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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds reid mathematics

rain come down, forgive this dirty town

March Nor'Easter? You betcha.

Tomorrow looks like a good day to stay home and get snowed in.  (Unless you have to work or are a cattylizzie, whose devotion in pursuit of her fandom knows no bounds.)

Okay, this may be a dumb story1, but it's letting me write dialogue like "You rascal! What have you done with my wife?" so it can't be all bad. It's sort of the unholy love child of E.E. Doc Smith, Star Trek, and the Green Lantern Corps. And I think it needs Wookiees.

Because everything is better with Wookiees.

I have got a character referred to as "the nefarious Dr. Grabnar," though, and you really can't beat that with a stick.

Although it's really hard to write a gloaty villain. He gloats for a while, and I have to stop my fingers from typing, "And now the shark lunges to the surface and eats Samuel Jackson. Mmm."

Dear skiffy: your genre conventions are dumb. Love, Bear.

In any case, 1059 words of that this morning, and 782 words of fanfiction last night, when I should have actually been working on stuff that I need to do. But, much like the cat, it wouldn't leave me alone. In an irony that's typical of my brain, I like the fanfiction much more than the space opera. Possibly because I loathe the butt-chinned hero of the space opera.

Which is okay: he's supposed to be loatheworthy. But writing him makes me feel dirty.

Whereas the fanfiction has F.B.I. agents in handcuffs (and not in a dirty way either) and masturbation jokes, and that's much more fun. (And it apparently has a plot, too, so it may be a while before it's ready to show anyone. I'm really enjoying writing Morgan's dialogue, though.)

And now it's back to my friend the Number Line. The process of subtraction involves finding a number which, when added to the subtrahend, produces the minuend.

Huh. Well, why didn't you just say so?

(I am developing a theory that our societal protocols for teaching math are like, critically flawed.)

And then a field trip up to Kathy John's before it starts to ice.

(Tomorrow, multiplying and dividing signed numbers, which will get me to the end of chapter two. This is actually not too bad so far.)

1. It's a dumb story because it's space opera, and in particular it's golden-age-style rayguns-and-Yellow-Peril space opera (I am deconstructing! Never fear!), and well, that shit is just dumb. For example, the captain and first officer both just went down with the landing party2....

2. Frankie went down on the Titanic! The captain went down on the Titanic! Frankie went down on the captain! Not necessarily in that order!3

3. What? You knew I were a Richard O'Brien fan.


1. It's a dumb story because it's space opera, and in particular it's golden-age-style rayguns-and-Yellow-Peril space opera (I am deconstructing! Never fear!), and well, that shit is just dumb. For example, the captain and first officer both just went down with the landing party2....

2. Frankie went down on the Titanic! The captain went down on the Titanic! Frankie went down on the captain! Not necessarily in that order!3

Hee! I was just thinking, "If it were a golden age pulp space opera with ray guns and the captain and first officer had both just gone down *on* the landing party, it'd be one of naamah_darling's stories!
I get to ride the train tomorrow in that weather...we'll see how it goes.
So if this nefarious guy was selling various hand tools on eBay, would anyone buy Grabnar's hammer? (What a savings.)

Many years ago, I was helping someone with his math homework. He was having trouble grasping the idea of absolute value, because the explanation in his textbook was obfuscatory crap of the same order as your subtrahend-minuend bit. When I explained it to him, he said "what, it's that simple? why didn't they just say so?"
Oddly enough, the subtrahend/minuend bit just made the way equations function click together in my head in a minor epiphany.

Because nobody ever *told* me that before.
"And now the shark lunges to the surface and eats Samuel Jackson. Mmm."

More skiffy could stand to take notes while watching that film, I think.

That, and it's full of dialogue that makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

It's one of those happy accidents that never could have happened with a better director, because it takes itself *so* seriously.
Math has a bad habit of being taught like a lie. I have distinct memories of being told that negative numbers don't exist (probably 4th grade) and then being told, a couple of years later, that negative numbers do exist, and now I was going to learn about them. Like, I would have taken it much, much better if somebody had just told me, "These parts are the Major Arcana of Math! They are too important to teach to such a lesser acolyte as you! You shall learn them in good time, grasshopper."

While advanced math lives with the idea that the discipline has a certain built-in measure of arbitrariness, it would have been much less dispiriting for me to be told outright that the arbitrariness was part of a tradition, rather than my deducing it from the red faces of math teachers when I accused them of lying.

Let's not even talk about how they lie to you in History class....
Don't wanna Nor'Easter! Wanna go to Providence, stable, in 60-degree weather!

