Assorted Stuff

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Quadratic Nightmares

Do you recognize that distinctive bit of mathematics? It’s something you probably last encountered in high school and, for some people, seeing it again now might even trigger a few nightmares.

Most American students learn the algorithmic process for deriving the quadratic formula, and how to use it to solve quadratic equations, in Algebra I. And likely forgot it not long after. It’s a process that hasn’t changed for at least several hundred years.

Maybe going back 4000 years to the Babylonians, according to a mathematician at Carnegie Mellon University who has discovered a simpler method, “one that appears to have gone unnoticed these 4,000 years”.

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The Liberal Font

Vote 661888 640

Have you noticed that news organizations, especially the TV ones, try to make a political conflict out of every little thing? Doesn’t matter the issue, as long as they can get a “debate” out of it.

CNN, for example, tells us that “people see even fonts as liberal or conservative”.

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Blame The Technology. It’s Easier.

Although its roots go back into the previous century, the smartphone has only been a part of society for less than two decades. Tablets for about half that time.

For an only slightly shorter period of time, we’ve also had researchers and others warning us that the devices are harmful. The signals cause cancer. The screens are ruining our eyesight. They’re distracting.

Over the past few years, we’ve also had many studies, books, and articles related to the effects of screen use on kids. Like the high profile 2017 piece in The Atlantic (adapted from the author’s book) that asks if smartphones have “destroyed a generation”. Or a seemingly endless stream around the theme that screens are making kids stupid.

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You Gotta Show Up

Live Stream

I’ve mentioned Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast in several posts around here. For more than a year, at the end of almost every weekly episode they play an ad for something called the Alt MBA. It’s an online program that probably doesn’t lead to an actual degree, but instead seems to be more of a leadership seminar.

Anyway, the ad is wasted on me since I have no need for an MBA of any kind. But, for some reason, the language of the promotion attracted my attention.

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Not At EduCon

Encienda at EduCon

If this were a normal Friday on the weekend before the Super Bowl in any of the past 12 years, I would be driving I-95 (or taking Amtrak) to Philadelphia. To spend the next two or so days at a unique high school in center city, along with five hundred or so dedicated educators, students, and parents, all of whom were there for some serious (and some not-so-serious) discussions about the practice of teaching and learning.

This year, however, I will not be at EduCon. And I will miss it greatly.1

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