oh my math

(written 2012)

a look into my crazy head. a daily occurrence, for at least the last four-ish years.

oh my.
so a recap, and ongoing playing out in my head.. this replay.. replay… replay.
can’t seem to understand why it’s screaming at me.. while most keep joining in.
random connections in my head:

  • saturday, hans rosling tweets about the latest stats on suicide… one every 40 seconds globally
  • today a tweet with a link to a brief history of american k-12 math
  • math prof (@mathematicsprof)

    9/13/12 6:38 AM
    A History of K-12 Math Education in the U.S. –> goo.gl/t3kk7 #math,#education

    convo on how to teach… content that most won’t use.. cause of detesting school an d self..perhaps worst war ever  (my words)

    from paper:

    Kilpatrick rejected the notion that the study of mathematics contributed to mental discipline. His view was that subjects should be taught to students based on their direct practical value, or if students independently wanted to learn those subjects. This point of view toward education comported well with the pedagogical methods endorsed by progressive education. Limiting education primarily

  • Palo Alto School District parents are sufficiently discontented with the district’s math performance that in massive numbers they are resorting to outside math tutoring programs. Forty-eight percent of parents report providing outside help in math for their children (in the middle schools, this number rises to 63 percent). The math-basics group HOLD’s own informal survey of the best-known commercial math programs shows that Palo Alto parents are spending at least $1 million a year for math tutoring.77
  • ongoing conversations with Paul and Hamza about peace for children et al in uganda – they’ve worked with 100ish youth, rescued from the streets, Paul says he needs money and resources to send these kids to school, i ask why? to teach them.. math, so they will feel/be successful
  • carol black’s, schooling the world is a constant replay.. hearing her words.. getting this right in america is so important, because the world does copy us
  • last year, a 40 yr old comes into the be you house.. says to me: they told me you could help me get a ged. i ask her: why do you want it? she replies: they told me – then i would be educated.
  • research is all around if you look for it … but locally, kids dropping out of hs can be traced back to poor results in math in early grades. not because of any falling out in school math capabilities per se.. but because of the shame that ensues/permeates all other areas of a person.
  • as a math teacher of 20 yrs.. my requests for individual’s math history, always included: and then in ___ (early) grade, i started hating math
  • watching a girl, maybe 6 or 7 walk to school today.. couldn’t get her to smile, she was so upset, that face
  • yong zhao – high math scores on pisa (one of the tests we use to compare countries) seem to relate to low creativity, entrepreneurshihp and happiness
  • kids feeling value or not, according to how well they are doing on things that we spend crazy amounts of our time and money arguing over, but that most of us will never use

i could go on..

biggest push backs… in the whole curriculum-ish debate:

  • what about the basics… and that usually means math…

many of us don’t realize/believe that learning and life are non-linear. the book, printed page, was huge… but it got us thinking linear.
if life/learning were linear.. a pyramid would be a suitable model.. and a foundation/basics/prereqs/common core would make sense

if it’s not linear, if it’s a networked mess, a rhizomatic root is a much more suitable model. no foundation. start anywhere, follow it anywhere… everywhere… every node appears connected to every node..

so comparing:

and then

  • people say..if i were going into surgery, i would want my dr to have a degree….and to have gone through all the right procedures to become a dr

many of us don’t pay attention to the malpractice stats… at least not in this regard. or that we don’t need more dr’s, many are out of jobs just now. or that more dr’s are going into more holistic approaches to healing. or that many dr’s are not happy or are switching fields. just like many other professions, esp ones that we seem to hold in higher esteem, tout as being more successful because they make more money or do nobler things, we forget plato’s words – that if it doesn’t come from inside.. it doesn’t stick. many of us end up in fields/work because we were pleasing others, we were living out others’ wishes/dreams. and because of the procedures we have to, for example, become a dr, many get so caught up in making the grade… (along with all the other things that keep us busy in life) that it gets very easy to forget about the people. not to mention, well – to also mention, imagine if all these courses to become say a dr, were filled with only the ones bleeding to become a dr.. truly.. or imagine they are more hands on. as is.. we have a regimen to get everyone on that path, so our courses/spaces are filled with a bunch of people not choosing to be there, so, much of our time is spent on things like classroom management, motivation,.. rather than say, what people who have found their passion, would be spending that time/money/resource.

so – i guess i’m saying.. if i were going into surgery – i’d rather i was first of all in the right room for the right reason, but also that the person working on me had gained his wisdom most of all from experience and love of healing and of people, rather than the degrees on his wall.

