The Importance of Mathematical Thinking

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James Warren

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Oct 24, 2021, 8:39:11 AM10/24/21
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The Importance of Mathematical Thinking

Sunnylabh



Do you hate Math? Math encourages logical reasoning, critical thinking,
creative thinking, abstract or spatial thinking, problem-solving ability,
and even effective communication skills. Why is Mathematics so important
for everyone?

1) Math is good for your brain

People who know math can recruit certain brain regions more reliably,
and have higher gray matter volume in those regions, than those who
perform more poorly in math. Studies suggest that mathematics helps
you improve your cognitive skills.

2) It helps you manage your finances

Financial management is a crucial life skill that everyone must Learn
in this day and age. Most of such skills involve mathematical knowledge.
People who know math are therefore less likely to go into debt.

3) Math improves your problem-solving skills

Mathematicians have always understood that problem-solving is central
to their discipline because without a problem there is no mathematics.
Studies suggest that mathematical thinking helps to improve you
problem-solving
skills. Analytical and reasoning skills are essential because they
help us solve problems and look for solutions. With the knowledge
of mathematics and mathematical concepts you develop better systems
for problem-solving, learning how applied mathematics solves real-world
issues.

4) It helps you understand the world better

We live in a mathematically-driven and mathematically-understandable
world. Mathematical numbers, figures and patterns can be found everywhere
from hexagonal honeycombs made by bees to the Fibonacci sequence in
pinecones, seashells, trees, flowers, and leaves. The number p helps
us understand the sun, the moon, and has led to many scientific and
technological advancements.

“Mathematics is the best tool to understand the universe”



5) Mathematics is used in every academic discipline

Mathematics is used and applied in almost every academic discipline
from quantum mechanics to economics or business management to information
and technology. A career centered on mathematics provides many
opportunities.
It is used to build and enhance important work in the sciences, business,
finance, manufacturing, communications, and engineering. All of these
careers appear to be different, but each of them require a strong
developed skill set in mathematics.

6) Math helps you stay fit and healthy

Your body becomes what you eat. Mathematics helps you keep the track
of your calories and nutrient intakes. It’s crucial to count the nutrient
content and the amount of food that you eat in order to stay healthy.
Ifwe reflect on the history of curriculum in general, then math (geometry
and algebra) were 2 of the 7 liberal arts in Greek as well as in medieval
times. This historical role supports the notion that mathematics has
provided the mental discipline required for other disciplines.

Creating spending budgets, paying for groceries, buying things on
sale, and cooking meals all have to deal with math in some way or
another. Mathematics has a transversal nature and we use it every
day without often realizing that we do.

“If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of
Plato and start with mathematics”

— Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)


“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across
a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature … If
you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary
to understand the language that she speaks in.” — Richard Feynman

“Where there is life there is a pattern, and where there is a pattern
there is math. Once that germ of rationality and order exists to turn
a chaos into a cosmos, then so does mathematics. There could not be
a non-mathematical Universe containing living observers.” — John Barrow

One reason as to why students may hate math is because many of the
concepts are abstract and can be hard to master. Variables, equations,
and the dreaded story problems can all be difficult to figure out
and understand. Many may complain that mathematics is boring or
complicated,
the truth is that a life devoid of math means that we go around
experiencing
the world on a much less interesting level than we could.

Cantor’s Paradise

HRM Resident

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Oct 24, 2021, 3:21:11 PM10/24/21
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Which Jobs Actually Use Math?

Sure, your 7th grade algebra teacher claimed you'd need math all the
time. But something doesn't add up: most Americans never use advanced
math on the job, research suggests.

Less than a quarter of workers use math beyond fractions at their jobs,
according to a survey of 2,300 workers conducted by Michael Handel, a
researcher at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. And highly
skilled blue-collar workers — think machinists, mechanics and the like —
use advanced math such as algebra more than their white-collar peers.

About 86 percent of jobs require simple addition and subtraction, but
only 5 percent of jobs required calculus. Of course, before people toss
out their math books, it's important to note that the best blue-collar
jobs do require high-level math such as algebra, while more than a fifth
of white-collar jobs require statistics, The Atlantic** reported.


**
<https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/heres-how-little-math-americans-actually-use-at-work/275260/>


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HRM Resident

Mike Spencer

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Oct 24, 2021, 4:11:16 PM10/24/21
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> Do you hate Math?

