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Comment Re:We used to call it "imagination" (Score 1) 267

Just don't watch the movie too many times. Eventually you'll forget, and you can go back to imagining whatever you want. This infection of someone else's image isn't a new problem. People have been making realistic paintings and drawings for centuries.

And instead of just bemoaning the lack of imagination, we should think about what is missing when the consumer doesn't supply something himself. I think that it's neat that the technology is advanced enough that Mr. Jackson can show me what he was imagining. But there are things that are difficult to show, and I think that Shelob is a better example of that. After they did a pretty good job with the Nazgûl and the Balrog, I was hoping for more with Shelob. I was disappointed that they just seemed to present her as a big spider. I always wondered how they'd try to convey a sense that she was the "last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world....who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

I think that's really hard to convey in a movie, but it didn't seem like they even tried. It's hard to show someone what a complete, oppressive, and malevolent darkness is like. Something that makes your mind forget what light is. Shelob isn't a big spider. She's more like a demon in current terminology: the embodiment of an ancient evil. With good writing and a good imagination in the reader, Shelob becomes much more terrifying than a big spider.

Comment Tasktop (Score 1) 428

You may want to look into Tasktop. You can connect the task list to one or more task system back ends or just use local tasks. The advantage of Tasktop is that it can track context for each task. That way, when you want to return to a task that you haven't touched in two weeks, restoring the task in Tasktop can get you right back to the web pages, e-mails, etc. that you were accessing while working on the task last time. It also has integration with Eclipse if you do your development in Eclipse.

Comment The Knot Book by Colin Adams (Score 1) 630

I'd add Adams's The Knot Book to your list. I've been out of the field for some time, but I remember that this book gave an accessible introduction to knot theory and some notions of topology, presented at a high school level.

It's not exactly a new book, so some of the unsolved problems listed in the book may now be solved. In any case, it's one of the few I know that help a younger student go into more depth in an area where there's still active research going on. It's a difficult subject where many of the theorems can be proved without resorting to higher mathematics.

I'd imagine that there are probably similar texts for some areas of number theory and game theory, but nothing springs to mind. Non-Euclidean geometry may also be an option if the students have already taken geometry, and there were some text books that I found at least partially accessible in high school.

The Mathematical Tourist is even more out-of-date by this time. Since it's really a survey of many areas, it doesn't really meet your need, but you may find it useful yourself for looking into other areas that may be accessible to your students.

Finally, contact your local mathematics and math education departments. The math education folks may have some good suggestions. Many mathematics departments also do some sort of outreach to high school students, so there may also be some faculty there who could offer ideas.

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