Re: A train traveling at 40 mph is train traveling at 40 mph is a train traveling at 40 mph.

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I was also taught with a book of tables. Imagine that. How do we stack up in the epic recitations?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:08 AM
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I think the major difference is Americans wouldn't say "the workings out".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:16 AM
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2 is an important cultural distinction. What would Americans say?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:18 AM
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Also in America a VAT is something you use to DISSOLVE a BODY.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:18 AM
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Chris Y didn't explain, but these aren't the final maths exams one would do in high school. 'A' level maths is much harder. However, not everyone does Maths to 'A' level.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:20 AM
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The wording of the last question is intriguing. I usually see that phrased as something like "Solve for c" (or, deprecatedly, "Find c"). Calling c the "subject" could be helpful for more language-minded students who are interpreting the equals sign as a copula.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:20 AM
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I gather the Americans do poorly in the part told by Menelaus.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:21 AM
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3: Just "work", as in "Show your work."

I think everything except the trigonometry question was covered in my classes by 7th grade, which corresponds to ~13 years old. Probability may have been 8th grade. These were "advanced program" classes but that meant something like, I don't know, upper quartile of students at my perfectly ordinary suburban middle school? The regular classes were about a year behind. So it does basically seem like junior high level math instead of high school, to me. (My high school was unusual enough to invalidate any use of my experience there for this sort of comparison, but I don't think middle school was.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:23 AM
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5: Right. You only need them to be a fully qualified wizard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:24 AM
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Actually I'm not sure what the best way to convert the BBC's sentence to USian would be. "Work" in that context is a bit hard to parse when not in the sentence "show your work". Scratch-work? Is that regional?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:26 AM
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The Scottish 'Higher' maths paper is here:

http://www.sqa.org.uk/pastpapers/papers/papers/2013/H_Mathematics_all_2013.pdf

Higher maths is done at 16 or 17, and I think a majority of academically able students would do it. Kids who were planning to do sciences or maths at university would normally do the Advanced Higher:

http://www.sqa.org.uk/pastpapers/papers/papers/2013/AH_Mathematics_all_2013.pdf

N.B. the Scottish system isn't the same as the English system that Chris is talking about.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:27 AM
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The Advanced Higher would be done at 17 or 18, fwiw. After the Higher, not as an alternative to it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:27 AM
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11: Yeah, those look much more like high school math to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:31 AM
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10: Hmm. "Scratch-work" to me sounds like it implies you're not going to show it to anyone; it's the scribbles you would write down if you're not trying to write out the explanation in a readable way. But I see what you mean about just "work" sounding not quite idiomatic. Maybe we would just say "The solutions are in a PDF below"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:32 AM
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I believe, although I didn't do it, that the English 'A' level is at approximately the same level as the Advanced Higher paper linked above.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:33 AM
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The Advanced Higher is slightly harder than what I did in my last year of high school when I was 17. Specifically, I don't recall learning induction, the Euclidean algorithm, some of the fancier trig integrals, the word "singular" (although I knew about invertibility), infinite series, and any but separable diffeqs until university. And that's in the AP track; not that we couldn't have learned them, but there was only so much time and my school was more concerned with producing future engineers than future mathematicians.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:36 AM
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The standards seem similar to what I remember, although state standards exams were generally easier than routine coursework. I think this seems like it would generate about a 65-70% pass rate (using the scoring system that 4/7 = pass) for 15/16 year olds at my sad, sad high school. I think four years of high school math was required, but you could take a sequence of pre-algebra, algebra I, geometry, and algebra II. (Or, if you were off the regular academic track and on a vocational track, you could take things about making budgets for a household in your senior year.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:39 AM
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I was wondering if the trig was supposed to be done with a calculator (or table), or if I was supposed to be clever about the angle being close to one of the standard angles and over or under the cosine of that, taking advantage of the multiple-choice quality.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:51 AM
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Typical Scottish system [I think it's still basically the same as when I did it], is: basically everyone does 4 years of Maths and then sits the Standard grade exams. The more academically able students then do a 5th year of maths and do the Higher. Those intended to progress into university where maths might be required would do a 6th year of maths and do the Advanced. High school is a minimum of 4 years, but usually 5 or 6.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:51 AM
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18: And ignore the deceptively drawn diagram.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:53 AM
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Python's trig functions all expect radian input and it took me longer than I'm comfortable with to convert 72 degrees into radians.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:08 AM
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Wolfram alpha could parse 3.4*cos(72 deg).


