Saturday, February 13, 2010

Polishing Resume etc.

I mentioned our Kite Campaign on Facebook. The fact that Sir Roger Penrose, Alexander Graham Bell, and R. Buckminster Fuller, all made special use of that term is a good illustration of the namespace idea.

Bell's kites equal Fuller's octet truss whereas Fuller's kites (called kat and kate) are space-filling pentahedra (half-couplers), not flat tiles like Sir Roger's kite and dart.

That's a whole lot of math enfolded in one word (figuratively speaking).

No wonder we math teachers have kites on the brain, kites being the theme at the annual session this year (NCTM). We will need to "disambiguate" when we talk about kites, if it's unclear from the context which kites we mean.

I was connecting some of these dots way back in 1997, when I ran microphone for Sir Roger, participated in those excellent workshops (thank you ISEPP). I even led one of the workshops, called Beyond Flatland, communicating a lot of the same math we're trying to get across today -- to a still largely oblivious public.

Do we think television might help? Of course. So which sponsors say overtly that they encourage more math-science literacy? At least two or three come to mind, some public, some private. Here's a golden opportunity to step up to the plate.

Lets celebrate the spirit of innovation and remember these various kites, starting back with Ben Franklin. The lightning bolt (bolt from the blue) is a deep metaphor for a great idea, used to unlock nature's secrets. The National Treasure motif would make sense at this juncture.

Let's get a time dimension back into math, not just as the variable t along the x axis, but as history, lore, stories about the real world. Ralph Abraham was eloquent on this point. A crushing bureaucracy has had some other ideas though. History remains quasi-verboten in most mass-published math textbooks, except in little sidebars. Home scholars must resort to other sources.

Quoting from my own writing of earlier today:
The gradual dumbing down of the human species, thanks to over-specialization, is what math-with-no-history typifies and encourages. The "fly your kite" campaign might be a way to call attention to this willful dumbing down, though in and of itself will not be enough. Math teachers cannot be expected to turn things around all by their lonesome.
Good catching up on Facebook with some of ya.

One of the Quakers sent me a chain letter from the ACLU urging worry regarding this Google / NSA business. Long time readers of this blog may already know I mostly leave it to other bloggers to make hay in that field, have the freedom to steer clear. Not every morass is mine to dive into.

Google already has a long history working through IQT, NRO and like that, so this is hardly a brand new business.

I uploaded a letter of recommendation from The Xerces Society this evening, after polishing my on-line resume some more.

Synchronofile helped me get my c.v. into Wordpress, but the formatting was off kilter. Several of my commentators have blamed their own browser, saying "browser X does not render your page properly" but I'm thinking the problem is / was on my side.