We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, July 29. 2014
Image via Eratosthenes
The Myth Of College “Hookup Culture”
Is One of the Most Popular Psychology Experiments Worthless?
As Recalls Mount, Was It Worth Bailing Out the 'Old GM'?
Harvard Prof Flies Around Globe, Decries Climate Change ‘Deniers
The Government Is Cracking Down on School Bake Sales
Children crossing border: 'Obama will take care of us'
And Now... Europe's Kristallnacht
Why a Gaza Cease Fire Doesn't Help
Meet the Hamas billionaires
Why More Israelis Should Die: The Left's Twisted Logic
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The problem with Calculus is that American High Schools teach it without any context. It's a painful right-of-passage with zero application in the world unless you go on the study engineering, high-end mathematics or physics.
Computer programming and statistics have real world application for everyone.
I'm no engineer, but I use calculus from time to time in my real life. I'd hate to have had to tackle my high school classes in elementary physics of motion without it.
Moderately higher math isn't for everyone, but it would be a shame to deny it to that portion of high school students who are ready to learn. There's no reason to show up at a rigorous college without a firm grounding in calculus and basic physics.
I use algebra all the time (usually in Excel), statistical analysis and rough HTML programming fairly regularly. Never once in my professional life have I used true calculus.
No, I've never used it in my professional life, either. But in ordinary life, something like a max-min problem, or perhaps taking the area under a curve, is not too odd.
The later schools wait to teach advanced mathematics, the fewer advanced mathematicians will be discovered and taught.
Get rid of calculus? More ridiculous prattle from people who don't know anything about calculus, programming or the job market.
First, who's to say that statistics will be taught well or effectively? It's a subject that many experts don't understand well, or well enough to teach. It's abused frequently by scientists in a variety of fields.
Second, computer programming languages and platforms change quickly. The BASIC and Pascal I learned in HS were only modestly useful to me in college and grad school.
Nevertheless, I still took those courses in addition to calculus. And 5 full year science courses as well. There is no call for either/or.
Finally, the dismissal of calculus is absurd. Understanding the principles can be applied to many fields. I was at a seminar discussing machine tools, where they had plotted the throughput of a tool vs its speed (and ultimately its lifetime). Just knowing the principles of calculus I could estimate when the slower speed became more economical than the faster speed, as well as a host of other info. Calculus is a marvelous tool, and students should be encouraged to learn and use it, not intimidated by it.
Was It Worth Bailing Out the 'Old GM'? It was for the children unions.
re Constable Shoots and Paralyzes Man While Serving Warrant Over Unpaid Parking Tickets
I don't believe there is a week that goes by without a similar outrageous story. Has it always been this way and we are just seeing the stories thanks to the internet or is it a recent phenomenon?
Good question for which the easy answer is the internet.
Though look at the practice of the FBI and others in the 1930's of making arrests after a clip or two full auto into wanted bank robbers, the fearsome reputation of Texas Rangers, New Orleans PD, Chicago PD, etc.
BTW, insert wall of text rant about elected constables who are paid by the court papers served.
"I don't believe there is a week that goes by without a similar outrageous story. Has it always been this way and we are just seeing the stories thanks to the internet or is it a recent phenomenon?"
I believe the phenomenon is happening DAILY, not weekly.
and no I don't think it was always this way. They used to weed out those individuals seeking law enforcement positions that had psych issues with impulse control and statist tendencies. Nowadays, I believe this is a pre-requisite. Even my 76 yr old dad was goaded by a cop when he was stopped for a minor traffic infraction in the hopes of getting a disorderly conduct ticket added to his "offence".
(and have you noticed how just about everyone has those tendencies to come across as in your face and in your bidness because they know better? Had some lady assault me while I was in a store and my horses were trailored outside - IN THE HOT WEATHER AND SUN - because they might, ya know, expire or something.
had to tell her that horses sweat and the trailor is ventilated, but I really felt like going postal on her. )
I think high schools should offer a more rigorous curriculum for those students who are capable and committed. Why not offer calculus and computer science for the top 10%-20%. I think where the problem comes in is in making these subjects mandatory and/or balanced by race/ethnicity/gender or some other political motive. Likewise high schools should also offer trade/vocational curriculums for those students who aren't suited for advanced math and who are unlikely to do well in a traditional teaching environment.
The PCUSA link is busted - here is the one you want: http://www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/presbyterian-church-usa-criticizes-israel-ignores-christian-persecution/
Also, the State Dept link is bad but I don't know the correct one ...
Thank you - I figured if I looked in the comments I'd find the corrected link.
I got a degree in mechanical engineering and I had to know calculus but for the most part, I didn't really use it in my classes. The teacher would derive the equation we would need using calculus but after that, the math was algebra. The trick was knowing the correct equations for the situation. That's not to say that's the way it should be taught, but it seemed to work for my classmates - me, I went into computer science later!
However, I see value in kids taking calculus in high school whether they might need it later or not. I think a lot of school is an exercise in stretching your mind. The more ways you stretch it the better even if you never use it again.
I sort of agree. I never really used calc, but it affected the way I think about things.
Stats - everybody should know.
Any "psychology" experiment in which some sampling of college students was used is worthless. College students to no represent a valid sample for anything to do with ordinary human behavior.