For the next couple of weeks, Math Monday here at the blog will feature a guest blogger. Ed Aboufadel is Professor of Mathematics and chair of the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University, where I work. He’ll be writing a two-part series on a neat appearance of an NP-complete problem on network TV, adding yet another data point that mathematics is indeed everywhere. Thanks in advance, Ed!
On the new USA-network TV series Suits , Harvey Specter is a senior partner at the law firm of Pearson Hardman, and Mike Ross is his new associate. Mike never went to law school, but he combines a photographic, elephantine memory with near-genius intelligence to fake it well. Harvey is in on the deception, but none of the other partners know. During the eighth episode of the first season of Suits (broadcast August 11, 2011), Harvey and Mike, working with Louis Litt, a…
Interesting stuff from elsewhere on the web this week:
Danny Caballero, who does really interesting research on physics education at UC-Boulder, has just started up his own blog. Every post on it so far has been excellent, but his article “Which computational tool should we teach?” in particular is a great analysis of three major computational software tools from the standpoint of teaching physics students computational modeling.
Don’t look now, but it’s the return of the Friday Random 10. Ten songs selected at random from my family’s, um, eclectic iTunes library. Notice how I say “my family’s” library, so as to deflect questions about why there are so many kids’ songs or Glee stuff coming up.
Candles (Glee cast version); Glee: The Music Presents the Warblers
My calculus class hit optimization problems this week — or it might be better to say the class got hit by optimization problems. These are tough problems because of all their many moving parts, especially the fact that one of those parts is to build the model you plan to optimize. Most of my students have had calculus in high school, but too many calculus courses in high school as well as college focus almost primarily on algorithms for computation and spend little to no time with how to create a model in the first place. Classes that are so structured are doing massive harm to students in a number of ways, but that’s for another post or two.
Careful study of worked-out examples is an essential part of understanding optimization problems (though not the only part, and this alone isn’t sufficient). The textbook has a few of these. The professor can provide more, but class time really …
I have to focus this time on the first one in the list, John Mayer’s “Daughters”. People have many different opinions about John Mayer, not all of them good, but I’m a big fan — and mainly because of this song. Mayer has a sort of reputation as a womanizer but his insights on girls and parenting in this song…
Friday Random 10 has slipped out of the rotation lately, so let’s fix that. Hitting the random shuffle button on the iPhone, we have…
Delia’s Gone (Johnny Cash, American Recordings)
Guide Vocal (Genesis, Duke)
All Your Love (Otis Rush, Essential Chicago Blues)
Why Should I Feel Lonely (Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Unclassified)
Catch Me If I Try (David Wilcox, East Asheville Hardware)
House of Tom Bombadil (Nickel Creek, Nickel Creek)
Digital Man (Rush, Signals)
Fei Hua Dian Cui (Lui Pui-Yuen, China: Music of the Pipa)
Turn the Page (Rush, Hold Your Fire)
A Little Bluer Than That (Alan Jackson, Drive)
Here’s the video for “Delia’s Gone” (#1 on the list). The song is a classic “death ballad”, one of the standard idioms of country and folk music. And yet, when it came out in 1994, none of the country music stations on radio or TV wanted to play it because…
Friday music time again, and just about the only thing I’ve had time to post this week due to classes starting back:
Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Greatest Hits)
40 Days (Third Day, Come Together)
Who’s Been Talkin’ (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
Man in the Green Shirt (Weather Report, Best of Weather Report)
Waiting on the World to Change (John Mayer, Continuum)
Where You Are (Rich Mullins, The World As Best As I Remember It v. 1)
Heavy On My Mind (Back Door Slam, Roll Away)
Try (John Mayer Trio, Try! (Live))
Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II)
Doing It To Death (James Brown, The CD of JB)
Normally I would take one of the entries in the list that gets my attention and do a video focus on it. This time… Well, the classic Led Zeppelin chestnut “Living Loving Maid” (#9) makes me think of the fantastic…
Without The Light (Kelly Joe Phelps, Roll Away the Stone)
Partita #3, Menuet II (Paul Galbraith, Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas)
Tenderoni (Chromeo, Fancy Footwork)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles, White Album)
Jump Up! (Imagination Movers, For Those About to Hop)
Birdland (Weather Report, Best of Weather Report)
Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley, Legend)
Territories (Rush, Power Windows)
The Remembering (High the Memory) (Yes, Tales from Topographic Oceans)
With My Own Two Hands (Jack Johnson + Ben Harper, Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies)
Lots of good stuff to feature here this week — the Bob Marley piece is an especially welcome reminder of warmer climates right now, as it’s 15 degrees and snow on the ground here in Indiana. But in the spirit of 80′s music started last week, here’s a live version of Rush doing “Territories” (#8). Watch it for no…
I am a mathematician and educator with interests in cryptology, computer science, and STEM education. I am affiliated with the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. The views here are my own and are not necessarily shared by GVSU.
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