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Presidential Politics

tomierna's Avatar Picture tomierna (Admin) – December 07, 2007 09:43PM Reply Quote
Every election is the most important one.

Nobody Special – February 11, 2008 01:01PM Reply Quote
Back to the math discussion for a bit:

It's strange how this stuff keeps poping up in life. In my current employment I keep finding myself using the stuff I was taught in junior high to calculate my bids on building materials. The Pythagorean theorem comes into play when I have to figure out how much plywood is needed to put a roof over someone's house (as are the concepts of area: ie: square feet for sheeting and drywall or cubic feet for the use of cement.)

Fractions are an intergeral part of the construction industry (the last bastion of the British Engeneering System) and since the US isn't going metric anytime soon, being able to add and subtract in fractions is going to be a basic skill of any "blue collar" trade for the forseable future on this side of the pond.

Algebra teachs one basic life skill that can be used in just about any human endevor. And that is the concept of the Cartesian Theory: breaking down big problems into more easily solvable little bits. That, and understanding that if you fix one variable to a problem a certain way it has a impact on how the rest of the problem is resolved. Change that variable, and you change how the problem is resolved, but not the final result. (ie: they are many paths to correct solution. It's just a matter of finding the easiest path).

I have yet to find a blue collar application for Trig, but I think that's more to my lack of understanding how it works it rather than not having the opportunity to use it.

I think the critical componant of learning Math is more about learning how to think in a logical progression and then adapting one's creativity to solving those logic problems.

stan adams – February 11, 2008 01:56PM Reply Quote
Trigonometry is the basis for all understanding of phenoma that follow any kind of phase aligned formula -- from RF to electrical power to even digital sound/image compression the "math" is built in to systems. Generally "rules of thumb" replace actual calculation, though once in while you'll find a brighter guy on construction site who knows side-angle-side or side-side-side formulae to determine the accurate dimesions of any are that can be described by regular rectangles/triangles.

The problem is that almost no "edu major" teachers do anything practical prior to teaching and even most math majors are dissuaded from learning the historical/empirical basis of more advanced mathematics. I had friends that were teachers and the older ones had really cool backgrounds, working in the 70s-80s "Job Corps" they got to do real hands-on things like helping guys laid off from manual welding jobs in Detroit to get 'retrained' using CNC machines. The US does almost none of that anymore...

Nobody Special – February 11, 2008 03:09PM Reply Quote
Well then I have to consider myself particularly blessed in that I had math teachers who funded part of their university education by working summer jobs in construction. One of their constant comebacks to the question of "why do we have to learn this stuff" was based on regular "real jobs" application of this kind of knowledge (ie: you're a plumber and you have to fit a drain that is 10 3/4 inches from a wall to to a fitting that is 2 1/2 inches from that wall. You must use a P trap that is 6 3/8 inches long. How long do you cut the rest of your pieces so the drain works? And, where do you place your 90 degree elbows?)

I don't think the problem is so much "real world" experience as it is that most high school matriculation paths are driven toward meeting university entrance requirements rather than encouraging people to apply the knowledge they have learned to situations outside those ivory towers.

It seams to me that high school is but a process of driving the brightest to white collar careers and leaving the "dummies" to fend for themselves in whatever opportunities might fall their way.

tomierna (Admin) – February 12, 2008 04:52AM Reply Quote
Hideously Unnatural
I was lucky enough to be able to take drafting at the same time as geometry and trig. That helped me visualize most of the math.

rino – February 12, 2008 05:18AM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
Just some commentary:


Politics is already a little different. A reader writes:

Yesterday I participated in the Democratic caucuses in central Maine. I am nearly 50, and I've never seen anything like it. The turnout was amazing - four little towns in the same small community center, with over 200 people attending. In 2004 the total number might have been 40. But that's not the interesting part.

stan adams – February 12, 2008 05:59AM Reply Quote
Nice piece from news gang, but it's MAINE for crying out loud -- I mean given its size, even if any "traditional candidate" did invest in an 'organization' I'm sure it was done with full knowledge that there just are not a whole lot of votes up there...

I think it will be VERY interesting to see how the campaigns, parties and candidates spin this news: http://www.rte.ie/business/2008/0212/gm.html

LOTS of interesting implications, from "tax credits" to older/retiring workers (in general) to Unions, to US competitiveness/outsourcing/immigration reform -- though honestly I have serious doubts that anyone will touch these real issues with a 39 and half foot pole...

Odds are good that the economy will worsen leading up the election -- how the parties and candidates respond could be very telling as to what sort of administration they'd cobble together. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secretary_of_Labor

rino – February 12, 2008 09:10AM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
Hey -- as Maine goes so goes the country baby.

Let's hope not w/re to everything Maine, our economy stinks.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2008 09:10AM by rino.