Posted by: Dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:10 AM
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses Python as a calculator. (Why do kids these days still use calculators as separate devices from computers?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:12 AM
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Because calculators are specifically designed to not have any communications software so that they can be used in exams.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:14 AM
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I haven't used trig since I worked as a carpenter's laborer. I use lots of algebra and my ability to wave my hands at calculus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:15 AM
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24: I guess that's fair, but it seems weird to structure pedagogy around exams to the extent that you require kids to buy $100 pieces of special-purpose hardware that have less computing capability than their cell phones.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:16 AM
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24: My calculator's designer accomplished that easily because it was built in 1986 or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:19 AM
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26: It seems less weird, but not particularly more efficient, if you remember that the pedagogy is being designed by people who were trained when computers were far too large and expensive for every student to have one at his or her desk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:23 AM
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Huh those were way easier than I'd anticipated (I wasn't expecting to be able to do the problems). I'd agree with Essear that this was basically standard junior high math, even though when I read his comment I was prepared to be all like "maybe in genius school fuckface."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:38 AM
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It seems weird, but I'm not sure there are any realistic options other than no computing at all, or making people spend $100 to get a computer designed for exam situations. Did you have another possibility in mind?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:46 AM
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No computing at all really seems reasonable to me for exams. Paper trig tables are cheaper than calculators.

Other than trig functions, what does it make sense to test in secondary school math that requires a calculator? (If you put the same effort every teacher did before calculators existed into making the arithmetic not too burdensome.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:05 PM
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I guess there's the question of whether the schools can afford other computing options-- there might be classrooms where most students have a laptop or other computer access. So on the teaching end, I'm not sure. I know at the school where my mom works, there's a lot of money earmarked for "classroom technology" that mostly ends up buying things that never get used because the teachers don't really have a need for it.

On the exam end, I don't see what's so unreasonable about designing an exam where calculators aren't needed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:05 PM
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I could imagine a system where there was say a standard python interpreter that worked on several systems, and outside of exams people just used that on their own computers/phones, but in exams people used specially modified smartphones owned by the school which only ran one app.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:05 PM
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I also prefer exams with no computing, but I can certainly see why people would disagree (it's pretty unrealistic).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:08 PM
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I don't see what the big deal with the calculator is. In terms of cost and training time, they're about as hard to operate as a mechanical pencil.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:09 PM
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You mean unrealistic because in real life people do math with calculators?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:10 PM
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That doesn't seem like a different sort of failure of realism than that in real life, if you don't know how to do something, you ask someone who does, but tests prohibit that as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:11 PM
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35 is thinking of your basic scientific calculator. The costly graphing calculators are a different matter because of the absurd cost.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:23 PM
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20: I started doing the test and boy is that graph ever misleading.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:25 PM
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I mean diagram, not graph.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:28 PM
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37: But in real life if you have to ask people's help all the time you'll get fired, whereas if you have to use a computer no one will care.

Not being able to look things up is unrealistic, but you could put text only wikipedia locally on the smart phone too.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 12:51 PM
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22: As does Google, which I use as my calculator.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:01 PM
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Essear, what grade levels does your mom teach? (You don't actually have to answer, obvs.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:07 PM
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69th!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:15 PM
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43: She doesn't teach, she's part of the office staff.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:21 PM
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41: That's not entirely the case. Having to look up things "all the time" would make you unemployable just as easily as if you had to ask somebody else all the time. You'd just do a lot more damage before anybody noticed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:28 PM
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45: Gotcha. I'm much more interested in school funding issues now that it's part of my job for the girls' school to codify how much we can do with so little.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:36 PM
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All right moral philosophers, say one's religion requires peace and nonviolence. What is the evil/sinfulness level rating on hoping that some nearby cholos put a beat down on two yelling Masshole fans in the row above? Assume for purposes of philosophical debate that there are many children under 10 nearby.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:42 PM
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I guess I answered my own question.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 1:49 PM
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48: Look it up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:07 PM
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Without reading the comments, those are not from an exam, they're from the bbc revision site. They're possibly C grade questions, maybe the cosine one and the change the subject of the formula one (which is a really oddly-worded question) are grade B level. But, grade C is all you need for it to count as a pass and for you to say you have a maths GCSE, and that is as far as many people get (although the numbers taking maths A level are rising). Most people will have done most of those topics before they actually start on the GCSE course, so by the time they are 14. Lots will spend the next two years revising them. Lots will carry on and do Pythagoras, vectors, surds and more by the time they are 16 and will get A* (a pass ids C, B, A or A* because just a normal A became not good enough!) in their GCSE (like my girls just did, brag brag - kid B got about 98.5% overall).