Nope. I think mathematics is beautiful. But either (A) I'm just not
smart enough to make good progress/inroads into it or (B) the Math
Establishment (I made that up) is dedicated to teaching math in ways
for which my cognitive idiosyncrasies are unsuited. The assertion by
(I forget whom) that "if you can visualize it, it's not math" is a
clue that it's (B) rather than (A).

Anecdotal evidence accumulated over the last 6 decades is a further
clue.

My first year calculus teacher was in her late 50s/early 60s,
friendly, cheerful and apparently knowledgeable. But when a student
expressed confusion or inability to understand a point, rather than
grasp how it might be that the student was misunderstanding and
presenting the relevant concept in a different way, she repeated
almost ver batim what she'd said before, while grinding in the chalk
into the blackboard as if it were a pod auger. Occasionally, I could
see, from how the student asked the question, how it was that the
understanding failure had arisen but the teacher could not. An
amusing aside: Eighteen months later, during a hiatus I took between
that school and another, I was the night janitor in the same building.
I was amused to see a calcareous record of the number of failed
calculus explanations. When cleaning the blackboards, I had to use a
putty knife to scrape off the deposits where the prof had screwed the
chalk into the surface while repeating herself.

Another clue is one I didn't get for 50 years until I read
Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. I had known that Newton and Leibniz were
jointly credited with devising "the calculus". I didn't know that in
the late 17th c. there was an ongoing and vituperative battle between,
on the one hand, Newton and the Royal Society and, on the other,
Leibniz and the continental savants over which of them was the authentic
inventor and over their differing forms of notation. In my classes --
5 different professors at 3 schools -- I had learned the dx/dt
notation, only to have it deprecated later and slagged because "there
is no such thing as 'dx'". A single hour of class time on the history
of notation would have avoided much confusion but the two notational
camps were (or so I gathered, and perhaps remain) so divided and mutually
hostile as to make that anathema.

The doctrine that if you can visualize it, it's not math tells me that
there is an ideological camp or tribe in the math world composed of
people who do not visualize mathematical entities and who religiously
believe that their cognitive style is not only a cognitive style but
the definitive framework for math. That borders on being a cult and
gratuitously expunges from the math domain and large number of people
who might otherwise flourish in it.

The article James posted border on being a polemic.

> We live in a mathematically-driven and mathematically-understandable
> world.

That's close to being dogma rather than observational fact. Have you
heard of "physics envy"? The above dogma is quite true with respect
to physics so you can understand baseballs, bullets, boiled-egg
timing, solar heating and more with math. But most of the world
that most people think about is so messy and so impervious to math
that we're left with statistics as the only tool giving reproducible
results (however inaccurate, misleading or outright false they may
be.) These days you can't get a degree in sociology, psychology,
nursing or any one of many other disciplines that deal with the world
we live in without passing at least one course in statistics.
Such disciplines -- ones that deal with human beings in mulitfarious
aspects -- provide insights that notoriously lack the rigor and
predictive accuracy that we've seen in physics for the last 300
years. But if you add statistics, you can have pages and pages of
tables and numbers, often with reproducible numbers on the bottom line,
that make it *look like* physics, however spurious or trivial the
hypotheses or "experiments" may be.

I have things to do out in the autumn sunshine so I'll just stop here
abruptly in mid-rant.


--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada

James Warren

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Oct 24, 2021, 4:15:23 PM10/24/21
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That wasn't the point of the article. The point was how math teaches
analytical and logical thinking. Whether or not it is used on the
job is not the point.

I certainly used it in my jobs. Most don't.

Mike Spencer

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Oct 24, 2021, 5:09:24 PM10/24/21
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HRM Resident <hrm...@gmail.com> writes:

> Which Jobs Actually Use Math?

Algebra and geometry?

You have to make a sheet metal truncated cone
to connect your forge hood to your flue. It has to be 24" dia. at
bottom, 13" at top and 16" high. How do you cut a piece of flat sheet
matal to make it?

You have to forge a piece of iron shaped sort of like an old fashions
potato masher, 16" "handle" 1.5: dia. and hexagonal head 5" long and
2" sides on the hexagon. How much 4" square stock do you need to
start with?

Calculus, not so much, although I'm not sure if you can blueprint
a helical staircase with an eliptical footprint without it.

(Taking a break from the woodpile. Now back out to bring firewood
into the kitchen before it ges dark.)

