Politics

Thanks, Common Core

“Daddy, ask me a math problem.” “OK. What’s 18 plus 6?” “Ummm… 24.” “Correct.” “See, I just keep the 18 and then add 2 from the 6 to get 20. That leaves 4 from the six, and 20 plus 4 is 24.” “Right. Good work.” —— “Hey, SteelyKid. What’s 120 plus 180?” “Ummm… 300.” “Very…

Final Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo

I don’t have much to add to what I have already said about the Charlie Hebdo killings. However, having had some time to think about things a little more, and to read what other people have said, I do feel inclined to change my mind about one aspect of this. First, Charlie Hebdo put out…

Some Follow-Up on Teaching

Yesterday’s Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson struck a chord with a lot of people, and has spread a good distance on social media, which is gratifying. Given the delocalized nature of modern social media, though, it means I’m having essentially the same argument in five different places via different platforms. In the interest of…

An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dr. Tyson: (I find the faux-familiar thing people do with “open letters” really grating, so I’m not going to presume to call you “Neil” through the following…) First of all, I should probably say “Thanks,” because I’m using some of your material in my class this term– I had them read Stick in the Mud…

More on Charlie Hebdo

Lots of responses to the terrorist attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Some of it reasonable, some of it not. Matthew Yglesias said almost the same thing I did: Viewed in a vacuum, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons (or the Danish ones that preceded it) are hardly worthy of a stirring defense. They offer…

Charlie Hebdo

You’ve probably already heard about what happened in France today: Masked gunmen attacked the Paris offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people before fleeing. French security forces launched a major manhunt in the capital after the gunmen fled the scene of the attack, The Guardian reported. Police are searching for…

Think of this as a combination 2014 recap and 2015 resolutions post. Neither of which I really planned to do after doing recaps for the last couple of years. Two years ago, 2013, was very clearly a year I was more obsessed than usual with advocacy around the current Canadian government’s treatment of science and…

Complex Systems #171

One of the joys of the holidays and the University turning off the heating and locking us out, is that it provides time to catch up on things: papers, refereeing, recommendation letters, grading, syllabi, proposals, all the stuff one can rarely get to during actual working semester hours. And, sometimes, there is time for real…

Cuomo on Church and State

Mario Cuomo, governor of New York from 1983-1994, died on New Year’s day. He is a throwback to a time when Democrats weren’t cowards, and were actually capable of articulating a compelling and humane vision of how society should be. Consider this speech, delivered at the University of Notre Dame in 1984. Cuomo was a…

Mario Cuomo Has Died.

I was a citizen of New York when Mario Cuomo became governor. I’ve written before about the ethnic angle of that event, how Cuomo, who was Italian, was the highest ranking ethnic Italian in New York, Italian immigrants still being repressed and seen as lesser folk by many even at that late date. When he…