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An Open Letter to Users of Yahoo! Answers

Dear Yahoo! Answers Users,

For every guy who has dreamed of looking like a Hoobastank concert attendee, or for every girl who has dreamed of looking like a Bratz doll, Yahoo! Answers provides you with a forum to not only construct the avatar of your dreams, but also to ask questions on a variety of topics, and get real answers from real people.

She only loved him for his soul patch.

Unfortunately, as a math educator, I feel compelled to offer criticism regarding the Mathematics section of your site. The existence of this section is not what bothers me – it is the user behavior, both of those asking questions and those answering them.

Let’s start with the askers. I’ll be blunt: please stop using the internet as your interactive cheat sheet. There are a number of users of Yahoo!’s service who have no qualms asking for answers on . . . → Read More: An Open Letter to Users of Yahoo! Answers

Designer Math

A well designed t-shirt has the power to delight and inspire; it can break the ice at the start of the evening, and seal the deal at the end. It can be a powerful tool for social interaction, and can help forge the bonds that will last a lifetime.

It is with this in mind that I bemoan the present state of mathematically themed t-shirts, many of which are asinine to the point of nausea. I also feel the need to speak out and warn those who would consider buying such t-shirts for friends or loved ones, under the misguided impression that anyone who studies math will appreciate (much less wear) a t-shirt just because it is related to math.

Let’s analyze some examples, to see just what’s gone wrong with the current state of mathematically inspired fashion. The following five designs can be found here, along with a multitude . . . → Read More: Designer Math

Three and a Half Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Mathematician

Mathematicians are a rare specimen to behold. While not quite endangered, they tend to congregate in areas less prone to large population densities, such as libraries, or the basements of math buildings, thus making their numbers seem lower than they actually are. This type of behavior is fortunate, for it is because of these tendencies to cluster together that breeding mathematicians in captivity has proven extremely successful – much more so than attempting to breed mathematicians in the wild with the general population (although there are successful cases of the latter phenomenon as well). The point here is that, unless you are of a certain persuasion, you could find yourself going years, possibly your whole life, without ever meeting a mathematician.

Should you be so fortunate to spot one, make sure not to approach too quickly, or you may scare the mathematician away. If you are vigilant, you may be . . . → Read More: Three and a Half Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Mathematician