James Warren

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Oct 24, 2021, 5:20:18 PM10/24/21
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Gosh Mike. Even Quantum Physics is statistical at the bottom.
Individual quantum events can't be predicted exactly only
their statistical properties. Only the probabilities are
knowable.

Macro sized objects are composed of so many elementary particles
that their quantum nature is not obvious. The law of large
numbers and all that so that laws of motion, heat, etc seem
to obey rigorous laws. Some macro objects are not just large
they are extremely complex, such as humans. Their interactions
with the environment are extremely difficult to predict,
hence statistics. Aggregations of such complex objects -societies,
economics, politics, can be even more difficult to predict.

So the world looks to be statistical which can still be lawful
just not perfectly predictable. You will agree that statistics
is part of mathematics, right?

HRM Resident

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Oct 25, 2021, 10:54:39 AM10/25/21
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I am not disputing the math behind your rationale, Mike! I can see
where the techniques you suggest using would leave little room for
error. That said, how many blacksmiths have an understanding of
geometry, calculus, etc.? Maybe today, a few as they got into it after
a university education as a career change, as you appear to have done.

The master smiths of yesteryear could mostly only look at the raw
metal bars and envision the way it would unfold upon construction in
their minds. My guess, and it's just that, is they could estimate the
amount of raw material just as closely as one doing it with vernier
callipers, a protractor and then consulting their CRC Standard
Mathematical Tables and Formulae reference book.

Certainly, understanding the math and physics behind the job helps
one appreciate things, and it's an excellent asset to have. I wonder if
a person using the academic method would have less waste than an
experienced smith with 20+ years under his belt?

Having said the above, I would hope a goldsmith making anything
significant would use the academic method!


--
HRM Resident

Mike Spencer

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Oct 25, 2021, 6:47:39 PM10/25/21
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James Warren <jwwar...@gmail.com> writes:

> Gosh Mike. Even Quantum Physics is statistical at the bottom.
> Individual quantum events can't be predicted exactly only their
> statistical properties. Only the probabilities are knowable.

Yeah, yeah, I know. An electron isn't knowably anywhere in particular
until it's "observed". The wave equation is a probability wave, a
wave-like function that asserts the the loci or surface in which the
electron has a non-zero probability of being found. I didn't
understand thermodyanmics until I took a course that dealt with
statistical mechanics. I failed the course due to my weak math
ability but learned a lot.

> You will agree that statistics is part of mathematics, right?

Oh, sure. Despite the fact that there remains (AFAICT) an unresolved
controversy within the math world over what, exactly, "probability"
is. :-)

The problem arises when the subject domain is sufficiently complex
and/or emerges from insufficiently understood events/interactions that
common sense fails, analytical methods result in insoluble equations
and/or no one knows how to collect, organize or filter data that might
promise understanding.

So you count something and do statistics.

The current Farcebook fiasco is, AFAICT, an example. FB has worked
out an algorithm that catalogs clicks (or some more complicated
measure of "engagement") and their contexts, selects contexts that
increase the probability of increased "engagement" and optimize for
those contexts. The daily 1000 (?) clicks by each of a billion users
is more than sufficient to make statistical analysis workable. It
turns out that the most engaging contexts are ones that exploit
credulity, gullibility, resentment, fear and a sense of victimhood.
Business is booming thanks to statistics.

But, OTOH, when this is seen to be harmful and even destructive,
propagating and (apparently) validating misinformation, propaganda,
overt lies, deranged fantasies and other social/cognitive pathologies,
they're stumped. The tools of statistics fail to encompass the
domain of natural language semantics, even moreso the neural and
social domains of mind.

"Big data" and "artificial intelligence" -- today that means neural
nets -- kind of end-run statistics per se and notionally offer a new
math-related option for sufferers from physics envy. But the early
promise that emerged from stuff like image recognition is looking
shaky when applied to more difficult domains. Neural nets have to be
"trained". Starting with random numbers to determine outputs in
response to inputs, a human or a human-devised catalog of input +
yes/no answer pairs must be run through the NN and the outputs compared
to the catalog. When the output is wrong (unwanted, deprecated) the
matrices of initially random numbers are nudged ever so slightly in
the direction of ones that would have given desired output. After a
large number of such training cycles (a million? a billion? limited
only by the power of the computer and the size of & confidence in the
"training data" corpus) the NN/AI can be given real-world inputs with
some expectation (possibly specious) that the output will be "good"
(in whatever sense "good" has in the context).

