge of Algebra … the notion that anyone in this technology-based society doesn’t use Algebra … or for that matter, calculus, statistics, finite mathematics and dozens of other mathematical fields … is misguided.   Things we use daily, from our vehicles to the techie-toys we have come to depend on were developed using algebra and other higher mathematics and, in fact, their operation depends upon mathematical principles.

So.  You can say you hate algebra.  You can say it was hard for you and you wonder why you had to take it.  You can say, My job doesn’t require knowledge of algebra or higher math.  But please DON’T say, I don’t use algebra.  You use it every day.  There.  Now, I feel better.


July 11, 2013

It is my habit to bring my Google Nexus Tablet to the breakfast table to read the day’s news.   Sometimes, I plug in my headphones to listen to some morning music (Dave Grusin, maybe, or Keiko Matsui) and watch a few news videos.   The world has changed and perhaps there’s no better way to see it than to look at a few of Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the breakfast table.

Take, for example, Behind the Newspaper, in which the neglected wife stares longingly into space while her husband’s attention is buried in the morning paper.  These days?  He’s got a tablet in front of him, a smartphone in his hands and Bose noise cancelling headphones.  Don’t worry.  Muri and I are very different morning people, so she’s never the spurned wife.  At breakfast, anyway.  Or consider Breakfast Table Political Argument.  Today’s version: dueling iPads with junior completely distracted from his parents argument by his Mom’s iPhone (he’s texting little Suzie down the street about their play date later). (more…)