Archive for the ‘math’ Category

Weapons of Math Destruction

28 March, 2017

Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy

by Cathy O’Neil, Ph.D   (in math)

Good book, cheesy title.


One of the things I like to remind people, professional sports uses data to make choices in hiring. And they fail often. They have data on how fast, how far, how strong, we have video of the players performing the very job that we want them to do. And still, we get Darko getting picked above Wade or Bosh. We get  Richard Sherman being picked in the fifth round, Tom Brady getting picked in the sixth round.  O’Neil doesn’t mention this, but does talk about how companies will use proxy data to make predictions, such as “Do you have good credit?” for employee applications, or “Are you a good student?” for insurance rates.

She talks about feedback loops, such as sending more cops to “high crime areas”, where, they find more criminal activity, and thus need to send more cops. And often the crimes are minor, such as public drunkenness, or jaywalking. She asks, what if we had a “zero-tolerance strategy in finance. They would arrest people for even the slightest infraction, whether it was chiseling investors on 401ks, providing misleading guidance, or committing petty frauds. Perhaps SWAT teams would descend on Greenwich, Connecticut. They would go undercover in the taverns around Chicago’s Mercantile Exchange.”  (I recently heard, “in poor neighborhoods kids are getting arrested for marijuana and underage drinking, things that happen every Friday night in a frat.”)

I learned of the “Flutie effect”. Exciting football game, Flutie makes a great pass to win, more attention to the school, more applicants, leads to lower acceptance rate, which leads to more prestige, which raises ratings of the school as “better”.



Hidden Figures

16 January, 2017

Go see Hidden Figures.

Great story, awesome women, history, rockets, USA, math. What’s not to love?

Our childrens enjoyed it too.


Math and the childrens

20 January, 2014

MrGrunty recently announced, “I’m good at math. I don’t like math, but I’m good at it.”

MrCuddles told me ” I don’t want to go to kindergarten, because I don’t like math.”

MsSqueaky, when tired and getting upset over a math worksheet I made, “this is second grade math! This is too hard!” And ripped up the paper.

….me, I like math, but I’m no good at it. Prolly cuz I’m lazy. Yes, I’m like a person with two left feet who likes ballet.

…so, tonight at dinner table we discuses everyone’s favorite part of the day:

  • MyBetterHalf like re-living the Seahawk’s victory via videos
  • MrGrunty, playing basketball at the school with me
  • MrCuddles, bus ride with me
  • MsSqueaky, the bars at the park


  • me…three things…I had my arms raised up, and MrG shot over me and got the basket
  • MsSqeaky being a dribble monster and keeping the soccer ball from me
  • relasing hanging out bus ride with MrCuddles

math class – Jr High

18 January, 2011

Pity the poor math teacher…so many, are so unqualified. It must be tough, getting a bunch of kids, most who dread their time in the math class, all of different levels of capability.

One of my first math classes, was taught by a home-ec teacher. And one day, when she was sick, the sub just wanted us to be quiet. So my stoner friend from orchestra and I played chess on a piece of paper, erasing the piece and redrawing it for each move.

Now, there was this weird teacher who had LOTS of school spirit, and who was even more enthusiastic about math. He would give out extra credit for reports, and toss JollyRancher-candies to the kids who finished a problem quickly. To this day, I can not stand Jolly Rancher. And with the extra credit, there was a Wall of Fame, and one of my classmates was on it, and quickly moving up the ranks, by spring term she earned more than anyone else ever, and she kept going.

As for if I belonged in the advanced classes, I’m still not sure, but I was invited to be on the math team. I certainly wasn’t the star, and possibly they just needed to fill out the team, but I hope that’s proof I wasn’t completely unqualified. I remember the teacher taking me home after a competion, and I remember wandering around Stadium High School, which is an amazing beautiful school, and still I wonder why I didn’t go there. (Oh yeah, maybe because their track was wrong size and shape!)

I gotta say, chess competition, way more interesting & intense than math competition.

math problem

17 August, 2008

I need help.

Currently, our method of being fair/ equal distribution of the childrens, so that one particular child is always with one particular parent – which I think is good because they need to develop good relationships with both parents…

…oh yeah, the method:

Even days – parent & child same gender

Odd days – parent & child different gender

So, on bath night, or running an errand to the store, or changing diapers, or taking to the car…there’s the system.

Here’s the problem…I can’t think of a way to have a similar rule for three children. Unless we go with the same rule, then the two same gendered kids never get alone time with a parent, and that’s not good. Alone time with a parent is good too.

so the options are

AB   and C

AC   and B

BC   and A