This has already been seen to fail of its glowing, quasi-magical
promise and be fraught with pitfalls. NNs trained on a corpus of
natural language or other data of the sort that FB might expect to
encounter has emerged from training exhibiting racism & sexism and
telling lies. [1] No one knows -- it's probably intrinsically
unknowable -- exactly why this should be because the details of
discrimination are buried in vast, impenetrable matrices of real
numbers no one of which has any significance. That probably won't be
an more tidily "fixed" by employing "better data scientists" that the
failures in, say, medicine are fixed by better statisticians.

AFAIK from bumbling around the net, no one has a clear handle on why
ca. 40% of the US adult population should be terminally gullible.
Demographic statistics haven't helped. We've known about con games
for millennia, about "Never drop the con; die with the lie" for at
least a century. Why it's become a mass phenomenon hasn't been
resolved by statistics, even if, as it appears, it's been at least
partly caused by the application of statistics. Cognitive and neuro
science offer some tentative explanations for the force of religion but
statistics isn't helping that much AFAIK.

The behavior of people *can* be examined by statistical tools. But
any definitive explanations lie in the brain (we don't understand the
human brain) and mind (no one knows what a mind is) so statistical
tools are prone to shingling off onto the mathematical fog.

Complexity -- the emergent behavior of systems with a large number of
components, very many pairs of which influence each other -- adds yet
another difficulty. Complex systems in the abstract are difficult to
comprehend. More tangibly, we're still struggling with biology
because the endocrine system, the immune system or even the community
of gut microflora are such systems. When the components are a billion
minds, influencing one another over the noisy channel of natural
language, it's more difficult yet. Neither statistics nor NNs analyze
or explain the operation or principles of such systems and are useful
but blunt instruments. When it comes to social (as oposed to
biochemical) systems, none of us regards h{is,er} role/place in the
world as analogous to that of a particle of ideal gas in a box, nor do
we wish to be treated as if it were.


[1] https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/12/1080192
or Gwglw for others.

James Warren

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Oct 25, 2021, 7:49:28 PM10/25/21
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I agree with all that you said Mike. That doesn't mean that the
world does not follow mathematical laws. Even determinate systems
can lead to chaos. Large biochemical biological systems operate
at the edge of chaos. So, just because predictions are not possible does
not mean that mathematical laws are not being followed. To the extent
that there is some order in the chaos then statistics may be able
to uncover that order.

Mike Spencer

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Oct 28, 2021, 7:06:55 PM10/28/21
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Following up to myself,

on 25 Oct 2021 19:15:57 -0300 I wrote:

> AFAIK from bumbling around the net, no one has a clear handle on why
> ca. 40% of the US adult population should be terminally gullible.
> Demographic statistics haven't helped. We've known about con games
> for millennia, about "Never drop the con; die with the lie" for at
> least a century. Why it's become a mass phenomenon hasn't been
> resolved by statistics, even if, as it appears, it's been at least
> partly caused by the application of statistics.

Here's a guy who opines that the problem is multifarious but the
answer is easily summarized. From the article:

It is the root cause of our problems with China. It's why some
people don't want to get vaccinated. It's why some people still
gleefully follow Donald Trump. It explains why Congress can't get
together in a bipartisan fashion to deal with infrastructure,
health care and gun control. It's why we have problems
understanding climate change. It explains voter suppression. It's
why "critical race theory" has become controversial, why elements
of our population on the left and right are at war with each other
and why some believe the earth is flat and the Holocaust didn't
occur. It's why some of us believe we're still the "No. 1" nation
in the world when -- other than having the largest military -- we
clearly lag behind other major nations in many critical
factors. More than anything else it explains why we fail.

The United States is a nation of militantly ignorant people,
arrogant in their beliefs, unable to change their minds and
unwilling to try. We lack education.

[snip]

I coached high school football for many years. I can tell you
firsthand that the quality of education of the "average" student
today would have been below the level of a remedial education when
I was in high school. There are scores of students who are
functionally illiterate as well as scientifically and
mathematically illiterate, and have no idea how government works
or what their responsibilities in a democracy are.