Try looking at www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse10/maths/maths-a/Pages/default.aspx and click on Question Papers if you want to know what people might actually do in an exam.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:11 PM
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Hmm. I spend like 40% of my working life looking things up (that is, doing research). It might actually be more.

Is this unusual? I mean, do most working adults go with what they know what they finish their schooling? Are they "done" (as it were) when they walk across that stage to get their degree?

Because, wow, I wasn't. Am not. May never be.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:14 PM
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I mean, do most working adults go with what they know what they finish their schooling? Are they "done" (as it were) when they walk across that stage to get their degree?

No.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:17 PM
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Having read the comments - $100 for a calculator? You can get one for a tenner which will take you through GCSE and A level. My eldest had been suggested by school to get a graphical calculator for sixth form. I told her I'm not buying one.

At both GCSE and A level there are calculator and non-calculator papers.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:18 PM
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Ttam, Higher looks like AS maths (exam done at usually 17, for the non-English) and Advanced Higher like A2 (at 18), with some things e.g. imaginary numbers which only come in the Further Maths A level syllabus.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:25 PM
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But in real life if you have to ask people's help all the time you'll get fired

Really? Some of the people I work with do almost nothing but ask other people for help.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:29 PM
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I told her I'm not buying one.

They were required in all of my high school math classes. We had whole lectures devoted to how to use them.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:31 PM
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And now that I think about it, the third-semester calculus class I took at the local university when I was in high school required us to learn Maple and do some programming projects in it, which were really pretty irrelevant for the actual course material.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:31 PM
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Well, there's certainly nothing in the first year of A level maths that needs a graphical calculator. There's stuff you could do quicker with one, but it's not difficult to actually just do it, and I think it's better at that point in life to learn properly and well how to do things, rather than learn how to press some buttons and get an answer, which doesn't seem like maths to me. She can buy her own if she feels the need.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:42 PM
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re: 55

That's how they are usually compared, yeah. When I did them the Advanced Higher was called the CSYS [Certificate of Sixth Year Studies, iirc] and was supposed to be equivalent to the A-level, although exceeded it on some papers/topics [at the time you did multiple CSYS Maths papers]. Higher was supposed to be equivalent to part of the A level, but not the most advanced parts. So similar to the AS, which didn't exist at the time.

It varied a bit. I have friends who did both A levels and Highers [in other subjects] who said that the supposed extra difficulty of the A level [2 years, rather than 1] was over-stated. And that in the humanities type subjects, there was little difference.

Bearing in mind that because of differences in the Scottish school year and timings, quite a few kids actually do the Higher at 16. I did.

But apparently [so I was told when I did 1st year maths at Edinburgh university] the differences are real between Higher and A-level maths. We were told we were at a distinct disadvantage if we'd done Higher but not CSYS, over those who'd done A-levels.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:43 PM
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(I don't know the second year syllabus so well, but I will soon ...)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:44 PM
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I'd guess you get more breadth, just from having longer?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:46 PM
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Sort of humbebragging data point, I got really high marks for Higher maths. I think 95%, or something like that [I'd gotten 98 or 99 at 'O' grade]. Which put me among the top couple of percent or higher in the country. But I really struggled with the 1st year university Maths because there was stuff that I had only just touched on, but which I was expected to know in depth.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:47 PM
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re: 62

Yeah, possibly. I think subjects that rely on accumulated knowledge and methods, like maths or some of the sciences, the extra year over the Higher would really tell. Others, not so much. I certainly never felt [unlike per 63] at any disadvantage at Uni in non-Maths subjects, as I went to Uni at 16 and skipped CSYS [or Advanced Highers as they are now].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:48 PM
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We didn't get our marks when I did my exams, and I find it weirdly fascinating now that you get your marks for every unit/paper. I'm not sure it's a good thing, lol, but it is interesting.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:50 PM
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I don't think we routinely got them. I don't know what I got for English, for example [other than A, B, C, etc.]. But I was given percentage marks for my Maths and Arithmetic 'O' Grades [separate exams at the time], and my Higher. Perhaps the teacher got them via some report, and then chose to feed them back to us?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:53 PM
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Another humblebrag/embarrassing story. When we did our prelims (mocks, in England, I think) for 'O' grade Arithmetic, I did the exam in literally about 10 minutes. And then sat twiddling my thumbs until the first half hour had passed and I could leave.

