Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Education vs. Banking

Jon Stewart is so good about making obvious points that the folks yammering rhetoric fail to see. Why do many people in our country expect teachers to make concessions with their meager pay, yet don't bat an eye at the salaries bankers are making -- with OUR TAX DOLLARS?

I hope the teacher's unions take a page from the NFL playbook and start suing state governments.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conspiracy Code

Check this out! Students who "attend" the Florida Virtual School can take an American History class that is disguised as an online game. I hated history, but I think I'd love this game. Can I go back to virtual school???

Florida Virtual School - Conspiracy Code

Is the Internet Destroying Your Productivity? | MonsterThinking

This article on the benefits and distractions of using the internet made me think about my internet life in a new way. Coates, and editor at The Atlantic, is quoted as saying that it was fear, rather than procrastination, that was the root cause of his distraction.

I find when I have total confidence in what I’m doing, I spend little time online. I may view a few sites to get specific information I need, but then I’m off. When I’m not certain, I spend time surfing the web hoping to find that bit of information that will give me the confidence I lack.

This happens not only in relation to my work life, but in my personal life as well. The article pointed out that we can become driven to check sites, especially those where people can leave comments about you or something you wrote, because you get instant feedback about yourself. It's all about you. When I think about the times I would check a site several times a day to see if anyone left a comment, I realize now I was looking for someone to tell me that I'm ok, or, even better, that I'm a brilliant genius, the best thing since sliced bread, and the 8th wonder of the world!

I’ve convinced myself that wandering the internet soaking up information is like a plant soaking up fertilizer. It’s a good thing to do while I wait for an idea or project to take shape. But there is such a thing as too much fertilizer, and the plant dies. I need to find the balancing point between using the internet to help boost my creativity and productivity and the point where I’m so over saturated I can barely move.

Is the Internet Destroying Your Productivity? | MonsterThinking

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today I discovered the non-profit organization that makes Wikipedia possible. I didn't realize they have other "products" including Wiktionary, Wikiquote, and even Wikinews where you can submit or read news articles from all around the globe.

The division I am most excited about is Wikimedia Commons. Here you can find images, sounds, and video free to use. Yippee!!! This will provide a lot of content for a website I'm working on.

One interesting video that I can see generating a lot of math problems is shows a mechanical clock created in 1509 in Nuremberg. By today's standards, it's no Timex, but it is still very cool.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let the Voting Begin!

Today is the first day of voting for the Instructables Pi Day Contest. Get out and vote early...and often! ;-) You have to log into Instructables to vote, but you can do so using your Facebook account name and password.

While I hope I get a ton of votes, I'm also glad that this contest is not just a popularity contest. The Instructable judges will choose half of the finalist based on votes. They will choose the other half based on their own criteria. The winner will be the one the judges choose after rating them all on a 10-point scale. So, even though I don't have a ton of contacts online who can get out an vote for me, I think I still have a pretty good chance of winning.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't go vote for me. Please....go vote!

Quick and Easy Pie Chart Pi Day Fruit Pizza Pie

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day is a big deal for Raytheon

Students within a 3.14 mile radius of Raytheon (in Waltham, MA) were surprised with a delivery of apple pies today.

See, I'm not the only math-geek-nut-job on the planet! ;-)

Pi Day is a big deal for Raytheon

Muse: Poe, E.: Near a Raven

Those of you who are poets at heart or who have a fondness for Poe may enjoy this poem. The number of letters in the words, starting with the title, coincide with the numbers in the digits for pi.

Us math geeks are quite the creative bunch!

Muse: Poe, E.: Near a Raven

Math Becomes Music: What Pi Sounds Like - Culture - GOOD

Happy Pi Day Everyone!

I highly recommend watching this video in which a brilliant musician translated the first 37 digits of Pi into musical notes and chords. It is amazing!

Math Becomes Music: What Pi Sounds Like - Culture - GOOD

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Show Your Work

Ok, so I recreated my Pie Chart Pie Day Fruit Pizza. I took a ton of pictures to "show my work" and created my Instructable. It wasn't nearly as fun as the first time around. But now I have two fruit pizzas to take to work tomorrow and share with my co-workers who are non-math geeks. They will probably think I'm nuts....and they'd be right.

Pie Chart Pi Day Pizza Pie (PCPDP2)

Only moments ago, the geek in me was excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. I didn't know how I would sleep between now and the momentous day when declares a winner for their Pi Day contest. I think I have a serious contender for winning the iPad2, engraved with 314 digits of Pi. What could be more exciting for a true math geek?!

What a difference a few minutes make. Now this geek is feeling strangled by the noose that can plague all geeks -- non-math related details. (Anything non-numbers related is superficial fluff, right?) When I first looked at the contest, I thought it was by a site called "Serious Eats". I thought all I had to do was make something that at least looked edible on camera that is related to Pi. What? There's more?

My creative and geek sides worked together in the most harmonious way to create an amazing entry. I took a photo of the finished pie that looks damn good, if I do say so myself. I just went to the contest site to submit my entry, and there were the details laughing at me. I can't submit just ONE photo and have it considered an Instructable! I have to include SEVERAL photos -- Here are the ingredients you'll need, here's Carol Merrall cutting the pie crust, here's what it looks like before it goes into the oven...and so on. Details!

Since I can't deconstruct my beautiful entry, I have to decide if it is worth it to go to the store, buy the ingredients again, and bring them home for an all-out photo shoot documenting every step. It's not that it takes a lot of time and's more that it's like asking someone to do a long division problem just to watch them do it. It was fun and exciting the first time around because it was problem solving at it's best. Now it isn't a problem to be solved. It's a rote process.

Making that comparison, now I understand why students get so bored with math. We often ask them to recreate the pie over and over again just so we can watch them do it. We need to offer them more opportunities to solve a problem they find fun and engaging.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pi Day -- Almost Here!

I am SO looking forward to Pi Day! This weekend I plan on making some Pi Day goodies for my co-workers. I'm hoping to make something worthy of entry into the Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest. I'm trying to think of something really creative and keep shooting down all of my ideas. It's a occupational hazard to over think something. Hopefully I can get into my creative mojo and whip up something fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Box Online

I've never used Red Box before. I've always found NetFlix more convenient. Now it seems Red Box is trying to compete with NetFlix. I'll give them a shot. It's worth a buck. I hope they have some different titles. It's getting harder to find things I like on NetFlix.

Budget repair bill passes Senate, Thursday vote set in Assembly

Who knew there were such loopholes in our political system? (Obviously, you can see this Numbers Queen never did well in history and politics courses.) I can't imagine the legislature in WI being able to move forward after this.

Budget repair bill passes Senate, Thursday vote set in Assembly

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pi Day Challenge 2011 | Pi Day Challenge

Are you up to the challenge? Take the Pi Day Challenge--a series of puzzles involving logic and math. The Challenge is open now and sounds like it will be running for the next several weeks.

When I logged in, before I completed any of the puzzles, I was ranked 543 in the world. It'll be interesting how far I can make that rank improve. I'll post updates as I complete puzzles. Let me know how you do by posting a comment. Have fun!

Pi Day Challenge 2011 | Pi Day Challenge

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Education Week: Wis. Labor Bill Could Vex District-Union Relations

I like seeing an article that gets to the "real" level of the issues in Wisconsin. Some news sources lead you to believe it's all about health care and pensions, even though the teacher's union have said they would make changes to accommodate the budgetary issues.

This article talks about what would happen at the district level if teachers lose collective bargaining rights. Even some districts are not interested in teachers losing these rights. There are benefits for both the district and the teachers.

Education Week: Wis. Labor Bill Could Vex District-Union Relations