Author Archives

This is my 19th year as a math teacher at Weston High School, the sole public high school in Weston, MA. It’s also my 42nd year as a teacher altogether. In addition to my day job, I taught for 20 years at the Saturday Course in Milton, MA. I also teach at Harvard’s Crimson Summer Academy each summer; 2015 was our 12th consecutive summer.

Sometimes I work on educational software. I also read, cook, and continue building my model railroad whenever I can. For some reason I'm left with less so-called free time than would be ideal. Nevertheless, I manage to devote time to my wife, Barbara, and to our excessive number of cats as well.

  • Dare Me and Exit, Pursued by a Bear

    exit-pursued

    “Exit, Pursued by a Bear.” Hmmm… where have I heard that before? It sounded like a Shakespearean stage direction, and it seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place it… so of course I looked it up. I’ll save you the trouble: it’s… Read More ›

  • Bullying Three Ways

    thelen

    I originally started drafting this post well before last night’s presidential debate and the follow-up by Van Jones, but these events have slightly rearranged what I need to say. This thread actually started on September 27 with four talks (to different… Read More ›

  • Too Like the Lightning

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    It’s definitely necessary to avoid spoilers on this one. Ada Palmer’s dark novel, Too Like the Lightning, is partly fantasy, mostly science fiction, and completely fascinating. Oh, did I mention philosophy? It’s clearly a work of philosophy as well. And sociology/anthropology. And a… Read More ›

  • For the win!

    scott-kim-mathematics

    What a great start for the Weston High School Math Team! In our first Massachusetts Math League meet of the year, our goal was a simple one: to beat Canton. Simple, but definitely not easy, as it almost never happens. And beat Canton… Read More ›

  • Station Eleven

    stationeleven

    Is Station Eleven a post-apocalyptic survival novel? Well, yes, in a way. Is it science fiction? Well, yes, in a way. But it’s not really either of these. In a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel has… Read More ›

  • My Stroke of Insight

    What a promising book! My Stroke of Insight is an initially interesting but ultimately irritating work of non-fiction by Jill Bolte Taylor; I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by the author herself. The promise is that Dr. Taylor, a brain scientist… Read More ›

  • Desmos Redux

    We had a productive workshop today, identifying and developing materials for using Desmos — primarily, but not exclusively, in Algebra 2 and Precalc 2.  There are at least two different ways to use Desmos: as a graphing calculator that’s much better than… Read More ›

  • I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

    Completely inadvertently, I ended up watching two episodes of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having last night. I had never even heard of the show before, but it instantly hooked me when I saw the shot of the piazza in Panicale, a small hilltown (half… Read More ›

  • Lingo: Around Europe in sixty languages

     An informal and totally unscientific poll tells me that most people don’t realize that there are 60 languages in Europe; they are certainly surprised to hear that actually there are considerably more than 60. Dutch linguist Gaston Dorren has written a slightly flawed… Read More ›

  • Dark Matter

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    “Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.” Right? This definition, as I’m sure you know ☺, is the opening sentence of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, a great work that I read at least twice, beginning back in college and then again… Read More ›