Movie Geometry – shaping the way you feel

November 1, 2016

Movie directors use shapes as well as color, lighting and sound to create moods and tell stories.  Triangles, circles, and squares are loaded with feelings.  This short YouTube video (4 min.) describes some of the common uses of shapes to communicate with the audience beyond the conscious into the unconscious.

Once you are made aware, you will notice the use of shapes in movies to convey more than words can say.

The Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded

October 6, 2016

The following two paragraphs are quotes from a fascinating article about how 3 physicists “playing” with math stumbled upon a remarkable and practical finding.  The link to the whole article follows the quotes.

“A trio of British-born researchers working in the U.S. won the Nobel Prize in physics for what one of them called a curious mathematical “toy” that to his surprise revolutionized the study of exotic matter suitable for quantum computers, new superconductors, and advanced designer materials.”

” “At the time, I thought it was of scientific interest and mathematical interest, but I didn’t think it would ever find a particular realization,” said Princeton University physicist F. Duncan M. Haldane, who shared the award for theoretical experiments he had conducted in the 1980s. “I basically stumbled on this playing with mathematics.” ”

For the whole article go to:

nobel-prize-in-physics-awarded-to-david-n-haldane-and-michael-kosterlitz-wsj

20% error rate found in study of published genetics research papers

September 13, 2016

In a recent study 20% of genetics research papers using Microsoft Excel have been found to have data errors due to improper data entry.  It turns out that gene names such as SEPT2 and MARCH1 (these are actual gene name abbreviations used by scientists) get converted to dates by Excel and then result in rejected data.  The problem is resolvable if the scientists would make sure the data cells were formatted as “Text,” prior to entering the data.

For the full article in the Washington Post click on the link below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/26/an-alarming-number-of-scientific-papers-contain-excel-errors/

Single Point Perspective Photo– Congressional Office Building

August 4, 2016

Congressional Office Building

This picture was taken in a hall of the Cannon House Office Building where Representatives in Congress have their offices.  The building was completed in 1908.

It is a good example of single point perspective, also known as one point perspective.  For more on this subject, which overlaps math and art, go to:

One Point Perspective Drawing: The Ultimate Guide

Deficit v. Debt – knowing the diference

July 21, 2016
In simple terms, a budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends (called outlays) and what it takes in (called revenue or receipts). The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.

What’s the difference between the U.S. deficit and the national debt …

money.howstuffworks.com/difference-between-u-s-deficitnationaldebt-.htm

Early Bedtime May Fight Fat

July 19, 2016

Scientists studying sleep time of preschoolers and obesity in teenages have observed some interesting correlations, but they are not conclusively cause and effect.  As reported in the New York Times, July 19, 2016.

Early Bedtime May Fight Fat NYT 7_19_16

Parial Derivative Problems with Solutions

July 12, 2016

A partial derivative is the derivative of a function of two or more variables with respect to one of the variables.  When you take the derivative with respect to one of the variables, treat the other variables as constants.  This is very helpful in analyzing the effect on a function of each of the variables as they vary independently.   This is called sensitivity analysis which is very valuable in the studies of Economics and Statistics.

Just remember that if you take a partial derivative of a function with respect to x, for example, all of the other variable are treated like constants.

partial deriv with solns

‘Residual Seasonality,’ Fixing the Data or Fixing the Results?

July 3, 2016

Adjusting the data? How much adjustment is good?  How do you know when the adjustments introduce distortions?   When are you fixing the data? And when are you fixing the results?  To know the answers to those question take a lot of experience and objectivity.

In an article in The Wall Street Journal ( July 1, 2016), by Jo Craven McGinty, titled, “Seasonal Fluctuations Vex Statisticians in Quest to Capture Economy’s Growth, Stripping out normal variation challenges government as it seeks to give accurate GDP figure,” Ms. McGinty addresses a current example of how data is handled.

” “We expect a certain amount of randomness in any economic data,” said Brent Moulton, who oversees GDP and other national economic statistics for the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

“When adjusted numbers continue to exhibit the influences of seasonal effects, statisticians refer to it as residual seasonality.” That is something new.

” “Small patterns of seasonality at the individual granular level, which don’t appear to be that significant, can add up over time, over quarter and over various components to substantial residual seasonality,” said Mr. Rudebusch, who found that adjusting the GDP a second time seems to erase the effect.”

As I said, are we fixing the data, or are we fixing the results?

Common Algebra Mistakes

June 20, 2016

Teachers know that there are many common errors that keep popping up with each new class.  For a good compilation of the common errors and the proper statement, click here:

http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Extras/CommonErrors/AlgebraErrors.aspx

 

How Changing the Expectations Changes the Outcome

June 19, 2016

Self fulfilling prophesies can make someone his own worst enemy.  Expecting to fail can become the formula for failure.  The question is how to get students who have low expectations of themselves, and who doubt their ability to succeed, to reset their mind-set.  Some new research sheds some valuable light on this question.

A Small Fix in Mind-Set Can Keep Students in School – WSJ