Sunday, July 13, 2014

Useful Princeton

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:30 AM


"Numbers themselves are fictions, abstractions humans invented
to gain more control over the world." — Keith Devlin

Related material:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Apple for Devlin

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:56 PM

A columnist for the Mathematical Association of America,
Keith Devlin, yesterday posted an essay on Common Core
math education. A response:

IMAGE- Sign: 'Rotten to the Common Core'

Screenshot from a June 14, 2014, New York Times  video.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tony Strikes Again

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:09 AM

Princeton's march of mediocrity continues:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday School

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

The title of the previous post, "For Quantum Mystics,"
suggests a search in this journal for Quantum + Mystic.

That search in turn suggests, in particular, a review of
a post of October 16, 2007 — a discussion of the 
P.T. Barnum-like phrase "deep beauty" used to describe
a topic under discussion at Princeton by physicists.

Princeton, by the way, serves to illustrate the "gutter"
mentioned by Sir Laurence Olivier in a memorable
classroom scene from 1962

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Molly Bloom on Education

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:18 AM

Two pieces by NPR education writer Molly Bloom:

See also yesterday's post on another NPR / Princeton education figure,
Keith Devlin:

An illustration (click for larger view with context):

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Infinite Jest

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:18 AM

“1 + 2 + 3 + … = –1/12.”

Keith Devlin, Sept. 2, 2014

Robin Williams at Bunker Hill Community College

Robin Williams and the Stages of Math

i)   shock & denial
ii)  anger
iii) bargaining
iv) depression
v)  acceptance

And then…

vi)  checking
vii) Joan Rivers:

Mathematics and Art: Totentanz from Seventh Seal

Friday, September 5, 2014


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:16 AM

The date at the end of yesterday’s noon post was May 25, 2010.
This, together with Keith Devlin’s Twitter page today, suggests
a review of that date.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Halloween Manifestos, 2013:

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Here and at Catholics for Classical Education.

See also Tom Wolfe on manifestos —

Wolfe on manifestos in 'From Bauhaus to Our House'

— and part of an interesting Sept. 2, 2014, manifesto by
Common Core supporter Keith Devlin:

“Graduate students of mathematics are introduced to further
assumptions (about handling the infinite, and various other issues),
equally reasonable and useful, and in accord both with our everyday
intuitions (insofar as they are relevant) and with the rest of
mainstream mathematics. And on the basis of those assumptions,
you can prove that

1 + 2 + 3 + … = –1/12.

That’s right, the sum of all the natural numbers equals –1/12.

This result is so much in-your-face, that people whose mathematics
education stopped at the undergraduate level (if they got that far)
typically say it is wrong. It’s not. Just as with the 0.999… example,
where we had to construct a proper meaning for an infinite decimal
expansion before we could determine what its value is, so to we
have to define what that infinite sum means. ….”

For a correction to Devlin’s remarks, see a physics professor’s weblog post —

“From a strictly mathematical point of view,
the equation 1+2+3+4+ … = -1/12 is incorrect,
and involves confusing the Dirichlet series with
the zeta function.”  — Greg Gbur, May 25, 2010

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Game News

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 PM

An essay linked to here on the date of Kuhn’s
death discussed the film “Good Will Hunting”:

“You can be sure that when an experienced movie director
like Gus Van Sant selects an establishing shot for the lead
character, he does so with considerable care, on the advice
of an expert.”

Establishing shots —

1. From a post of January 29, 2014:

2. From a post of April 12, 2011:


Parting shot —

From another post of January 29, 2014:

Note Watson‘s title advice.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Tuesday February 8, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:00 AM
New from the
Oscar-winning producer,
director, and screenwriter

of “A Beautiful Mind” –

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050208-Crowe.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

With apologies to Dan Brown

“The Divine Proportion

is an irrational number and
the positive solution
of the quadratic equation

x2 – x – 1 = 0,

which is (1+Sqrt(5))/2,
about 1.618034.

The Greek letter ‘phi’
(see below for the symbol)
is sometimes used
to represent this number.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050208-pentagon2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Don Cohen  

For another approach to
the divine proportion, see

Best Picture.

“The rogue’s yarn that will run through much of the material is the algebraic symmetry to which the name of Galois is attached and which I wanted to introduce in as concrete and appealing a way as possible….

Apart from its intrinsic appeal, that is the reason for treating the construction of the pentagon, and our task today will be to acquire some feel for this construction.  It is not easy.”
— R. P. Langlands, 1999 lecture (pdf) at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in the spirit of Hermann Weyl

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