Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Humble Pi: The role of mathematics

I really wanted to like this book but its pathetic. Its surprising that the author holds a Ph.D could subject himself to such ridicule and that gives us an ample reason why Mathematics need to be studied.
The author totally misses the point why Mathematics is important. You cannot appreciate if you cannot quantify things and math gives you an ability to quantify things. It gives you a handle to compare things and make sense of things based on your previous experiences. Smith hates math word problems and is not convinced that solving them has any real value and yet the problems he formulate in context of social science would need facility with word problems. Math is about beauty. Its about ability to make sense of things. Training in Math is much different than training in other subjects because instead of memorizing and getting accquainted with a bunch of facts Math challenges you to test your understanding. Math is the sole subject which makes you think and challenge your intution.
Smith makes a real asnine assumption that (since it was written in mid 1990s) that we Americans as a country are doing ok and since most of the people cannot solve the 350 pt problem it means Math knowledge is not required. Now I am reviewing this book in 2009 and so I definitely have solid evidence by my side that decades of neglecting math education has a dibilitating effect on the health of economy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Teaching and learning

I am updating this one from the DuQuoin Center of John A Logan. Today I had a good day. I started my morning with the lecture at Carterville campus. I taught Math 113 there. Then I came to carbondale to attend Math 405 and Math 475 A, then Tim dropped me to DuQuoin center and I taught Math 62 here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

There are not many books one need to read over and over again and then there are few books which one can read in few minutes and get centered. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull is one such book which I have read quite a number of times and today while waiting for Betsy to show up I read it again and I can say that I can see the peace percolating beneath the petina of everyday encounters.

Binary Magic Card

I think I first saw this in Ravi Vakil's book. Each card denotes a particular bit. So if there are 3 cards then we can have 8 different numbers. If there are 10 cards we can have all 1024 numbers. In this case we have chosen 5 cards thus all the days of the month are included. The trick works because binary representation of each number is unique. Look at example for number 13.

Mathematical A,B,C D

Like Edward Gorey. William Dunham has an alphabetical book.

Wow !!

There are moments in life when you sit back and wonder. I think mathematics and physics (well physics is just applied mathematics ;) ) is one subject which provides numerous such moments. I vividly recall my consternation when I was first taught that you cannot cool below absolute zero at 273.16 kelvin. That harmonic series is diverging and p series is converging. 2nd law of thermodynamics. There are different levels of infinity. Cantor's diagonal proof. Decimal expansions of Pi. Pi itself. Euler's constant e. Feeling after reading God Delusion. Conservation of energy that I couldn't make a self propelling vehicle by using two similar ends of magnets. The tea spoon mass of black hole could be so great that it could be higher than any known metal. Seeing Iron float on mercury. Bending of light through gravity. E = mc^2, Euler's formula. Making sense of complex number through matrices. That dipping your hand in liquid nitrogen will give you a cold burn so severe that your finger could splinter in to shards. Just trying to think about how big is infinity and how insignificant even our life is in the realm of our cosmos. That packing of elements in 9 dimension allows more room. Numerous mathematical puzzles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nietzche Quotes

Nietzche has lots of quotes some of them profound to many downright stupid and misogynist. The ones I like are

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Faith: not wanting to know what is true.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.

Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow.

In case you are wondering where I got these quotes. Click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Graduation Pic

Ok, I have a Masters.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How much faith you have !

One thing I am trying to do is not to give advice to people however as you interact with more people its hard not to. The other day I wanted to strengthen some body's belief system by giving them advise on eternity. Now the argument I proposed is people shouldn't be overly concerned about how they are living this life. If they truly believe in the eternal life promise. Because lets say an eternal life is a trillion times the current life so if you are complaining then its akin to complain to somebody who gives you a trillion dollors minus 1$ and then that person is fretting over that single dollor instead of not seeing the value of the trillion dollors. That means if you are a true believer than this one life and its trivialities should be a minimal concern.

Du Quoin, Kinkaid

Yesterday I went to Marsha's house with Joelann, Tim and Jennifer. It was good to see Jay and few other people. We decided to do the next run at Du Quoin at the time of Du Quoin state fair. We are also doing the annual Kindkaid-pontoon boat thing next saturday. Which is a lot of fun.

Castle Waiting

Done reading with it, its a mixture of many themes from various novels an ok read.

Catching up with friends

I am updating this from Carbondale Library. I came here to check some books. Last week I drove to Chicago to help Sachio move. I got to see two of my good friends Nelson and Kyriakos. Here is one pic of us catching up with Dinner at Chill's at Schaumberg.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


My teaching at John A Logan begins from August 17. I have been assigned Jennifer Jitter as my mentor. She is awesome and a positive role model. She helped me with many issues of my fledgling teaching career. Ranging from setting up my syllabus policy to activating my voice mail to giving me a campus tour and answering my numerous queries. I am excited and looking forward to make a healthy impact and hopefully stirring a love for Math in my new students.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Toastmaster meeting at global gourmet

We had a small meeting at Global Gourmet. Karen, Jay, Deanna and I showed up. We discussed several issues ranging from moving it to a different date. We even squeezed in the table topics. Jay did a good job with technology that is affecting us. On electronics Karen talked about text messaging. On food I talked about increasing use of chemical to increase the shelf life but the consequent effect of health issue. Deanna talked about going back to simplicity. The next meeting will be in 2 weeks and still at Longbranch cafe.
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