Why Do Americans Stink at Math? – an NYTimes Article

In school, did you “learn” mathematics by just memorizing some facts and not really understanding where those facts arose? Karen Morgan Ivy Tweeted the below Calvin and Hobbes comic.

(Transcription below by http://blog.onbeing.org/post/250746172/calvin-and-hobbes-math-is-a-religion)

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The Four Color Theorem

Photo Credit: Stephanie Blanda

Photo Credit: Stephanie Blanda

This weekend, I was helping paint flats for a play when an interesting problem arose – we wanted to use three colors of paint to create rectangles of different sizes on a rectangular flat, with the stipulation that no two adjacent rectangles were the same color. Prior to painting, we labeled the rectangles with their colors just to make sure everything worked out. We didn’t run into any problems, but one person did ask the question – was it possible to come up with a configuration of rectangles that was impossible to paint with our condition? Since we were only using three colors of paint, the answer, of course, was yes! In fact, when making up sample designs the night before, our director ran into the issue of three colors not being enough.

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AMS Fall Sectional Meeting — Travel Grants

modern-ams-logo-220x72pxAre you interested in attending an AMS Fall Sectional Meeting but need more funding? You’re in luck. The AMS is offering up to $250 for graduate students to attend this year. Dates and locations of the sectional meetings are:

  • September 20-21, 2014, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
  • October 18-19, 2014, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
  • October 25-26, 2014, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
  • November 8-9, 2014, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

To apply and see all qualifications, visit https://www.mathprograms.org/db/programs/280. The deadline for applying is July 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Start an AMS Student Chapter

Before you ask, my university does not currently have an AMS Graduate Student Chapter. I learned about this opportunity through my involvement this year in creating a SIAM graduate student chapter. But the two organizations offer practically the same deal to interested students, even down to the due dates for required forms. Hence the following advice applies equally well to either organization. This article will also include some facts which seem specific to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), but most likely have analogs in your neck of the woods.

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Photo downloaded from Oyster logo page

Most folks have heard about Netflix, an internet video streaming website for users to be able to watch movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc. What about reading books, though. We have also heard about the Nook or Amazon Fire. But what if you want to have a service like Netflix for your books? (I’ve never used Amazon Fire, so I will stick with the Nook here.) The Nook has free books you can download, but often, I find them to be not very well written. The solution I found was Oyster. This is an app for i-Devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod). The fee for unlimited books is $9.99/month. It has more than 500,000 titles including many best-sellers to choose from including Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Irving, etc.

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