Math on TV: Halls Refresh

If you’ve watched any television recently, you may have noticed the following ad for Halls Refresh. I strongly encourage you to watch it, even if you’ve seen it before, because it’s basically fantastic.

A tremendous ad, to be sure. However, if you didn’t watch closely, you may be wondering what such a sensual commercial has to do with mathematics. Watch again if you missed it – it may help to watch it full screen, although the quality gets muddy.

Did you catch it the second time? When the camera cuts to the Asian kid sitting at his desk, right before he starts to charm Mrs. Hunter, you’ll notice that he has a poster on his wall filled with mathematics. There are 5 equations on the poster, but most are probably too difficult to make out from the Youtube copy. I was fortunate enough to see this ad on television, and . . . → Read More: Math on TV: Halls Refresh

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Reforming Education through Geek Chic

Earlier this month, Wired published an article written by Daniel Roth, enticingly titled “Making Geeks Cool Could Reform Education.” It serves as an interesting counterpoint to the commonly used argument that the best way to reform education is to better integrate it with the most current technology, so that going to school feels less like going to school and more like playing video games (family friendly ones, of course).

Sorry, Typing of the Dead, but you're a little too creepy.

The essay in Wired takes a slightly different approach – it profiles schools that have successfully channeled the inner geeks of their students, the argument being that the geek subculture rewards intelligence with popularity. To do this, schools must make learning seem cool. This is a feat which is easier said than done, because, as we all know, there’s no better way to convince a teenager that something . . . → Read More: Reforming Education through Geek Chic

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Math in the Movies: Hodgepodge Edition

Most of the time I write about films where math takes a central role, but it is just as often the case that mathematics is at work in more of a supporting capacity. There are many examples of this phenomenon, even if we restrict our attention to movies that are fairly recent. To catalog each such instance would no doubt be fairly time consuming, but thankfully someone has already begun the task. It comforts me to know that I am not the only one who takes pleasure in seeing mathematics on the big screen. Last week the Boston Globe ran an article that discusses the appearance of mathematics in a variety of recent films. In addition to mentioning the recent work on zombie dynamics, the article also discusses the link to mathematics as found in films like Casino Royale, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and The Dark Knight.

. . . → Read More: Math in the Movies: Hodgepodge Edition

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Make Money Money, Make Money Money Money! (and Learn Math, too)

Let me begin by saying that, in response to the question Why is 9/09/09 so special?, my response is simple: it’s not.

In fact, I would argue that 09/08/09 is much more interesting. This claim has nothing to do with numerology, and everything to do with President Obama’s speech to the youth of America on the value of education. The speech made very clear the importance of taking education seriously, and hopefully convinced students that a good education benefits not only themselves, but also society at large. In case you missed the speech, the transcript can be found here.

Although the speech was about education in general, mathematics got a little bit of love too. Here’s one such example:

What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation . . . → Read More: Make Money Money, Make Money Money Money! (and Learn Math, too)

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Comic (but not Comical) Mathematics

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were persuaded to subscribe to the LA Times by a very nice man at a nearby Ralph’s store who offered us $20 in groceries for the exchange. “Just try it out,” he insisted, “because you can always cancel and we’ll simply pro-rate the cost based on how long you were a subscriber.” Fantastic, we thought. Given the current uncertainty surrounding the future of the newspaper industry, subscribing made us feel like responsible citizens – like giving blood, but with fewer personal questions beforehand.

Unfortunately, once the newspaper began to arrive, we had to face the fact that we never read it. I think I skimmed through it a couple days that first week, but after that the papers would go from our doorstep to the recycling bin. Try as we might, we simply couldn’t fit a morning newspaper routine into our lifestyle. . . . → Read More: Comic (but not Comical) Mathematics

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