the latest calculated degree of separation i’ve seen.. 4.47 – perhaps it’s closer to pi.. 3.14 ish... the furthest distance, [ie: in a circle (which has a neat tidy shape so this isn’t even there, just better visual for this than a pyramid) the diameter] is a most 3 ish times away. or perhaps… the limit goes to one.. the more we mesh it up.. the more we do start anywhere.

can you imagine the time we would free up, the resources we would free up, the people we would free up,

if we didn’t depend on this supposed foundation, and all the ridiculous amount of policy/protection/credentialing/funding/time/people that we spend on perpetuating it.

maybe we focus more on these numbers::

one every 40 seconds..

aren’t we curious about addressing that battle/war…. loss
at it’s core.

this is a people agenda.
setting people free..

my hunch.. people will be falling in love with mathematical thinking… [fractals, exponentiation, limits, as they naturally show up in life.. not as a mandate at a certain age level… the resulting test score to validate your ability to think/be as a person]
just as we’ve experienced kids in the lab who thought they hated reading.. falling in love with the printed word…  with communication… with learning.

choice makes a huge difference.
debate is killing us. (of math and men ness)
let’s each choose (good bye cycle ness) how to spend our days.. right now. no?

you come too.


reading Taleb‘s black swan.. (timing is crazy. all the time. way late to the ball game. yet at the perfect time.)

Galileo, otherwise a debunker of falsehoods, wrote the following: The great book of Nature lies ever open before our eyes and the true philosophy is written in it. … But we cannot read it unless we have first learned the language and the characters in which it is written. … It is written in mathematical language and the characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures. Was Galileo legally blind? Even the great Galileo, with all his alleged independence of mind, was not capable of taking a clean look at Mother Nature. I am confident that he had windows in his house and that he ventured outside from time to time: he should have known that triangles are not easily found in nature. We are so easily brainwashed.

oh my math. esp compulsory school math (which has so much pisa-ristical power), is the essence of regime men ship. the (mostly) invisible poison of our natural/authentic/ever-sustaining energy – curiosity. et al. it sophisticatedly keeps us mindless. and so renders us compliant. orderly.



essentially basic



oh my math

what is essentially basic?

might we redefine nclb?



language as control/enclosure



so x-d glasses ish – saying we finally see ourselves.. the cycles we’ve been going through.. so now that we see ourselves.. let’s do it better.. rather than – what’s essential/possible now. [ie: today we can facilitate 7 billion people following their whimsy – where essentials show up for just in time learning] it’s like we finally are seeing an instant replay of 1980.. and we want to try to make the play more efficient. the problem: school? or is it our definition/assumption of success.

problem: assuming 7 billion people need to know this. in whatever method.
essential should mean it will show up. and just in time learning is the kind that sticks/makes sense.
learning how to learn.
comes from following whimsy. figuring out what to do when you don’t know what to do. over and over.
we’re disgracing many things (mathematics included) – and forgoing humanity, things that matter, in the process..
because rather than questioning the need for 7 bill people to know this stuff.. we’re just assuming and working toward efficiency of that..


Math homework: “It demolishes your spirit. You become lazy.” No, we must do better w Community College  http://t.co/j4R2BoZ6ZI #FuturesEd

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/CathyNDavidson/status/518476042025979905


tweet from vinay about same 44 min read article

@leashless: Gupta #Longreads crew medium.com/humanizing-the… there’s fifteen years of wisdom crammed into this thing, and it’s a fundamental analysis about how to fix industrial capitalism using the #blockchain. Read, analyze, process, promulgate. We need new thinking on the global situation.

‘protection from misinfo regarding the things they buy’ not deep enough

‘new thinking on the global situation’: money (any form of measuring/accounting) our planned obsolescence.. ie: ubi as temp placebo..

@leashless: money as planned obsolescence? I don’t understand.

ie: ubi as a temporary placebo.. to free people up enough to not think about money/measuring.. so we can realize we don’t need it.. in fact.. that it (money/measuring) is poisoning us

@leashless: I’ve got nine billion people to feed, and finite land. I need to do math to make this work…

perhaps.. and perhaps that’s what keeps getting in the way.. i’m thinking that doing the math.. is what’s gotten us to where we are now

@leashless: Nobody doing the math properly got us here.

admire your work/drive/insight.. hope you’re right.. i just think this is one major mistake we keep making over and over.. thinking math.. (rather than getting the conditions right – 7/9 b free people – and then trusting that/us) could ever fix this.. could ever be proper/legit

of math and men et al

undisturbed ecosystem et al

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


literacy and numeracy both elements of colonialism.. we need to calculate differently and stop measuring things

rai on math optimization