The teacher invigilating then chased me down outside where I was waiting for my friends, a bit later on, when she'd realised I'd not read the instruction to 'turn over' on the exam paper, and had only done half of it. She let me come back in to the hall, and finish it. I got a really high mark, but it'd have been embarrassing as hell to have gotten 50% because I'd only done half the exam.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 2:57 PM
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62: Yes. Laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:01 PM
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67.2: I have done this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:04 PM
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I think the stupidest thing I ever did on a standardized test was making an off-by-one mistake on bubbling in answers on a multiple-choice test and not realizing it until near the end, so I had to frantically erase and re-bubble all the answers and ended up with a page full of streaks and smudges. I was expecting it would scan incorrectly and I'd get a horrible score, but IIRC it didn't turn out very badly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:06 PM
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A proper bragging/show-off but stupid one. We had a formal logic exam at, I think, the end of 3rd year at university. It was a prerequisite for entry to the final year of Honours. It was a take-home exam, so they gave the paper out a week or so before it was due in. It was a couple of pages of proofs you had to do, a mixture of propositional and predicate calculus stuff. I don't think there was anything metalogical, or any other logics (modal, etc).

Being an idiot, I forgot about doing it, and then woke up with a start on the day it was due in, realising I hadn't done it. It was 8:15am, and the exam was due in at 9. So I did it in 25 minutes and ran the mile or so to university to hand it in. I got the highest mark in the year [they posted the results publicly]. I don't think I told my friend who struggled to pass just quite how I'd done it until a while later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:21 PM
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71: I think you've told that story before, somewhere in the archives. But it is a story worth telling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:29 PM
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Yeah, I think I have. Humblebragging.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:38 PM
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Gah, missed the link off. Never mind.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 3:41 PM
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Excellent humblebrag, though. Sound mind, sound body, sound sleeper.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 4:38 PM
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OMG I did a trig problem correctly. I haven't thought about trig in 24 years! Aright, weirdly happy about this.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:36 PM
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Smearcase, I suspect that Ross Perot was right that you are much better at symbolic manipulations than most people.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 5:53 PM
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So this is a bragging thread?

I had a surprise essay test in an English class in high school. The teacher said that if you hadn't read the short story, just write that you hadn't read it and take your F. So I wrote that. A few minutes later she said it was open book. We still had something like 40 minutes left so I took out the book, read the story and wrote the essay. When she handed the essays back, she read from mine as an example of a very good essay.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:28 PM
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Was Perot right about the ninjas who were trying to disrupt his daughter's wedding?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:47 PM
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My eleventh-grade Civics teacher always pronounced his name with a comical Texas accent, "Aitch Ross PEE-rot," which I appreciated. "Pee rot" is extra funny when you're 17.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 6:57 PM
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I did a Nat'l History Day paper (~20 pps, I think?) the night before it was due and got to the state competition. And when I went back to finish my BA, I probably did about 30 hours of concerted "studying" -- i.e. more than just reading through most of the readings once, and then scanning through them as I wrote the paper -- over the whole 3 years. Not that I would recommend this strategy to most undergraduates, but it worked out okay for me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 7:24 PM
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Oh, right, we're humblebragging. Often as a child, when directed to make my bed, I would just pull the top comforter over of the tangled-sheet mess. AND I TOTALLY GOT AWAY WITH IT.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 7:49 PM
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I used to eat the cob along with the corn when I ate corn on the cob. Whole thing.

