Math

Category archives for Math

Science Story: Not a Bath House

(When I launched the Advent Calendar of Science Stories series back in December, I had a few things in mind, but wasn’t sure I’d get through 24 days. In the end, I had more than enough material, and in fact didn’t end up using a few of my original ideas. So I’ll do a few…

I’ve seen a lot of reshares of this report about the long-term effect of gender bias in elementary math, which comes from an NBER working paper about a study of Israeli schools. The usual presentation highlights one specific result, namely that on a math test graded by teachers who knew the names of the students,…

Math with Bad Drawings has a post about “word problems” that will sound very familiar to anyone who’s taught introductory physics. As he notes, the problem with “word problems” for math-phobic students is that it requires translating words into symbols, and then using the symbols to select a procedure. It adds a step to what…

Uncertain Dots 15

Rhett and I did the 15th episode of our Uncertain Dots hangout yesterday, commenting on a discussion started by Casey Rutherford about what we would like students coming into college physics to know. We had a slight difference of opinion about physics content, but agreed about the importance of algebra (which is like sunscreen). I…

Over at Five Thirty Eight, Walt Hickey has a piece about cheerleading as a sport and injury rates, which is both a nice look at the way to use stats to measure the real danger level of an activity, and the sort of small details that can be teased out. The piece includes a table…

While I’m complaining about statisticulation in social media, I was puzzled by the graph in Kevin Drum’s recent post about college wage gaps, which is reproduced as the “featured image” above, and also copied below for those reading via RSS. I don’t dispute the general phenomenon this is describing– that the top 10% of college…

Adjunct Faculty and Awful Stats

Via a mailing list, probably via this Tyler Cowen post, an awful statistic about adjunct faculty: 35 years ago there were 44% more tenured faculty than adjuncts. Today there are 76% more adjuncts than tenured faculty, via @chronicle — Ángel Cabrera (@CabreraAngel) April 25, 2014 This is awful in two ways. First, it’s obviously a…

The Real Pi Day(s)

Today is March 14th, 3/14 in the normal American way of writing dates, so you’ll find a lot of silliness on the web today talking about “π Day” due to the coincidental similarity with the first three digits of π (see, for example, Rhett’s annual post). But, of course, this is an archaic and local…

A Billion’s Not That Much

The local sports-talk radio station is running a bunch of commercials from a tax prep service in which a loud announcer declares that “People who did their own taxes left one billion dollars on the table last year. That’s billion with a ‘b.’” and urges people to “Get your billion back!” by paying for their…

Niskayuna by Fermi

The other morning, I was lying in bed and for some reason, found myself wondering what the population of Niskayuna is. While this is easily Google-able, as I said, I was in bed, and didn’t want to get up to get a device with Internet connectivity. So I tried to Fermi-problem my way to an…