29 Mar 2001 
Lingering cough/cold is not fun (were you expecting something different?)  In 
an endearing show of solidarity, Livejournal is puking on me, so I thought I'd 
come here, to the people who love me best -- those who want to read something 
in an "ugly" plain old text format.  I really don't have much going on right 
now (the usual state of being for me) other than a realization that I should 
put some =useful= Markov chain stuff up on the site, since so many people end 
up here using some search with the word "Markov" in it.  At the very least, I 
should expand my links. 
Since people are already arriving here on the following search terms, it 
couldn't hurt if they hit this page as well: 
high heel naked woman 
wear glasses wedding 
dangerous eye pics 
calculate sin 
yellow teeth because lack of enamel 
all her teeth capped 
squid dance 
saw her having a pee 
Markov chain sex stories 
viagra signalling pathway 
pictures of plutonium 
how to make a hakoo 
magical markov 
Oh lord, I am so silly.  I read "calculate sin" as well, calculate sin.  As 
opposed to =sine= which is what I think the person meant.  Which reminds me of 
one of the more egregious examples of math cluelessness I came across in a 
Calculus class (remember, people in Calculus have to show =some= understanding 
of precalc...): 
-----   = (well, let's just cancel out the x's) sin 
sin, indeed. 
What saddens me is that I really don't see mathematical understanding 
improving beyond the idea that math is symbolic manipulation.  Truthfully, I 
wouldn't mind this as long as the manipulations are being done 
=correctly=.  Still, people keep thinking that adding these fancy-schmancy 
calculators and the idea of math as problem-solving will improve the 
situation.  All that does is add =more= manipulations the students have to 
learn -- as for problem-solving, students will still see the math part of the 
problem as taking all the data one is given and manipulating it willy-nilly. 
What makes these ponderings even sadder to me is that one of the sources of 
the joy of mathematical play has disappeared; I am referring to the 
Mathematical Recreations column in Scientific American - where Martin Gardner 
amused thousands (and others helped along the way, as well, but Gardner was 
the true genius of the column).  This was math as a mental plaything, and I'm 
not talking about stupid "Think of a number.  Add two...." kind of "math 
tricks".  I'm talking about matchbox game-learning machines, thoughts on 
minimalist and topologically interesting sculpture, patterns in music, curves 
that can "roll", the handedness of the universe, and on and on and on.  The 
April 2001 issue of Scientific American has, in the place of this pondersome 
column, a silly arithmetic puzzle involving balancing a very particular set of 
weights on a 2-fulcrum see-saw.  No question as to whether the problem is 
always solvable; no question as to how the distance between the fulcrums 
affect the answer (obviously, the farther apart the fulcrums, the more stable 
the situation).  No question as to why one might be considering such a 
balancing problem.  Argh!  Give me the generating function for bowling scores 
any day of the week over this snoozer! 
I found a site that has the Paint by Numbers puzzles - it's from the magazine 
that originated that fiendish logic puzzle in Japan.  I still wish I could get 
further books of the large puzzles like I found in Japan, but I couldn't find 
them in KinoKuniya book store here in Manhattan, and I really don't know how 
to find the damn things.  Perhaps Amazon.com or bn.com have Japanese 
sites.  Still, what would the thing be called?  The ones from Japan I have are 
Illusto-Logic.  Still, would I have to look it up in katakana or 
romaji?  I find it interesting that the puzzles I found (and still find) in 
Japan are larger and more difficult than the ones sold in America.  For crying 
out loud, the U.S. is a larger country!  Surely we have more people interested 
in hard puzzles! 
For some reason, I've been thinking about tombs.  It's probably because of 
where I had stopped in reading Inferno.  I really need a good annotated 
version of it, because of all the damned political references.   
Well, this is certainly long enough for saying nothing. 
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