Wait, did I do this right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 7:51 PM
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83: What, no husk? Poser.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:10 PM
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I guess not? I don't remember eating the husk. I used to eat peach pits and apple cores, too. And whole artichoke leaves.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:16 PM
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And raw rhubarb stalks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:16 PM
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True. But I do believe I repeat myself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:17 PM
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Raw rhubarb isn't that weird, though. It's pretty good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:18 PM
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I've gotten better about taking the cloth wrapper off of sausages before I eat them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:18 PM
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#humblebrag


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:19 PM
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I generally put the toilet paper on the rolly metal thing, rather than just setting it on top of the empty roll. Generally.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 8:45 PM
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I once shot a man named Zeno, just to avoid arguing if the motion of the arrow was an illusion or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 9:33 PM
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The joke's on you, Moby. The bullet never reached him.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:13 PM
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Not on-topic, but sort of vaguely in the general direction of the topic, I had thought mathematicians argued more politely and had a saner blogospheric presence than physicists, but today I stumbled across this blog. If it's actually by the person various hints in comment threads elsewhere seem to suggest it is, I'd have to reevaluate my thinking; no physicist of any stature attacks others so openly on the internet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:15 PM
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94: Your original belief is generally true. For example, there's a discussion of the very existence of the blog here at Gower's blog that's freakishly polite.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:28 PM
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95: It's really just the one guy who isn't polite, and he phrases things in polite language, but the things he's saying look pretty hostile to me. That was the thread I was reading where people seemed to drop hints about his identity as someone pretty important, if I understood them correctly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:33 PM
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At least one person, yeah.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 10:51 PM
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Gowers is a weird choice to discuss Deligne. But since Deligne is not exactly what you'd call an underappreciated genius, it doesn't seem very important.

I'm actually surprised that you don't see more of that in the math blogosphere. Math is full of people who think all but the 15% of math that they do is completely worthless, no matter how absurd. Shit, I'd rather be set on fire than study Hungarian-style combinatorics, but calling it unimportant is nutty.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:05 PM
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Let the record show that it was Moby who turned this into a math thread.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:10 PM
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What? It's an actual math thread from the OP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:16 PM
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I thought that the OP was a euphemism.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:20 PM
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How much anxiety is normal for a for year old and when do you haul them off to a therapist? I'm completely serious here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:36 PM
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Hawaii's anxiety seems to have increased dramatically in the past few weeks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-24-13 11:51 PM
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it's a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty, between you and me, because the only thing that really matters in life is set theory, because duh.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:32 AM
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105

104 to 102.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:43 AM
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N.B. I espouse this position only on the basis that my HS friend and best friend among those of my friends who have phd's in math is a set theorist. my second-favorite friend of this set of friends did algebraic topology, so I suppose I would go there for a fallback. but actually, I also always found set theory much easier to understand. additionally, my algebraic topologist friend (with whom I was a grad student at berkeley lo these many years ago) had a terrible crush on me (fine, hi everyone), was really a physically imposing person, seriously he was 6'4" (again fine, but only in principle) so that even his relative slenderness failed to render him entirely non-threatening if one were inclined to feel so, and was one of those russian mathematicians you know, about whom you think with sinking heart, 'I hope that poor fucker isn't about to have the psychotic break that will render his schizophrenia active, but he's starting to emanate waves of crazy even when engaged in so friendly a pursuit as solving chess puzzles together, which itself is as naught compared with his new tendency to have enemies' (not fine, particularly when taken in concert.)


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:52 AM
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105: quite so.
104: I'm sorry to hear that, does it take any particular form? my older daughter went through a period where she was extremely anxious, about heights, about climbing stairs, and particularly, it emerged, about 'something happening to the baby.' we sent her to talk to a child psychologist, not for very long, no drugs, just talk therapy. it actually helped a lot.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:55 AM
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103: also I'm sorry you're awake now heebie! not surprised exactly, but it's a drag.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:58 AM
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102: We had a lot of anxiety at about thai age. I tink all the new things they are supposed to do count as a new, very hard job.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 4:59 AM
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We had a lot of anxiety at about thai age.

I'm worried that I gave that kid from Bangkok a beer. Do you think I should have asked for ID?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 5:15 AM
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Let that be a lesson to you. You should just stick to Koh Phi Phi.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 5:28 AM
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does it take any particular form?

It's when she feels like she's losing control in a situation, especially if she feels like she looks babyish, and especially if there are extra people watching. Last night, she wet the bed. There was about an hour where, as Jammies put it, "I thought my daughter had killed and eaten a goat". The proximal trigger being that Jammies was changing her sheets.

