Christmas doesn’t mean anything to me. If it did, it would probably feel for me like Okkervil River’s Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas. That, or Joni Mitchell’s River. Which is to say, a little bit sad. Good thing that I’m Jewish so that the world is not subjected to my Christmastime mopiness.
Anyhoo, here are some things maybe you’ll find interesting.
- I wrote about my favorite reads of 2020.
- Research: These experiments found that writing a self-explanation was more helpful for learning than writing an explanation to a fictitious student. I’d connect this to work from Martha Alibali on presenting ideas in the name of fictitious students (e.g. Juan’s strategy). I end up discussing this stuff in my book, it’s pretty interesting imo.
- Ed Tech & Policy: Education in rural China seems very very hard, but this might be a situation where tech ends up having a lot of potential. An experiment where some rural students were given access to the internet, DVD of lectures and digital math practice seems to have made a positive impact.. This is against a backdrop of low quality rural education. I’m usually a tech pessimist but maybe in the US districts could do something like this, offering high-quality online AP classes or electives that a school doesn’t offer?
- Math: Complexity Explorer is a pretty impressive collection of lectures, problems and materials relating to complexity and chaos.
- Video: Thanks to math, I am told this is not how people on Wall Street sound any longer. For the post-math version of Wall Street check out the financial crisis drama Margin Call.
- Request: Does anyone know any good resources for learning about order statistics? I learned this week that this is the mathematical area that a math problem I was working on belongs in.
- Math: A great geometry problem.
- Research: Honestly, I have no idea if this effect is large enough to be interesting, but I find the intersection of cultural differences and mathematical thinking pretty interesting. This paper suggests that English speakers and Dutch-English bilingual speakers put numbers on a number line differently. Why? In English you say “forty one” putting the “forty” first. In Dutch you’d say “one and forty.” I guess the suggestion is that kids pay more attention to the “forty” in English so they put 41 farther to the right than 39? Anyway, interesting.
- Funny: Nine Scenes from the Recently Discovered Cut of Flubber Where Flubber Has Bones
- XKCD: Randall Munroe’s all-time favorite chart from a scientific paper.
Have a glorious weekend,