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A Mathematician's Lament — an Indictment of US Math Education 677

Scott Aaronson recently had "A Mathematician's Lament" [PDF], Paul Lockhardt's indictment of K-12 math education in the US, pointed out to him and takes some time to examine the finer points. "Lockhardt says pretty much everything I've wanted to say about this subject since the age of twelve, and does so with the thunderous rage of an Old Testament prophet. If you like math, and more so if you think you don't like math, I implore you to read his essay with every atom of my being. Which is not to say I don't have a few quibbles [...] In the end, Lockhardt's lament is subversive, angry, and radical ... but if you know anything about math and anything about K-12 'education' (at least in the United States), I defy you to read and find a single sentence that isn't permeated, suffused, soaked, and encrusted with truth."

Comment Re:Dude, you don't get it (Score 1) 594

On a plane, you don't need that large of an explosion to bring the whole thing down.

Care to cite a source? It was my understanding that it in fact took a considerable force to bring a plane down, unless you happened to detonate inside the cockpit. Cabin decompression would at best kill a couple passengers and force an emergency landing.

And while a plane can be used as a weapon more easily than a train, I don't see how liquids would be the controlling factor in such a takeover.


Germany Searches Credit Cards For Child Porn Payments 283

narramissic writes "According to an ITworld article, police in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt have teamed with credit card companies to sift through the transactions of over 22 million customers looking for those who may have purchased child pornography online. To date they have identified 322 suspects." From the article: "German data privacy laws allow police to ask financial institutions to provide data about individuals but only if the investigators meet certain conditions, including a concrete suspicion of illegal behavior and narrowly defined search criteria, according to Johann Bizer, deputy director of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection... In the case under investigation, police were aware of a child pornography Web site outside of Germany that was attracting users inside the country. And they asked the credit-card companies to conduct a database search narrowed to three criteria: a specific amount of money, a specific time period and a specific receiver account."

Submission + - MS Patch Day Misses Word Zero-Days

bungee jumper writes: "Microsoft released four bulletins with patches for 10 vulnerabilities but there are no fixes for known (and under-attack) MS Word zero-day flaws, eweek.com reports. The January batch covers critical bugs in Excel, Outlook and Windows. The first confirmed Windows Vista flaw, a denial-of-service issue that was publicly released on an underground hacker site in Russia, also remains unpatched."

Submission + - Crazy Microsoft telnet bug deletes your data!

havardi writes: "Don't ask me why you'd enable telnet on your Windows XP machine, but if you do be prepared to lose some data. When you logout of your telnet session, virtually everything and anything in Documents & Settings\Username\Local Settings\ is deleted!! Go ahead, give it a ride!"

Submission + - Global Warming Influencing Evolution?

eldavojohn writes: "There's a short article about some analysis being done on quickly adapting weeds. This may be elementary to some readers but we study genetics in fruit flies & flowers because other organisms — like mammals or even lizards — have a much longer gestation period. The study is targeting weeds that are evolving quickly and rapidly but points out that if this is due to possible global warming that larger plants like trees aren't going to have enough life cycles to adapt to quick climate change. Yet another potential problem that global warming could incur."

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