Sunday, January 29, 2012


From our Mathematics Agent in the Field.


Zorro said...

I do so love a well-composed rant!

Anonymous said...

I cannot stand this. It makes me so angry. Don't you just want to be angry at everything?

Ryan Fuller said...

"You'll even nod like a happy idiot when you learn what a haiku is, and you never complain or whine about how you'll never use this in your "life." When is the last time you wrote a haiku, asshole?"

Freaking YESTERDAY, like a boss. *touchdown dance*

Captain Capitalism said...


Is there something we should be happy about?

Anonymous said...

As Ryan says, *happy dance* at the haiku comment.

Math has always been difficult for me. I clawed away at the brick wall of calculus twice only to fail, until I found a tutor who did exactly what the rant said: follow the directions. It is like a recipe. While the mechanics of equations will still elude me from time to time, I do find it intellectually satisfying to finally understand the wherefores of mathematics, and how they are the whole of philosophy and logic.

Any good books to recommend on the subject? Not textbooks, I mean books about mathematics and philosophy, the history of math, etc.

S. Harvey said...

Cranberry: Zero A Biography Of A Dangerous Idea

A very interesting read on the idea of nothing.

It amazes me that poor math skills are not treated like poor reading skills. If a kid is illiterate it's a problem, if a kid can't do basic trig or entry level calculus its a case of 'math is just not his/her thing'. An engineer who doesn't appreciate Shakespeare is far more valuable than a English major cashier who can't make change.

#1 problem is teachers are not good at and/or don't like math. A simple proof would be: if they liked math they'd know (not feel) that an engineering degree is a much better investment than a teaching degree.

Ryan Fuller said...

Off the top of my head, I have used haiku to do the following in the last year:

* Report a software failure (many times)
* Document solutions to technical problems (many times)
* Mock a client at work (many times)
* Give beta tester feedback (maybe a half dozen times)
* Summarize a story, chapter by chapter (just once, still in progress)
* Fight a duel on the Internet for the love of a fictional character (only once, but it involved a dozen haiku before my opponent surrendered)

So while I am kind of pushing the boundaries for the usefulness of haiku, I still think math does quite a bit more for society as a whole.

Geoarrge said...

I would say a good bit of the problem is that the way they teach math in schools drags it out to a glacial crawl for most kids. Taking 8 years to learn basic arithmetic (or maybe as few as 6 years if you're really smart) is what is teaching kids to hate math.

Captain Capitalism said...

Most teachers in the k-8 education can't do math. That's why they went into "Elementary Education."

Ryan Fuller said...

Add to the list of things I've done with haiku recently: argued against minimum wage.

Price floors on labor
Above market clearing price
Cause unemployment

Some good intentions
When they become policy
Will cause deadweight loss

Anonymous said...


Is there something we should be happy about?

10:33 PM

Yes, my internship with E&Y.