Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing

I’m late to this. Things have been busy, and not good. Still, the work goes on and this has to be done.

Last week, The Centre For Independent Studies came out with yet another “Analysis Paper”: Facing Up to Maths Anxiety. The paper is by “eminent professor David C Geary” and was launched with the standard fanfare, including a Canberra Times op ed by Geary and a companion ABC article by CIS’s Lead Education Pontificator, Glenn Fahey. Continue reading “Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing”

Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver

Sometimes it seems that there is no choice but to write a post.

Last week, Australia’s censorship asshole was back in the news. Julie Inman Grant and her team of goons have a new report out, which Inman Grant announced with a predictable warning of “a perfect storm” of online hate. Fair enough: I, for one, loathe this woman and am happy to declare it online. Or in person. Or by post. Or by carrier pigeon, if that’s all that’s going. Inman Grant’s hysterical message never really changes, however, and my loathing for her never really changes, so I decided to spare readers a new post. But then I stumbled upon a Twitter battle between Nate Silver and a misinformation guru. Still no reason to post: Twitter clowns are in plague proportions, of course. But then then I saw that the misinformation clown had decided to go in for a little Eulering. That was too much, and here we are. Continue reading “Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver”

Education Pundits, and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Earlier this week, Ben Jensen‘s Learning First released a report on Australia’s science curriculum. Their report was strong, with a clear and simple message: the science curriculum has too little science, too incoherently presented. The reporting on Learning First’s research was very good. The punditry was not. Continue reading “Education Pundits, and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

VCAA Has Deloitte to Learn

Last year, as seemingly occurs every year, there were serious errors on the VCE mathematics exams. This was reported on at the time by the Age, on the basis of a teacher’s complaint and a comment on this blog. The errors were reported on again last month by the Herald Sun, on the basis of a parliamentary submission. I was pleased to see these reports although they were not my doing. I did not notify any reporters of the exam errors and no reporter had asked me for comment until after the recent Herald Sun and Guardian articles on this year’s General Mathematics exam errors.

As I routinely do, I quickly blogged on some (but not all) of the 2022 errors (here, here, here and here), but other than that I had been as quiet as possible about the whole thing, even on this blog. For a reason, and until now.

Continue reading “VCAA Has Deloitte to Learn”

The Westminster Declaration

A couple days ago, Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger and others launched the Westminster Declaration. Signed by 138 big shots and very big shots, the Declaration is a powerful statement on the importance of free speech and the current threat to it from very strong censorious forces. The Declaration begins,

We write as journalists, artists, authors, activists, technologists, and academics to warn of increasing international censorship that threatens to erode centuries-old democratic norms.

Coming from the left, right, and centre, we are united by our commitment to universal human rights and freedom of speech, and we are all deeply concerned about attempts to label protected speech as ‘misinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and other ill-defined terms.

And, later,

We stand for your right to ask questions. Heated arguments, even those that may cause distress, are far better than no arguments at all. 

That’s all you really need.

It’s a great statement, both in its general call for principle and in its naming of specifically dangerous legislative schemes. This includes singling out Australia’s idiotic and insidious draft legislation on “misinformation”.

The introduction to the Westminster Declaration is here, and the full statement and list of signatories is here.

Unbowed

One of the movies that didn’t make it into Math Goes to the Movies, appearing just too late, is the 2011 Korean drama, Unbowed. The movie is a legal drama about a mathematics professor and contains almost no mathematics. But mathematics underlies the story, which begins with the professor finding an error in his university’s entrance exam, and with his mathematics department’s reaction: Continue reading “Unbowed”

Math Goes to the Movies

I started writing a post, but the introduction grew to the point of crowding out the actual post. So, here’s the “introduction” as a separate post, and the next post will be the post post.

About fifteen years ago, Burkard came up with a “great idea”: he and I should write a book about mathematics in the movies. I agreed immediately with Burkard’s “great idea” and we began hunting and collecting and organising, and then writing about movies with maths. This included movies such as A Beautiful Mind and Stand and Deliver, with a mathematician or mathematics teacher at the heart of the story, as well as movies that, for whatever particular reason, just happen to have some notable mathematical scene.

Continue reading “Math Goes to the Movies”