Robert Taylor – February 12, 2008 10:06AM Reply Quote
Hmm, I come from a family of edu majors, so MY anecdotal evidence is precisely opposite to this. Cite some data, please.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2008 10:07AM by Robert Taylor.

stan adams – February 12, 2008 11:02AM Reply Quote
Robert Taylor
Hmm, I come from a family of edu majors, so MY anecdotal evidence is precisely opposite to this. Cite some data, please.

Opposite to what??? ( I view the forums flat...)

If you mean to suggest that teachers (I speak generally of HS, but the same is even worse for earlier grades) have a wealth of real-world experience, I have not seen this. In fact study after study has shown nationwide we just don't do enough to prepare teachers of science and math: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11311&page=193

That isn't to say that some folks DO take the initiative and present things to students in a much better way, but such teachers are really not the norm -- thus the mindset that they are the exceptional 'golden apples' (which may even be part of the problem...) http://www.reason.com/news/show/28479.html

tliet – February 12, 2008 12:29PM Reply Quote
So, the telcos have their way and the people lose big time.


Man, this is way beyond fucked...


On a related note, The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin cites the primary justification for telecom amnesty -- that these companies were just doing what they were told by the Government -- and then asks rhetorically: "isn't that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it's illegal?" I used to think that amnesty supporters held their position because they didn't understand this extremely simple point, but now I think that most of them have their position precisely because they do understand it. A lawless "police state" -- and that's the only term that can be used to describe what this bill creates -- is exactly what our political establishment desires.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2008 12:37PM by tliet.

bahamut – February 12, 2008 02:22PM Reply Quote
Stan, you're right about the Trig, and you're right about the teachers sucking. Trig actually has some applications that are less than uncommon. I just don't get why we inflict so many less-than-relevant classes on people when basic stuff like economics isn't taught anywhere (including the MBA schools, or such my discussions with horribly deluded Harvard MBA grads suggest).

ghidorah – February 12, 2008 02:31PM Reply Quote
Raise taxes on cavemen. --jw
You are so right tliet. Unfortunately most people in the US simply refuse to recognize that we have taken several steps closer to fascism over the last 8 years.

And why not--didn't you see the Superbowl man?


El Jeffe – February 12, 2008 03:59PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
Even wikipedia can't agree on the definition of the term fascism.

What a journey.

ghidorah – February 12, 2008 04:26PM Reply Quote
Raise taxes on cavemen. --jw
>Even wikipedia can't agree on the definition of the term fascism.

Wikipedia by definition can't agree on anything.

bahamut – February 12, 2008 05:12PM Reply Quote
Oh Tliet, of course you're right about the link you made. No question.

Big day for Obama. HIlary likes being behind, but she may not recover this time.

The speeches...

Obama… no question, he's the man. Slow start, but he brought tears to my eyes, as usual. He's the only one who can bring us out of this mess.

Hilary... politics as usual.

McCain... sounding very very old.

rino – February 12, 2008 05:39PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
>Even wikipedia can't agree on the definition of the term fascism.

Hah! Like the United Nations.

ARL (Moderator) – February 12, 2008 06:03PM Reply Quote
I whinge therefore I am!
>Hah! Like the United Nations.

I'll pay that one...

tliet – February 12, 2008 08:56PM Reply Quote
> Even wikipedia can't agree on the definition of the term fascism.

Pluriformity rules!

rino – February 13, 2008 03:23AM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
Both my senators voted for this ... it really steams me.

stan adams – February 13, 2008 05:24AM Reply Quote
Both my senators voted for this ... it really steams me.

You must have gotten a peek at the section about "US Postal Service must also provide a means to open mail in such a way that the message can be examined by suitable authorities while not alerting recipients that the envelope has been opened"...

While I agree that the phone companies are spineless turds I'll refrain from shouts of "fascist" until somebody who is not a terrorist is indicted/ hauled away for something -- yes, I know how "by then it'll be too late" but I just don't want to live with the alternative.

On a somewhat related front, here is a dilemma that a pal and I discussed: For those who believe "Obama will undo that" (where the "that" is basically anything that offends their sensibilities, from NAFTA, to increased border security, to 'eavesdropping', to the number of troops in Iraq) would not that play into the strategy that McCain will undoubtedly pick-up from Hillary of pretty much saying "You're a young dreamer, I'm a grizzled realist. Your plans will leave us in more peril than we are now. If you undo NAFTA the number of unemployed Mexicans that will want to illegally enter the US increase, without increased border security that becomes easier, with more illegals there is more downward pressure on US jobs. Without intelligence gathering from the US to overseas we won't know where the next threat is. With reduced troops in Iraq the remaining troops are more vulnerable to exactly the kind of harassment from external forces that made Iraq a horrible risk..."

Of course to pull this off he'll have to seem "wise and vital" not "old and cranky" -- that is yet to be seen!

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