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Topic: Asians and Math
Replies: 16   Last Post: Jul 14, 2009 11:31 PM

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Kirby Urner

Posts: 4,713
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Asians and Math
Posted: Jul 9, 2009 8:15 PM
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> So what we should have seen is just an even bigger
> list of kids. Instead it seems that the asian kids
> have adopted or maintained a rigorous approach to
> math that we have abandoned. Of course the asian kids
> are "we" as well so don't read too much into "we".

Yes, good point to circle the pronoun there. As someone
who imprinted in Asia during many formative years, all of
high school unless you count Southeast High in Bradenton,
Florida, where I went one semester -- watched Star Trek a
lot (original cast) -- I'd be lying if I said the Asian
way of "doing the math" was entirely alien to me. It's
this Lower47 stuff (exempting Oregon out of pride) that
leaves me wondering why anyone comes here. But then
mostly they don't, not for high school.

Looking at my sleek Swedish lines, 1958 body, complete with
cruise control, you might think me of Euro vintage, but a
lot of the software is Asiatic I dare say, plus I was a
student of Buddhist thought even when back in New Jersey,
realizing Nagarjuna's four fold logic is in a lot of ways
stronger than what'd been taught in ancient Greek times.

I'm probably happy here on the Pacific Rim because it's
OK to come out of the closet as Asian, at least somewhat,
and no one looks at me cross-eyed. They know I mean
Filipino more than Korean (because of my mannerisms),
although Korea was a big influence during my earlier
boyhood in Rome, when I was best friends with the son of
their ambassador Yu, then later, with another best friend.

But we all watched the same movies, listened to similar
music, so I don't think it's about genes so much as
memes, i.e. many Asian cultures are cosmopolitan,
enlightened, whereas the USA is mostly known for its
brackish backwaters, its hillbilly "out-of-it-ness" --
what makes it so charming to tourists, to find natives
who don't even know "Europe" isn't a country. *Of
course* the math here is dark ages and parochial, until
you get to the university, in which case the Asian
influence has cleared away some of the cob webs.

It's not so much the "European influence" that draws such
large crowds of wannabe engineers to our woods I don't
think. It's more the feng shui of Asian architecture.
Portland has *both* a Chinese and a Japanese garden after
all, the former in Old Town, the latter in a place of
high honor.


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