If you are in a nice, warm spot this morning, you may wish to go to Bogie's place at Bogieblogto see how New Englanders live in the winter. (I must point out that Bogie, in southern New Hampshire, didn't bear the brunt of the past few snowstorms - for which, I would think, she would be thankful!)
If you still have the February 2, 2015, issue of The New Yorker taking up space, I would direct your attention to Page 22 – Profiles: The Pursuit of Beauty: Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery, by Alec Wilkinson.
From Page 27 – a statement of Prof Zhang’s achievement: “Zhang established that there is a distance [on the number line] within which, on an infinite number of occasions, there will always be two primes.”
From Page 22 – a reproof to an old husband’s tale: “”In 2010 [at which time he started working on ‘the problem’], he [Zhang] was 55. ‘No mathematician should ever allow himself to forget that mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man’s [sic] game,’ Hardy [G. H. Hardy, British mathematician circa 1940] wrote. He also wrote, ‘I do not know of an instance of a major mathematical advance initiated by a man [sic!] past fifty.’”
From Page 28 – a thought that each of us should keep in mind when we are tempted to think that we are too old to do whatever: “I [the author] asked about Hardy’s observations regarding age – Hardy also wrote, ‘A mathematician may still be competent enough at sixty, but it is useless to expect him to have original ideas.’
‘This may not apply to me,’ Zhang said. He put his tea on the desk and looked out the window. ‘Still I think I have intuition,’ he said. ‘Still I am confident of myself. Still I have some other visions.’”
Undoubtedly, like the rest of us, elementary school teachers are not perfect and, undoubtedly, those teachers do exhibit (as studies have shown) a bias toward boys. However, they get blamed no matter what they do.
Posted by timothyon Monday February 09, 2015 @08:07AM from the would-blame-middle-school-teachers-myself dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Citing a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (free to Federal employees), the NY Times reports on how elementary school teachers' pro-boy biases can discourage girls from math and science. "The pipeline for women to enter math and science occupations narrows at many points between kindergarten and a career choice," writes Claire Cain Miller, "but elementary school seems to be a critical juncture. Reversing bias among teachers could increase the number of women who enter fields like computer science and engineering, which are some of the fastest growing and highest paying. 'It goes a long way to showing it's not the students or the home, but the classroom teacher's behavior that explains part of the differences over time between boys and girls,' said Victor Lavy, an economist at University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper." Although the study took place in Israel, Lavy said that similar research had been conducted in several European countries and that he expected the results were applicable in the United States."
IMO, educators have a difficult time of it. In general, teachers at the elementary school level are drawn from the populace of a locale and, in general, reflect the values of its residents. It isn't the teachers who force parents to dress their kids in sex-appropriate colors (Girls aspire) and teachers dare not teach things that parents don't support. (Here in Kansas, our legislators make every effort to assure that science is taught from a religious book, the Christian Bible, rather than from science books.) The educators pretty much follow the will of the residents.
I can "prove" this (well, demonstrate it with a single data point). My one conversation with the superintendent of schools, caused the local school system to change the policy that kept girls out of "shop" classes and boys out of "home economics" classes. A friend shook his head as he told me of attending the open-house night at the local junior high school at which he saw the work of my daughter in a shop class and of my closest friend's son in a sewing class.
Historical tale: Back when the earth was cooling and I was in 7th grade, they forced girls to take home economics and boys to take shop. However, toward the end of the year, they switched off and had the boys take several classes in home economics while the girls took several classes in shop. I was disappointed when they cancelled that arrangement for my 7th grade class. School closed early that year - probably to avoid the heat of summer at a time when polio was making the rounds.
In 1980, I enlisted as an aircraft structural mechanic in the US Naval Reserves. Although I worked with aircraft, like all others in the Naval services, I was given training in ship-board damage control (shoring bulkheads, etc) and fire fighting. Slashdot.org led me to the following video that tells about robotic developments in ship-board fire fighting.
Posted by timothyon Friday February 06, 2015 @11:01PM from the if-you-don't-like-this-you-have-no-heart dept.
szczys writes Would you do a better job designing hardware if your life depended on it? Chris Nefcy is in that exact position. Years ago he developed an Automatic External Defibrilator for First Medic. The device allows non-doctors to restart a human heart in the field. When Chris had a heart attack his ticker was restarted with shocks from his own hardware. His story isn't just heartwarming, he also covers the path that led him into developing the AED and the bumpy road encountered getting the hardware to market
Posted by timothyon Tuesday February 03, 2015 @01:02PM from the literally-exploding-with-rage dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this Fascinating profile of one particular Wikipedia editor Giraffedata (a 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson), who has spent the last seven years correcting only the incorrect use of "comprised of" on Wikipedia. Using a code to crawl for uses of "comprised of" throughout all of Wiki's articles, he'll then go in and manually correct them (for example, using "consists of" or "composed of") and has made over 47,000 edits to date.
Addition of 2/7/2015:
Stu wants to know why I misspelled "Peeve" in the title as "Peave". He was kind enough to say that he didn't get the meaning of my word play. It wasn't word play, Stu. It was a screw-up! Thanks for pointing it out. I did check my spelling in previous "Pet Peeve" postings and was relieved to find that they were spelled correctly (as it is in the "Categories" listing - whew!)