March 30, 2008
Fact learned at G4G8
The second player in Tic-Tac-Toe can't force a draw.
Don't believe me? Welldon't forget that if the second player happens to win, that's not forcing a draw!
I learned this from Rich Schroeppel's talk on how to force a draw in 7^3 Tic-Tac-Toe.
March 28, 2008
Drums at Tom's house
Dr Johnson + Tom's wine
George Hart finishing a sculpture
1) Beginning of Raymond Smullyan's talk
"Before I start my talk, there's something I'd like to say.
2) Later on in the same talk:
Successful people know about two rules: Rule 1never tell people everything you know.
3) THANE: So, Scott, do you use that BULLSHIT graphic in your slides for undergraduates?
SCOTT: No, but I used it my job talk...
March 25, 2008
Gathering for Gardner 8: here I comeScott Kim's logo
I fail to persuade Kim to sing a song about California she learned in second grade
March 21, 2008
Owen as seaweed at Ocean Day
THANE: Are you kelp?
THANE: All right, good.
March 19, 2008
The Palo Alto Little League season has started.
All you readers in snowy, rainy, stormy, or otherwise unpleasant climeskeep watching this page!
March 18, 2008
via Tom Rodgers
March 17, 2008
On the music teacher
COLE: He doesn't have great English. In rehearsals, it's hard to tell what he's saying, or even if he's talking to you or not.
THANE: So, what do you do, say "EXCUSE MEAre you talkin' to ME?!"
COLE: Nomy seatmate found a solutionif he's talking somewhere in our general direction, she'll start swaying side-to-side, ever so slightly. If he happens to be talking to us, he'll start swaying, also.
March 11, 2008
cutesyness & killing the circle
A similar problem occurs when teachers or textbooks succumb to "cutesyness." This is where, in an attempt to combat so-called "math anxiety" (one of the panoply of diseases which are actually caused by school), math is made to seem "friendly." To help your students memorize formulas for the area and circumference of a circle, for example, you might invent this whole story about "Mr. C," who drives around "Mrs. A" and tells her how nice his "two pies are" (C = 2πr) and how her "pies are square" (A = πr2) or some such nonsense. But what about the real story? The one about mankindís struggle with the problem of measuring curves; about Eudoxus and Archimedes and the method of exhaustion; about the transcendence of pi? Which is more interestingmeasuring the rough dimensions of a circular piece of graph paper, using a formula that someone handed you without explanation (and made you memorize and practice over and over) or hearing the story of one of the most beautiful, fascinating problems, and one of the most brilliant and powerful ideas in human history? We're killing people's interest in circles for god's sake!
March 08, 2008
Rethinking the hydrocarbon personal motto
This blog used to have the title
If urethane, who am I?
I thought that was pretty goodeven though I did get sick of it after awhile. But now I've just thought of
You Tarzan, methane.
Added later: I know, I knowit's supposed to be "Me Tarzan..." But somewhere I've already archived a follow up to that
March 06, 2008
Man crossing street while studying his cell phone, NYC
Man crossing street while studying his cell phone, NYC
Originally uploaded by thane
Grand Central Station
March 05, 2008
1) Old news department: I didn't know that the most powerful politicians in Poland are twin brothers named Kaczynski.
2) On streets of NYC: People promoting a Travel Channel TV show called Bizarre Foods.
They were handing out boxes of flavored crickets:
I gave them to Owen and Cole.
3) From Charlotte Bronte's Villette, which I picked up in an SFO bookstore: the narrator is a young Englishwoman who has traveled to Belgium for no particular reason, looking for work. She finds a job teaching schoolgirls who have the reputation of being troublemakers:
Mesdemoiselles Blanche, Virginie, and Angelique opened the campaign by a series of titterings and whisperings; these soon swelled into murmurs and short laughs, which the remoter benches caught up and echoed more loudly. This growing revolt of sixty against one soon became oppressive enough, my command of French being so limited, and exercised under such cruel constraint.
Could I but have spoken in my own tongue, I felt as if I might have gained a hearing; for, in the first place, though I knew I looked a poor creature, and in many respects actually was so, yet nature had given me a voice that could make itself heard, if lifted in excitement or deepened by emotion. In the second place, while I had no flow, only a hesitating trickle, of language in ordinary circumstances, yetunder stimulus such as was now rife through the mutinous massI could, in English, have rolled out readily phrases stigmatizing their proceedings as such proceedings deserved to be stigmatized; and then with some sarcasm, flavoured with contemptuous bitterness for the ringleaders, and relieved with easy banter for the weaker but less knavish followers, it seemed to me that one might possibly get command over this wild herd, and bring them into training, at least. All I could now do was to walk up to Blanche-Mademoiselle de Melcy, a young baronne, the eldest, tallest, handsomest, and most viciousstand before her desk, take from under her hand her exercise-book, remount the estrade, deliberately read the composition, which I found very stupid, and, as deliberately, and in the face of the whole school, tear the blotted page in two.
This action availed to draw attention and check noise. One girl alone, quite in the background, persevered in the riot with undiminished energy. I looked at her attentively. She had a pale face, hair like night, broad, strong eyebrows, decided features, and a dark, mutinous, sinister eye. I noted that she sat close by a little door, which door, I was well aware, opened into a small closet where books were kept. She was standing up for the purpose of conducting her clamour with freer energies. I measured her stature and calculated her strength. She seemed both tall and wiry; but, so the conflict were brief and the attack unexpected, I thought I might manage her.
Advancing up the room, looking as cool and careless as I possibly couldin short, ayant l'air de rienI slightly pushed the door and found it was ajar. In an instant, and with sharpness, I had turned on her. In another instant she occupied the closet, the door was shut, and the key in my pocket.
It so happened that this girl, Dolores by name, and a Catalonian by race, was the sort of character at once dreaded and hated by all her associates. The act of summary justice above noted proved popular; there was not one present but, in her heart, liked to see it done. They were stilled for a moment; then a smilenot a laughpassed from desk to desk. Then, when I had gravely and tranquilly returned to the estrade, courteously requested silence, and commenced a dictation as if nothing at all had happened, the pens travelled peacefully over the pages, and the remainder of the lesson passed in order and industry.
"C'est bien," said Madame Beck, when I came out of class, hot and a little exhausted. "Ca ira."
[That's goodthat'll do.]
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