Full article at:

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/28/dumbass-nation-our-biggest-national-security-problem-is-americas-vast-and-militant-ignorance/

Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's
"vast and militant ignorance"

Millions of Americans embrace vapid lies and conspiracy theories
-- and the proudly moronic leader who spreads them

Brian Karem
Published October 28, 2021 10:57AM (EDT)

James Warren

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Oct 28, 2021, 7:32:43 PM10/28/21
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Not exactly militant ignorance but maybe willful ignorance and related
is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UGA-IkQJMs

Militant ignorance is certainly rampant, but why? Is there more
to it than just failure of education? Are both the result of
something else?

Mike Spencer

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Oct 29, 2021, 3:32:05 AM10/29/21
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James Warren <jwwar...@gmail.com> writes:

> Not exactly militant ignorance but maybe willful ignorance and related
> is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UGA-IkQJMs

Four-line text summary? I don't so U-Tube.

> Militant ignorance is certainly rampant, but why? Is there more
> to it than just failure of education? Are both the result of
> something else?

Wild surmise for which I have only the barest anecdotal evidence and
personal impressions as supporting evidence. "Education" and TV.

Somewhere around 70 to 80 years ago, capital 'E' "Education" became a
thing. At that point, TC -- Teachers College, Columbia U. -- had been
around for 50 or 60 years but mostly, teachers were trained to teach
subject matter; those with college/university degrees majored in the
subjects they later taught.

But TC and (I assume) other later similar schools strove to make
"Education" a thing in itself. Now teachers major in "education" and
a lesser or different credential is insufficient for employment. With
the arrival of the baby boom and the post-war prosperity there was a
gradual shift (or was it a surge?) toward making every teacher an
educator. This I see, perhaps naively, as similar to the appearance
of MBAs and "Management" as a thing. Educators educate, managers
manage. In both case (under the new rubric) you don't have to know
about the substantive material -- the subject matter being taught or
the work that workers do. You just need to now how to educate or
manage. I think that's a delusion and once the deluded were in
decision-making roles, it's gone into positive feedback run-away.

And in the same era, everybody got television. Last time I checked,
(before people became glued to their cell phones so say 30 years ago)
the average TV viewing time for USAians was 24+ hours a week and had
been holding there for a couple or three decades. That's more than
the class time for a full university schedule in the humanities, about
the same as class/lab time in a STEM course. And considering that a
fair percentage of professional people were too busy to do more than
watch the 11:00 news and maybe occasionally Johnny Carson (so less
than 10 hours/wk) most people were actually up around 30 hours. Whole
books have been written about the tendency of TV to turn your brain to
mush (e.g. Jerry Mander).

What we're seeing now is two generations who have been edualized at
school and brain-mushed at home for their who lives -- three
generations, really, but the WW II generation is now mostly dead or
over the hill.

James Warren

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Oct 29, 2021, 7:57:18 AM10/29/21
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On 2021-10-29 4:31 AM, Mike Spencer wrote:
> James Warren <jwwar...@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> Not exactly militant ignorance but maybe willful ignorance and related
>> is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UGA-IkQJMs
>
> Four-line text summary? I don't so U-Tube.

Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
It's good enough for me.
Yeah, blame it on TV. I can't disagree too strongly. As for lowered
education standards, I agree.

The fix? Teach critical thinking but first teach the teachers.

HRM Resident

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Oct 29, 2021, 11:02:36 AM10/29/21
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On 2021-10-29 8:57 a.m., James Warren wrote:


>snip<

>
> Yeah, blame it on TV. I can't disagree too strongly. As for lowered
> education standards, I agree.
>
> The fix? Teach critical thinking but first teach the teachers.
>

A slightly different spin on this. I think you both correctly
identified the messengers(s) in TV and teachers (throw in the Internet
too.) However, the root problem is more profound. Society has changed
dramatically in our lifetimes, particularly in the West. As I see it,
there are too many expectations of "freedom" and not enough
"consequences" for unacceptable behaviour. Please, don't label me an
RWA, a Conservative or a religious nut. I can't explain what happened.
Everything Mike said is true, but why did we evolve into a situation
where teachers are to be obeyed by their students or face parents'
wrath? Why is the tail wagging the dog? Why can a 7-year-old watch the
same gross TV shows as adults?

I certainly do not favour bringing back the death penalty,
mandatory minimum prison sentences, etc. However, I think the overused
example of saying you can't yell "fire" in a movie theatre is an example
of freedom going too far with few to no consequences. Teachers have to
perform as they are instructed by society in the 21st century. I can't
think of a single teacher I had in 1959-1972 that would not be fired
today. Why would they? Because they taught the academic material and
didn't put up with unruly kids.

