## Right-Angles and Wrong Angles

It hit the news last week, that two high school kids had come up with a new proof of Pythagoras’s Theorem:

Two New Orleans high school seniors who say they have proven Pythagoras’s theorem by using trigonometry – which academics for two millennia have thought to be impossible – are being encouraged by a prominent US mathematical research organization to submit their work to a peer-reviewed journal.

I had decided to leave it alone. I had figured out enough of the story, that the two kids had done something very cool, which had then been way over-egged by the predictably clueless, Homerically lazy media. I’ve done these stories, and they can be tiring and tricky.

My friend Grant Cairns,* however, tipped it over the line, by pointing out an MAV tweet:

Good ‘ol MAV.

How a right-angled triangle is any more about “the world around us” than the number 3, God only knows. Grant summarised it as the MAV being “totally grounded in reality”. More accurately, the MAV is totally grounded by reality. To an earthbound hammer, everything is an earthbound nail. Continue reading “Right-Angles and Wrong Angles”

## Yes More Mr. Nice Guy: Tom Peachey’s New Blog

On occasion, I get objections to the nastiness of this blog: “Why can’t you be nicer?”, and so forth. The answer is that I can’t because I can’t: my blog is fuelled by my disgust and anger at the perversion of mathematics education, and of education in general, and of our entire culture. That’s the way it is. But there is a solution: have someone else be nice for me. Continue reading “Yes More Mr. Nice Guy: Tom Peachey’s New Blog”

## ACARA’s Mea Semi-Culpa on NAPLAN

NAPLAN got going this week. Our daughter did it, so we’re told. Whatever. The pointless train runs another pointless lap. Except, this year the train apparently has had some scheduling issues. Continue reading “ACARA’s Mea Semi-Culpa on NAPLAN”

## Jo Boaler, Ever the Victim

Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University, has just posted on her recent mistreatment at the hands of a campaign against her. The post is titled,

Crossing the Line: When Academic Disagreement becomes Harassment and Abuse

Boaler’s post includes detailed claims that she has received abuse, rape threats and more, the truth of which there is no reason to doubt and which if true then obviously points to inexcusable and disgusting behaviour directed at Boaler. The problem is, Boaler is also playing a game. Again.

I briefly discuss Boaler’s latest post, below, but first and mainly, I want to outline a prior dispute involving Boaler, which went public in 2012. The purpose of revisiting this decade-old dispute is not to distract from Boaler’s latest claims, but to provide needed context for these claims.

## Witch 100: The Inequality of Robodebt

We were hoping for a special for our hundredth WitCH, but the chips fall when they fall. Still, it’s an odd one.

Robodebt is one of the greatest perversions of politics and public administration in Australian history. It is now reaching its appalling conclusion with the Royal Commission‘s hearings, a grotesque procession of half-wits, cowards and sociopathic goons. Rick Morton, and pretty much only Rick Morton, has covered the just-ended hearings in maddening and heart-rending detail. We only await Commissioner Holmes’s inevitably damning report.

We had pondering writing something on Robodebt, just to add our public declaration of disgust, and if only to employ the expression “Little Eichmanns”. But, we could see no natural angle. Now, however, a statistician has provided a different angle.

## Alan Finkel, Scientist and Warmonger

In the last week, the Age/Sydney Morning Herald sisterhood has engaged in one of the craziest, most hysterical anti-communist campaigns we’ve ever seen, a direct throwback to the early, nutso days of the Vietnam War. Titled Red Alert,– yes, really – and illustrated with a red sky swarming with Chinese jets on their way to Australia – yes, really – once were journalists Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott authored a series of articles and videos, all pointing to the imminent threat that China poses to Australia. The series is based upon a “review” by a panel, concocted by Hartcher and Knott, of five “independent” “experts”. The panel concluded,

The overwhelming source of danger to Australia is from China. The nature of the threat extends to the prospect of a full-scale war – and Australia would have to be involved. … We need to be ready to fight in just three years …

## Failing to Read the Injecting Room

The North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room is back in the news. Following on from a substantially positive review released last month, Dictator Dan Andrews has confirmed that the injecting room, which began as a trial in 2018, will become permanent. This news has shaken the usual nuts out of the usual tree, and my daughters’ school, which sits next door to the medical centre housing the injecting room, has also been in the news. This has been annoying, with the familiar, annoying reporters, and the familiar, annoying pleas:

## VIT Gets the Love They Earned

The Victorian Institute of Teaching conducted a survey of teachers last year. Let’s say the results weren’t overwhelmingly positive.

I’ve previously made clear my feelings about VIT. Just last week I heard a story about a teacher currently being dicked around by VIT that made my blood boil. I can’t tell the story, I can’t help the teacher, but I can reiterate that I regard VIT as a thoroughly incompetent and thoroughly loathsome organisation.