Sure, you want snow until you don't!
Societal protocols for teaching math are immensely flawed. We have people who have reading learning disorders, but we do not consider it acceptable to just say, oh well, guess they're never going to learn how to read competently. (Well, unfortunately that's exactly what some schools do. But it's not socially acceptable to admit it.) But the attitudes about math teaching are so bad that substantial portions of most high school graduating classes are not only not able to do basic math, they have been convinced that it's because they just plain can't. And most of them don't have diagnosed learning disorders like yours -- they're just people who aren't actively naturally good at math. We have set it up so that anyone who is not essentially a math sponge does not come out of their basic education with any notion of what they're doing in math or why. It makes me extremely angry. It's worse than just plain not teaching math. We're teaching people that they can't learn math later. I am so very glad that you've broken free of that. Especially because I believe that discalculia will be of less and less import as you get into higher maths.

A large portion of the problem is math teachers who don't understand any math themselves. They can take you through the steps, but understanding how things work and why -- nada. The system is flawed at that deep a level.

Grrrahhhh. Stupid system. I'm going to go off and harumph to myself now.

I think in some ways its the dichotomizing thing. Where Math is the Opposite of Language.

And of course that's stupid.

They're both systems of symbols for manipulating ideas and demonstrating those ideas to other monkeys.

And hello.
"devotion to fandom" - is that what it's called? Much nicer than how I've been referring to it. ("Lizzie's batshit insanity" is maybe my nicest phrase.)

I guess I'll just load my car up with cat litter, shovels, blankets, food and water and prepare to turn around at Gettysburg. Although the forecast keeps calling for snow earlier, so maybe I won't be going after all.

And if I do get there, what are the odds that he'll be stuck somewhere in the wrong time zone or area code?

Somehow I think I've passed beyond "devotion".


I think you're fine.
That's how I subtract, if I'm reading it right. If I have to do 12-4, I count backwards to get 8, then count up four from 8 to make sure the answer is 12.

It's probably needless to say that I am not the master of quick mathmatics.
But that IS fine! That IS how you subtract. You "take away" four. In other words, count back four spaces (if you were in a game of Candy Land, go back four spaces, inclusive.) So you are right!

Think of multiplication as a shortcut to repeated addition. Maybe matociquala could use the algebra tiles to visualize stuff like 2x3? two tiles on the rows, three tiles on the columns . . . then rotate that, and it's 3x2. Perhaps the number facts would come to mind more easily if visualized like pips on a die (side of a dice? Whatever it is.)

And you can try this at home, as I am an Official Math Educator in the state of Texas. *ha*

You know the rules about nines? Adding nine to any single-digit integer, you don't have to even count. 9+2 = 11, 9+3=12, 9+4=13 . . . see a pattern? So just put a 1 in front of one less than the digit you are adding a nine to, and you have it. No adding required! Multiplying by nine has a similar tricky-tricky, but it's a little weird.

Um . . . this is getting Asperger's-ish, so I'll shut up.
the audience response lines have worn the same grooves in my brain too, Bear.
It's a sickness. *g*
In the very-accelerated math class I took in college (mistake, but one I might have recovered from, given more maturity), we did... calculus. Really involved calculus. Rather than having three semesters, with the third being 'apply what you know to multiple dimensions', it was 'here's how to do calculus with numbers in every single dimension! Whee!' It helped a fair amount-- since it was definitions and proofs, the beginning was easier to understand. A number is a point. More dimensions means more components to the number. Then lines and integrals, and then... then I lagged behind and never really caught up. I passed by the grace of Dr Drici, may she be ever blessed and never suffer another student like me.


I love you just for listening to Body Bag by No Means No. That album is awesome. Didn't like much else of theirs, but that song is teh daddy!

(Okay, back to fending off the sting of Asimov's rejection letter by writing some other skiffy)

Re: *G*

Yes. I love that song. I am only marginally acquainted with their ouvre, but...

and I have something like 350 rejections. It's a badge of honor, man.

Someday, when I have a guest bathroom, I'm wallpapering it in rejections.

And then I'm hanging up my cheeseboards over the top.
I think you are a brilliant writer and I really enjoy your comments on my Criminal Minds blog. Jill :)
Your blog is a HABIT. It's crack.

Just saying. *g*

And thank you for the flattery.

I'm supposed to be snowed in tomorrow, and I had a really terrible day (which I am blogging now), but I will send pens Saturday, I hope, priority mail, and maybe they will get there in time!