In 2021, what happens to a kid who tells the teacher to "Fuck off?"
I don't know, but I suspect the kid would be sent for counselling,
there's be some investigation into whether the teacher provoked them,
etc. In 1967, I'd have got a smack on the ass with a wooden pointer,
been expelled for a week, and then have been sent home to get more
punishment from my parents. That's why I learned the subject matter in
school and didn't talk back to my teachers.

Today, everything seems to depend on whether it'd withstand a
"Charter Challenge" (or whatever the "final say" document(s) other
Western countries have.) It seems that you can pretty much say or do
what you want in 2021 and then claim some right was violated that'll
take a decade to sort out.

I really don't have an answer. Silly overkill like eliminating TV,
the Internet, putting teaching back to the 1950s mentality, bringing
back organized religion, etc., are all show stoppers for me. So the
question remains, why do most people today think they have some
government-enforced right act like Bart and Homer Simpson? When did we
get the right to do this? Is it better now than it was in 1970? I just
don't know.

--
HRM Resident

James Warren

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Oct 29, 2021, 2:58:18 PM10/29/21
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Ah yes, longing for the good ole days. :)

HRM Resident

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Oct 29, 2021, 3:13:53 PM10/29/21
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No. I just wish our society was a bit more civil and respectful to
each other, and that they'd drop the "The only thing that matters is ME
mentality." That's how it was for centuries.

Maybe it's as simple as few to no one alive knows what it's like to
have to work for the common good. Why? Because they never had to. As
I said, I don't know why.

A flippant "longing for the good ole days" is not very useful.
What's your answer? Critical thinking? As defined as "the
intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully
conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating
information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience,
reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

Run that by some grade 8 punk who won't put his smartphone away and
dares the teacher to try and make him. He'll have some critical
thoughts for you! :-)

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HRM Resident

James Warren

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Oct 29, 2021, 3:55:43 PM10/29/21
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Gimme that old time religion is not very useful either. :)

> What's your answer?  Critical thinking?  As defined as "the
> intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully
> conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating
> information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience,
> reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

Yep. That's my answer.

>
>     Run that by some grade 8 punk who won't put his smartphone away and
> dares the teacher to try and make him.  He'll have some critical
> thoughts for you! :-)
>

It is already too late by grade 8.

There are bound to be misfits and losers no matter what you do or
don't do. :)


Mike Spencer

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Oct 30, 2021, 12:46:55 AM10/30/21
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Yeah, mine too. Not sure how you implement that at the elementary
school level. Not sure that what is now the profession of Education
agrees collectively. If it does in principle -- officially -- not sure
that teachers get it or are able to embody it in the classroom.

The notion that failing a kid -- for a year, for a subject or just for
a single test or essay -- is intrinsically wrong because it will harm
self esteem seems to emerge from a wholly different reference frame.

>> Run that by some grade 8 punk who won't put his smartphone away and
>> dares the teacher to try and make him. He'll have some critical
>> thoughts for you! :-)
>
> It is already too late by grade 8.
>
> There are bound to be misfits and losers no matter what you do or
> don't do. :)

My 7th to 9th grade experience was stimulating. I'd moved from a
rural area with two-room school houses to a city with different
teachers for every subject, most of them pretty good. In the 9th
grade there was a handful of guys who couldn't wait to drop out of
school as soon as they hit 16, quite a few who opted (some only after
much persuasion) for trade school.

One guy took a the same 9th grade course in printing -- hand-set
movable type, jobbing press -- that I did but went on to trade school
to learn printing. He ended up with his own shop and printing
business.

Possibly interesting aside: My town had neighborhood junior high
schools but you could choose your high school -- 10th to 12th grades
-- from among Classical, Tech, Commerce, Trade or Cathedral. (The
last only of interest to Roman Catholics.) Commerce was about 80%
girls aiming for secretarial/bookkeeping trades. Classical attracted
those who expected to go on to university. Most years the local
basketball championship was hotly contested between Classical and
Trade.

James Warren

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 8:06:37 AM10/30/21
to
On 2021-10-30 1:46 AM, Mike Spencer wrote:
> James Warren <jwwar...@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> On 2021-10-29 4:13 PM, HRM Resident wrote:
>>
>>> What's your answer? Critical thinking? As defined as "the
>>> intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully
>>> conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or
>>> evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation,
>>> experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to
>>> belief and action."
>>
>> Yep. That's my answer.
>
> Yeah, mine too. Not sure how you implement that at the elementary
> school level. Not sure that what is now the profession of Education
> agrees collectively. If it does in principle -- officially -- not sure
> that teachers get it or are able to embody it in the classroom.

