Monthly Archives: July 2013

On Education Studies and the Problem of High Dimensions: A Plea for Wisdom and Judgment

As I think and read about various educational approaches (in the process of preparing for the course I’m teaching in the fall about math and writing), I sometimes see studies with conclusions like this: Students who were taught using method…

Links: SWAT Teams, Nostalgia, Lemonade Stands, Why Ice Cream Sounds Fat, Gluten Intolerance, Etc.

An interesting article by Stanford linguist Dan Jurafsky on why different sounds have different associations, e.g., why “ice cream sounds fat”. I’ve always been interested in the Saussaurean arbitrariness of sign—the notion that the sound or form of a word…

The Potsdam Miracle: Lessons in Revolutionizing Undergraduate Mathematics

(There’s a printer- and footnote-friendly pdf version—with links still working!—here if you prefer.) A few days ago, while browsing in the library,1 I stumbled across something pretty remarkable. John Poland, writing in 1987 about this “Modern Fairy Tale”, describes the…

Links: The Math of Genealogy, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Techno-Utopianism, Eric Holder, Pope Francis, etc

A few links, as I prepare some more substantive posts. Laurie Penny, I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the New Statesman. (Opening lines: “Like scabies and syphilis, Manic Pixie Dream Girls were with us long before they were…