Welcome to Featured Links! This is a blog category about interesting math-y stuff offsite.
Card tricks, disappearing pizza, awkward poetry, and headlines from a parallel universe: what’s not to love? Math with Bad Drawings is a blog about teaching and math, sprinkled with the author’s signature whiteboard doodles.
The blog has lots of silly posts, like A Math Professor Consults on a Hollywood Movie. Get ready to cringe.
Executive: Let’s say you wanted to get every car in the city to stop, by hacking into the traffic system and turning the lights to red. What equation would a mathematician use?
Professor: That’s not what mathematicians do.
Executive: But if you did, what would you use?
Professor: Traffic cones.
Executive: No, I mean with computers.
Some posts are more serious and thought-provoking, like Fistfuls of Sand (or, Why It Pays to Be a Stubborn Teacher). This post made me appreciate my high school teachers in a totally different way.
Teaching often feels like throwing fistfuls of sand into the ocean. You watch the particles spread and sink, a pointless cloud, and you feel like a fool for ever imagining it would go better. You try again the next day, to the same result: nothing. You keep at it, bucket after bucket of sand, and it never seems to make any difference, until one day, you toss in one more cup of sand, and… there it sits on the surface, a tiny newborn island.
Other great teaching posts are Wrong But Not Stupid and The Hard-to-Tell Story of the High School Classroom.
Thanks to a childhood of absurd privilege, I entered college well-prepared. As a sophomore in the weed-out class for Yale math majors, I earned the high score on the final exam. After that, it seemed plausible to me that I’d never fail at anything mathematical.
But senior spring, I ran into Topology. A little like a bicycle running into a tree.
And of course, there are posts about math itself: check out 0.999…. and the Debate that Repeats Forever.