I was watching her in the kitchen, hysterical, probably covered in bruises by how much she was flailing on the floor and hitting herself, saying "I'm not good enough for this family" and "I'm not perfect" among other, more standard "You're stupid I hate you all" things, and it just seemed like she must be carrying such a massive anxiety load and there's got to be a way to help her manage that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:53 AM
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112: My parents used to tell us that my sister had similar tantrums which involved flailing on the floor and general high levels of anxiety. They said that eventually they just settled on hugging her whenever that happened and telling her how much they loved her, and claimed that the attacks decreased very much in frequency and eventually disappeared entirely. OTOH, I often don't believe their retellings of my childhood memories, so this could all be completely made up (it also sounds out of character for them). I guess you could still try it, though.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:01 AM
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Aw, poor HaPu. I bet it would improve either way, but maybe faster with a professional. I have friends whose kid struggled with totally understandable but pretty severe anxiety, and it seemed to resolve pretty fast once they sent him to a therapist.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:16 AM
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Tell her that other families are even better and she'd be with them if she was perfect.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:27 AM
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The babyish anxiety is fascinating, because you had the same thing as a kid, yeah, heebert?

Anyhow, I am curious (not having siblings) if it's sibling-related?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:39 AM
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98.1: The commentator is chosen and announced before the prize winner is, so that nothing about the winner can be inferred from the choice of discussant.


Posted by: lambchop | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:01 AM
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When I was young, I felt like I got told a lot that I was the big sister, I had to be the responsible one, ect ect ect. My brother is 17 months younger than me, not really enough to make a big difference past a very young age. So when I had my children, I made a big effort not to make kid A be the one in charge and so on. (E.g.if they went to the park, I would say, make sure you all stay together, rather than, make sure you look after your sibs.)

All of which is a longwinded lead in to wondering whether prior - not necessarily you and Jammies - have been making a big deal out of HaPu being the big sister, oh you're so big new, look at the baby, blah blah. Which some kids react to by regressing and wanting to do baby things (someone was telling me the other day their 4 year old has been insisting on eating with a plastic spoon since his baby brother started being fed food) and some (er, possibly I might postulate the more type A personality ones) react to by wanting to be the biggest, most responsible, biggest big sibling that has ever lived. Any suggestion of them being babyish is a massive insult.

I think to a certain extent the whole birth order character-assumption thing is unavoidable, but I think you can try to lessen it. But even my kid A, who is a very laidback person, says it's hard being the eldest because you always have to be better than the younger ones, and be careful not to let them overtake you!

Anyway, I might be barking up the completely wrong tree.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:06 AM
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Um, prior s/b people, and feel free to edit some of the big's out of that.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:07 AM
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98.1: The commentator is chosen and announced before the prize winner is, so that nothing about the winner can be inferred from the choice of discussant.

But really, is it so important that no one be able to guess the identity of the winner?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:14 AM
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I can't seem to find the comments that make it clear who he is...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:28 AM
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I don't think there is one, just comments or a comment insinuating that the commenter(s) know his identity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:29 AM
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So, who is sowa?


Posted by: Count Fosco | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:33 AM
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Later someone addresses him as "Emmanuel".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:35 AM
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Oh, no, my mistake, that person is addressing a different commenter and trying to explain sowa's weird grammar.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:36 AM
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Later someone does say "we all know who you are", though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:41 AM
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113: Mara's freakouts definitely get worse if I remind her we love her no matter what. What's worked lately is telling her ro gathe her anger in her mouth and use it to blow out a candle (imaginary, of course with no flames around tantrumming kids) and once she has her breathing under control, she can usually get herself out of the thought spiral too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:53 AM
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125: Hmm. Sowa wrote "I happen to know the Russian grammar a little and somewhat better the German one"; if he really knows German better than Russian, my guess was wrong. I thought some of the comments were obliquely suggesting that he was Gro/mov.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:08 AM
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Presumably if there was a giveaway Upetgi would have picked it up much more easily than I could.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:12 AM
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So answer me a question about "arbitrarily close". Wikipedia sez "It was conjectured by Erdős and Szemerédi that one can take ε arbitrarily close to 1. The best result in this direction currently is by Solymosi, who showed that one can take ε arbitrarily close to 1/3."

Presumably this doesn't mean that one can just pick a value for the difference between ε and 1/3, because then that difference could be picked to be 2/3.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:29 AM
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Doesn't 'arbitrarily close' mean not that you can pick a value for the difference, but that you can pick a maximum value for the difference? So picking 2/3 wouldn't set ε equal to 1, it would mean that ε could be anywhere between 1 and 1/3.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:33 AM
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127: Related techniques


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:46 AM
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re: 132

Heh. xelA is fascinated by books. Has been since he was just a few days old, and long before he ever knew what they were. I think he just found the alternating bands of colour on the shelf fascinating.

