Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Q&A - 21/9


The U.S. Justice Department proposed that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion to settle a set of high-profile mortgage-securities probes [..]


This is a tit-for-tat response to the EU ruling on Apple, on its decision that Apple owed taxes to Ireland in $14.5 billion and needs to pay up. Even the amounts in question are comically similar.

Oddly enough the US/UK media did not see things this way. If they can't connect these two obvious dots, what are they good for?


[Paraphasing] News media should offer commentary on events more


The news media is obsessed in trying to give two sides of an issue; but on the factual side of things, not on the commentary. The problem with that approach is raw data / factual info is easy to come by, it's all over the Internet, then the viewer gets nothing by this "two-sided coverage". Quality commentary is rare, and that is precisely what is excluded from mainstream media.


Why are there so many attacks in the world?

State Arm Wrestling, or Lack of Democracy

Sometimes state actors try to give eachother messages through attacks. US bombs Assad, Russia engineers an attack in US (maybe some of the lone wolf stuff is due to them), or attack another target in Syria. Then maybe US will do something else. On and on.. This sort of tit-for-tat attack is on the rise. Too much underhanded shit is going on.. A lot of the recent events in Germany might be connected to Russia as well..

Second source of attacks is lack of democracy; Thai opposition is excluded from governance, they attack. Kurdish opposition is excluded, democracy, a sense of equality loses ground in Turkey, there will be terrorist attacks triggered by PKK. There is no point in getting into a "condemnation game", if ppl are rubbed off the wrong way for too long, something will happen. Noone wants that thing to happen, but it does. The trick is not being stupid about it, on the side of the rulers, avoiding that which causes people to be rubbed off the wrong way.


Math is hard

Not So, Compared to What It Makes Possible

I wish the education system did a better job as presenting mathematics as a tool that allows you to model, predict, and engineer things rather than an end of itself. There is no need for endless practice on how to take an integral, how to take a derivative (math as its own goal), as rote. The connection between data and the model, various ways of fitting to data must be shown. Approximation, computation at each stage must be part of curriculum. It's pointless to simply show Newton's Laws with stories of an apple falling on Newton's head - students need to drop an apple themselves, measure its fall, and fit the model to compute the gravitational constant g. How did Newton derive those equations? What did this model improve?

Math does bookkeeping for us: follow its simple rules, it keeps track of everything, it'll remember the correct signs, the relative quantity at the right precision of variables. It won't forget, it won't let it slip. It is a multiplier, a catalyst, an enabler.

A regular teacher might not be able to show these, fine. An expert researcher / educator can record them and share them online. No need for classroom teachers.

Yes, some can and do get into hairy math, but maybe that is a sign of unnecessary and / or "non-elegant" work.

At the same time, also yes, math is not for everyone.