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Comment Re:not quite 2/3 (Score 1) 449

can't these people do simple math? ... 106 / 236 = 0.660194175

hehehe. I guess we'll have to call that one a typo, eh? ;)

But, even if you meant 136/206 = 0.66019475, you've still fallen into the same trap as they did: you've rounded. You're abusing the equal sign. To be exact, we should say:

136/206 = 0.6601941747572815533980582524271844 (repeating) [pedantic or on-topic? I can't tell...]

And although we might call it "simple mathematics" that 1/3 = 0.3333... this leads to the true, but perhaps counter-intuitive result that 1=0.9999....

The average person will say that the first result is "truly equal" while the second result is "about equal". When pressed, they will backpedal and say that I guess 1/3 is "about equal" to 0.3333.... [ yes, I often bring this up in bars to hear friends' thoughts]. I guess, I'd have to put this out there to you all. How do we prove that 1/3=0.333...? We can show that the series 3/10 + 3/100 + 3/1000 + .... converges to 1/3, but I'd no longer call that "simple" [i.e. must define "limit", prove convergence, etc.]. Any thoughts on a better way to convince friends of the "exactness" of this equality?

Comment Re:Good Teachers (Score 4, Insightful) 446

And they won't need higher salaries - just a nice bureaucracy and politics-free workplace.

Personally, I've never understood the resistance to paying teachers more. Our entire push in the last decade has to make schools more business-like. Normally, the measure of a good business is whether it stays in business. With schools, however, that metric doesn't work. No Child Left Untested is an attempt to fix this. If we have a metric for schools, then we can "bankrupt" those that aren't performing. We are trying to fit our schools into our free-market philosophy. However, for some reason, we ignore an elementary free-market observation; if you don't have enough qualified candidates for positions, then you need to improve working conditions and/or offer more money. Simple, and yet rather than recognize this, people complain about "administration" and call teachers whiners.

Since we can't outsource education, we've decided to put the squeeze on artificially. Give schools less money, while at the same time, expect more. The schools I worked at could use *more* "administration". Our principal was overworked. Our secretary was deciding which classes students should be placed in, because our *part-time* counselor was only on campus half the day. Rooms only got cleaned every third day. Roofs leaked. Heating failed. Our school had no librarian. There was no music program. There was no dance program. There was one visual arts teacher. After-school programs died as their funding was cut. What an inspiring place for a student to be. Really expresses the concern society has for their education.

And you've got curriculums that are created are created by textbook makers and suits far removed from the realities of students. You can't teach something to someone who doesn't care. But "inspiration" is secondary. Spend a week studying imaginary numbers that culminates in students who actually understand what they're looking at when they see the Mandelbrot Set, and, officially, you've wasted a week, cause that isn't on the tests. Spend a week working through some of the details and mathematics of how, exactly, your voice is transmitted from your cell phone to mine (something students are always *very* interested in), and, officially, you've now wasted two weeks. And the tests will show that you're behind. You must be a bad teacher.

I often think that our society's vision for teachers is to remove all individuality, all wiggle-room, all deviations from the norm. In our attempts to make sure that curriculum is presented exactly equally to all students in all schools, we will soon remove teachers all together and replace them with DVD's.

Comment Re:regrets? (Score 4, Insightful) 327

So incredibly true. Compare the two versions of "The Office." In the UK, they told their story, had some laughs, but when it ran its course, they stopped. I wanted more. I still want more. I'll just have to wait a few years then watch the episodes again. In the US, however, the program is floundering to find weekly topics. And it shows. Once Jim and Pam hooked up, the main tension, the binding thread was gone. Look at "Heroes". Intriguing first season, great climactic moment. But it just...keeps...going. Look at "Lost". I followed the first season closely, but after a while, you start to think that the writers are sitting around going, "Now what can we do this week, without really changing much. After all, we still have 10 more hours of programming to fill." Does anybody even watch The Simpson's anymore?

Comment Re:Math cannot exist before wind. (Score 1) 221

If you were to imagine an alien lifeform on some distant world, they'll have an identical math but their experience of it

I'm not sure if I'm on board with you here. That's quite a claim to make. Just because it's hard to imagine math that's not identical to our own, does not mean it does not exist. I can imagine a quantum sized life-form living in a probabilistic world, never coming up with the integers. Or maybe a universe-sized creature who has absolutely no need for the idea of oneness.

Since I'm posting, here's what I think is a fun problem:
2178*4 = 8712
21978*4 = 87912
219978*4 = 879912

There's one other family of numbers (i.e. a four digit number, expanded in a similar pattern) that does this, if we throw out palindromes and numbers with leading zeros. What is it and can you show that these are the only two such families?

Comment Re:pencil/paper (Score 4, Funny) 823

Other solutions that solve poster's problem without answering his quesiton:

1. Memorize as you go.
2. Screw lecture, just watch Square One.
3. Have friend audio-record lectures then have other friend convert them to notes then photocopy friend's notes and use OCR.
4. Drop out of school.
5. Prove the Reimann Hypothesis and skip right to that PhD.
6. Hire a plant to continually ask inane questions during lecture, giving you more time to input those equations in LaTeX.
7. Code up a Math Module for Dragon Naturally speaking.
8. ???
9. Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all

Wait... What were we talking about?
It's funny.  Laugh.

What If They Turned Off the Internet? 511

theodp writes "It's the not-too-distant future. They've turned off the Internet. After the riots have settled down and the withdrawal symptoms have faded, how would you cope? asked readers to Photoshop what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it. Better hope it never happens, or be prepared for dry-erase message boards, carrier pigeon-powered Twitter, block-long lines to get into adult video shops, door-to-door Rickrolling, Lolcats on Broadway, and $199.99 CDs."

Comment Re:and here in USA... (Score 1) 86

Actually, the main problem I have with bonuses in the financial industries is not that much about "they're already making so much money", but the fact that they are an incentive to do the "wrong" thing. If you give the reward based on how much money the investments returned, then you are simply rewarding risk-taking. Not only because risky investments pay more, but because bonuses cannot be negative. Hence if you were to "bet" one billion with 50% odds, it would be profitable in terms of bonus. If you win, you make a huge bonus (and you're a hero). If you lose, you get fired and you get to bet again in your next job. I'm of course simplifying a bit, but that still describes the fundamental problem IMO.

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