Teaching the teachers may be more difficult than teaching the students.

>
> The notion that failing a kid -- for a year, for a subject or just for
> a single test or essay -- is intrinsically wrong because it will harm
> self esteem seems to emerge from a wholly different reference frame.

This seems to have come from the Psychology of the 70s when self-esteem
was all the rage. Maybe still is.

>
>>> Run that by some grade 8 punk who won't put his smartphone away and
>>> dares the teacher to try and make him. He'll have some critical
>>> thoughts for you! :-)
>>
>> It is already too late by grade 8.
>>
>> There are bound to be misfits and losers no matter what you do or
>> don't do. :)
>
> My 7th to 9th grade experience was stimulating. I'd moved from a
> rural area with two-room school houses to a city with different
> teachers for every subject, most of them pretty good. In the 9th
> grade there was a handful of guys who couldn't wait to drop out of
> school as soon as they hit 16, quite a few who opted (some only after
> much persuasion) for trade school.
>
> One guy took a the same 9th grade course in printing -- hand-set
> movable type, jobbing press -- that I did but went on to trade school
> to learn printing. He ended up with his own shop and printing
> business.
>
> Possibly interesting aside: My town had neighborhood junior high
> schools but you could choose your high school -- 10th to 12th grades
> -- from among Classical, Tech, Commerce, Trade or Cathedral. (The
> last only of interest to Roman Catholics.) Commerce was about 80%
> girls aiming for secretarial/bookkeeping trades. Classical attracted
> those who expected to go on to university. Most years the local
> basketball championship was hotly contested between Classical and
> Trade.
>

Looks like a pretty decent system. Does it still exist?

HRM Resident

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 2:15:44 PM10/30/21
to
On 2021-10-30 9:06 a.m., James Warren wrote:
>>
>> Yeah, mine too.  Not sure how you implement that at the elementary
>> school level.  Not sure that what is now the profession of Education
>> agrees collectively. If it does in principle -- officially -- not sure
>> that teachers get it or are able to embody it in the classroom.
>
> Teaching the teachers may be more difficult than teaching the students.
>


That was my point when wishing for the "good ole days." Some of the
philosophy of the times, in this situation, the role of the teacher, was
better. But, just like you can't put a lot of other kinds of toothpaste
back in the tube, I can't imagine "re-doing" the teaching profession in
2021 to meet the standards we decide are the best. Apparently, when we
looked the other way for 50-60 years, someone changed things! :-)


>>
>> The notion that failing a kid -- for a year, for a subject or just for
>> a single test or essay -- is intrinsically wrong because it will harm
>> self esteem seems to emerge from a wholly different reference frame.
>
> This seems to have come from the Psychology of the 70s when self-esteem
> was all the rage. Maybe still is.
>

Religion, for one thing, destroys self-esteem. I know because they
"beat" it out of me. By age 15-17, I had none! Took me years to
recover. Since I was/am biased, I don't really recall a self-esteem fad
in the 1970s. But, from what I can tell, one of the many tools used by
churches to make you obey was to destroy your self-esteem . . . as well
as self-confidence, feeling of self-worth, increase your fear of . . .
everything . . . , etc. Trust me, they were good at it.

When I went to school, the "fail a kid if at all possible"
mentality was in vogue. The "official" policy in NS in the 50s and 60s
(my mother was a school teacher/principal, so she knew the terminology
and the rules) was that if you failed 2 grades, you were deemed
"retarded." That's right, kiddies. For example, fail grade 2 and grade
6, and the official NS government position on you was "mentally
retarded" from then on!

