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Makes sense.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.22.16

Some little town in Texas is totally poaching the Raiders.


 

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Math in the Common Core

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.22.16

This accords with my understanding:

The key idea of Common Core is for students to come up with the solutions on their own, and not be prescriptively told how to solve the problem. The goal is for students to be able to think flexibly. Students should have the opportunity to explore, test strategies, and make sense of answers when solving problems.

The problem is that you need teacher buy-in, and there's a huge range of teachers out there. Some get that you need open-ended problems and to dedicate a huge amount of time letting students piece it together, and also have the ability to figure out how the student is thinking about the problem, based on the words they use and questions they ask. Other teachers are really attached to algorithms and aren't equipped to move beyond that.

We used to learn math by memorizing a "rule" and then repeating it to solve a series of similar problems. Teachers would stand at the board and model how to follow this algorithm. Students would then practice the algorithm over and over. Under the guise of Common Core, rather than learning one rule, students are now memorizing and executing three or more different rules for the same set of problems.

I have no idea how Hawaii's teacher teaches math. But the worksheets themselves, in isolation, feel odd and like you're being steered towards a rigid application of a very awkward algorithm. For example, last week, she was supposed to add numbers like 8+7 by filling out a ten-frame (color in a set of ten boxes) and then keep track of how many are left over, and then write a number sentence that says 8+7=10+5. I think this is a really great problem! It was more rigidly prescriptivist than open-ended, though, which meant that it took a long time to figure out what the hell the instructions meant, precisely, and there were 10 identical problems and one challenge problem. It could be taught really well or really poorly.

So I do sympathize with confused parents more than I used to, I admit, now that I see how detailed-yet-unclear the instructions can be. (I do NOT sympathize with my jerky friends who wrote "Even two DOCTORS couldn't figure this out!" on their kid's homework and snapped a photo for Facebook.)

Also, I think doing a mediocre job teaching this new way mediocre is probably better than doing a mediocre job teaching strict algorithms. I'm inclined to call this reasonable growing pains of a much-needed mass overhaul in progress.


 

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Easter

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.22.16

Apparently the powers that be are going to lock down Easter?

The heads of the Christian churches are close to sealing a deal to fix the date of Easter, the Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed, ending more than a thousand years of confusion and debate. The Most Reverend Justin Welby said the agreed date would be either the second or third Sunday of April.

They expect it to go into effect in 5-10 years.

For one and a half millennia, for Anglicans and Catholics, Easter Sunday has been the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox - a convoluted formula which means the date can vary by more than a month from year to year.

I've always found it curious that the computation for Easter is so divorced from the computation for Passover.


 

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Chairs

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.16

Here is a very silly game. What kind of chair are you? My friend, a long-haired stoner, decided he was a papasan chair. I decided I was one of those rattan peacock chairs. It's possible this game does not transition well to a location away from a campfire.


 

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Fight, fight!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.16

The Presidential Candidates Ranked By Their Usefulness In A Bar Fight.

On Rand Paul:

While we're fighting dirty, if you want unbridled eye-gouging, shots to the testicles, rabbit punches, and possibly tasing, look no further than Rand Paul. Paul claims to be a libertarian, but he's not the old-fashioned kind who cares about individual freedoms on principle. He's one of the new kind of "Libertarians" who care deeply about their own you're-not-the-boss-of-me manbaby freedoms, but are fine with legislating women's bodies and letting other people in general lose their voting rights and/or die horribly, right along with schools and sidewalks.

On Jeb Bush:

But Jeb Bush is a big dude, and as long as you can quickly get him to untuck his shirt and just loom there while remaining completely silent -- I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP, JEB! -- he's going to be at least a factor in getting the other side to think twice about starting the fight in the first place. Once things get going, he's, again, not going to be a good fighter. But, much like the current election, he will make his peace with the fact that he's in this awful thing now and there's nothing he can do about it, so he may as well see it out. Jeb's going to be a lurch-puncher, the guy who swings too hard with zero control, but his lunging and crashing may actually do your side some good. Don't be afraid to shove him into opponents. He'll understand.

They are all great! (Except Clinton. Clearly the author is mocking or satirizing everyone's masculinity and gets stuck trying not to be an actual asshole when it comes to her, so hers isn't very funny.)

Via E. Messily


 

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Stop it.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.16

I loathe this construction: "Something opposite of what is the norm!" - said no one ever.

Maybe we can all tack on 'said no one ever' in ill-fitting situations, in a pretense that we misunderstood our acquaintances meaning. Specifically those people who are annoying me. Or tack it on to jokes that already end with '-said no one ever', to emphasize the point that no one has ever constructed that particular application of the phrase till now.


 

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As a measure becomes a target...

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.16

Wow. Jumping on those at FB with the pullquote, from Mount St. Mary University:

The student newspaper also reported (and The Washington Post quoted a professor confirming) that [President] Newman told some faculty members they needed to change the way they think of struggling students. He reportedly said, "This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can't. You just have to drown the bunnies ... put a Glock to their heads."

It's because the unglocked bunnies bring down the retention rate.


 

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Fashion

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.16

You know joggers, those tapered sweatpants that are everywhere? At the moment I'm accustomed to seeing them, but boy are those things going to look weird when we look back on the mid-teens. They're like lounge-wear hammer pants.


 

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Algorithms

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.16

The Facebook algorithm for determining what shows up in your feed is mostly a mystery, of course. This jumped out though:

Most of the time, when people see a story they don't care about in their news feed, they scroll right past it. Some stories irk them enough that they're moved to click on the little drop-down menu at the top right of the post and select "Hide post." Facebook's algorithm considers that a strong negative signal and endeavors to show them fewer posts like that in the future.
Not everyone uses Facebook the same way, however. Facebook's data scientists were aware that a small proportion of users--5 percent--were doing 85 percent of the hiding. When Facebook dug deeper, it found that a small subset of those 5 percent were hiding almost every story they saw--even ones they had liked and commented on. For these "superhiders," it turned out, hiding a story didn't mean they disliked it; it was simply their way of marking the post "read," like archiving a message in Gmail.
Yet their actions were biasing the data that Facebook relied on to rank stories. Intricate as it is, the news feed algorithm does not attempt to individually model each user's behavior. It treats your likes as identical in value to mine, and the same is true of our hides. For the superhiders, however, the ranking team decided to make an exception. Tas was tasked with tweaking the code to identify this small group of people and to discount the negative value of their hides.

1) I want to be a superhider! I've always wanted a ticky-box or delete button to keep track of what I've seen. (The little gray drop-down menu is probably too annoyingly small for me to actually become a super-hider.)

2) Facebook's algorithm doesn't even do any weak individualization?! They don't use the fact that I'm more inclined to click through on science articles than religious articles? I get that individualizing a feed is a whole 'nother ball of wax, coding-wise, but in this day and age when advertisers are all about lurking in your email, pulling out your keywords and showing you advertisements based on them, it seems like awfully low-hanging fruit for Facebook, especially if they're as frustrated with their algorithm as the article makes it seem.


 

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Lead

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.19.16

Governor Snyder and Flint seem to be the only thing on the news today. I don't really have an angle. Poisoning kids is awful.


 

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Adventures in survivor bias

Posted by Ben
on 01.18.16

She said that the most important thing she's learned is that couples do not need to sleep at the same time in order to have a healthy relationship.

"There's even some evidence that well-adjusted couples who have mismatched sleep schedules are actually much better at problem solving," she said.


 

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