The shelf he particularly likes [because it's the perfect height for a baby being carried] happens to have a lot of history books on it. So when he's crying, we take him to look at Stalin.* It works. I'm sure we are storing up something for later.

* i.e. the shelf that happens to contain a couple of books that have Stalin's picture on the spine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 9:54 AM
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You know, I don't spell backwards as well as I think I do. I just realized that the little nattarGcM's name is Alex rather than Axel.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 10:25 AM
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134: it's not just you. You don't remember the big debate we had about this in DC?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 10:42 AM
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You can tell because no bandana.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 10:52 AM
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My problem is figuring out if xelA is pronounced "Skela" or "Ksela".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 10:54 AM
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In my head, I pronounce it 'Zehla' while I'm writing it.

re: 134

Yeah, it's a bone of contention. We call him Alex, but I don't like the idea of giving kids short forms of longer names. E.g. people who formally name their kids 'Freddie' or 'Robbie' rather than formally naming them Frederick or Robert, and then using a diminutive. It seems like it should be up to them when they are older how, and if, they want to abbreviate it. So his birth certificate says Alexander. My wife likes Alex a lot, but isn't mad keen on Alexander. And some of my family [and officialdom] now seem to be calling him Alexander all the time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:04 AM
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134 was a topic of debate at Unfoggedydodocadoggy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:09 AM
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I can see the comment that made you think Gro/mov (French+Russian+Geometer), but there are other comments from people who seem to know who he is and made comments that would rule Gro/mov out. In particular, "not an A-star like Gow/ers" is not something anyone would ever write about Gro/mov, who is clearly a level above Gow/ers. (Yes, Gro/mov doesn't have a Fields medal, all the worse for the reputation of the Fields medal.)

At any rate, I think So/wa is Polish (etymology, plus Soviet educated but not ethnically Russian or a native Russian speaker) and an algebraic geometer. I'd guess he's an excellent mathematician, but not someone who I (who is not an algebraic geometer) is all that likely to recognize.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:10 AM
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. My brother is 17 months younger than me, not really enough to make a big difference past a very young age. ...All of which is a longwinded lead in to wondering whether prior - not necessarily you and Jammies - have been making a big deal out of HaPu being the big sister, oh you're so big new, look at the baby, blah blah.

This, definitely. She's 18 months older than Pokey, and of course 4 years older than Ace. Jammies was the oldest of four, and was exceedingly involved in the care-taking of the siblings, and tends to emphasize that heavily. I was the youngest and it just doesn't occur to me to emphasize it in the same way, but she definitely hears it a fair amount.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:12 AM
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The babyish anxiety is fascinating, because you had the same thing as a kid, yeah, heebert?

No, I didn't. I've never been an anxious person, and I was a very relaxed, go along with anything kid. (Because my big fear was being left out or left behind, so I'd cheerfully put up with anything.) She's extremely counter-intuitive for me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:13 AM
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I have friends whose kid struggled with totally understandable but pretty severe anxiety, and it seemed to resolve pretty fast once they sent him to a therapist.

This is what I'm thinking - maybe it's just could be very efficient to send her to a therapist. Get her to think of it as a thing that has a name and can be processed. I've utterly failed to get any traction in discussing this intensity with her.

I would like her to be comfortable in her own skin, and maybe some early tweaks can make that happen relatively easily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:15 AM
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French+Russian+Geometer

Not only that, but this comment where he said "you indeed tried harder and cited papers which I am familiar with (perhaps, you even managed to find out what is my real life identity)" after someone referred to two arxiv papers, one by Gro/mov and one mentioning him in the abstract.

But presumably you're right. The fact that I've heard of Gro/mov and not of Gow/ers (outside of the bloggy context) did make the "not an A-star" thing sound odd.