FWIW, I never failed a grade. I still might have a few screws
loose, though. :-)

--
HRM Resident

James Warren

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 3:00:56 PM10/30/21
to
On 2021-10-30 3:15 PM, HRM Resident wrote:
> On 2021-10-30 9:06 a.m., James Warren wrote:
>>>
>>> Yeah, mine too.  Not sure how you implement that at the elementary
>>> school level.  Not sure that what is now the profession of Education
>>> agrees collectively. If it does in principle -- officially -- not sure
>>> that teachers get it or are able to embody it in the classroom.
>>
>> Teaching the teachers may be more difficult than teaching the students.
>>
>
>
>     That was my point when wishing for the "good ole days." Some of the
> philosophy of the times, in this situation, the role of the teacher, was
> better. But, just like you can't put a lot of other kinds of toothpaste
> back in the tube, I can't imagine "re-doing" the teaching profession in
> 2021 to meet the standards we decide are the best. Apparently, when we
> looked the other way for 50-60 years, someone changed things! :-)

Is it easier to tutor two tooters to toot or to tutor two tutors to
tutor two tooters to toot?

>
>
>>>
>>> The notion that failing a kid -- for a year, for a subject or just for
>>> a single test or essay -- is intrinsically wrong because it will harm
>>> self esteem seems to emerge from a wholly different reference frame.
>>
>> This seems to have come from the Psychology of the 70s when self-esteem
>> was all the rage. Maybe still is.
>>
>
>     Religion, for one thing, destroys self-esteem. I know because they
> "beat" it out of me.  By age 15-17, I had none!  Took me years to
> recover. Since I was/am biased, I don't really recall a self-esteem fad
> in the 1970s. But, from what I can tell, one of the many tools used by
> churches to make you obey was to destroy your self-esteem . . . as well
> as self-confidence, feeling of self-worth, increase your fear of . . .
> everything . . . , etc. Trust me, they were good at it.
>
>     When I went to school, the "fail a kid if at all possible"
> mentality was in vogue. The "official" policy in NS in the 50s and 60s
> (my mother was a school teacher/principal, so she knew the terminology
> and the rules) was that if you failed 2 grades, you were deemed
> "retarded." That's right, kiddies. For example, fail grade 2 and grade
> 6, and the official NS government position on you was "mentally
> retarded" from then on!
>
>     FWIW, I never failed a grade. I still might have a few screws
> loose, though. :-)
>

Yeah, just one or two. :)

HRM Resident

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 3:14:18 PM10/30/21
to
On 2021-10-30 4:00 p.m., James Warren wrote:

>snip<

>>
>>      FWIW, I never failed a grade. I still might have a few screws
>> loose, though. :-)
>>
>
> Yeah, just one or two. :)
>

I get by. I carry one of those multi-head screwdrivers in my
pocket and use it every few hours. Given your almost constant
adjustments, have you upgraded to an electric one yet? I think they
will last all day with those lithium-ion batteries, even if they are
used every few minutes.

As you get'em tight, put some of this on each one:

https://www.loctiteproducts.com/en/products/specialty-products/specialty/loctite_threadlockerred271.html>

It'll help you keep ahead of the problem. Remember, there's never
time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over! :-)

--
HRM Resident

Mike Spencer

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 3:29:38 PM10/30/21
to

James Warren <jwwar...@gmail.com> writes:

> On 2021-10-30 1:46 AM, Mike Spencer wrote:
>
>> ...you could choose your high school -- 10th to 12th grades -- from
>> among Classical, Tech, Commerce, Trade or Cathedral. (The last
>> only of interest to Roman Catholics.) Commerce was about 80% girls
>> aiming for secretarial/bookkeeping trades. Classical attracted
>> those who expected to go on to university.
>
> Looks like a pretty decent system. Does it still exist?

Not sure but I don't think so. Classical, stone-built circa 1895, was
so sturdy that when it closed in the 80s, it was converted to upscale
condos. Tech, much newer and brick, b. 1906, has been demolished.
Commerce is still there. There is a new Science & Technology high
school. The city's public school system web site is crap so I really
don't know.

Another aside: I knew from a drive-by that my junior high had been
demolished by the 70s. I much later learned (or rather inferred from
city reports) that it was closed because the student body had become
over 80% Black as a result of changing neigborhood demographics. That
failed to meet anybody's -- fed, state, city -- requirements for
diversity and for avoiding de facto racial segregation. When I was
there -- early to mid-50s -- it was mostly white, low percentage of
Black kids (one of whom later became known as Taj Mahal.)

James Warren

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Oct 30, 2021, 4:35:53 PM10/30/21
to
Thanks for the heads up! I'll take your suggestion under advisement. :)

James Warren

unread,
Oct 30, 2021, 4:40:35 PM10/30/21
to
Cool.

I met my first blacks when I went to Alexandra school for three
years. It was about 50% black kids. Those are the school years
I liked the best.

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