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Comment Intuition (Score 1) 466

How strong is your intuitive pattern-matching? Discreet mathematics as a direct, explicit application of math in computer science. Meanwhile, real/complex analysis is abstract, and requires _you_ to make intuitive connections between its concepts and _your work_, in order for it to become applicable and useful. (If you know for a fact that math isn't your strong point, then go with Discreet.)

Furthermore, don't think of the two as being exclusive! They're not separate. Discreet mathematics is a _subset_ of real analysis. When you jump right into discreet mathematics, you're just skipping lower-level details of analysis.

Comment Re:Or they're terrified (Score 1) 921

I'm sure there are many hypotheses out there, but my guess is: the universe is "so damn mathematical" because that was just the most probable way in which things would fall into place. Pairs of interactions were more common than quartets. Certain configurations of three's were more stable than others. As the universe and its particles randomly assembled and disassembled, what emerged was a system of simplicity and automatic minimalism/reductionism. In a three-dimensional universe, often the manifestations were in two's and three's. Of course, things started getting a little crazy on Earth, where complex mechanisms of competing systems (from organic compounds to life) formed and survived against the odds. However, even so we perceive certain proportions of shapes as aesthetically pleasing, and have other mathematically curious inclinations. Why? I can only guess that those instincts are derived from a trait that once was useful for our predecessors.

Comment Re:How to Lie with Statistics (Score 3, Insightful) 630

Being about "how not to use math" and about math as such are pretty different things. It's like you were teaching a class on car repair and assigning a book on consumer fraud.

No. It's like you were teaching a class on car repair and telling your students how to not screw up. e.g. "Do not ever adjust the stabilizer based on popular arguments such as ___ and ___ because it will only screw with the engine and may even cause permanent damage." It's actually very relevant, especially in the early stages of learning.

Comment Re:Serious conceptual flaws (Score 1) 72

Perhaps one or both of us are not communicating well. I don't see what your argument has to do with mine. By 3D "surface", I did not mean the surface of a table or a car, but the entire table or car itself, as a 3D "projection" on, for example, a 4D hyperplane. Anyway, you raise interesting points. And if we had time to sit down and converse, we'd probably clear everything up and come to one agreement or another.

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