Date: Oct 18, 2012 12:56 AM
Author: Louis Talman
Subject: Re: In favor of teaching "dot notation"

On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:17 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

> I guess it was the atoms, coffee, coconuts and tractors that threw me off.
> Now tell us what you meant when you said "Then all three of them have much
> to answer for." :)
> Bob Hansen
> On Oct 17, 2012, at 8:32 PM, Louis Talman <> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:
> How do you handle units? Like 12 miles or 14 hours?

> That's a very good question. How does one handle units in general? What
> axioms does one use? If there are none, then Robert's earlier question
> about an exam is well-posed: "Is this mathematics?"

>> How do you show a rational function between polynomials, such that a
>> student can see it and simplify it or factor it?

> What on earth is "a rational function between polynomials"? Dare I ask,
> "Is this mathematics?"?
> --Louis A. Talman
> Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
> Metropolitan State College of Denver
> <>
> The word "between" doesn't even appear in the webpage you sent me, and you

left both my questions unanswered. Maybe I should answer your question in
the same spirit that you answered mine by saying:

They must answer for atoms, coffee, coconuts and tractors.

More seriously, you surely know that colleges and universities have
effective procedures in place for dealing with suspect scholarship. Look up
the charlatan, Ward Churchill, to find out how they work. (You can start on
my own website, at the URL in my sig. After that, Google is your friend.)

Did Bishop and Milgram made any effort to address Boaler's work through
those channels---which is what any respectable academic should do when they
think they've found such matter. If not, then their vitriolic (a word
already employed, quite reasonably, by others) reaction smacks more of
vigilantism than of academics. And that they chose not to do so would hint
very strongly at the weakness of their case.

They could, of course, still do so. But my guess is that they know better.
And they, too, might look up the Churchill case. What it is established
that he did is no worse than what they've suggested Boaler did, and if
there is truth to their accusations, her university should find it once a
formal complaint, which includes the evidence they say they have, is
lodged. And, it is important to note, there is typically no restriction on
who may lodge such a complaint.

--Louis A. Talman
Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Metropolitan State College of Denver