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Topic: In "square root of -1", should we say "minus 1" or "negative 1"?
Replies: 5   Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 12:53 AM

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kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: In "square root of -1", should we say "minus 1" or "negative 1"?
Posted: Dec 3, 2012 12:53 AM
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On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 5:39 AM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:
> On Dec 2, 2012, at 1:19 AM, kirby urner <> wrote:
> Yes, though mostly just in passing.
> Might you have that backwards? Wouldn't mentioning topics without any
> development, be "in passing"?

Without any development at all would not be "in passing". You have to
mention it to qualify.

This text mentions lat/long in passing, in that there's no Google
Earth to switch to, and I'm not anachronistically faulting the 1950s
for not having the technology of the early 2000s.

Same re Turtle (or in our case Tractor) graphics.

We expected a different future and we got it. So I'm saying now, in
2012/2013, here is your opportunity to keep the whole Earth in view,
to talk about lat/long, when you talk about (a) timezones / UTC (b)
dividing a sphere, and I'm sure (c) (d) etc.

Look at the early fights about lat/long, with each subculture trying a
prime meridian through their own capital. Chaos.

Lets just go with England's. We do in a lot of ways. Just pick one.
Break symmetry. Life goes on. Make the hard choices already.

Lots to learn here, about how we set up standards around conventions
and fight for them. We're busy people, anxious to get on with problem

> In any event, isn't most of the story telling for the teacher to do? I would
> shore up a few of the stories in the book, add some plot development, but
> the majority of the book's job (75%) remains the technical development and
> exercises. The trick is how to do all of that and not end up with students
> later asking "Which latitude is negative? North or South?" My point being
> you want application of the math (modeling), not rote association.

What I wonder about is Paul Tanner's assertion that some of the more
backward nations (e.g USA) don't treat teachers as principal learners
of their own disciplines, treating them to conferences and front row

Or rather, the professor class has some of these privileges but the
early education caste is less allowed? Remember Haim getting angry
because the Education Mafia sent some teachers to Antarctica for a
look see? Maybe that was before your time. This smacked of
socialism, something the Russians might do, and therefore bad.

There's room to jigger the equations, is all I'm saying, by making
teachers more responsible for localizing and actually editorializing,
not out of knee-jerk bigotry but out of sincere desire to be effective
and true to the music as it were. You teach best that which you truly
know, admitting limitations. I think that's an ethos we might safely
share. Admit limitations without embarrassment, even as you tackle
new areas of expertise with gusto, why not?

That leaves open the question of "who dictates?" good taste. No one
person or tiny cabal should of course. We hope for feedback thought
democratice mechanisms that give everyone a voice is what I'd say.
Getting feedback is a way of gauging effectiveness.


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