Math: not for dummies

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, March 12, 2011


Most simpletons hate math. And it would be rather easy to say it’s because they’re stupid, and only the people who are smart can figure out where in the realm of logic is x hiding. But such a pretentious answer is not wrong based on its political correctness, but rather because of the complexity of math, society and education.

The way I think it works is this: there are some problems in our daily lives, that for practical purposes, we’ve developed a universal system of logic to crack and systematize them. That’s math, a way to use universal algorithms to solve problems that happen in reality. This last part might be the source of many of the problems we have with math in education.

Lately I’ve been following the critical views upon the present education systems, which are mostly post-industrial time instructions on how to become a reservoir of information and systematized techniques to deal with professional problems. While this is alright for an only-industrialized society, we need to leave limitless production aside and think again about innovation. We need to stop making out of education a process of information transference, and figure out how to make this information into knowledge and creativity.

What does any of this has to do with people being bad at math? Well, the way I see things, most people who hate math and see it as a complicated set of abstract complications, do so because they forget that like other sciences, math is just a way in which we describe the universe. And this disarticulation of subject-science-reality is the source of many of the educational troubles with math and science in general: kids don’t see how reality really relates with knowledge.

Now, I’m not saying simpletons are the only ones unaware of this, many other nerds just love the abstractions without realizing this either. Like everything human made, math is an intersubjective construction made by people, who learn from people and ultimately produce for people. It’s not like math came from a magic meteor who gave some people the ability to add and count. Science is made by us to describe the exterior, and as it is made by subjects it is easily flawed and biased, but our most accurately way to describe the world.

What I think education should be doing is not making kids memorize the multiples of the digits, but rather helping them realize that math is a tool we use to solve every day problems which will come up one way or the other. Not just make students repeat hundreds of multiplications, but encourage them to design logical systems that can make life easier. Techniques are important, I’m not saying they aren’t, but we should rather focus more on the concept abstraction.

By this point, a part of you must be saying: this is engineering bullshit that’s just worried about the purpose of things and how to apply them into a practical and real use. And sure, apparently under these arguments, there would be no reason for Amy, a future psychology major to learn trigonometry and function series. But my point is not really to solve the when-will-I-ever-use-this thing, rather to remind people about the science-reality relation.

So Amy is not likely to use trigonometry (unless doing vectorial personality analysis), but science is about describing the world, and if in doing so we find practical uses, great! But the main purpose is more for leisure than practical use. Science is about the beauty of being able to describe the complexities of the universe, the uncertain forces involved in holding together a quark and making us able to perceive colors. It is the excitement of knowing we possess tools to communicate with the universe, however noisy the transmissions are.

Math is not a compendium of computerized process we insert in education in order to prepare proficient workers. It is a human construction of logic algorithms which describes reality in a very organized manner, and we need it for everyday tasks, but it is also another field to develop curiosity and encourage creativity. And formal education should make this distinction so everyone is aware that missing out on mathematics is not just failing a course, it is failing to perceive the beauty of the universe.

The new tyrants

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2011


I've been searching for this quote some time

This is precisely what I've been meaning to say all along. Adults, shut the fuck up.
You keep complaining about the new generations, but please, please notice youth will always pose a thread or trouble or criticism to the existing systems. They will always be seen as ungreatful bitches, because that's what we all are. Unless there's a strong, violent authority the youth will always be fucked up, crazed with decadence and vaine.

But please don't think I'm siding with the view that being young and beautiful is an overrated idol. It is the fucking greatest thing to be. What I mean is this:

Yes, it's fucked up. Yes, it's not very promising. But think for a second, who the hell raised this new generation. Aham. Stop bitching.

within me

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Cuando y sin

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2011


Cuando la luz es de neon
y tus ojos se enervan;
haces arte por rutina
y piensas en palabras
en vez de sentires.

Cuando besas por besar
sin una caldera en el vientre
ni sueño cursi en el dorso.
Gimes sin cesar
cual murmullo de una puta triste.

Cuando tus ecos son roncos
planos y sin respuesta,
te prestas y encuentras
cual sauce sin raíces.
Sales de aquello, te alejas de esto
notas vacías.

Cuando me miras sin verme
y me necesitas, me alejas
, no te acuerdas de la ultima
y dejaste de soñar con la primera.
¿Que no nos gustaba hasta que doliera?

Miguel y cursilerias

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Friday, March 04, 2011


Apreciadísima Doña Papalote, ongelded y otros lectores, no sabría bien como explicar esto, pero esta canción no deja mi mente.


Hay corazones que intentan poesía,
el mio ni harto de amor te diría,
que no concibe belleza de Luna sin ti

Forgive them sister, they don't know what they were doing, using papyrus

Of masks and people, again

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Dearest Mrs. K.

For some time now I had been thinking about it. You just put concrete words to it, and for that, I think it is true that we will be together for centuries to come.

Life's a little too complex to play just one role, and very ridiculous to pretend we're not on a stage. What greater joy is there than to play characters you like in a premade stage where your own script goes on?

Isn't the great perhaps the adaptation of old characters to a completely new scene?
Aren't the greatest revelations when you inadvertedly start mixing characters and you begin to see the strings that hold them all together?

For all I care right now, true friendship, true love, and true anything is when you get to realize, along with another performer, how ridiculous it all is. When you get to show each other's masks and play with them in the moonlight.


Posted by Mrs. Kite | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Though my basic education was (i believe) very good, and I don't feel like a particular ignorant person (in the traditional sense the word ignorant is used). Nevertheless, there are tons of gaps, specially in humanities, which I would very much like to fill. I've never dedicated enough time to it, and although I would like someday to take classes on art history, music history, politics, etc. The real thing is that I'm in a Science school, and it's not as if these classes are available in classroom next door. So, without abandoning that ambition, I might well start with my beloved Internet.
I'll start by doing a series of posts about Music History, and we'll see how it goes. Perhaps afterwards I'll do one about Art.
So, yes... this is somehow the intro to the series. And with any good intro, comes a good disclaimer:

-I am not an expert on any subject.
-I am not a reliable source.
-The sources I use might or not be reliable, I'll try to use reliable sources, but you better check them yourself. At the moment I don't have any great book on the subject, (I might go to my beloved Central Library for one someday) so, basically, check my sources. DEAR INTERNET PEOPLE, AS MUCH AS I LOVE THE INTERNET, PLEASE, PLEASE, BE AWARE OF THIS ALWAYS.
-Please let me know if you don't agree with something, I'm just learning about the subject.