I guess Russian for owl would be transliterated as "sova"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:17 AM
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gathe her anger in her mouth and use it to blow out a candle

This is good. It's one of those things, though, that I can't initiate once she's in a state, because there is no avenue for suggestion at that point. I can discuss it with her and plan it ahead of time, but it's up to her to retrieve the idea or else it won't happen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:18 AM
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Hrm, his livejournal makes me think I was wrong about his being Polish (as he writes after the tragic plane wreck "My condolences to the Poles and Poland." His interest in Republican politics suggests he lives in the US.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:35 AM
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He still uses Livejournal? I think that means either he's Russian or he's heebie.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:38 AM
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138.2: Zardoz is known to us by a relatively uncommon diminutive of a relatively common name (which is what is on her birth certificate). We figure this gives her options later, but it is weird when we go to the doctor and they call out this other name.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 11:51 AM
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Re: baby xelA, I feel much better now about my ability to read backwards. I think I was totally outvoted and assumed you all had seen it written forwards.

148, that was my parents' strategy. I get the wrong nickname assumption a lot, but I don't get huffy about it. My sister's name is common, with common nicknames, and she liked going through multiple permutations as she grew up (Betsy to Elizabeth to Liz).


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:23 PM
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143, I agree. I suspect it was easier for the aforementioned kid to work with someone that wasn't his parents as well as easier for the parents not to have to try multiple strategies until they hit on something that would work. I'm kind of laughing that she thinks she needs to be perfect to fit in with the family. The Geebies have very high standards for admission. Will you have practical exams? No legacies.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 12:57 PM
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Well, my theory was that he went to Russian graduate school, but is actually from some Eastern European country or possibly a non-Russian former Soviet State.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 1:00 PM
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148: We call our son by his middle name by design, but the doctor does persist in calling him his first name. And it pisses him off.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 1:30 PM
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My son, not the pediatrician.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 1:48 PM
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I registered the birth on my own. All the way there, and back, I was txting my wife that I'd named him Alexander Descartes David Hume nattarGcM. Sadly, I didn't actually go through with it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 2:11 PM
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I have named the boy Caleb, in accordance with your wishes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 2:15 PM
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You don't remember the big debate we had about this in DC?

I don't remember this either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 2:17 PM
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His interest in Republican politics suggests he lives in the US.

As does his remark about American mathematical culture.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 5:55 PM
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146, 147: didn't someone say they found his Russian-language LJ?

I don't remember this either.

I remember it, but not whether you were party to it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 5:56 PM
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I think that conversation was Saturday evening, earlyish (I left about 6), dining room. Not that many people, although maybe there were other iterations that I wasn't around for. I'd said that I kept carelessly parsing "xelA" as "Axel," then several folks said that Axel was, in fact, correct. I think someone suggested that Axel was a traditional Czech name, although perhaps I'm making that up.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:08 PM
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I was definitely not party to it; maybe it was before I showed up. If I had been I would been on the "Alex" side.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:11 PM
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someone suggested that Axel was a traditional Czech name

Alexandr, and Alexej are, but Axel isn't. The fact that there was a Czech equivalent was a big reason for Alex [and there's a tenuous family connection].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:21 PM
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Yeah, I wasn't naming names since Alex made a lot more sense as a traditional Czech-ish name, but what I know about traditional Czech names would fit in a thimble with room left over.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:25 PM
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A child born when Alex was will have no understanding of the assumptions about information density behind 162.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 6:30 PM
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||

Photo from M/tch's musical improv debut up in the Flickr pool. Video and more photos to come!

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:01 PM
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A child born when Alex was will have no understanding of how to hide vowels from search engines.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:22 PM
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Heebs, do you or Jammies make a point of having some alone time with HP? I'd bet that she's feeling like she has to be the best big sister ever, from what you've said about her, but here's the thing (as the eldest of four), sometimes being a big sister is a royal pain in the ass because the babies always need more attention and they're always cuter, and no matter what you're always going to be responsible for them and you're always going to come in second. So maybe downplay the talk of the role of the big sister and have a weekly HP date with just mom or dad doing something she likes, without the little ones in tow.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:35 PM
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Maybe just explain that she'll be able to beat up the littler ones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 7:50 PM
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True story: my first boss in a full time, permanent job was a developmental psychologist. I must know what I'm taking about.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-25-13 8:11 PM
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67: I did this on a test in middle school - possibly the second actual test paper I ever took. Turned over two pages. Was told later that if I carried on like this I'd go to jail.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-26-13 7:50 AM
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Being basically disorganised, I forgot to bring my calculator for a GCSE maths exam and had to work it all out with pencil and paper. Still the subject of an anxiety nightmare...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 2:19 AM
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