A Submission to the Productivity Commission

An unexpected benefit of writing this blog has been that, although now persona non grata with polite academic-journalistic society, I’ve made a number of new, interesting and valuable contacts with impolite society.* One such contact is Shelley, a kindred and kindredly nutty spirit. Shelley and I have chatted and emailed over the last year and, about a month ago, Shelley requested that I make a submission to the Inquiry by the Productivity Commission into the National School Reform Agreement.

I was not clear on, and am still not clear on, why Shelley wanted this. I also had no idea what to think of either the PC or the NSRA, and neither the Inquiry’s terms of reference nor the call for submissions were close to encouraging. Nonetheless, since I pretty much always try to do what is asked of me,** I obliged.

Below, modulo a few minor edits, is the submission I wrote in the two hours I didn’t have to write it.

*) Come to think of it, both sides of that coin are benefits.

**) God knows why. Probably her.

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De Carvalho Hawks the New Curriculum

We still haven’t gotten to ACARA’s sparkly new curriculum. We do have David de Carvalho, however, to tell us all about its wonderfulness, and the wonderfulness of ACARA’s processes.

A couple weeks ago, De Carvalho was interviewed by Geraldine Doogue on Radio National’s Saturday Extra. Of course, Doogue asked De Carvalho all the tough questions. You can listen yourself, at the link below. Doogue introduces the discussion and De Carvalho as follows:

… primarily, the terms of reference for the new curriculum were to reduce the amount of content, the common ground being that all involved in education thought the previous curriculum was, quote, “a mile wide and an inch deep”. Well, my next guest argues that we now have a more teachable curriculum, that focusses on conceptual understanding … 

Continue reading “De Carvalho Hawks the New Curriculum”

WitCH 80: External Forcing

Yep, it’s Golden Ratio Day here at Mathematical CrapLand.

This is a weird one. It might be trivial, or very hard, or non-existent. We’re not 100% sure. (OK, we are sure, but it took a while.) Anyway, it’s a research paper appearing in a (not the) journal published by Nature, and so can tolerate a little extra scrutiny. The paper, titled The golden number seen in a mechanical oscillator, appeared a couple weeks ago in the open access Nature journal, Scientific Reports; the paper can be downloaded here. Here is the begining: Continue reading “WitCH 80: External Forcing”

An Amber Heard of Sheep

London Center for Advanced Facial Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery

Yeah, we’ve written about golden ratio twaddle a few times, although we tend not to bother. Sir Theodore Cook said it all a century ago. But, on occasion, we have cause to give the phi nonsense another whack. And, as it happens, we’ve been working on one such post when more nonsense came rolling in.

Classy media outlets, such as The Australian, are currently trumpeting the news that Amber Heard, whatever her other failings, also has the most beautiful face in the world. Because golden ratio. This stunning news coming courtesy of some cosmetic surgery clowns.

Continue reading “An Amber Heard of Sheep”

AustMS Reminds Us That ACARA Stuffed Up

We still haven’t had the time, the energy or the stomach to analyse ACARA’s sparkly new curriculum. We’ll get there, we promise.

In the meantime, Ole Warnaar, the President of the Australian Mathematical Society and previous recipient of ACARA’s contempt, has written bluntly on just how farcical was the final act of ACARA’s two-year farce. Ole’s remarks, from his letter in the May issue of the AustMS Gazette are reproduced below. Continue reading “AustMS Reminds Us That ACARA Stuffed Up”