Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Miscellany

...Science fiction, savantism, mushy Common Core, MOOCs, take your pick:

1) Both math and science fiction geeks should find Sol Lederman's latest wide-ranging podcast with Chuck Adler, physicist and recent author of "Wizards, Aliens, and Starships," interesting; lots of ideas tossed around:

2) I sometimes take note of prodigies and savants here, and the Jason Padgett story is one of the most interesting (Jason attained his mathematical artistic talents only after having been mugged and receiving a severe head injury). A new book out, "Struck By Genius," chronicles his story:

3) and then there's this:
“If you were to graph the creative flexibility afforded our highly educated and maximally qualified teachers over time with common core, you would find that both the first derivative of the function and, most alarmingly, the second derivative of the function, are negative. There is no point of inflection as the function approaches infinity (i.e., increasingly decreasing teacher autonomy, with no turnaround in sight.)”
If you haven't a clue what that's all about, read the rest of an engineer's commentary on Common Core here:

4) Finally, MOOCs are full of good, bad, and uncertainty, and continue receiving lots of criticism from outside observers -- sure, there are various numbers/statistics that give rise to such negative views, BUT I for one continue to think we're still very early in the game of a revolutionary development.  Perhaps no one has thought about (and worked on) MOOCs any more than Keith Devlin, and so another quick take from him defending their future:

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