Those of us who teach math and computer science have been proud of our knowledge that a kilobyte is really 1024 bytes, not 1000. So “Y2K” doesn’t really refer to 2000 but to 2048. Similarly, we believe (and teach) that… Read More ›

# Month: October 2005

## Pythagorean Theorem in so-called real life

Reading this case might prove helpful for some students who think that math is useless in real life (at least those who plan to be lawyers or drug dealers). But shouldn’t the court have used Taxicab Geometry for its distance… Read More ›

## Irrationality considered harmful

“I refuse to deal with irrational numbers until they’ve calmed down,” says one Jeff Schult, who claims that math is a cult. Read the whole article. I hope it doesn’t represent what Weston students think about math. We shouldn’t use… Read More ›

## Should honors classes be open to all?

At least on political grounds, it’s tempting to argue that honors and AP classes ought to be open to all who wish to enroll in them. It’s also tempting to argue it on educational grounds. We believe in giving everyone… Read More ›

## What is trigonometry?

“Trigonometry is algebra tainted by geometry,” according to one of my students.

## Logarithms and the Hippocratic Oath

I just finished reading The Oath, a novel by John Lescroart. A hospital is suffering from deep financial woes. One character says: Every day the hospital’s troubles are increasing logarithmically! I guess there isn’t much that they have to worry… Read More ›

## Charging what the market will bear

The folks at TechFusion must be good guys, right? After all, their company is one of WBUR’s underwriters. And they advertise “No Job Too Large or Too Small.” Of course I was suspicious in the first place when I heard… Read More ›

## Globe speaks out for Dorchester!

What does the Globe normally say about Dorchester? Well, the three most frequently reported topics are crime, crime, and crime. So it was welcome news to see a large article right on the first page of Metro/Region in yesterday’s Globe… Read More ›

## The power of visual representations

In middle- and high-school math classes, we spend a lot of time helping students learn different representations of mathematical relations: words, equations, graphs, tables, etc. One of the big ideas is that a particular representation may be more powerful than… Read More ›

## Anti-Semitism?

Conversation overheard in the Math/Science Office the other day: Ms. X [to Student Y]: I need a babysitter for my kids. Do you babysit? Student Y: Yes, I do. Ms. X: You aren’t Jewish, are you? Student Y: No. Not… Read More ›