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Topic: Another gnu math lesson plan (web topology)
Replies: 15   Last Post: Aug 27, 2006 3:38 PM

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Greg Matheson

Posts: 343
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Another gnu math lesson plan (web topology)
Posted: Aug 25, 2006 4:59 AM
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On Thu, 24 Aug 2006, Kirby Urner wrote:

> > I don't think it is a good idea to name this new math
> > in the guise of computer science after a failed product,
> > the old New Math.

> > This big new ship, why don't we name it the Titanic?

> > --
> > Dr Bean Walk the talk.
> > Talk the walk.

> I see your point, but on balance it's easier to grab this meme
> and spin it to serve our needs, than it is to just leave it to
> our detractors to use as a term of derision (sort of like
> "buckaneers", which I'm also deploying).[1]

You're bad.

Instead of seeing New Math as having ended, or something to
forget about, it should be seen as a beginning.

> If using the term provokes some discussion of New Math, I think
> that's a good use of the pun. I'm in favor of playing Tom
> Lehrer's 'New Math' as a segue into the topic of bases (still
> relevant), by pointing out that his lyrics are all
> mathematically correct.

That reminds me of the other thread about the linking of critical
thinking and physical education.

> Why did the Titanic go down?

> You could point to flaws in the ship's design, but "inadequate teacher training" was another factor. The crew took some unnecessary risks -- going too fast without understanding about the turning radius.

It's easier to say, the cause was hubris. But another ship in the same
situation would not have sunk?

> New Math had its design flaws -- e.g. too much emphasis on sets, based on some obsolete British philosophy -- but it was a step out of the quagmire.

And the quagmire was?

The mistake was to let the mathematicians decide the curriculum.
Those people with no social skills.

> Gnu math, depending on the implementation, will also be "not perfect" in various ways -- we have this terminology of "bugs" thanks to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, and tools like Subversion (an http-based version control utility).

The development of curriculum needs to be 'bootstrappable' and to
'scale'. What are the lessons from software engineering?

Subversion will help with history, answering the question: Now
where were we before I was led down the primrose path?

Dr Bean Whereof we cannot speak, we must remain silent.
--Ludwig Wittgenstein
We know more than we can say.
--Michael Polanyi

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