Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Screen Tests

:: reviewing OSCON 2005 ::

Likely it's similar in Hollywood: people gather in small groups to watch little known pilots, not ready for prime time in many cases, but take note of this or that actor, screenwriter, director. You're looking for talent, even in failed projects.

I've been frustrated with the math teachers a lot, because they deliberately confine themselves to talking about baby math, i.e. arithmetic, all that abacus stuff (place value), the stuff in Number by Midhat Gazale.

So where do fractals fit in? Will they ever answer that question?

Not likely, as the authors of trade books, who try to answer such questions for the intelligent reader (e.g. Glenn is going through a new one on the four color map theorem), are not the same ones writing textbooks according to well worn formulae, the so called "Standards for Pabulum" used in The Matrix (i.e. in this mindless machine we call... well, The Matrix is as good a name as any (no one is Neo though)).

I believe my case is well made: the gulag professoriate had no intention of taking our "hacker math" seriously, especially the lumpy bits, had a "three wise monkeys" policy of not responding to challenges (similar to the know-nothing approach to Al Qaeda, never deigning to crack a book cover, one of Mark Scheuer's pet peeves).

How do you make progress in debates when the other side refuses to prepare? You need to find other partners, i.e. one needs to move on.

Our response
was therefore justified: to build our own ranking system, in many ways stealing from already operative models, and starting wheels turning to revamp the degree system. More pair teaching and more double majoring, including at the PhD level, would be among our proposals, Donald Knuth a role model.

Portland's newest roller coaster, i.e. a digital math track option through high school, looks ready to take riders. I'm not saying we have all the kinks worked out yet, but we're not talking about a literal roller coaster either, although that OMSI simulator might someday play a role.

Speaking of OMSI, I haven't given up on showcasing futuristic American livingry from that property, per the Monsanto house demo of long ago. "EPCOT West" is taking the strain in the meantime, where we take tourists to see the current state of our American Dream (our "outdoor Ikea").

I know it's weaponry Americans seem hell bent on showing, anywhere and everywhere, no matter how inappropriate (kinda like Afghanis in that way, Wild West and "old cowboy").

There's a maturation phase that goes with any culture. Sometimes the boy scouts get control from the girl scouts. Portlandia doesn't usually lean that way though, so we're understandably staying with the businesses we know, such as shoes, surgery and advertising.

Speaking of surgeons, I was happy to hear from Dr. Furnary recently, one of my coding buddies back in Heart Institute days. We were cutting edge, no pun intended.