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Sunday, October 14, 2012

This and That…


Trouble In Mathland?…

Wow! I debated whether or not to cast attention on this matter, but it is moving around math circles and warrants an open-airing… a serious dispute over math education and harassment between university professors (aired by Jo Boaler of Stanford):

http://www.stanford.edu/~joboaler/
 (I guess math isn't always pretty... )

Keith Devlin wrote a (positive) bit about Boaler back in a 2010 posting (and she has plenty of other backers as well):

http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_06_10.html

Claims of her opponents are voiced in this pdf:

ftp://math.stanford.edu/pub/papers/milgram/combined-evaluations-version3.pdf

(I wouldn't want to get too mired in this dispute, which I suspect may get much worse before it gets better :-(, but will watch for any resolution that might eventually come about).

On to lighter material...

50 interesting facts about pi here:

http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/07/03_pi.html

And in an interesting development, a TEDx talk from "Randy Powell" on so-called "vortex math" was finally yanked down as pure gibberish (how often does this happen?), though still available of course on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzfgq1zv8jg&feature=related

Finally, a little puzzle to end with (...think I grabbed this awhile ago from either Cliff Pickover or Ben Vitale but don't remember for sure!):

Only one 2-digit integer is both a square and a cube (n^2, p^3). What is it? And likewise there is only one 3-digit integer that is both a square and a cube. What is it??
....answer below
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ANSWER:


64 (8^2 and 4^3) and 729 (27^2 and 9^3)


ADDENDUM: a good longer read now available on the Boaler controversy here (with many comments coming in):

http://tinyurl.com/9rrlw2v 

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